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10-Day Trip to Ireland

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May 21st, 2012, 08:11 AM
  #1
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10-Day Trip to Ireland

My family and I (2 adults and 2 teens) are going to Ireland in July for a total of 10 days/9 nights. We have never been. We are flying into Dublin and will be there for 3 nights. This is already pretty much set. We are really confused about where we should go after Dublin. We would like to see Dingle, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Mohr and maybe one of the Aran Islands. We love small, out-of-the-way places and enjoy moderate walking/hiking, nothing too strenuous.

I know that people ask for advice all the time and we probably could put together an itinerary based on previous postings, but we are really overwhelmed by all the information that is out there. FYI, we are renting a car when we leave Dublin on Friday morning and will be flying home out of Dublin the following Thursday morning. We need to plan for six nights, although the last night of our trip probably will have to be spent fairly close the Dublin airport.

What we are looking for is where we should stop for the night or maybe two or more nights (to use as a base) that could provide a good glimpse of traditional Irish life and places to stop along the way. We are mainly interested in historic sights and gorgeous scenery.

Thank you.
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May 21st, 2012, 08:49 AM
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One thing you might want to think about is do you need a car in Dublin itself. The airport is close and there are regular buses/taxi to and from. The city is small and even with buses to help out there is plenty to see in the centre on feet. I don't know where you come from but many Americans find the lack of a car "difficult" but you might enjoy the first bit without (and the pain of finding somewhere to park it etc)

Ireland has some great B&Bs due to a major investment in the 70s so don't just look at hotels look at B&Bs, try www.booking.com and tripadvisor.com to find the sort of thing you want. Then come back and suggest the itinery with hotels listed and you will get lots of advice.

Apropo of nothing, and I'm not a share holder, I like the King Sitric in Howth which you will see is close to Dublin and no way near the route you want to take, why, because the port is lovely and the people are friendly and you are more likely to meet the real Irish here than around the tourist hot spots. www.kingsitric.ie‎
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May 21st, 2012, 09:04 AM
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bilboburgler: No, we won't be having a car in Dublin. We pick it up on our way out. We are staying in the city center and won't be needing one, that's for sure.

We want to stay in B&Bs. That is our hope. Hotels are only a last resort.
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May 21st, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Here's what we did, which doesn't mean it's what you should do but might give you some ideas. We had the advantage of a few more days and in/out of Shannon. We stayed in Killarney, Dingle and Galway.

Good luck.

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/ireland.html
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May 24th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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Thanks, Indy dad. I read your blog and looked at your photos. Beautiful trip.

We have come up with an itinerary and all we need now is to fill in places to stop along the way to our next destination (and also some interesting things to do while we are at our desinations). Here goes:

Day 1 - Arrive Dublin early afternoon. Do either a self-guided walking tour or organized walking tour of the city. Not much planned for the evening in case we conk out early, Overnight in Dublin.

Day 2 - Bike tour of Dublin in morning. Shopping and exploring in the afternoon. Bruce Springsteen concert in the evening. We need something for husband and 15 yo son to do while mother and 18 yo daughter go to the concert. Overnight in Dublin.

Day 3 - Walk about Wicklow walking/hiking tour (all day). Evening - Pub crawl. Overnight in Dublin.

Day 4 - Pick up car in a.m. Drive to Cashel. Any good places to stop along the way? We are looking for a picturesque and quaint village for lunch, historic ruins, etc. Arrivce in Cashel in time to tour the Rock of Cashel. Overnight in Cashel.

Day 5 - Drive to Dingle. Once again, any nice places we should stop along the way? Overnight in Dingle.

Day 6 - Some walking and driving along the Dingle Peninsula. Overnight in Dingle.

Day 7 - Drive to Lahinch via Ballybunion. Not sure whether husband will play golf there. If he does, is there anything for the 3 of us to do? Overnight in Lahinch

Day 8 - Drive to Doolin for ferry to Aran Islands (Innisheer). On way back to Lahinch stop at Cliffs of Mohr and The Burren. Overnight in Lahinch.

Day 9 - Golf at Lahinch for husband when course opens. Rest of the family packs and explores the town. Drive to Galway via The Burren (if we cannot visit on Day 8). Spend afternoon in Galway. Late afternoon, early evening, drive to Dublin Airport.

Day 10 - Depart for home.

Since we still have about 6 weeks before we leave, we have plenty of time to fill in the empty spaces in our itinerary. We are looking for some out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten path places to stop along the way.

Thanks!!!
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May 24th, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Would question the advisability of devoting a night to Cashel; unless you leave Dublin late, a reasonably early start will leave you done with Cashel by mid afternoon.

