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14 days in Ireland - Need help with our itinerary

14 days in Ireland - Need help with our itinerary

Jan 11th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 14
14 days in Ireland - Need help with our itinerary

We are planning our first trip to Ireland in May for 14 nights. We are a couple in our sixties who enjoy the outdoors. Our preliminary itinerary is as follows:

Fly in to Cork around 1:30pm. Collect a car & head toward Co.Kerry for 2 nights.
Dingle 2 nights
Co. Clare 1 night
Co. Galway 2 nights
Co. Donegal 2 nights
Co. Antrim 1 night
Newtownards 1 night
Dublin 3 nights

Co.Kerry - Killarney or Kemare
Should we make it three nights & tour the Dingle peninsula from here?
Co. Clare - Is one night enough?
Co.Galway - thinking we might stay in Oughterard
Co.Donegal - Killybegs?
Co.Antrim - Ballycastle?
Is 3 nights in Dublin too much?

It is possible to fly into Shannon instead of Cork but we must leave from Dublin.

We want to avoid too long a drive between destinations if possible. Galway to Donegal seems the longest. We would prefer to stay in smaller towns or villages or even in the countryside.

All suggestions & criticisms welcome.
macnivison is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 02:13 AM
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One night is not enough for County Clare; Fleadh Nua, Ennis' Spring Music & Dance Festival usually ends the last Sunday in May.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 01:56 PM
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What a fun trip! I think you're way aggresive in seeing so much -- Ireland is so laid back -- Do you want to 'see everything' or experience Ireland??? Do you want to be constantly driving or seeing specific things in each county?

I'd make a list of the places I want to see (rock of cashel, Kilarney National Park, Torc Waterfall, Ladies View, Connamara) and then plan my trip around the top spots I want to see -- 14 days is a long time - but don't spend it driving! lol Depending on what you want to see in Dublin - you would decide if 3 days too much-- too me ... too much - lol

We did the hop on/hop off bus (24 hour period) and saw pretty much all we wanted - but didn't get to the book of kells (they were not on display when we were there) - but did Dublin in 1 1/2 days - and spent the remainder on the gorgeous west coast.....so very much there to explore --

So tell us -- do you want to see specific things or travel across as much country as you can? Are you driving?? Are you foodies - or photographers???
Irishgal127A is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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We'll be driving in a rental car.

The things we would like to see are the Killarney/Kenmare area, Beara Peninsula, Dingle Peninsula, Burren & Loop Head, Connemara, Co. Donegal, Giant's Causeway, Antrim coast & Mt Stewart gardens

We enjoy walking & nature (natural scenery & gardens) & we definitely want to spend a good deal of our time on the west coast.

We wouldn't be planning our trip on where we can eat.
macnivison is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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My wife and I did two weeks in September (only one day of light rain !). We were extremely pleased with Rick Steves suggestions/itinerary from reading his book.
We flew into Dublin and out of Shannon. Dingle Peninsula (Slea Head) was our favorite part of our vacation. Glendalough and Wicklow Mountains are beautiful as well as Killarney National Park in the West.
Connemara is a must.
Have fun!!!
ChipNittly is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 09:25 PM
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Hi ChipNittly,

Coud you let me have your itinerary?

Regards, Mac
macnivison is offline  
Jan 13th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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I loved (as I've mentioned) Dingle -- Slea Head is marvelous...and if you're a no - fear driver that's good! lol

Wicklow Mountains and Killarney National are great sites to visit as well. Rock of Cashel - and The Burren in Sept. should be colorful!

I mentioned food as many people 'plan' on certain things they want to eat ...i.e., lots of seafood, lots of this or that --

Just trying to help!
Irishgal127A is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 04:45 AM
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My only comment on your itinerary is the Donegal/Northern Ireland part. I have driven that part of the country many times and your travel times that far north will be slower than the rest of the country. Driving from Galway to Donegal is going to be SLOW on much narrower and windy roads. In your 14 days you are trying to get ot see all of Ireland, which is understandable. I think with the Northern loop you may be squeezing in too much. I would definitely echo Irishgal127A's suggestion of Wicklow and also include Glendalough to the south of Dublin and Newgrange to the North.

So I would leave the north of the island for this trip and after Galway head to the east coast to take in Dublin for a few days to let you take day trips from your base there to Wicklow - very beautiful, called the garden of Ireland - Newgrange and then some time in the city.

I am Irish and live here so my suggestions may not be what a visitor may want in their itinerary - the old saying that a local is not necessarily the best tour guide - but I do think the north part of your trip will leave you a little strung out and tired. Donegal and the north of the island are very wild and beautiful but may be a journey too far for this trip.
pastyp is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 04:49 AM
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Sorry - one last thing to say is to use the days for the North to also bolster your time in Kerry. Very beautiful part of the country and Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, ROC and beara could happily take 3-4 days of exploring. West Cork is another undervisited and beautiful part of the country.
Your visit will be very welcome this year of all years as the tourist trade in Ireland has suffered over the past two years with many good B&Bs and hotels closing.
pastyp is offline  
Jan 14th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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Thanks for all the various comments. I will try to consolidate the itinerary.

pastyp - I appreciate your thoughts about the driving. I'm from Australia & driving long distances is not a problem. That said, I don't want to behind the wheel the whole time. I like your idea of spending more time in Dublin & taking day trips from there.

