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9 Days in Ireland... Is this possible? Need help from you Ireland experts =)

9 Days in Ireland... Is this possible? Need help from you Ireland experts =)

Feb 27th, 2008, 07:16 PM
  #1  
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9 Days in Ireland... Is this possible? Need help from you Ireland experts =)

Well Ireland geniuses... I need your help.

I've been all over Europe but don't really know much at all about Ireland.

My cousin and I will be flying into Dublin in the late evening on Friday the 2nd of May and will have 9 nights, or 8 days in Ireland. We are 25/26 years old and experienced travelers and are up for most anything.

Things we would like to fit in:

Dublin: (may as well if we land there haha)

Cliffs of Moher: (Where is the best place to stay to see this as a day trip? Can this be combined with other day trips in the area?)

Belfast: (This seems like a fascinating city as well as a possible base for day trips?)

Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge: (What would be the best way to fit this in a Northern Ireland trip? Can this be done in a day from Belfast or should we hit it on the way to anoter place like Derry?)


So what we need help with is making an itenerary with those places in mind? So if we land in Dublin in the late evening on the 2nd of May, and fly out on the 11th from Dublin, what's a good way to do that? Should we go by bus? Train? Maybe we should get a railpass? (probably not)... or maybe rent a car? Or a combination of bus/train/car?

I assume that our little itenerary would make a neat and nice little triangle? Are there any other must see's on that triangle?

I can't wait to hear what you guys have to say! And as always THANK YOU SO MUCH FODORITES!! =) You are my first source for travel knowledge.

Tyler
TylerTraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 07:21 PM
  #2  
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Maybe we could rent a car in Belfast and drive it to Derry along the Northern Coast? Is that even a remote possibility? Hitting the Old Bushmills Distillery and Dunluce Castle would be fun if possible for this leg of the journey.

I just grabbed that little idea from here:

http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/causeway/

Or should we maybe just spend a night in Portrush and do all of those fun coastal things in a day?
TylerTraveler is offline  
Feb 27th, 2008, 08:05 PM
  #3  
 
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I would suggest a couple of good guidebooks, but I do have a couple of suggestions. Keep in mind this information is close to 20 years old, but some things, like the locations of places, don't change much. The itinerary you mention is probably doable, but I am pretty sure you will need a car. When I was there, hitch-hiking was a fairly common practice in the Republic but NOT in the North. This may have changed, and trust me, is not a really efficient way of getting places, anyway.
Giant's Causeway is doable from Belfast, and I think they run bus tours. Belfast was interesting, although I think it is a somewhat different city now than it was then. Train from Dublin to Belfast was pretty easy. Portrush was kind of grim for a seaside resort, but I think it's about an hour and a half from Belfast by car, maybe a little more. We were driving with locals around our own age, as apparently the discos in Belfast closed at midnight on Saturday nights, so as not to encroach on the Sabbath. This may have changed as well.
persimmondeb is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 03:34 AM
  #4  
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It's amazing how close everything is on this island. I was looking at the Northern Ireland map and it didn't have any distance scale on it and trying to guess-timate how many days it would take to do a northern coast tour, and then I read that it was only an 80 mile distance... well shoot. I used to have to drive 90 miles to pick up groceries where I grew up haha. 80 miles is basically a power nap... granted roads are windy in Ireland and eveything is slowed down a bit etc...
TylerTraveler is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 04:11 AM
  #5  
 
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Yes, they will not support the way Americans normally drive. Keep in mind the locals travel at a fair clip, though, and often in the middle of the road, as many country roads aren't really wide enough for two cars. We found the roads in Northern Ireland to be more like the ones in Britain than the ones like the rest of Ireland, though. Also the sheep have right of way. Get yourself a Fodors and a Lonely Planet or a Let's Go. I have always found Let's Go to be a better guide for attractions and places than food and lodging, although many swear by their hostel tips.
persimmondeb is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 04:22 AM
  #6  
 
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I would recommend renting a vehicle. We were there last year and we found it to be a great way to travel. If you do rent a car I would recommend you getting the Michelan map of Ireland. I purchased one early on during my planning for our outings and it was very helpful to find out what the distances from each place were and what was the efficient way to travel.

This would be a great way to start in my opinion. I would mark the locations you mentioned above and see what route actually develops.

Happy Planning. Ireland is great. We didn't get to go into Northern Ireland because our time frame didn't allow it but we can't wait to return.
Nuttela is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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I just got back from a week in Ireland (Feb 10th til 17th, '08) and was there for New Years 2002/introduction of the Euro - quite a time!

Dublin-wise, I think you'll be fine with maybe 2-3 days in Dublin... Temple Bar area, Dublin Castle, Grafton St. are nice areas, as is taking a stroll along the River Liffey. I stayed at the Jurys Inn Christchurch - affordable, decent, and best of all, great location!

I've got to tell you - Belfast was a hidden charm. I had such an enjoyable time in that city...just walking around city-center (near City Hall), the botanical gardens, Queens University area, and of course, going to each of the areas that surround the peace wall. I did Belfast for 1.5 days and found it was a great experience.

Good luck - such a wonderful country and I can't wait to go back in the fall!
irish_sojourner is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Given what you've said, and the time you have available, I'd go north.

A couple days in Dublin, then rent a car and head to Belfast. Then north to Bushmills, Giant's Causeway and on to Derry (fantastic place!) Then to Donegal. Donegal - go to Slieve League cliffs. Perhaps stay at or near Kilcar.

