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5 Nights - Galway to Cork - Is this possible?

5 Nights - Galway to Cork - Is this possible?

Jun 1st, 2008, 02:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4
5 Nights - Galway to Cork - Is this possible?

My husband and two of his buddies from college are landing in Shannon on the morning of June 28th (7AM) and it's up to me to plan our 5 day trip. I've done a lot of research and came up with the below itinerary - YOUR THOUGHTS/SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE MOST APPRECIATED!! We're all in our late 20s, very active and ready to take Ireland by storm. We'll be renting a car in Shannon the morning of the 28th and dropping it off in Shannon on the morning of the 3rd. Here's what i was thinking...

Day 1 - arrive in Shannon, rent car, and then head over to Galway. Although perhaps a little jet-lagged, we'll spend the day touring Galway. I'm told the Aran Islands are exceptional, but not sure we'll have the time (thoughts?). Stay night one in Galway.

Day 2 - Wake up early and head South to Dingle Bay. I have no idea how long a trip this would take (thinking we could take a car ferry across the Shannon), and we'll obviously want to stop at the Cliffs of Mohr. But i'm having a hard time figuring out mileage/distance. I understand we're talking about a full day of driving, with breaks along the way, but is this even realistic? If not, could you recommend somewhere else. We're headed east, ultimately ending in Cork/Kinsale before heading back up to Shannon. Stay night 2 in Dingle Bay.

Day 3 - wake up in Dingle Bay and tour around the city. Head out towards Kenmare. Given it's the high season, we're not planning on doing the ring of Kerry, however, we will need to traverse the northern part of the ring in order to get to Kenmare. I am told the drive from Killarney to Kenmare is absolutely beautiful, so this could be an option. Stay night 3 in Kenmare.

Day 4 - Wake up in Kenmare and head East, stopping at Bantry Bay and various sites along N71. As for the evening, I'm debating between staying overnight in Kinsale or Cork. We have friends in Cork, and we will most definitely want to hit the pub scene following our long days traveling. My inclination is to stay in Cork, but spend some time in Kinsale during the day. Thoughts? Night 4 - stay in Cork or Kinsale.

Day 5 - Wake up in Kinsale/Cork and head north, stopping at sites along the way to Shannon (We have an early flight the next morning).

So there you have it - my crazy itinerary. Be direct...be honest...is this the nuttiest plan you've ever imagined? i don't want to spend our entire trip in the car...but I also want to hit as many places as possible. Thanks in advance for your help.

LoriBrooke is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Not the nuttiest ever, but not great, either.

The whole thing about getting to Galway and touring around on the day you arrive is over-ambitious, and then heading off the next morning for Dingle ... just don't do it; it's a bad idea.

I suggest you settle for the SW bit. That's quite enough for a visit of only five days. Give Dingle the extra night so that you can slow down, take in the scenery, breathe the Atlantic air, walk on the turf and the beaches, scramble over rocks, visit antiquities -- and eat great seafood.

Most visitors prefer Kinsale to Cork as a place to overnight, but if your friends live in the city and your idea of a meeting with them is to go to the pub together, then I think you should stay in Cork and avoid any risk of drink-driving. I expect they can lead you to a pub you can enjoy, and find you a good restaurant (or you could tell them that you want to try the Paradiso on the Western Road).

You are right about the Ring of Kerry.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 02:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Our last 5-day trip was an extended weekend. We had booked an Ennis B&B; went there from Shannon & the lady checked us in early (09:30). We caught a 3-hour nap and woke up ready to go. Late July, it doesn't get dark until 21:00 so we had plenty of time for sightseeing.
Most Hotels won't allow such an early checkin; most B^B's will.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 03:32 AM
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Not the craziest that I've heard. Given your relative youth and enthusiasm, you MIGHT even pull it off -- but WHY???

1) Day 1: SNN to Galway, tour Galway. O/N Galway. -- Fine. In fact, QUITE SENSIBLE -- if in fact, you ONLY mean Galway, as in City, and NOT, Galway as in, County.

2)Day 2: Galway to Dingle via Cliffs, Tarbert Ferry. O/N Dingle --Fine, be sure you enter via Camp, Castlegregory and Connor Pass.
You would even have time for an early evening tour of Slea Head, as it will be light out until about 10PM. Won't get to visit Gallarus Oratory, Dun Beg, etc, as they'll be closed, but ...

