2 Week Ireland Itinerary


Jan 9th, 2011, 08:48 PM
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2 Week Ireland Itinerary

My boyfriend & I are spending 6 weeks in Europe this summer. Ireland is our first stop, and I would appreciate some advice on our two week itinerary. Thanks in advance!

Would fly into Dublin on the 16th of May.
Day 1&2 - Dublin
Day 3 - Pick up rental car & tour Wicklow Mts, ending the night in Kilkenny.
Day 4 - Tour around Kilkenny & head towards Waterford, stay the night there.
Day 5 - Tour Waterford and drive towards Cork, ending there for the night.
Day 6 - Cork
Day 7 - Leave Cork, heading towards Kenmare.
Day 8 - Kenmare, Ring of Kerry.
Day 9 - Head towards Dingle.
Day 10 - Dingle Pennisula.
Day 11 - Limerick
Day 12 - Clare, Cliffs of Moher/ Burren , ending in Galway
Day 13 - Galway
Day 14 - Head to Dublin, turn in car and fly into France.

For each day, I will be following Insight Guides: Ireland Step-by-Step tours which brings us by most of the main places to see if you were wondering what exactly we'd be doing each day. Just wanted to know if this sounds reasonable as far as travel times and sightseeing.
DevanGray is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2011, 10:52 PM
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Hi Devan, welcome to Fodors!
I think your itinerary looks very reasonable from a general perspective.
You can do a bit of fine-tuning, though IMO -- but that depends a lot on your interests.

Take day 11, for example. Not that many tourists are totally thrilled by Limerick. I get there usually once or twice when in Ireland because it's the closest "big city" to where my friends live. But it is more rough and real than being another quaint and cosy town like Ennis, for example.
If Limerick does not sound like your cup of tea, you could add that night to one of your coastal destinations like Kenmare or Dingle.

To some extent that also seems to be a general tourist attitude towards Cork city. I might also be more in the minority faction since I like the city. But with a rental car, Cork city can be a wrong choice if you just need a base to stay to explore the area on day 6, because the evening and morning rush hour usually makes city driving a long and tiresome "adventure".

If you plan to stay in rural B&Bs, it can be helpful to ask your hosts for the GPS coordinates since roads outside the major cities have no (signposted) names and houses don't have numbers.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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Jan 9th, 2011, 11:20 PM
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Hi Cowboy1968!
Thanks for such a fast response.
My plan for Limerick was to go from Tralee (would stay there at the end of Day 10) to Adare and then to explore until Ennis, passing through Limerick on the way. I would stay that night either in Ennis or somewhere nearby so I could be close to the Cliffs of Moher and Burren the next day. Does that sound okay? Or is it worth just skipping the area?
And about Cork, what do you suggest for someone with a rental car then? Should I go to Cobh instead? Or another close by town? Or add those days to my coastal towns? I was planning on exploring the West Cork Coast from Kinsale to Glengarriff. Is that route heavily crowded?
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Jan 10th, 2011, 12:08 AM
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Cobh is the port used to get into Cork, as such, stay in Cork proper. Cork is the best location in all of Ireland.

I'm not qualified to speak on the rest. Although if I were you, I'd cut the unnecessary days 8-13. Give 2 more days to Cork, the rest to the Belfast area (in N. Ireland), see Downpatrick, and the like. (St. Patrick's areas)
Smart3 is offline  
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Jan 10th, 2011, 05:32 AM
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Hi Devan,

Your Tralee-Ennis routing sounds just fine, though I am a bit weak in suggesting possible sights on that first leg from Tralee to Adare.

Once you passed (or explored) Limerick, you have (among other things to see and do) two options:
either the famous (or infamous) Bunratty Folk Park -- some say it's too touristy, I'd say it's a nice open air museum with buildings from many eras and regions of Ireland
or the lesser known/ less touristy "Craggaunowen" open air museum:

Ennis is a good choice to spend the night. Lots of pubs with often live music in the town centre. It does not hurt to stay close to the town centre as you probably don't want to (and should not) drive with a few pints under your belt.