If we spent 4 nights in Kenmare, could we take in the Dingle peninsula from there? Or would we be better off to have 3 nights in Kenmare & 2 nights in Dingle?

Would you advise a stop in Co. Clare for the Cliffs of Moher and Burren or would it be feasible to visit them on the way from Kerry to Galway? If you advise a stop-over, where would you suggest? From what I have read here & elsewhere, Doolin is very much overrated.

Regards, Mac
macnivison is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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Sorry for late reply - Internet connection playing up at home.

In response to your stay in Kerry - I would say you'll find that most who visit Dingle, wished they had spent more time there. Your idea of 2 nights in Dingle works and I would say 2 in Kenmare. From Kenmare,as it sits nicely between Killarney and the beara peninsula, you can not only explore some the peninsula 'region' but also the the mountain pass drive - Ladies view, and Muckross/Killarney etc. As I've said I'm Irish, so when visiting Kerry I've had the luxury of spending upwards on two weeks exploring that area. There are others here who I'm sure from past vacations could give better advice to make the most of the area on a more restricted time scale. But yes at least two nights in both would allow you unhurried time to appreciate what is a beautiful spot in Ireland.

From Kerry to Galway, I wouldn't necessarily do a night stop over just for the Cliffs - unless you want to catch a sunset or sunrise which is an experience. I never get tired of visiting the cliffs when I'm over that side of the country, so definitely make it a stop. But if not looking for the sunset/rise, you can accomadate the cliffs in the drive north to Galway. It might also serve as a nice break in the trip and time to take lunch etc on the way.

Enjoy the planning - May is a lovely time of year here - everything is starting to come to life.
pastyp is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Might I suggest 2 nights in Antrim and 1 night in Donegal? It all depends on what you plan on doing in the area, Slieve League, Glenveagh Park etc., but I would rather cut out one of those options and spend more time on the Antrim Coast. I wish we had stopped at the Giant's Causeway twice! The rope bridge is also an amazing stop, as is Torr Head.

Hotels suggestions - Coxtown Manor in Laghey, Co. Donegal, just south of Donegal town

Whitepark House - a must stay in Ballintoy, Co. Antrim
The owner is the most informative and gracious host.

If you click on my name, I have a trip report from June 09 of Northern Ireland, Donegal and Dublin.

Happy travels!
kcapuani is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 04:26 PM
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Hi Macnivision,

My trip in Sept. started out in Dublin (1 full day I feel is enough). Then we went to Powerscourt Gardens (3 Hours) followed Glendalough (4 hours there. Slept In Kilkenny and visited the castle. Next day we toured Rock of Cashel- then Cahir Castle (just ten minute drive away) and drove to Killarney National Park (Muckross House, Torc Waterfall etc.- so much to see in the park).

Next two days involved Ring of Kerry and "Skellig Michael" visit (from Port Magee). Spectacular !
Next was Dingle peninsula (Slea Head Loop drive)- best part of our trip. Attend a traditional pub music session here definitely. Could spend at least couple days here.

Next we toured the Cliffs of Moher and stayed couple days in Galway (city is best at night- lots of action !) We closed our trip by spending the day driving the Connemara loop before heading back to fly out of Shannon.

My wife and I plan to visit Ireland again to see the north.
This was just a "brief rundown" of our trip. Strongly suggest purchasing Rick Steves Ireland guidebook. It made a HUGE difference for us.

Goodluck and sure you will have lots of fun !
ChipNittly is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 526
Co.Kerry for 2 nights. (suggest Kenmare, drive beara peninsula/healy pass then do part of ROK between Kenmare and Killarney on the day you head to Dingle)
Dingle 2 nights (stay in dingle, you will love the town and sleahead loop)
Co. Clare 1 (you will enjoy the burren and also the coast/cliffs -take ferry across shannon on way from dingle to clare)
Co. Galway 2 nights (again, you will love drive to roundstone and on around to clifden...also out to kylemore abbey and doolough past croagh Patrick...we stayed in Westport as jump off point to go to Donegal...the road to Donegal is great...its actually on peninsula that is is very rugged/slow moving, plan on getting lost!)

this was our favorite b&b...you will loooove it. and do enjoy dinner there!

we stayed one night in southern donegal and 1 night in northern donegal, just because driving was so long...really liked glenveagh national park, beautiful lakes!

Co. Antrim 1 night (do stop at dunluce castle and giant's causeway)

Newtownards 1 night
(don't know about, but we liked touring newgrange/hill of tara just north of dublin)

Dublin 3 nights-definately too long here especially if you like nature and small villages! 1 night would be enough for me

I would add a night to antrim coast or donegal which ever appeals to you more (I would have been in heaven to have stayed 2 nights at the castle murray house and just explore around there...it is really nice! then you could stay the other donegal night further north to explore glenveagh or coast)

and one night to stay two night in connemara (that way you can spend longer in clare on way there) and then head thru doolough past croagh patrick to stay in/near westport to get you further north so you can enjoy drive up to donegal.

oh to have those 14 days! enjoy!!
chip is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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Thanks Chip. I've taken your advice & ordered Rick Steve's guide book to Ireland.

Thanks to everyone else for their help.

Cheers, Mac
macnivison is offline  
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