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11 day itinerary flying in/out of Shannon-specifically the last 3 days

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Apr 10th, 2015, 09:41 AM
  #1
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11 day itinerary flying in/out of Shannon-specifically the last 3 days

Hello everyone,

This is my first time asking a question on the Forum. The forum has been very helpful but I am having trouble with my itinerary. This is a once in a lifetime trip so I want to do as much as I can. I am use to driving long distances so that is not a problem.

I have 11 days in Ireland and will be flying in and out of Shannon. Flying in on May 18 and leaving on May 29.

If you could look at my itinerary and make any suggestions it would be very appreciated.

I think my major problem is the last 2 or 3 days. I don’t know a good route to get back to Shannon.

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon and pick up rental car. Drive to Bunratty Castle and Rock of Cashel. Not sure where to stay maybe Mallow? Any suggestions?

Day 2: Drive to Blarney Castle and Beara Peninsula to drive over Healy Pass. Stay in Kenmare

Day 3: Do Ring of Kerry. Stay in Kenmare again.

Day 4: Muckross House and Abbey and drive around Dingle Peninsula. Drive up to Lisdoonvarna to spend the night. Is there any stops I should make between Dingle and Lisdoonvarna?

Day 5: Visit the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Ailwee Cave, Hike with Shane Connelly, Poulnabrona Dolmen, Dunguaire Banquet. Spend night in Lisdoonvarna again.

Day 6: Drive to Mayo and see Ashford Castle, Cong Abbey, Downpatrick Head, Hanigan Heritage Center. Spend night in Ballina.

I am having trouble from Day 7 to 11. I would really like to see the Great Causeway but if I have to forgo it than that is what I will do.

Day 7: Drive to Great Causeway from Mayo. Spend night in Donegal.

Day 8: In Donegal see Cliffs of Slieve, Glenveagh Castle. Drive to Sligo to spend the night.

Day 9: In Sligo see Glencar Waterfall, Tobernalt Holy Well, Megalithic cemetery, Aughris cliff Walk. Spend night in Sligo again.

Day 10 and 11: Work my way down to Shannon Airport somehow. Need help with this part of the itinerary.

I will take any and all suggestions. Nothing is set in stone except for the airline reservations and rental car.

Thanks everyone.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 11:11 AM
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Have I answered this question on another forum?

As a road trip. rearange this route slightly (it starts in Dublin but doesn't have to) http://goo.gl/xrDQtD This map loops and does't include the south west.. this does but has less detail https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...k.kCkFdRW7C2_Y swap Roscrea (B) for Cashel maybe stay Cahir http://www.bandbireland.com/accommod...rrigeen-castle

I would use Kinvara rather than Lisdoonvarna, especially if you are having the banquet and a few drinks?
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Apr 10th, 2015, 12:42 PM
  #3
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No Tony, you haven't answered this on any another form. It is my first question on any forum. Am I suppose to ask the same question on a couple of forums? This is my first time so I don't know.

I like the second map that has the southwest on it. It seems that I am suppose to change day 1 and 2 and bypass Rock of Cashel and the Beara Peninsula. Is that correct?

I will also change Lisdoonvarna to Kinvara.

Since you gave me a route goes from Great Causeways to Shannon I can search for sites to see.

Is everything else o.k.?

Thanks again. You don't know how helpful you have been and gives me a little more assurance in what I am doing as it is only me and my niece who is 19.
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Apr 10th, 2015, 01:55 PM
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There is no harm asking on other forums, Ireland Yes is a friendly line TA will shove Dingle and snub other spots but is the most active forum.

Beara is my favourite of the south west peninsula's always gets my vote. the maps are from past itineraries I used to work on for folks a couple of years back so match other peoples go/do lists sometimes they are a help. But, the routes are just a guide and you put your own points on them or move them to suit your own list.

The Fledh http://www.fleadhnua.com/ is on towards the end of May each year, might be a thought to have your first day/night in Ennis only 1/2 hour from Shannon 40 minutes from Bunratty which opens at 9.30am
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Apr 11th, 2015, 01:50 PM
  #5
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You may be used to driving long distances, but driving in Ireland is another ball game. Roads are often narrow and traffic slow moving. Towns are often congested and there is no sense of hurry in the countryside. Distances may not be long but it will take you a lot longer to cover them than you expect.

This is a good web site for checking distances and driving times.
http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp Make sure you highlight the IRE (ROI & NI) box.

You don't say where you are coming from, what time you are arriving in Shannon and whether you will be jet lagged.

I am a bit concerned that this does look a very busy itinerary and may not give you much time to visit the attractions listed and to just stop and stare.