Day 3: Drive to Kenmare and O/N. Fine -- You'll see some Great sights along the way -- Inch Strand, Killorglin, Killarney, Ladies View and Moll's Gap. You should even have time to stop in to Ross Castle, to tour a really nicely restored castle and take in some Great views of the Lake. Won't have time to enjoy much of Killarney's charms, though. No Gap of Dunloe trip, no Muckross House, Gardens, or Traditional Farms, -- probably no hike in, to Torc Falls, either, but ...

Day4: Drive to Kinsale, or Cork city and O/N, via the Scenic N71. FINE -- If spending tonight in a pub with friends is THAT important, I agree with Padraig -- pick Cork, and 'hunker down'. Kinsale will be CRAZY BUSY. Won't be able to see Healy Pass, on the Bearra, Sheeps Head, or Mizen. Won't get time to 'detour through Castle Townshend, Drombeg Stone Circle, Union Hall, or Glandore, but ...

For that matter, ALL your chosen destinations will be QUITE busy while you are there. You will DEFINITELY need to PRE-BOOK your stays -- EVERY night. You have ZERO time to be 'Hunting' for accommodations, with the pace you have set.

You should see some GREAT scenery, through the windows. This itinerary is a good, INITIAL introduction ...

NEXT trip, having SEEN the sites, you'll know exactly which ones, that you actually want to go BACK to -- for an actual VISIT.

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Go to www.viamichelin.com and www.aaroadwatch.ie to get driving distances and estimated times. Add 50% to ViaMichelin's estimates. You'll need a detailed map. The Michelin Ireland map (available at amazon.com) has worked well for me. If you want even more detail, buy the Ireland West and Ireland South Ordnance Survey maps. They're available at www.languagequest.com/traveler.

Day 1 alternative which will keep you on your feet and help you fight jet lag: Drive through the Burren (take walks), drive to the Cliffs of Moher, drive to Ennis for the night.

Day 2 alternative: Drive from Ennis to Dingle, taking the Killimer-Tarbert ferry across the Shannon river.
TimS is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Another Day 1 possibility: After driving through the Burren and seeing the Cliffs of Moher, spend the night in Doolin.

Then on Day 2 drive the coastal route through Lahinch, Kilkee, and Kilrush. Take the Killimer-Tarbert ferry and go on to Dingle.
TimS is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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We just got back from two weeks in Ireland -- trip report coming soon, I hope.

Driving from the Shannon airport to Galway, which we did last Monday, takes longer than you want it to and involves several small towns and lots of roundabouts. And Galway city is not easy to navigate in a car. It is NOT how I'd want to start my Irish driving lessons.

I'd be inclined to skip Galway altogether. You could drive to Doolin / somewhere near the Cliffs of Moher the first day, taking in the Cliffs and some of the Burren as you go.

The drive from Doolin to Dingle via the ferry is fairly easy, even over the Conor pass -- we did it in the other direction, stopping at the Cliffs of Moher and for lunch and a couple of other places, in under 7 hours.

We took about 5 hours to drive around the Dingle Penisula and we don't tend to do a lot of lingering in any one place. It's a beautiful but slow drive with lots of interesting stops along the way.


el344 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 09:55 AM
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With 6 nights, I would skip Galway. We had a wonderful first day having lunch, walking the Cliffs of Moher, and enjoying the pubs in Doolin. We spent the night in Doolin. There were lots of young travelers in the pubs in Doolin---the hostels are walking distance to them. I only wish we could have taken a nap so that I could have stayed awake to enjoy the evening music.

The second day we drove to Dingle and enjoyed that drive. We thoroughly enjoyed Slea Head loop--we had absolutely beautiful weather for our trip. We didn't have as much pub time as we anticipated since we felt we had to be outside enjoying the weather. There are lots of pubs in Dingle though and you can walk to them from most B&Bs.

It's a quick drive to Killarney, even with a stop at Inch Beach--great walking beach.

There is so much to do in Killarney. Maybe it was because we were there in September--and it wasn't as crowded--the huge parking lot by the Visitors Center was never even a third filled---but Killarney had lots of fun music and pubs. There were bands playing in the pubs and down little alleys(be prepared, we heard Johnny Cash songs everywhere in Ireland)But it was really a lot of fun. Most of the posters here recommend a stay in Kenmare. Our favorite lodging in Ireland was Loch Lein House though, about a 5 minute drive from Killarney. The www.irelandyes website offers a special rate there. I would want to spend at least 2 nights in Killarney. We spent 3 nights there and could have stayed longer.