Sorry that I cannot offer any tips on B&Bs in the Cork area since that part of the island is just a day trip from where I usually am, so there has been no need to stay overnight.
But you can be sure that others will have tips or recommendations if you top your thread once in a while, or start a 2nd thread with the specific question of where to stay in the Cork area.

I'm not sure what Smart3 means by saying that your days 8-13 are "unnecessary".. most people I know seem to like the SE/SW coast a lot...
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Jan 10th, 2011, 09:15 AM
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I liked staying in Ennis as well. There is a hole in the wall chocolate shop that I wish i could remember the name of - had wonderful handmade sweets down a small alleyway near the centre of town. We just wandered into it!

"If you plan to stay in rural B&Bs, it can be helpful to ask your hosts for the GPS coordinates since roads outside the major cities have no (signposted) names and houses don't have numbers."

Good advice, I hadn't thought of that aspect!
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Jan 10th, 2011, 12:26 PM
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I definitely won't be cutting time from Dingle or the Ring of Kerry. That's on my top priorities while in Ireland.
Do you know a lot about Kinsale? Would that be a better place to stay than Cork city itself? As far as Belfast, I just don't think we have enough time to venture up northwards without taking away from our other places. I think we'll save Northern Ireland for another trip.
Since we'll be going in May, should we book our hotels or B&B's in advance? Or play it by ear once we get there?
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Jan 10th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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The only real tweak I'd definitely consider is skipping Waterford. Add that time somewhere over on the west coast. Waterford isn't all that great, and is even less so since the factory closed.
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Jan 14th, 2011, 03:25 PM
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Kinsale is smaller, and more charming than Cork, from what I've been told. Cork is, remember, the second biggest city in Ireland.

May is shoulder season - I would certainly consider pre-booking for those more touristy areas.
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Jan 14th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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I second the poster who said to skip Waterford. The crystal factory is not as elaborate as it once was, and you can buy the crystal everywhere.

I like the Kinsale recommendation, too.
dancoyle1 is offline  
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Jan 18th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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What Dan and Janis said. Waterford Crystal is available at just about every gift shop in the country
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Jan 23rd, 2011, 10:41 AM
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A third vote for skipping Waterford. The factory and Reginald's tower were the only really unique places I found there and since the factory's closed it just doesn't seem worth the time.
I'd second trying Cragaunnowen. It's only a few kilometers from Ennis but the maps aren't great, it took us 2.5 hours to find it. We did that and the Burren in one day. Ennis is a lovely town, very picturesque and tourist friendly while not being touristy. We stayed at a "boutique hotel" (whatever that means) about 4 blocks from the center of town. The younger ones in the crowd had a terrific time at the pubs that night.

One thing you will hear a lot is everything takes longer to get to than you'd think. for a novice driving on some of those roads, like in the Conor Pass, the top average speed is about 25-35 MPH. It took 4 hours to drive from Dingle to the cliffs of Moher with the sightseeing stops in between but almost 8 to get back because the ferry had closed. but once you get used to driving, it's not hard. you just have to be on the lookout for bicycles and sheep. and big rocks that fall off the hills. And oh, those pretty hedges that line the roads? they're not hedges they're stone walls with stuff growing on them which is another reason to go slow. If you're on a narrow road and have to pull over to let another car through, which will happen a lot if you're not on one of the highways, you really do not want to hit one of those with a rental car.

The consensus among the 15 of us on the family trip was we would tell anyone we knew to avoid Tralee. I didn't care much for Limerick either.

I also agree with the suggestions about Cork. It's a big city and a nightmare to try and drive in. Stay Kinsale or better yet, put an extra day in on the Dingle Penninsula. It's much less touristy than ROK, the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. We based in a self catering near Dingle and did mostly day trips, a couple of days in Dublin, and even with 2.5 weeks, we didn't get to do everything we wanted on Dingle.
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Jan 28th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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We drove south through the Conor Pass to Dingle. It was thick fog - I don't think we got out of first gear going up, and maybe 15mph?
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