The first day looks hard going especially if you are planning to visit Bunratty Castle and folk park. I'm not sure whether you will have time to drive to Rock of Cashel as well.

Day 4 looks a lot. The drive from Kenmare to Lisdoonvarna or Kinvara is going to take a good three hours. To do the Dingle Peninsula full justice you need to allow at least half a day, especially if you intend to get beyond Dingle to the tip of the peninsula, which is the best bit. Admission to Muckross House is by guided tour and you need to allow an hour for this. With Muckross Abbey you need to allow a couple of hours total.

Giant's Causeway is in Northern ireland which is a different country to Eire. Check that you can take your hire car into Northern ireland. You will also need sterling here as Eire uses euros.

Giant's Causeway is best seen at low tide. At high tide most of the rocks are covered and it isn't anywhere near as impressive. Check tide tables befire comitting yourself to a visit. Also Mayo to Giant's Causeway and back to Donegal is six plus hours driving then add on stops. It might make sense to think of spending the night in Northern Ireland and then travelling onto Donegal next day (just over two hours) and do Slieve League and Glenveagh Castle that day. Spend the night somewhere in the area and head to Sligo next day.

If you do decide to skip the Giant's Causeway, do still visit Donegal as the cliffs at Slieve League are well worth seeing and I actually think they are more impressive than Cliffs of Moher. The drive up them is a bit scary. Glenveagh Castle and gardens are nice.

On the way back to Shannon, have you thought about Galway and Connemara? We love this part of Ireland and prefer it to Kerry. Galway is a vibrant city. drive out round the coast to Roundstone and then to Clifden for the short Sky Drive. On a clear day this is one of the best short drives in the world. Consider doing Kylemore Abbey on your way back to Galway.

If you have cut out Giant's Causeway, you could always do a day boat trip to the Arran Islands. The other alternative is to drive to Killary Harbour and go for a boat trip and then head up through Louisburgh to Westport and back to Galway.

If you like folk museums, there is the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life at Castlebar. This has a lot of video clips showing life in Ireland 50 years ago and is a fascinating place to visit and it is easy to spend several hours here.

Galway to Shannon is just over an hours drive.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 04:14 PM
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Thank you ESW.

I will be coming from California and am suppose to get in at 8:30 AM. I plan on leaving the rental car company at about 11:00 -hopefully. If I do leave at 11:00 is day 1 still too busy.

I will skip Giant's Causeway as you suggested and try to rework day 4.

I will also use the route planner website for driving time.

Hopefully my next itinerary will be more time appropriate.
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Apr 11th, 2015, 04:45 PM
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ESW,

A quick stupid question. I am on the route planner website for estimating drive time. The directions for Muckross House to Dingle is route N22 to N86 by Tralee but it appears that the drive would be shorter if I took N22 to R561. What does "R" and "N" mean? I can't find a legend that defines "R" and "N".

Thanks again.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 06:45 AM
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OK Route finder software, ANY routefinder software will give accurate mileage.. Non will give accurate timing. You will over the whole trip average 30mph I know I live here and that's what my car's trip computer tells me for over 1000 miles since I reset it. Point to Point you will average no more than 40 or 45 mph. so take the miles and divide by 40, anything better is a bonus but don't depend on it.

If you use Google maps (much as I hate the new version) you will be using the same maps that the AA use but have more flexibility. AA Ireland routefinder will show problems along routes.

R is a Rural road, N is a national road, L is a local road (could be single track) and M is Motorway. I suggest that until you have a few miles under your belt that you stick to N roads, but yes the shortest way from Killarney to Dingle is to cut by Miltown and along Casthemaine shore. Unless you want to go up and over via the Connor Pass.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 08:10 AM
  #9
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Answering your first question..
I think I'd just stick to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park on the day you arrive. There is a lot to see at the folk park and it is a pity to rush it. Rather than driving all the way to Mallow think about Adare, which is 30 minutes drive rather than over an hour. You are likely to be tired. This does mean a longer drive to Blarney next morning but hopefully you will have slept well. I assume the attraction of Blarney is kissing the Blarney stone? Is this a real priority, if not I'd spend the whole day around Beara, especially getting down to the tip and having a look at the cable car ferry across to Dursey Island.
http://www.bearatourism.com/bwdursey.html
http://www.ireland.com/en-gb/destina...dursey-island/
If there isn't a queue, you might even have time for a trip across...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcmK0Zpxgck
Stop the night in Kenmare as planned.

Tony2phones has answered your question about R and N routes. N roads tend to be better and faster than R routes.

Go out via Milntown and Castlemaine to Dingle. This is about 90 minute drive from Kenmare. It might make sense to build in a night in Dingle rather than trying to reach Lisdoonvarna or Kinvara for the night. If you are taking out Giant's Causeway this gives you a bit more flexibility to do this.