I would opt to do your tour in the reverse direction to what you are currently planning.
Cashel can be included on your day 9 - incorporated into your return trip from Dingle to Dublin.
I would favour driving to Galway on day 4 - you will be there by lunchtime, leaving you time to explore one of Ireland's livliest small cities. You can get to the largest of the Aran island Inishmore (Dun Aenghus fort is a must-see) on day 5 from Galway either by ferry or Aer Arann.
Moving south on day 6 you can combine exploring the Burren with golf in Lahinch.
Days 7&8 can be given over to getting to Dingle and touring the peninsula/ golfing at Ballybunion.
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May 27th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Thanks, SeeDee for your advice. I looked into the possibility of reversing the order of our trip, but unfortunately, it won't allow my husband to play golf at Lahinch (as we would probably be there over the weekend). As we have it now, he will be playing Wednesday morning. We will be leaving Dublin mid- to late-morning on Friday and will probably make a stop in Kilkenny before reaching Cashel.

What I've done is look into ways to maximize our time in Dingle and around Lahinch and I've come up with some ideas. We will still leave Cashel on Saturday morning, but stop somewhere along the way before reaching Dingle. Any suggestions? Maybe Tralee or some less touristy place nearby)? Should we take the Conor Pass road to Dingle or N86? This will be the first time my husband will be driving on the opposite side of the road, so I'm not sure how well he is going to do with the Conor Pass.

We will find something to do on Sunday in Dingle. We'll do some driving, some walking and maybe rent some bikes. That I am sure will fill up the day nicely.

On Monday, we will leave early and drive to Lahinch, via Ballybunnion, where we will stop for a bit.

Tuesday, we'll drive early to Doolin, passing the Cliffs of Mohr, to catch the 10 a.m. ferry to Inishmore. We'll do the pony cart tour of the island and some walking and take the 4 p.m. ferry back to Doolin. We can spend some time in Doolin or go back to Lahinch.

Wednesday, my husband still will play golf early at Lahinch. When he's done at around 11 a.m., we'll drive to Ballyvaughan, where we'll hopefully be able to go on a guided walking tour of the Burren for a couple of hours. If we are not too exhausted or it's not too late, maybe we'll drive to Galway for dinner and then head to Dublin Airport.

Thanks.
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May 27th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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It is a long and can be a rough crossing from Doolin to Innis Morr far better the short crossing from Rossaveal or just head to Innis Orr from Doolin with the cliffs cruise added.
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May 27th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Tony2phones, unfortunately we won't be anywhere near Rossaveal to pick up the ferry to Innis Morr. My original plan was to take the ferry to Innis Orr from Doolin but SeeDee convinced me that it would be better to go to Innis Morr. How rough is the crossing? Will a dose of Dramamine take care of seasickness, or is it worse than that?
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May 27th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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If the crossing is too bad the boats don't go or more importantly come back. It is rare but can happen. I think if you read SeeDee's answer they recommend going from Rossaveil Personally I prefer Innis Orr but then I wouldn't be maximising my time for Dingle either.
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May 27th, 2012, 02:33 PM
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Wednesday golf in Lahinch certainly shapes your whole itinerary. Given that a round of golf on the championship course will take well over four hours, being finished by 11 am sounds a little optimistic.
Personally I would favour getting to Inishmore by the 10 minute hop on Aer Arann Islander service, much less weather dependant but you have to drive beyond Galway city to get to the airfield (similar problem with the Rossaveal ferry). Given the time limitations of your trip, I fear that the Aran Islands may be a destination that may not tie in well with your golf plans for Wednesday.
I would also question visiting Ballybunion unless golf is on the agenda; warning - there would be limited options for non-golfers in the area to spend the 5/6 hours that need to be dedicated to a full 18 hole round.
I would also check what time the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre opens as it seems very ambitious to view the cliffs and be at Doolin by 10.00 am as per your plan for Tuesday should you decide to try getting to the islands by Doolin ferry.
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May 27th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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No matter how you get to Inishmore (from Doolin or Rossaveel, which is where we departed), I would recommend renting bicycles over taking a pony cart tour. It sounds like you are an active family and I imagine you all (particularly the teens) would prefer biking to sitting in a pony cart. We toured by bicycle and were able to visit Dun Aengus, another ring fort (with a really long name I don't recall right now), the Seven Churches and Seal Beach. We even got caught behind a herd of cattle in the road and that was an adventure! Bring a picnic lunch with you to eat on the road or pick up supplies at the local Spar Supermarket. Bikes are rented from several shops near the docks and last year they were going for 10 euros for a day's rental.

