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Where should we plan on making our 'bases' for seeing Ireland

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We are planning on approx 3 weeks or just under to tour the sites of Ireland, late Aug/early Sept next year. I was thinking the best way would to select 2 or 3 locations as a base and do days trips from there. Any suggestions on what would be the best locations to spend a few days? We would probably look at cottage rentals rather than hotels.
I have not planned the itinerary yet. Thought it might be better to figure out the best areas to stay and go from there. My thought was to start in Dublin, spend 2 or 3 days there, then rent a car to tour. Generally, I am thinking to make a big circle to include Belfast and then back to Dublin. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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    oh youre lucky to have so much time...id love to do what youre doing but unfortunately weve only allocated seven days to ireland so we are going to really only do the top half...
    dublin...to belfast..round the top and down to ireland

    i talked to the irish tourism board and the girl suggested that we visit westport..
    ...apparently a great spot

    as for a base..she suggested somewhere near galway for that side of the country
    she also recommended we take a taxi tour through belfast..a fellow by the name of billy scott is apparently a great guide...unbiased and very knowledgeable
    ill be interested in following this thread

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    We recently spent 34 days in Ireland.
    I would recommend reading a guidebook to decide what you want to see/do and plotting them on a map to plan where it is best to stay to do those things.
    This wouldn't be right for everyone, but we elected to move more frequently than you plan to, so we didn't have long drives to/from the places we wanted to visit.
    We stayed mostly in apartments, a couple of hotels, a couple of B&Bs (not really our thing, although very popular in Ireland).

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    I just spent two weeks in Ireland, so am glad to help. Let me say there isn't any one right answer. Where you stay and what you do depends on your preferences, how you like to travel etc. I will be glad to tell you what worked for us. We tried very hard not to spend any less than 2 days in one place, and 3 days when possible. For us, unpacking, checking in and out, getting used to new beds, showers, etc. every day wasn't an option. Others feel differently, and that works for them.

    We stayed in Galway for three nights, and that worked out very well. We rented a car and our trip was completely self directed. However, we decided to take a day tour of Connemara, out of Galway, and are thrilled that we did. It heightened the experience of Connemara significantly for us. Galway has some real deal music (try upstairs at Crane Bar), some really good (albeit expensive) restaurants, and enough shopping and touristy things to satisfy us, yet enough genuine Irish experiences to add to our trip.

    Dingle would make another good base. If there is one recommendation I would urge you to follow, stay at the Pax House in Dingle. It is, by far, the best b&b at which I've ever stayed. Check them out on Trip Advisor and you'll see what I mean.

    If seeing the Cliffs of Moher is a priority for you, it would be worth staying in Doolin for one night. I say that because the weather at the cliffs is very changeable. If you stayed somewhere that was an hour or so from the cliffs, you could head to the cliffs in clear weather, and arrive in fog so think you couldn't see the cliffs. Just a thought. If you see the cliffs, I highly recommend taking the one hour boat cruise along the bottom of the cliffs. We saw the cliffs from the top, as well, but looking up at the cliffs from the boat gives them a different perspective.

    As for Dublin, we stayed there for three nights, and that was probably one night more than necessary. If I did it again, I wouldn't stay more than 2 nights.

    We rented a car from Dan Dooley and were very pleased with them and their service. I've read about some companies that hit you with hidden fees. Dooley tells you everything up front. I took out the super insurance, and it was well worth it. They offered to upgrade me for free to a larger car, and I turned it down. I was very glad I did. The roads in Ireland really are as narrow and tight as you may read, and in terms of a car, the smaller, the better.

    One more piece of information. I had read that one should plan on averaging 35 miles per hour, while driving in Ireland, because of narrow roads, sheep, tractors, etc. While I don't know if I averaged 35 miles per hour, I certainly drove much more slowly than I would have in the U.S. So, if you eyeball a map and try to estimate how far it will take you to drive to a destination, figuring on 35-40 miles per hour would be a good idea.

    We also stayed in Killarney for 3 nights. However, if you're choosing between Dingle and Killarney, I would choose Dingle, largely because of the Pax House, and the drive around the Peninsula. If you do stay in Dingle, you'll find some traditional Irish music at several pubs. We found some great music at Might Sessions.

    I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions I can try to answer.

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    Thanks so much for all the great info. It is a big help. I have checked the links and will try and absorb it all. :)

    garyincary - Aslo, thanks for the info on the Pax House in Dingle. I will definitely check it out. I did try to find it on the web, and did find a lot of great reviews but couldn't find prices or a direct link to them. I could only find 'brokers' but even putting in fictitious dates it kept saying there was nothing available. Did you book directly with them?

    I know I will have a ton more questions before I am done, but am starting to get a sense of some of the highlights.

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    Good question - I will be interested in the replies. We will likely only have 2 weeks, so will probably stick to the Republic and leave out Northern Ireland. Would love to stay in 3 or 4 places and make daytrips.

