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Would love your thoughts on our Ireland plans...

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Hello all – DH and I are planning our first trip to Ireland and would love any and all suggestions. We will be celebrating our 27th anniversary during this trip. Our 25th was spent by my father’s bedside during a very trying time. Kids are grown, dad’s ok and now is our time to go!

Here's how we like to travel: Natural beauty is magical to us; we like to pick a few locations and explore, avoiding "tourist traps;" depending where we are, we may rent a scooter and explore that way (not in Ireland!) We love to get to know an area as thoroughly as we can, meet people, experience the culture, walk, eat! We love food, but not necessarily “fine dining” – for example, we love the discovery of a farmer who makes and sells his own cheese at market; a gift of homemade wine from an Italian friend is always one of our most treasured gifts; sea urchin on the shores of the Adriatic along with crusty bread from our favorite Puglian bakery. Near Parma, Italy, we ate lunch in a small restaurant where the other patrons were local workmen - one of the best meals we've ever eaten, etc. So, we really love food/don’t like getting dressed up : ) We’ve seen castles, forts and the like. For something extraordinary, we will make a trip. If we happen across them, we’ll enjoy them. We do enjoy history, visit museums and churches some as well. Love small villages where people look at we tourists in the way that shows they don’t see many of us!

We arrive into DUB, pick up our car and head west for a one night stay in B&B on Shannon Harbour. Here we’ll rest and get acclimated. After breakfast, we’ll head to a stone cottage in the Connemara, a short distance from Clifden for 5 nights. We’ll explore the area by foot and by car. There’s a lake and a small boat, heavenly views of mountains, etc. We’ll eat in pubs, listen to music, cook a bit. This is the time of the Arts Fest in Clifden, so we’re excited about that. So much to see in this area!

Those two are booked. The plan is then to head east and stay in an apartment in Carlingford (maybe, but open to other village suggestions) hopefully with a view and balcony, for the next 5 days. We will explore that area, experience village life, hike a bit, take day trips including to Belfast, eat great seafood. Very loose planning, open to suggestions!

Next, we’ll have two nights in Dublin, flying out the third morning. Haven’t researched Dublin yet.

Time is short – this was rather a last-minute idea! I only realized HOW SHORT as I started researching – so much to see and do! Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions. I’ve learned so much from reading through all of your posts over the years.

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