Next morning, if it is a clear day, head out over the Conner Pass (don't attempt if it is misty as the road is narrow and bendy), head for Tralee and pick up N69 through Listowel to Tarbert. Here catch the ferry across to Killimer
http://www.shannonferries.com/page/ferry-timetable/29

Pick up N67 and then R487 and drive down to the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula - worth it for the scenery. Have a stop in Kikee as well. Then potter up the coast on the N67 and then R478 to your overnight at Lisdoonvarna or Kinvara. Lahinch, Liscannor and Doolin are worth a stop. This takes you past Cliffs of Moher so you may want to do them now. The extra time generated next day could be used to do a boat trip viewing the cliffs from the water. This is the best way to really appreciate the size of the cliffs. It also gets you away from the hordes as the top of the cliffs can get very busy with visitors. It may also be quieter later in the day.
http://www.cliffs-of-moher-cruises.c...fsofmoher.html
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Apr 12th, 2015, 09:45 AM
  #10
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Thanks Tony2phones and ESW.

Based on your suggestions I have reworked the itinerary and gave myself more time for driving and deleted Rock of Cashel and Blarney Stone.

Here is the new and improved itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon (8:30am) and pick up rental car and leave by 11:00. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. Spend night in Adare.
Day 2: From Adare drive to Beara Peninsula to drive over Healy Pass. Stay in Kenmare
Day 3: Do Ring of Kerry. Stay in Kenmare again.
Day 4: From Kenmare drive to Muckross House and Abbey. Spend evening in Dingle.
Day 5: Drive around Dingle Peninsula. Should I stay in Dingle or go a little North for the evening?
Day 6 From Dingle do Connor Pass (if not misty) to drive Loop Head to Burren, Cliffs of Moher , Ailwee Cave, Dunguaire Banquet. Spend night in Kinvarra.
Day 7: From Kinvarra to Roundstone to Clifden to Kylemore Abbey to Crough Patrick and stay in Castlebar.
Day 8: From Castlebar to Sligo to see Glencar Waterfall, Tobernalt Holy Well, Megalithic cemetery, Aughris cliff Walk. Spend night in Sligo.
Day 9: From Sligo drive to Donegal see Cliffs of Slieve, Glenveagh Castle. Drive back to Sligo to spend the night.
Day 10: From Sligo to Connemara to see Ashford Castle and Cong Abbey
Day 11: Drive to Shannon. Any suggestions on this day?
Day 12: Leave Shannon at 11:30 am.

Thanks Tony2phones and ESW. I am getting very excited because of all of your suggestions.

Also is sunrise around 6 and sunset around 9?
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Apr 12th, 2015, 10:51 AM
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To achieve day 6 I would aim to be north of the Shannon, maybe Kilkee or Ennis and catch the Fledh night 5, Day 7 is a bit ambitious as well, consider Westport. Day 11 consider heading inland a little and down Lough Derg in east Clare, end the night at the Oakwood Arms.

Daylight hours, personally I like a good breakfast around 8.30 to 9 am and check into the next stop around 6pm gets daylight most of the year.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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On Day 8 I recommend adding in the Glenniff Horseshoe.Doesn't take a lot time but well worth seeing.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 12:11 PM
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Oops! That should read "Doesn't take"
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Apr 12th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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"a lot OF time." Good grief.
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Apr 12th, 2015, 02:34 PM
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When you do the ring of Kerry, don't miss Staigue stone fort (locate using Google maps). It is amazing.
http://www.theringofkerry.com/staigue-fort
A bit further on there are also Cahergal and Leacanabuaile forts.
http://www.theringofkerry.com/caherg...nabuaile-forts
The day we did the ring of Kerry was wet and misty so pictures are disappointing:
http://wasleys.org.uk/britain_exhp_m...rry/index.html


Are you intending to climb Croag Patrick? If so, then Day 7 is a long day. I've not done it but the geral concensus seems to be to allow 2 hours for going up and 90 minutes for going down. If you are just planning to drive past then the day is doable. Allow 6 hours + for driving plus stops. Castlebar is only 10-12 miles beyond Westport so it probably doesn't make a lot of difference where you stop.

Day 10 Where are you planning to stop that night?
Ashford Castle is now a luxury hotel, so I'm not quite sure what your expectation are here. There isn't a lot to see at Cong Abbey so that won't take long to do. Don't miss the fishing station down by the river. The monks had a bell to ring to let the cook now when they caught a fish.