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    Pattie,

    Yes, I booked my stay at Pax House directly through them. In fact, I booked all of my b&b's directly, and did not go through a broker or any other service. The email you receive from John at Pax House will give you an understanding of just how special a place it is. The views are spectacular, the breakfast is by far the best I've had (Hopefully they'll have the pancakes with homemade chocolate sauce. The smoked salmom omelette was spectacular. Then there are the scones, the amazing hot chocolate, the Full Irish, and so much more) and the locatin superb. What can you say about a place which has heated floors in the bathroom, and which turns down your bed at night and leaves you chocolates on the nightstand, and yet which has a warm b&b feel to it?

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    Garyincary,
    Thanks for the info. It sounds like a wonderful B&B and I am definitely going to try and work a stop there into our itinerary. Do you mind if I ask the approx rates? Do you still have their email address? Their web page does not seem to be working.

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    Pattie, Theire web site is www.pax-house.com. What follows is a string of emails from me to them, and vice versa. I think you'll see what I mean about their personal approach when you read the emails from John to me.


    Many thanks for your decision to stay with us at Pax House.

    Arriving Friday 30th August.
    Departing Sunday 1st September 2013.
    Two (2) nights in total.
    Double sea view bedroom
    with a room rate of 125 euro per night.

    To secure your bedroom I have included below our secure link for
    your card details.

    Secure reservation form: https://pax-house.com/payment/


    One little thing that might be of help to you Gary.
    I have found that if there is one thing that is a thorn
    in the side of our guests when they are staying in Ireland
    and that is the length of time it takes them to do a road journey,
    it always takes them longer to cover the distance compared to
    what they are thought the journey would take. The reason for this is due to the fact that they look at road maps and from this they decide how long a journey should take, but our roads and traffic that uses them is not the same as is found in the States.
    So I would suggest Gary, for you to go onto the www.aaireland.ie website
    and go to the route planner section. Then by entering in the town you
    wish to leave from to the town you are wishing to get to, it will then
    give you the most direct route and offer you the time it should take
    to do it.
    This will mean that all your journeys will be stress free and you
    will not have to be rushing the last part of your journey to make
    your dinner reservation time.

    Best and warmest wishes.
    John.
    Slan.

    On 17 Mar 2013, at 23:31, Gary Yellin wrote:

    Greetings on St. Patrick's Day,

    Thank you very much for your wonderful response. We are even more excited to be staying with you. We would like to reserve a room with a sea view, for the nights of Friday, August 30th, and Saturday, August 31st. However, rather than a twin bedroom, if you have a sea view room with a double bed, we would prefer that. If you don't have a room with a double bed, then we will accept a room with two singles. However, our preference is sea view with a double bed, if at all possible. Please book us for that room and send us the appropriate confirmation.

    Visiting Ireland has been my wife's dream her entire life, and staying with you will help make her dream come true. We can't wait to spend time at your wonderful home.

    Sincerely,
    Gary Yellin


    <PastedGraphic-9.tiff>
    Good evening Gary and greetings from beautiful Dingle.

    Many thanks for your interest in Pax House for the nights of Friday 30th and Saturday 31st August
    2013 and it would be a pleasure having you both stay.

    We do have availability for those two nights Gary and I can offer you a choice of bedrooms.

    Our twin bedrooms without sea view would be 115 euro per night, while our twin bedrooms
    with sea view are 125 euro per night, we also have some other twin bedrooms, these being 135 euro
    per night and having access to your patio and back lawn through patio doors, and of course the
    sea view.

    All prices (are room rates and not per person) and does include tax and breakfast.

    The house is situated 1km from the centre of Dingle and the walk down takes about 12 minutes -
    less if the wind is at your back!
    Our perfect location Gary, at the top of a small hill gives us outstanding views, and not being in
    the middle of town allows our guests to enjoy all that the town offers but without the noise of
    traffic and town.

    All our rooms are non-smoking since the government ban in all public areas.

    There is ample car parking on the property which is situated off the road.

    As regards the view, all I can say is that what Mother Nature has so kindly loaned us is not so
    easily translated into the written word. All the guide books have been impressed by the views.
    You will be overlooking farm land with Dingle Bay beyond, Lord Ventry's reading tower, the entrance
    to the harbour from Dingle Bay through which all the fishing and sailing boats pass. If you are as
    lucky as I am most days, you may be able to see the local dolphin jump from the water. All of this is
    visible from the back of the house; the balcony, back garden and breakfast room, and those bedrooms
    with sea views.
    There is a great selection of restaurants and bars downtown, so there is no excuse Gary, for being
    hungry or thirsty during your stay. If I can help in any way from names of restaurants to the type
    of food being served, to real west of Ireland pubs, to those hidden gems of special local places of
    interest that surround the area, please let me know and I will get the information off to you.

    Likewise Gary if you have any special dietary needs, please let us know so you will not miss out on
    the breakfast experience.
    May I take this moment Gary, to thank you for thinking of Pax House as part of your visit to Dingle.
    I am sure no matter what the weather, you will both have a great time looking at all the area has to
    offer and will take back home to Cary, a huge number of happy memories.


