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SOUTH WEST IRELAND 1 WEEK ITINERARY WITH TWEENS!!

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Hi all! Looking for feedback on a rough game plan. My husband and I have been to Ireland (he has some family we'll see outside of Galway too) but want to show the kids (11 and 12) AND make it about more than scenery and driving (since they will tire of that so quickly.) Would love it to be a combo of adventurous, scenic, and relaxing. We have 7 nights. Flying into CORK and out of SHANNON and there are just some things we feel pretty confident we want to do--but we haven't booked anything yet so REALLY appreciate wisdom!!::
Kinsale (seems like a good 1st night given our arrival location) and husband big golfer--wants to see & maybe play OLD HEAD. I've heard food is awesome at Fishy Fishy and perhaps we can kayak or just hike a bit, town looks pretty.
Killarney--seems like a good bit to see and do-national park, ROK, etc.
Dingle--
Loophead--just read about this area and the idea of dolphins, board diving, horseback riding all sound like fun
Cliffs of Moher/ferry to Anas Islands--I read about renting bikes on big island--seems like a good way to spend an afternoon
Doolin-epicenter of Irish music
Galway
TOO MUCH? Does anyone have suggestions for how much time to spend in each location or if we should drop something? I've read some about taking ferry from dingle to cliffs but then I imagine we bypass Loophead.
I also found out about some ancestral connection to a castle in Limerick--though not sure how that fits with driving up coast.
Was thinking maybe 1 night Kinsale, 2 nights Killarney, 1 night Dingle or Doolin, 2-3 nights Galway.
Thanks in advance!!

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    Hello,

    Cork airport to Killarney is only 1 hour drive. Road is long and straight mostly, get a little windy over the mountain for like 15 mins.

    Killarney to Dingle is about hour drive. Road to dingle is very windy and slow driving by scereny is class.

    kids would like this place - http://www.cappanalea.ie/ 30 mins from killarney, or http://www.eclipseireland.com/ about 20 mins from killarney.

    Killarney is best place to be base out of in Kerry. Plenty of golf, and plenty of restaurant and bars in the evening.

    Muckross Park is good and they just launch a new hop on hop off bus from killarney taking in all surrounding sites.