Cong is where the John Wayne film 'The Quiet Man' was filmed. Americans are often keen to visit the museum and have their photos taken.
http://www.quietman-cong.com/cong-museum/

About ten miles south east of Cong is the small village of Headford. Coming from Cong, take the right hand turn at the cross roads in the village and follow this unclassified road towards Loch Corrib for Ross Errily Friary. This is a lovely ruined friary, set above the river which gets few visitors. It isn't the easiest of places to find. Enter Friary of Ross into google maps to locate it. There is some inforamtion here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Errilly_Friary
There are some pictures of it here:
http://wasleys.org.uk/ireland06_mw/0...ies/index.html

A thought for the final day - as long as you don't mind a long drive.... Head through Athenry (nice medieval castle) and drive to Clonmacnoise, one of the most beautiful religious sites in Ireland with round towers and ruined chapels.
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/ireland/clonmacnoise
Our pictures are here:
http://wasleys.org.uk/ireland06_mw/0...mac/index.html

Spend the rest of the day dropping out here before heading back to Shannon. Clonmacnoise to Shannon is about 80 miles. Allow yourself a couple of hours for the drive.

If you don't want to drive as far, do Athenry Castle and then head for Craggaunowen Bronze Age Project, a few miles north east of Shannon.
http://www.shannonheritage.com/Cragg...astExperience/

We've had two visits to Ireland. Our pictures and some background information is here:
http://wasleys.org.uk/britain_exhp_m..._mw/index.html.
It is a while since this was written so some of the links may no longer work.

Your itinerary is really coming together and you will have a wonderful time. In May you will have plenty of daylight. Sunrise and sunset times for Galway are shown here. Times for the rest of Ireland will only be minutes different.
http://www.timeanddate.com/sun/irela...th=5&year=2015
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Apr 13th, 2015, 08:35 AM
  #16
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I made the following changes:
On Day 5 I will stay in Kilkee . Day 7 my niece doesn’t want to do the 4 hour walk up Crough Patrick so I guess it will be a drive by and stay in Westport so I think day 7 will be doable if we don’t do the hike. Day 8 I added Glenniff Horshoe. Day 10 eliminated Ashford Castle and added Friary of Ross and stay in Athenry. Day 11 go to Clonmacnoise down Lough Derg and stay in Oakwood Arms.

The intinerary from day 5 to 11 is as follows:

Day 5: Drive around Dingle Peninsula. Stay in Kilkee
Day 6 From Kilkee drive Loop Head to Burren, Cliffs of Moher , Ailwee Cave, Dunguaire Banquet. Spend night in Kinvarra.
Day 7: From Kinvarra to Roundstone to Clifden to Kylemore Abbey to Crough Patrick(not hiking) and stay in Westport.
Day 8: From Westport to Sligo to see Glencar Waterfall, Tobernalt Holy Well, Megalithic cemetery, Aughris cliff Walk and drive Glenniff Horshoe. Spend night in Sligo.
Day 9: From Sligo drive to Donegal see Cliffs of Slieve, Glenveagh Castle. Drive back to Sligo to spend the night.
Day 10: From Sligo to Connemara to see Cong Abbey Friary of Ross. Spend night in Athenry.
Day 11: From Athenry to Clonmacnoise and down to Lough Derg and stay in Oakwood Arms.
Day 12: Leave Shannon at 11:30 am

I very much appreciate all of the advice.
Does it look O.K?
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Apr 13th, 2015, 09:37 AM
  #17
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We chickened out of the walk up Croag Patrick too!

When in Clifden, Don't miss out on the Sky Road Drive. It's not very long and will only take 20 minutes or so plus time for stops to take pictures at the car park on the summit. There is some information here:
http://www.galway.net/galwayguide/vi...nemara/drives/
The road is well signed and it is best to do it clockwise as views are best that way. Stay on the high road rather than the low road on the way out for the views. You can trace the route using Michelin maps Click on the + sign on the right hand sign for the details.
http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Map...RFd0xqQXlNREkx

You haven't said whether you are relying on sat nav or if you have a road atlas. This is the best. At a scale of 1 inch to 3 miles so there is plenty of detail when it comes to the minor roads and finding places.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+atlas+ireland

It looks a super itinerary and you'll have a great trip. In May the rhododendrons should be in flower. These were introduced as Garden shrubs by the Victorians but have spread everywhere. They are even colonising the peat bogs. The banks along the roads will be pink with their flowers.
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Apr 13th, 2015, 12:12 PM
  #18
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Thanks ESW,

I ordered a Ordinance Survey Map and should arrive, hopefully arrive, in a couple of weeks. Don't know why I didn't order it sooner.

I have been viewing your gallery and the pictures are wonderful.

Thanks again.
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Apr 13th, 2015, 12:31 PM
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It's good to hear of someone who still believes in using maps. They are wonderful for discovering those out of the way places...
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