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9 Days In Ireland-Flying in and out of Shannon

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Jul 24th, 2014, 03:00 PM
  #1
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9 Days In Ireland-Flying in and out of Shannon

A couple in our mid 30's, no kids, with rental car, looking for some advice on destinations. I have tickets (award tickets so dates were limited) flying into/out Shannon during the second/third weeks of September. I have been reading the numerous posts on this site and have decided to narrow down my choices by segments that I would like to be sure I at least cover-scenic drive, local's pub visits and off the beaten path. Hopefully this will allow us to concentrate on at least one area to meet each segment.

The only accommodations we have booked to this point is our second to last night during the trip at Ashford Castle which is to the North of Galway allowing us to drop down to Limerick for our last night which will hopefully provide for an easy drive to the airport. Any comments on whether Ashford is worth it are also appreciated.

Day one after landing at the airport at 1230p, I am thinking of driving to Blarney for the night.

Day two would be a visit to the castle then a drive to Kenmare (having trouble picking Kenmare or Killarney) to set up a 2 day base to explore and drive around the Ring of Beara which would serve to cover our scenic drive.

From here I am really open to advice. At this point all I know is that I will be headed north, slowly making my way to the Ashford Castle (unless I change my mind about staying there). I want to stay at least one night at a city with a good local pub scene and I want to be sure to experience some of the countryside that is off the normal path. I definitely do not have any problems with getting away from the most frequent tourist destinations. I also do not like to press my schedule. Allowing time to explore is great.

I read a lot in this forum about Dingle, Inishmore, Doolin Ennis and others which definitely can be overwhelming trying to pick my route in such short time.

Any suggestions/comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks!
HikingDon is offline  
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Jul 24th, 2014, 03:58 PM
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We visited Ashford Castle. the grounds were outstanding and we wished we had time for the boat ride.
BUT, we are a lot older than you and we felt it to be very old, as in lots of very old people about the hotel and very reserved surroundings. Now maybe this is your thing, old and sedate, BUT IMO, I'd just make a visit.

Again IMO, Kenmare over Kilarney. Kilarney was traffic overload with lots of tour buses and traffic. Kenmare was small town, lots of shops, restaurants, bars with music, walkable. If you click on my name, you'll see 2 visits to Ireland in 8 mo. time with trip reports. In Kenmare, Shelburne Lodge was our favorite B&B of all.

Also loved Ennis and close to the airport. The Dingle Penn. was the highlight of our 1st trip although if you want to do the Ring of Beara, it probaably is similar. The ROBeara is on our list for next time so I can't comment on that.

Just one Fodorites opinion---hope I've given you some food for thought.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 05:29 PM
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Think about a Hawk Walk at Ashford Castle.

Ennis or Bunratty are good choices for your last night. I have recommendations for lodging either place.

Beara Peninsula is wonderful...you can take a cable car ride across the ocean, and call in at Gleninchaquin Park. In 7 visits the only thing I have done on Dingle was a quick drive over Conor Pass. Planning to rectify that oversight in '15.

Galway may be your city with a local pub scene. Or Ennis, though not really a city.

I hope Loop Head is not yet covered up in tourists. We loved the feeling of being at the edge of the world.
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Jul 25th, 2014, 05:34 AM
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Thanks for the fast replies!
HikingDon is offline  
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Jul 25th, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Ok, so here is what I have put together so far (nothing booked). All thoughts, comments and suggestions appreciated!

Wednesday
Land at Shannon Airport at 1230, secure rental car
Drive to Blarney for the night

Thursday
Tour Blarney Castle
Drive to Kenmare for the night

Friday
Drive the Ring of Kerry ending up in Killarney for the night

Saturday
Drive to Dingle, exploring (maybe Slea Head/Connor Pass) along the way, in Dingle for two nights

Sunday
Explore in and around Dingle

Monday
Drive to Doolin

Tuesday
Inishmore (weather permitting)
Drive to Galway or stay in Doolin?

Wednesday
Explore in and around Galway
Connemara?

Thursday
Drive to Ashford Castle for the night

Friday
Drive to Limerick for the night
Explore Limerick

Saturday
Fly out of Shannon at 110p
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