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    You have a good idea for the overnight areas. With your first night in Kinsale your driving distance from Cork Airport will be about 30 minutes. Lots of B&B's there. If you're looking for a hotel with an indoor swimming pool you might check out Actons Hotel otherwise Danabel B&B is good value. In the area you'll find Old Head (great golf course) with its lighthouse. At Summercove is star shaped Charles Fort complete with a resident ghost! Kinsale is a harbor town and has a reputation for great restaurants. If you get a chance take the Passage West ferry over to the town of Cobh and visit the Emigration Museum. I'd spend two night in Kinsale. On to Bantry on Bantry Bay, very scenic. At Glengariff you can take a boat across to Garinish Island and see a Martello Tower and explore Italinate Gardens. Aghatha Christie used to vacation here and created her Hucule Poirot character while here. On the way over you'll pass Seal island and you can see the basking seals. On to Kenmare crossing the Caha Mountains and through the spectacular Caha Pass (hang on). Nearby Kenmare is one of Ireland's largest stone circles at Drombeg. Kenmare is a cute town that is worth exploration. You can continue to Killarney via the 'Short Ring of Kerry' stopping at Moll's Gap, the kids would like to visit Kissane's Farm and see a sheep dog demonstration. At Ladies' View you'll have a panoramic view of the Lakes of Killarney and Killarney Town. Stay in Killarney for at least two nights. Visit the Killarney National Park, 20,000 acres with 15th century Ross Castle (completely restored) and 19th century Muckross House now a museum to Killarney life of the period. Be sure to enjoy a jaunting cart ride through the park. For a B&B I would recommend the Harp B&B on the Muckross Road or Killarney Lodge guesthouse. On to Dingle stopping at Inch strand where you can walk the beach for miles! The town of Dingle is a busy fishing port and you can see the array of fishing boats along the harbor. Dingle is also well known for its restaurants. The best part of the Dingle Peninsula is beyond Dingle Town - The Slea Head Drive - you'll travel the windy road that hugs the mountainside with Dingle Bay and the Atlantic to your left (yes, down there). Stop at the Blasket Island Center and learn about life on the Blasket Islands, always in front of you and you drive. The children would love it as well. Next on the journey is the Gallorus Oratory , a 7th century stone chapel used by pilgrims on their way to Skellig Michael and Mount Brandon (St. Brendan). The road returns you to Dingle Town. Stay at Bride Fitzgerald's Dingle Heights B&B or Milltown House, once used by the actor Robert Mitchum when he was filming the movie Ryan's Daughter. From Dingle Town you drive up the north side of the peninsula stopping at Anascaul, where Tom Cream, the Antartic Explorer lived. You can stop in at the South Pole Inn and see memorabilia from his excursions. Tour north from Dingle to Tralee and then north through Listowel to Tarbert where you will cross the Shannon River by car ferry. However, before you go across drive up along the Shannon River shoreline to the village of Foynes and visit the Flying Boat Museum. It was here, long before Shannon Airport was thought of that the Pan Am 'Flying Boats' used to land. They have a full size replica of a Boeing 151 Flying Boat here. It is also where the Irish Coffee was invented. Cross the Shannon River and drive up the Clare coast to visit the Cliffs of Moher. The new interpretive center and the improved access to viewing the cliffs make it a great stop. On to Doolin where you will want to stay two nights. The village is a very popular music area with pubs having traditional Irish music in the evenings. From here you can take the ferry across to Inismor, the largest of the Aran islands. Use Doolin2Aran ferries as they are the most reliable. When you reach Inismor use Michael Hernon of Hernon Aran Tours to take you around the island (2 hour tour) to Dun Aengus, a 2500 year old semi-circular stone fort overlooking the Atlantic. The children will love it. However, there are no fences so don't let them go too near the edge and the drop is about 500 feet. Spectacular views of County Clare and County Galway from here. The village of Kilronan has some restaurants and shops. Return to Doolin. Stay at Dubhlinn House B&B or the Hotel Doolin. On your last touring day tour through the Burren and tale the road around Black Head and see the lighthouse. The Burren is an eerie place of bare limestone rock and has a micro climate where alpine flowers grow. At Balllyvaugh take the road heading to Corofin and stop at Poulnabroune Dolmen, a portal grave that dates back 3000 years. Return to Ballyvaughn and tour on to Kinvara where you can visit 15th century Dunguaire Castle which is completely restored. At the village of Kilcolgan take the road south to Gort stopping at Thoor Ballylee which was the summer home of William Butler Yeats. On through Ennis to Bunratty wher you can overnight at the Bunratty Courtyard Guesthouse. The children will love the Bunratty Folk Park and Bunratty Castle. If you wish to can go to the traditional Irih night held in the folk park cornbarn. Great entertainment for the family. Shannon Airport is 10 minutes away next morning. For a rental car I would go to easytourireland.com and boo the Hertz fully inclusive rate car which you can pcik up at Cork Airport and return to Shannon Airport with no drop-off fee. Give tjem a look, I think you enjoy them. I did. Hope that helps!

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    JeanneV - that's a great answer to ediskin! I did most of that on one of my many visits to Ireland. I too, used easytourireland.com and found them to be the best value (all inclusive and zero deductible) ans gave me great peace of mind. I can understand why you didn't have them going to Galway as with two children staying our of the larger cities is best. They'll have a blast! Good work