Then you could stay one night in Kinsale/Cork and your last night near the airport. We stayed in Bunratty, very close to the airport.
LindainOhio is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:58 PM
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Wow, Itallian Chauffer - tell me how you really feel!?!

As I prefaced in my note, i had an idea this itinerary was way too much. But trying to appease four different travelers tends to make you lose sight of reality sometimes. Of course, planning a vacation at midnight when you're still in the office doesn't help either.

In any event, your snide and belittling comments aside, you seem to know a great deal about the area and I would very much appreciate your sincere thoughts and recommendations. As ignorant as I came across, I love to travel and do it quite a bit (most recently Greece, Turkey and Nicaragua), i've just never done it with four people.
So...in a valiant effort to redeem myeself...and since posting this the other night, i came to your same conclusion and decided to stop and smell the roses. So... the decision now is this:

Day 1 and 2 - i was thinking that after we arrived in shannon we'd head through burren to cliffs of moeher....and over into galway city. stay the night in galway city, wake and go to aran islands, return to the city and perhaps take a drive west along the coast towards Clifden...eventually making our way back. Could either spend the night again in Galway City...or perhaps Doolin. I'm very flexible with these first two nights - could easily do Doolin instead. We're not a rowdy group of college cats - would much prefer some good pubs, good music and good times.

Day 3 - Wake early and spend the day driving along the coast towards Dingle, with stops along the way, including Slea Head. Spend the evening/next day touring Dingle. As for the evening, we could spend another night in Dingle, or begin to head out towards Shannon, possibly spending the night in Killarney.

Day 4 - continue taking in sites around the area; perhaps doing part of the ring of kerry...

As for the final evening, I was thinking we could stay the night in either shannon...or perhaps ennis. Our friends depart at 8;30 AM from Shannon on July 3rd, so either could work.

LoriBrooke is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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LoriBrooke --

YOU wrote:

"I've done a lot of research and came up with the below itinerary - YOUR THOUGHTS/SUGGESTIONS WOULD BE MOST APPRECIATED!! We're all in our late 20s, very active and ready to take Ireland by storm."
"So there you have it - my crazy itinerary. Be direct...be honest...is this the nuttiest plan you've ever imagined? i don't want to spend our entire trip in the car...but I also want to hit as many places as possible. Thanks in advance for your help."

Trust me, when I say that I WASN'T being snide. I'm QUITE sure that had I MEANT to be, you most definitely would see a HUGE difference in tone!

There are a NUMBER of people who actually prefer the kind of pace that you outlined. When I was in my 40's, I actually had a couple of trips that kept a similar pace, but only briefly (3-4 of our 8&9 day visits).

However, MOST first-time visitors don't realize how 'dense' Ireland is -- they look at a map, see distances of 50-100 miles and mentally convert that into 'a one hour drive'. The reality of Ireland is that there is so MUCH to see, to savour and to enjoy, that a 100 mile trip can EASILY take as much as THREE hours.

To figure distances, go to the Route Planner section of : http://www.aaroadwatch.ie

Plug in your route info, click on the option to convert the results into miles, and divide TOTAL MILES DRIVE by either 30 (conservative), or 35. That should give you a REASONABLY accurrate estimate of driving times. It WON'T include stops to tour places, like the Cliffs of Moher, but it will allow for semi-frequent, 'OOH, STOP! Back up! -- I've GOT to get a picture of THAT!' moments.
I've been going to Ireland, every year, since 1999. In fact, I'm leaving in 9 days, for my tenth visit -- so, YES, I am SOMEWHAT knowledgable on the topic of Ireland from an American perspective.

SO, since you asked:

Days 1&2: Fine, but Clifden is probably out. Here's why -- the earliest Ferry to Inis Mor departs Rossaveel about 10 AM, in June, but you would have to drive there, yourselves. The first crossing that offers the bus ride from Galway, departs Rossaveel at 10:30. The bus picks up at Kinlay Houuse, about 9:30.

