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12 Days in Ireland from 10/7-10/19 Itinerary help?

12 Days in Ireland from 10/7-10/19 Itinerary help?

Sep 19th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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12 Days in Ireland from 10/7-10/19 Itinerary help?

Just booked a car and the air and need some direction. Was thinking of dublin to Galway (Connemarra Nat Pk) to Sligo to Donegal to Glenvagh Nat. Pk to Derry to Giants causeway to Belfast and back to Dublin. Will this give me a good picture of Ireland or should I try to get to Killarney area as well? Also is there any hotels in Dublin with parking? We're renting our car from the airport. I plan to use public transportation in Dublin but just need a place to park the car. Thanks.
dchal09 is offline  
Sep 19th, 2009, 04:18 PM
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You have lots to see and it sounds like a wonderful trip. I wouldn't try to squeeze in Killarney on this trip. What you have planned is enough for 12 days. Sorry I can't help you about the hotel in Dublin; I usually stay with friends when I am in the area.
irishface is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Thanks. I want to visit or stay in castles, see the nature, and generally get the irish experience. Will my itinerary do that?
dchal09 is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 04:40 PM
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I am not sure what one means by the "Irish experience", but I can say that there are plenty of nature spots and history on your proposed itinerary.

On the way to Galway, you might want to stop at the Bog Experience in County Roscommon. there is a little train which takes visitors around one of the largest bog areas. A naturalist accompanies the "train" and explains how the bog was formed, how the peat is used, and the unique ecosystem of a bog. Also an ancient monastic site is in the area: Clonmacnoise. It is on the Shannon in a quiet spot.

Not far from Galway on Lough Corrib is Ashford Castle which has been turned into a luxury hotel. In the area is Connemara National Park. Cong Abbey is quite near Ashford and is well worth a visit. Across the lough is Aughnanure Castle which can be visited. It has sort of an interesting story, but is not furnished these days. Just driving around the rugged beauty of Connemara is a wonderful day. I can't personally tell you much about Ashford Castle as a place to stay as it is beyond my budget; I usually stay in B&Bs.

Not too far along is Westport and I think it is Matt malloy's pub which has Irish music in the evening. If you stay in Westport, you are in Grace O'Malley's territory and can drive and see sites associated with her. In Louisburgh there is a museum dedicated to her. Also Crogh Patrick is just down the road a piece. This is where St. Patrick threw the snakes out of Ireland. On the last sunday in July hundreds of pilgrims come and hike up the mountain (some barefoot) to hear mass in the chapel at the top.

I cannot guide you in the Glenveagh NTl park as that is in the works for another trip.

The Giant's Causeway is stunning. Nearby is Dunluce Castle, a ruin which can be visited. It ceased to be inhabited when the kitchen fell into the sea during a party. Several of the kitchen staff were killed in this 17th century tragedy. However, Dunluce's site on a high cliff makes it worth visiting, even if you don't go in. Bushmills distillery is in this area if you are into whiskey tours. Not far from the causeway is the Carrick-a-rede bridge. Also the ferry to Rathlin Island, a bird sanctuary which you can visit with guide from the village on the island or do on your own.

On the way to Belfast, drive along the Antrim Coast and take time to explore at least one of the Glens. Stop at Carrickfergus Castle.

From Belfast head south via Downpatrick. Visit the church where St. Patrick is supposed to be buried. And then head along the coast road where "the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea." If you have time take the long route along the Ards Peninsula--either the seasie or the side on Strangford Lough. Lots of places to view nature. At the tip, take the short ferry ride across and back to the coastal route.

On the way to Dublin after you cross the border into the Republic, stop in Trim for its castle, visit Newgrange (an ancient burial tomb), the Hill of Tara, Monasterboice Abbey and Mellinfont Abbey.

I would suggest popping into a place like Barnes and Noble and picking up a road atlas to help you plan. I have the
Michelin one. Most of the roads you will be traveling are outlined in green, which, as you know, means scenic routes. Plan on averaging 35 mph. I find 150 miles in a day is about my limit and I can't do that every day. About 100 miles or less a day is comfortable for me. I do like to have time to get out and explore, take pictures, have a picnic, etc.

Have fun!
irishface is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 05:08 PM
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If you want to stay in a castle, try googling "Irish castle hotels"--lots of websites.

Just a sampling:
Clontarf Castle hotel in a suburb of Dublin. Might have parking/

Kinnity in Co. Offaly

Ballygally near Belfast.

Try goodling any of these for more details.
irishface is offline  
Sep 20th, 2009, 07:56 PM
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I believe that Kinnitty Castle is no longer open as a hotel.
jaja is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Thanks everyone, especially irishface. You have helped solidfy my plans that included most of the sights you recommended. I didn't have plans from Belfast so now I do. I'm not planning to make any B&B reservations as we just want to go at our leisure and not be tied down to being in a certain place at a certain time. Since it's October, will that be okay?
dchal09 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 01:33 PM
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I never have B&B reservations even in my preretirement days when I had to go in the summer. I like being able to stop where I wanted for as long as I wanted. Never had a problem.
Sometimes I used the services of the local tourist info office who could make a phone call for me in the price range I asked for.
irishface is offline  
Sep 26th, 2009, 02:52 PM
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kylemore abbey to westport via doo lough valley past croagh patrick is a very scenic drive with history

we stayed in westport...cute town and nice pubs

if you end up needing a place to stay in southern donegal...castle murray house ...not a castle but you will have a meal fit for a king and beautiful scenery!

i thought glenveagh national park had a gorgeous lake and the castle was fun to tour.

do stop at dunluce castle

if time before heading into dublin...check out newgrange
chip is offline  
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