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    Just got home from our trip with a 12 and 14 year old. They had a great time but I must say a lot of time was spent in the car. Not their favorite place to be. We had planned to do Kissane sheep farm ,but had a travel hiccup and as we were coming from Adare area we couldn't make the available time slot for that day. If you think they would enjoy this, please contact them in advance to get demonstration times for the day you have available. We were sorry to have missed it. The things they most enjoyed were
    1) exploring Muckross Abbey at Killarney national park. We had intended to take a jaunting car through Gap of Dunloe and then take a boat to Ross Castle. If this interests you, please know that you need to be at Kate Kearneys by ,I think, 8 am and it is an all day event. We were not in the park early enough to do this. Having said that, we went to Torc waterfall which was a very nice pay off for almost no effort and then took a jarvey through some of the park, stopping at Muckross Abbey and then ending at Muckross house. From there we went to Ross Castle and took the tour.
    2) playing at the beach in Allihe
    3) Hawk walk at Aillwee Cave. This was by far the highlight of their trip. If your budget and time allow, I highly recommend this. They have two Harris hawks which can be taken on a 40 ish minute walk. Your guide will teach you about the hawks while the they alight from and land on your gloved hand. They will demonstrate all kinds of natural behaviors. It was really amazing. Unless you go hawking on a regular basis, this was a once in a lifetime experience. This must be booked in advance. We booked two Hawk walks and 2 spectators as they only have 2 hawks. Hubby and I asked questions and took photos.
    4) walking Glengarra Woods. It doesn't sound like you will be in Tipperary, but they might enjoy some sort of nature walk.
    5) Ashleigh falls and surrounding area in Connemara. I believe this is near Leenane, but we saw so many places it's a bit of a blur now.
    6) soft serve ice cream. It was nearly a daily event and always brought a smile to their faces
    I highly suggest doing your best to limit time in the car. It took much longer than we anticipated to get to each new location and I think in hindsight we would choose to see fewer places and give more time for truly exploring smaller areas.

    We stayed 3 nights in Kenmare at Kenmare Bay resort, one of the lodges number 22. This was perfect accommodation for our family. Very clean, had 2 bedrooms, full kitchen, washer/ dryer( using it was a little tricky) , 5 minute walk to town where they had some good restaurants, ice cream, cute shops. From there we would have done sheep farm ( : , saw Killarney, Beara Peninsula. We came from Connemara area so did an overnight midway. It is a very long drive from Galway to Kerry.
    Have a great time.

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    Inis mor (the biggest of the Aran islands) offers rental bikes. You'll want to go to the Fort for the most spectacular views you'll get from whole trip. It was the highlight for our group.

    Doing both Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula is a bit of an overkill. Our highlight around ROK was the sheep dog show, which really was fun to watch. The Dingle Peninsula is just more spectacular for the eye. Dingle, itself, is quaint and an unforgettable visit will be the old pub that was once an old shop too. It's a big odd but definitely left an impression.

    Galway is fun and your tweens will enjoy the young scene there.

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    This is all very helpful to me as we are a family of 6 with 18, 16, 13 and 9 year old children…yes I know, the first 2 are not really children….we fly into Shannon and are planning to do a Bunratty Bed and Breakfast, take in the castle and Limerick area on our first night….Then, should we head down to Cork, Killarney and Dingle area (stay over night in one of those places) or head up towards Westport via Connemara? Just not sure what direction to go. We too have 7 days. I just don't know if I am thinking about doing to much, and as you said, don't want to be in the car the whole time. Would love suggestions. Thanks,

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    Kljbm - You might consider going from there to Cliffs of Moher, the Burren area and then coming back down southwest. Although I am pleased we saw everything that we did, it really was too much time in the car for us and the thrill of beautiful scenery faded very quickly for the kids. Connemara is beautiful , but unless you plan specific time in your schedule for bike rides and horseback riding , you will feel rushed if you are hopping from one pretty spot to another and may not actually have time for the things you might enjoy more.Don't try to see everything. I would choose one or two things a day that really suit your family's needs and likes. After deciding which areas we would be visiting , I asked everyone in the family to choose a few things they were interested in seeing or doing and tried to use that as a planning tool. I would trade all of the little stops in lovely villages for a few more in depth experiences. Happy planning.

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