Hello fellow travelers -
I'm headed to Dublin for a conference December 1-10, and will base myself in the city for site visits and business December 2-6. As an education abroad professional, I'm intrigued by the Troubles - and seeing both Northern Ireland and Ireland. We have students that travel to the country, and I'd like to get a broader perspective outside of Dublin proper.
Here's my itinerary as it stands:
Saturday - arrive Dublin, travel to Belfast, stay Belfast (1 night)
Sunday - return to Dublin, stay through Friday
Friday - travel to Galway, stay through Monday (3 nights)
Monday - travel to Dublin, fly out
My original plan is to do the first weekend in Belfast, although it's a quick one. The second weekend in Galway, with a day trip to the Cliffs.
Please note, I will not have a car and will be relying on public transportation.
Here are my questions --
1) Is one day & night in Belfast enough? Is it worth it? I arrive 9 a.m. to Dublin on Saturday, would take the bus/train to Belfast (2-3 hours?) and spend the afternoon/night there, and head back to Dublin on Sunday (afternoon, depending on transport schedule). The alternative is to skip Belfast, and stay in Dublin until the following weekend.
2) Should I plan for an entire day at the Cliffs? My host in Galway recommended tours leaving from the area - both to the Cliffs and Connemara.
3) My students have been to, and continue to rave about, the Aran Islands. Does it make sense to try to get there while I'm in Galway? Worth the trouble? Bearing in mind it's also December and I'm not anticipating pleasant weather.
4) What are Sundays like in Ireland (North, South or otherwise)? Living in Spain I always faced the non-event of Sunday and as a traveler was always slightly stymied by the issue of everything being closed. I see that there are some abbreviated transportation schedules; should I anticipate store / site / business closings?
Thanks for your help as I plan this whirlwind tour. Any and all tips welcome (this includes good food stops .
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Hello fellow travelers -