8 day Itinerary in Ireland?

Old Feb 11th, 2019, 09:48 AM
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8 day Itinerary in Ireland?

I could use some critique on my itinerary in Ireland, mostly because I know with only 8 days there's so many places I won't be able to see . To tell you a little about our situation…my husband and I will be meeting up with our good friends who recently left for year of traveling around the world. Currently they are in Central America, but will be heading to the UK in September. We have 20 days total from departure in Los Angeles to our return flight home. On September 20th, we plan to go to London for a few days before meeting up with them for 7 days in Scotland. Then we will all fly over from somewhere in Scotland, to somewhere in Ireland, getting us there October 1st. We only have 8 days in Ireland (we depart on the 9th), and our friends will stay the rest of the month. They have never traveled anywhere, but my husband and I are pretty well traveled. In fact, we will just be coming back from Vietnam and China just 3 weeks prior from this trip.

Our travel style is to show up with hotels and flights booked, and basically just hang out, eat, drink, see some sites, hear local music, and absorb the culture just by being there. We like AirBn’s and B&B’s over 5 star hotels. We’d rather sit in a cafe drinking and laughing than seeing a show. We’d rather do a cooking class than walk through a museum. Castles are cool, but we’ve already seen a lot. We do most things on our own and rarely do a tour. We’d rather take a tuk-tuk than take a taxi. We prefer quaint and charming towns, especially coastal towns, with an occasional big city thrown in. Sometimes we drive a rental car, but if there’s some great scenery we’ll go by train. If we hike to a waterfall, we’ll jump in….aaaannd we’re in our 50’s.

Anyhoo, if you’re still reading…here’s what I have proposed.

Day 1
Fly Edinburg to Shannon, arrive 10:30am, Drive to Cliffs of Moher, maybe lunch in Doolin, then drive to Galway, arriving in the evening

Day 2
Whiskey touring around Galway area (guys might golf too)

Day 3
Explore area around Galway/Connemare

= 3 nights Galway

Day 4
Depart Galway to Dingle, arriving around noon
(this is where I feel I might need more time? What should I take away from? Should I skip 3rd day in Galway?)

= 1 night in Dingle

Day 5
Depart Dingle, stopping for a bit in Killarney, drive to Kenmare (maybe stop for lunch), then drive to Kinsale, arriving in the later afternoon

Day 6
Explore area around Kinsale (or is there a better town to stay in?)

= 2 night Kinsale

Day 7
Depart Kinsale, stopping for a bit in Kilkenny??, then driving to Glendalough for a few hours, then drive to Dublin, arriving in the evening (Is this doable or is it too long for one day?)

Day 8
Hang out in Dublin

= 2 nights Dublin

Day 9
Fly Home to LAX 11:20am
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Old Feb 11th, 2019, 02:18 PM
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Galway City to Dingle is quite a long drive. I'm not sure where you are getting your estimates, but I would add at least +25% to the drive times. I am a fan of Dingle but you want to have time to explore the entire peninsula and you will not. As you say, 8 nights is not much time.

I would do:
3 nights Galway City
3 nights Dingle or Killarney or Kenmare (Kenmare would give you an opportunity to tour Ring of Kerry and Beara Peninsula); all 3 have good music in the evenings - my personal favorite being Dingle, but it requires more than 1 night; Killarney would allow you to do a day trip to Dingle and tour Ring of Kerry.
2 nights Dublin

Skip Kinsale. It is a nice town but I think the above gives you better scenery, music, restaurant selections, etc.

Lodging Recommendations:
Dingle - Castlewood House (fabulous)
https://www.castlewooddingle.com/

Kenmare - Sea Shore Farm Guesthouse
https://www.seashorekenmare.com/

Killarney - Killarney Lodge
https://killarneylodge.ie/

The above are all within walking distance of restaurants & pubs. We are also always on foot in the evening.

I have been to Ireland at least 15 times and it still is not enough. We usually go for a minimum of 10 nights but the last trip was 15 nights.
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Old Feb 11th, 2019, 03:28 PM
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Thank you Bette. I got my driving times from Google Map, but I realize it will all take longer if only because we'll want to stop along the way.