The return trips from Inis Mor are at Noon, 4 PM (no Bus), 5 PM and 7:30 PM. Since the crossing takes about 40-60 minutes, depending on weather and sea conditions, and the PRESUMPTION that the EARLIEST you return would be the 4 PM, you wouldn't make it back to Rossaveel, much before 5.

An alternative would be to FLY to Inis Mor, out of Inverin, via Aer Arran, in one of their 9 passenger planes. Flight time is about 10 minutes, or so, and the price used to only be a few Euro more than the ferry. That MIGHT get you back to Inverin early enough to consider driving to Clifden and back, but you would need to check Aer Arran's schedule.

Ferry: http://www.arandirect.com/



Day 3: Fine, but you are retracing much of your Day 1 drive (Not that that's necessarilly a BAD thing ...)
Slea Head is BEYOND Dingle Town, so you would see it AFTER arriving. See my routing suggestion from my previous post.

Day 4: Pick up whatever you missed in Dingle in the early AM, then drive down to Kenmare, stopping along the way at Inch and Killorglin, folling my advised routing from previous post. Spend the night in either Kenmare or Killarney.

Day 5: Make your way to Ennis or Bunratty -- you pick -- via Adare and Limmerick. Both towns have their own particular interests and charms, but if you aren't into 'doing' the Folk Park, I think I'd just 'drop in' to Durty Nellie's for a beverage, snap a photo of the Castle and maybe buy a few trinkets from the Blarney Woolen Mills, just across the street -- and then 'Beat Feet' up to Ennis and spend your last evening inside Cruise's Pub.

This is STILL a LOT of driving and you are STILL giving up a LOT, but with only five days ...

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 08:27 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,146

I've been reading Itallian-Chauffers post for years and I've never know him to be anything but kind and helpful. I don't see smide or belittling in his post. You do have a busy trip and it must be hard for you to please everybody. Why not have your places to stay and after you are there decide what you are going to do each day.

I hope you have an enjoyable trip, Joan
chatham is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 03:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 181
I have only been to Ireland once and had a great time. We had a lot more than 10 days but the first half of the trip seems to be in the area you are looking to visit. Maybe it can help you out on terms of how long it took us. If you have any questions feel free. I apologize for the length of the post. Enjoy the planning.

Quoted from my Trip Report http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...=Nuttela&fid=2

"We chose Ennis based on some recommendations here on the site. It was a great choice and a lovely town....I would recommend this area if you plan on traveling to other areas and if you rented a car.

"Our side trips from Ennis were:

Galway (Length of Visit 3/4 of the Day) - This place was so different than Ennis since it had more of the city feel, but also near the river. The main highlights for us was the interesting street performers on William Street/Shop Street, which is basically a pedestrian street for shopping, the city wall which is surrounded by the mall (side note, if you want to see the ancient wall you will have to enter the mall to see it. It took us forever to realize that.) I also enjoyed the replica of an immigration ship called the Jeanie Johnston. I know it isn't the biggest attraction out there but we thought it was neat. After a full day of walking the city of Galway literally from the River to the City Hall and back, we decided to have dinner there before returning to Ennis. It was located away from the main shopping street on Forster Street. I don't recall the name. The place had spicy Irish Stew and had Irish music playing. We enjoyed it and were happy for the break.

The next locations we did in one day and it was a full long day.

Cliffs of Mohr - This was the last day we were to see major down pouring of rain, luckily it stopped half way through the day. We drove to the Cliffs and walked to the one side and then to the other. It was really windy and a bit chilly but we enjoyed the views and were able to take some nice photos. We also enjoyed the museum of the Cliffs on the inside (it gave us a chance to warm up . From there we knew we wanted to see the Cliffs from the Ocean so we headed to our next destination.

Doolin Pier - we drove to Doolin Pier and stopped at a pub for lunch called, Gus O'Conner's Pub on our way. It was definitely some good food. It seemed a lot of people stop there. Time must have been on our side because once we reached Doolin Pier we had only 35 minutes before the boat to see the Cliffs were going to leave. The rain had subsided and the sun attempted to shine through so we relaxed by the water a bit. We thought it was amazing that we could see the Atlantic Ocean from the East side. We also found the limestone rock formations very interesting. Jack B (the boat) was a great trip. It was a bit rocky but as stated earlier it was windy. We enjoyed seeing the Cliffs from the ocean a lot and I would recommend it if the weather and time permits it. We really had a better feel of how big they really were. From here we went to the Burren's area.