Also, we used the following book for some of the walks we did on our trip. http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Planet-...8155402&sr=8-1

Here's a link to a site for hikes in the Burren region. We did the Caher Valley Loop (under Loop Trails) and the scenery and views were spectacular. http://www.shannonregiontrails.ie/FindaTrail/Walking/
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May 27th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Hmmm. Lots to think about. My husband is a golf fanatic and he's hoping to tee off at 7 am. He usually finishes 18 holes in 3 hours (that's walking the course, not riding). Of course if the tee time fills up and he's part of a foursome, it could very well run 5-6 hours. As far as Ballybunnion is concerned, he wants to see it, not necessarily play it. We can make it a lunch stop for us.

We weren't planning on stopping at the Cliffs of Mohr visitor center in the morning, just driving past. We could change our plans, and instead of taking the long ferry to Innis More we'd go to Innis Orr and the boat ride under the Cliffs of Mohr. I guess we can still run the risk of being stranded in Innis Orr but I'll do a little research into that and see how often it happens.

I do appreciate all the input. It's a lot to think about, but that's why I'm asking for people's opinions and thoughts. I have little experience planning a trip to Ireland. The last time I was there was 33 years ago, and I have no idea how my friend and I planned it, although we did manage to see an awful lot in 2 weeks.
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May 27th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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I love Lahinch and glad your husband is getting to golf there. https://www.facebook.com/lahinchsurfshop one of my fav places there and think your son will ejoy. You will see many surfers at Lahinch and even at the ferry in Doolin, look for them while you wait for the ferry. Bikes are better than a pony cart imo. The ferry is small but ok, take the ferry that goes up to the cliffs also. Best view. There are many B&Bs in Doolin, we love the three pubs and they have great food and music. You can horseback ride there also.
We did the Conor pass, busted a tire when a big truck took his half out of the middle. Strange how those rocks stick out of the mountain...We also folded in our mirrors. I think the other roads have improved greatly though.
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May 27th, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Driving by road past the Cliffs of Moher is not really going to give you any views of the sea I'm afraid.
The championship course in Lahinch will operate a strict timesheet requiring reservation during the summer months.
As a golf enthusiast, your husband would probably enjoy the experience of standing on the first tee in Ballybunion - the graveyard on your right as you look down the fairway is a truly unique vista...... Whether real or not, a tradition of the club came to light when Bill Clinton came to play; this involved the player who failed to get his drive to clear the ladies first tee to drop his trousers while making his way to play his next shot. I'm sure I would have seen the photos if Bill had messed up his first drive......
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May 27th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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flpab, did you take the ferry that went to Inisheer and then past the Cliffs of Mohr? How long did you get to spend on Inisheer? Enough time to rent bikes and explore the island?

We are staying two nights in Lahinch (we've already booked our rooms). I think it will be a lot of fun to see the surfers. But if we do take the ferry/cruise, then we'll spend time in Doolin for dinner and drive back to Lahinch later that evening.

Should we avoid taking the Conor Pass road? Is it worth the risk of a flat tire or worse damage to the car?
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May 27th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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The Connor Pass is not that difficult and it is highly unlikely that a truck would be using the pass. Turning in your mirrors is a Rick Steves directive and is Illegal. Having said that the best direction to drive the Connor is towards Dingle rather than from Dingle (personal preference)

We use the O'Brien line when we go over with visitors and even taking the later ferry gives time to cover a fair bit of the island,

http://www.obrienline.com/products/product-002.html

Other than the island some idea's
http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-....html#40198549
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May 27th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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Or book a Hawk walk at Aillwee Caves

http://www.aillweecave.ie/
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May 27th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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SeeDee, my husband has already contacted Lahinch and will reserve a tee time as soon as he hears back from them. And he already has gotten a letter from our golf pro at home certifying his handicap. My husband is an extremely fast player and moves on the course.

I think I've been convinced to take the ferry/cruise to Inisheer and Cliffs of Mohr instead of going to Inishmore (that will have to be for our next trip to Ireland!). That way we will be able to enjoy the full beauty of the cliffs.

Ballybunnion is my husband's first choice, but Lahinch is more convenient to use as a base. Even though he has never played the course, he knows every hole and every story associated with Ballybunnion. For him, he will be thrilled just to see the course.
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May 29th, 2012, 07:17 PM
  #20
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How's the drive from Dingle to Ballybunnion (via the Tarbert-Killimer ferry), Ballybunnion to Loop Head, Loop Head to Lahinch (to be done in one day)? Thnx.
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