Anyway, as I was out walking the dog just now, I starting thinking about how it might be best to cut out Kinsale. I'm almost tempted to cut out Galway and just base myself around Killarney & Dingle for a few nights, with a couple of nights in Glendalough (for some different scenery from the coastal locations), and a couple of nights in Dublin before flying home. I don't mind one day of road tripping to get back to Dublin, but what would be the best route for that? Galway to Dublin? Killarney to Dublin? I guess I need to choose between Galway and Glendalough...thoughts?
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 08:54 AM
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You might consider going from Shannon to the Killarney area (this could be Killarney, Kenmare or Dingle). Stay there for 3 nights. Then depart that area and take the Tarbet - Killimer ferry. Stop by the Cliffs of Moher and continue onto Galway City for 3 nights. This will be a longish day. Use Galway City as a base for golfing, Connemara, etc. Then depart Galway City for 2 nights in Dublin. Return the rental car when you arrive in Dublin. You don't want a car in that city!
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 09:31 AM
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I like that idea. It seems like a bit less mileage but could take a little longer? Although if it's more interesting to go that way, that sounds like a good plan. What do you think about flying into Cork instead of Shannon with this route? The flights seem to be about the same price, although the one in Cork arrives around 2:30pm, with maybe 2+ hour drive to Killarney. And the one in Shannon arrives at 10:30am with a 2-3 hour drive to Killarney. So roughly the same, although we'd be getting into Killarney later by flying into Cork. Would one of those drives be better than the other?
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 09:42 AM
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Well, I have not flown into Cork. It is true the drive would be about 35 to 40 minutes shorter from Cork. I think I would opt for the morning arrival at Shannon. Pick up rental car (we always use Dan Dooley), perhaps stop in the lovely village of Adare for lunch the proceed to the Killarney area.
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Just very quick because I'm dashing out . . . but >>I got my driving times from Google Map,<<

Google Maps is almost never (I'd say flat out never but there are always exceptions) accurate in rural parts of Ireland (and Scotland too if that has a bearing on your plans there).

You will have to add between 25% and nearly 100% to every drive time calculation -- and that ins't counting stops. GoogleMap drive times might be accurate at 8:00 on a Sunday morning, outside of harvest season, when there is no livestock in the road, when there are no cyclists, and when a football match is on telly and everyone is inside and off the roads . . .
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 10:17 AM
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Thanks Janisj. Is there a better map program that might be more reliable? Also, will they be harvesting from Oct 1-8? LOL

Thanks Bette, that sounds like a good plan, wanted to see Adare too....
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 11:31 AM
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We use the Irish Auto Assoc site and add about 25% to 30% as I indicated above. The driving estimates are for local drivers - not visitors unfamiliar with the narrow roads you will run into.

https://www.theaa.ie/routes/

No matter what time of year we visit Ireland we seem to encounter farm equipment, sheep or cows! When you go from Galway City to Dublin you will be on a motorway and will make very good time.
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 12:33 PM
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I have a question. If most of the days are spent day-tripping around to see places, would it not make sense to stop for the night in each new destination as we move north on our way to Galway? I know it's a lot of hotel changes, but it's either that or we're spending more time driving back to our original place. Thoughts?
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 01:01 PM
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I usually avoid one nighters when possible . . . But IMO in Ireland a linear itinerary with a series of one or two night stops makes more sense than 'spoke and wheel' itineraries with a base and multiple day trips. Because the driving is so slow (Like 30-35 mph slow) you can't get to as many places doing spoke/wheel.
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 04:59 PM
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We drove all around Ireland two summers ago and found Google Maps to be spot on. During planning, you can select the time and day you will be traveling and it gives you a range if it is a typical time for heavier traffic. When I was there in the late 80s, we had a lot of livestock in the middle of the road. Now, the roads, especially on their itinerary, are so much better with good fencing that I don't think you should discount Google maps too much. So definitely add time to stop to gaze at the scenery and take photos but if you are driving straight from one place to another, Google is pretty dang close IME.
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Old Feb 12th, 2019, 06:13 PM
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Thanks lolfn, good to hear another perspective. We actually like road trips especially in places where the scenery is all part of the adventure!
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Old Feb 13th, 2019, 07:21 AM
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You could do more one night stops. We travel to Ireland often and believe less is more, if you get my drift.

You had mentioned in your original post a focus on particular areas - hence my recommendations. We find every time we check out and then check in it eats up time. I assume your departure from Dublin is already purchased, correct? This "west coast" itinerary would benefit from a Shannon departure.
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Old Feb 13th, 2019, 08:11 AM
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I agree that checking in and out can take up a bit more time, but so does back-tracking. We normally try for at least two to three nights per stop, but on occasion we've done only one night and then moved on. It's just something we have to weigh out I guess. And yes, our award flights out of Dublin are all set and paid for. With my husband retiring at the end of next month, we could have taken more time but since we'll just be getting back from 3 weeks in Vietnam, we really didn't want to leave our dog any longer.
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