Burren - We had started by getting lost but eventually found our way. We started first at Caherconnell but they were closed so we kept going and went to the Poulnabrone. For some reason we expected it to be larger and looking at the photos we took you would think it was large but it really wasn't. I did enjoy again the limestone formations and wild flowers growing. We could have gone and seen the other areas but we decided to head back to Ennis instead.

Locations to mention that were before getting to Ennis and after leaving Ennis were:

Bunratty Park & Castle (1/2 Day Visit) - We started with this right after landing at Shannon Airport. What a great activity to see the Ireland culture from back when. We enjoyed it a lot and my husband was very jet lagged and he was still able to enjoy it. It may be touristy or not someone's cup of tea but we definitely thought it was worth the visit. It was also our first castle and we enjoyed the different rooms and decorations.

Limerick (1/2 Day Visit) - It was a city again near the river. We did not have a planned agenda so we went to the tourist center. (I would recommend this if you haven't made any plans or research.) We did a lot of walking and walked to different sights mentioned on the map entered some and just viewed from the outside of others. One that we had fun with was King John's castle. We enjoyed it. We do like the physical history of places and this was a good way of getting a nice history lesson and see how things worked back then. The views were also very nice of the city from the top of the castle."

Nuttela is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 660
e-mail can be a strange medium when it comes to interpreting the tone of the correspondence and what seems curt to one person does not to another, even more so when people from different cultures are corresponding. For what it's worth I didn't think Italian chauffeur was in any way snubbing you with his comments.

I'd also cut out either Galway or Cork, and given that you have friends in Cork I assume Galway will have to bite the dust. You definitely wouldn't have the time to visit the Aran Islands, so you would just be going to see some city life, which you can fit in just as easily in Cork.
littlejane is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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Itallian- Chauffer:

Clearly we had a "lost in translation" moment. I think it was your last comment that I would "see some GREAT scenery, through the windows" and that "NEXT trip... you actually want to go BACK to -- for an actual VISIT" that caught me off guard. Probably because that's what I'm afraid of! If only we had more time...

But I sincerely appreciate your thoughtful response and suggestions.

I'm still having a hard time nailing this down - I may just book the first night in Galway...the last night in Ennis...and let the "chips fall as they may." So we'll see...

again, thank you for your help...and have an amazing trip!

LoriBrooke is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 08:12 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,647

Not to worry. Understand, that I do not judge, unless I am asked to. Lots of folks are happy with the, "GREEN BLUR -Through The Window" type of touring -- there is an MASSIVE industry grown up to support that kind of tourism, via Tour Bus, so obviously, it MUST be popular.

My misunderstood comments were added only as cautionary assessments, since you specifically said that you DIDN'T want to spend all day in the car ...

As I mentioned previously, Ireland is incredibly 'DENSE' -- to truly EXPERIENCE the FULL RICHNESS of the country and Her people, requires a significant investment in TIME -- something that your original itinerary was seriously lacking.

If you DO decide to 'Wing' it, know that you can drop into any Tourist Information Office, tell them where (as in, what TOWN ) you would like to spend the night, and they will book it for you for just a couple or three euro. If you try to do that about noon - 1:00PM, it will save you a LOT of frustration. Since you will be needing two rooms, it might be tough, otherwise -- and it will only get HARDER, the later in the day that it gets.
Also, for what my OPINION is worth, to me, the very BEST part of the Ring of Kerry drive is the bit from Killorglin, down through Killarney and particularly, from there, into Kenmare. The rest IS quite nice, but given your time constraints, it's probably not worth the extra 4-5 hours of driving time.

As if you aren't stressed for time ENOUGH, here's some links that will give you some ideas about some of the areas that you are thinking about:




Take some time to relax and mingle with the locals -- I think you'll find THAT to be the best part of your visit.
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,414
Hi Lori:

Bob has given you some fine advice. I've been stalking for a while but I have just a couple of thoughts.

Given your short stay and the fact that you will be there as the high season begins, you might want to consider booking in advance. The reason i suggest this is that you don't want to spend a substantial amount of time figuring out where to sleep each night.

I think 3 counties in 5 days is plenty and as farr as nights, based on what I see, Galway 2, Dingle 2 Ennis 1. Seems to be pretty simple, the drive to Dingle will be rather lengthy but doable.

wojazz3 is offline  

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