    Getting to Pax House.
    As regards getting from Tralee to Dingle. Take the N86 from Tralee, you will
    pass Blennerville, about 12 miles out of town, there is a choice of routes,
    there is a fork in the road, if the weather is fine and there are no clouds
    on the mountain top, then I would take the lower road, the one on the right
    and it is marked as Castlegregory-Conor Pass, this will take you over the
    mountains and into Dingle, the views are great but you need a clear day,
    towards the summit the road does narrow and there is room only for one car
    but there are areas that one can pull in and let oncoming cars pass you by,
    just take your time and all will be well, but it is worth it. When
    you arrive to Dingle there will be a T junction, the Old Smokehouse
    restaurant will be opposite you and a pub, 1 of 43 will be on the corner to
    your right, its yellow in colour and called The Small Bridge, take a left
    here and go up the hill 1 km, at the top of the hill, just as it starts to
    slope downwards, there in a corner to the right, go around the
    corner and Pax House will be on your Right, its white in colour. If Gary,
    you on the otherhand, take the left, upper branch of the fork, it's marked
    An Daingean, you will go through a village called Camp, then Anascaul (at
    the end of the village on your right there is a pub called The South Pole,
    blue and white in colour and it has tables and chairs outside, well worth a
    visit. Then you will pass by Lispole and after this village there is a 4.5km
    stretch of straight road, after which you will be nearing Dingle, when you
    come to the first roundabout, take the second exit, keep driving till you come
    to a junction, take a right turn and go up the hill. We are at the very top of
    the hill about 1km, just after a bend in the road and we are on the right hand
    side.
    Should take no more than 50 minutes and a little sweat!

    Please be aware that all road signs to Dingle use the Irish wording An Daingean.
    If you see Go Mall written on the road it means Slow Down.
    While if you see a road sign that says Geill Sli it means Stop


    In order to confirm your booking, we will require your card details to
    hold the room for you, no deposit will be taken from your account
    and if possible a cash settlement on departure would be most welcome
    otherwise a Visa card or Master card can be used as settlement.
    Please let us have your credit card details. Please fill-out our
    secure reservation form online with your credit card information.

    Secure reservation form: https://pax-house.com/payment/



    Our cancellation policy is full refund if
    cancelled 5 days prior to arrival date.
    Check in time is 15.00-18.00; should you wish to check in Gary
    outside these times, please let us know in advance, if you wish to arrive earlier
    we will do our best to have your bedroom ready for you . If it isn't, then
    you can relax with a nice cup of tea or coffee on the patio and enjoy the
    wonderful view, while we put the finishing touches to your room, which will
    not take so long or you may decide to leave your luggage with us and
    head off to explore the area.
    If you wish to arrive later, it will mean that you will not have to rush
    and can enjoy the view as you travel to Dingle knowing that there is
    a warm bed and a cool pillow awaiting you at Pax.

    Finally Gary, may I take this moment to THANK you once again for your
    interest in Pax House and can I pass on my best and warmest wishes to
    you both.

    Best regards and Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

    John.

    Slan.





    This is not a confirmation letter Gary and the availability that is mentioned is available at time of sending.


    Location Ref:

    Lat: +52° 8' 1.69",

    Long: -10° 15' 25.60"

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    Pax House is a Top Price spot in a non touring base location, remember to ask for a torch/flashlight if being out after dusk.

    With 3 weeks there are many options, The circle of the island takes 14 days if you include a couple of 2 night stays so with 2 and 3 nights plus the odd 1 night, 3 weeks will have you seeing a good bit without cutting too many lumps.

    If you split the island into the 4 provinces and 2 bases for each province then you see the split doesn't really lend itself to long stays.

    Whilst a fan of road trips myself the flip side might be to have a couple of weeks travelling between places with a week self catering (yes you can eat out all the time should you wish) in a Touring base sat-sat in the middle somewhere. Galway would be a decent base for the west, Killarney a good base for the south west (including a day trip to Dingle).

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    Regarding driving, maps, and directions... Signage for secondary routes is poor to nonexistent. Maps are useless. That being said, I have had no trouble getting around, just understand, like others have said, it will probably take longer than you think. Build in time for getting "lost". I must say, taking wrong turns has brought me to places I never would have expected! Go with the flow!

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    RuaMor. take it it's a long time since you drove in rural Ireland. Recent years have seen a vast improvement in road signage even our townland is signed from all approaches onto the "L" roads from the "R" roads. the larger "N" roads are well signed. The OSI road map is generally considered the "Bible" but the Collins or AA glovebox maps are great.

    Yes you can still get lost and as RuaMor has said getting lost is possibly one of the best things that can happen if you have an adventurous streak as you will find many gems no guide book will show you. Base average speeds at 35-40mph anything more is a bonus. And if you do get lost then "ask" natives tend to be friendly.

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