Once you've been to the wild Slieve League there's no need to go to Cliffs of Moher with the tour bus parking. (It's out of your way anyway.)






rosetravels is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 05:48 PM
  #9  
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Wow everyone, thank you so much! Those are VERY helpful replies!

How about this tentative schedule then?

Each place is where we could spend the night:

2 Dublin
3 Belfast
4 Belfast
5 Derry (Take that ocean scenic drive along the coast to Derry
6 Derry
7 Galway
8 Galway
9 Dublin
10 Dublin
11 Fly home (Barney flies home this day, I fly home the next)


Keeping in mind that we prefer Hostels and affordability throughout our trip. Would you rent a car for just the Northern Ireland part? What if we rented a car in Belfast and then drove it to Derry and dropped it off there and just did buses the rest of the way? Is that even feasible?

Thanks again everyone! Feel free to suggest other places and side trips we should take. I had never even heard of those Slieve League cliffs, thanks for that tip! They look to be higher than the Moher cliffs but maybe less photogenic? I dunno... we are still planning this but would like to get it narrowed down asap =)

Tyler
TylerTraveler is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 09:36 PM
  #10  
 
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Hi Tyler,
I'd look into taking the train to Belfast, then renting a car there.

Derry is fabulous. I love the murals and the wall. I'd just spend a night there though.

Other cliffs that I prefer: well, Slieve League, they are beautiful, Giant's Causeway, Achill Island and Clare Island, both near Westport. I've long been convinced that the Cliffs of Moher are well known simply because they're near Shannon Airport. But perhaps someone can set my cynicism straight.

You might consider Westport rather than Galway. Fewer tourists, better music and pubs and many, many young people. It struck me as a popular spot for Irish people to visit. It will give you the experience of an Irish town. Otherwise you're in 4 different cities and it's just a different experience that somehow feels like the Ireland one imagines.
rosetravels is offline  
Feb 28th, 2008, 11:45 PM
  #11  
 
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hi tyler

the express bus service dublin-belfast is a lot quicker these days, thanks to the new motorway (about 2 and a half hours) which is only slightly more than the train but less than half the price.

you can also catch the "maiden flyer" from belfast to derry and i think there are offers on it.
To get to the giants causeway, you could get the train, altho car is the more desirable option.

i completely agree with rose travels, you'll be blown away by donegal, it's beautiful. recommended.

travel_buzzing is offline  
Feb 29th, 2008, 03:50 PM
  #12  
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Thanks again travel buzz and rose =)

We had to choose Galway over the other regional places simply because of the ubiquitous cheap hostels. Westport just didn't have much in the way of hostels sadly.

I looked into hiring a car from Belfast to Derry and that is just horribly expensive because of the one-way fees. I'm sure it will be much cheaper to patch together by bus. Is that maiden city flyer route just a direct line? Or do they stop at any of the touristy areas along the northern coast? Or are we better off just getting to Derry and then planning the coast activities from there?

I'd surprised there wouldn't just be a series of buses along the northern coast that we could hop on and off throughout the day.

I had 2 days down for Derry because we would be getting into Derry really late at night, and figured it was worth a full day.

Thanks again! =)
TylerTraveler is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 04:13 AM
  #13  
 
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Hi TylerTraveler,

If you are on a budget the bus is only £9 single from Dublin to Belfast as opposed to £25 by train. I don't know much about hostels but the Linen House hostel in Belfast is in an excellent location for your age group.

Another option might be to take the train from Belfast to Portrush. Michael Palin said it was one of his top train journeys. From Portrush you can get a bus that stops in Bushmills and the Causeway.

You could then take the train to Derry from there via Coleraine. I feel that would be more direct than going to Derry and then backtracking to the Coast.

The Maiden City Flyer is inland.

You can get a bus from Derry to Galway via Sligo.

http://www.translink.co.uk

http://194.106.151.88/bin/query.exe/e

Have a good trip




cambe is offline  
Mar 1st, 2008, 09:41 AM
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Hi Tyler,
Some friends of mine traveled in Ireland via bus and train and hostel. They spent quite a bit of time in Galway and were able to go to the Aran Islands via public transportation. That might be something to consider.

The Belfast to Portrush train ride sounds fantastic. I think it will interesting and fun to patch together a bus trip. I hope you report back on the details.
rosetravels is offline  
Mar 25th, 2008, 07:24 AM
  #15  
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Thanks again everyone! We are finally on our trip right now...

Here for updates: http://tylernofziger.com/messageboar...forum.php?f=31

And I'm trying to finalize our Ireland portion of the trip so we can book our hostels. It looks like the hostels are already starting to book up if you can believe it. Darn Ireland and it's popularity

So right now we are still leaning towards:


May 2 Dublin
3 Belfast
4 Belfast
5 Derry (we still haven't decided if we are renting a car or not)
6 Derry
7 Galway
8 Galway
9 Dublin
10 Dublin
11 Fly home (Barney flies home this day, I fly home the next)

Ideally, I think a car would be awesome, and Barney is pushing for a car, but we have no idea how to find a cheap way of renting one. Does anyone have any suggestions for a great place to rent a car in Dublin that we can drop off in Dublin again? I think that is the best way for us so we don't have to pay those horrible drop off fees for different locations.
TylerTraveler is offline  
Mar 28th, 2008, 05:03 PM
  #16  
 
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You can do the Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede as a day trip from Belfast.
We just returned from Belfast and were able to do those 2 plus Mussenden Temple/Downhill in 1 day (but we left Belfast early in the a.m. so we would not feel so rushed).

The Cliffs of Moher were spectacular!
jasmine3 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2008, 08:40 AM
  #17  
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Well we just booked a car on expedia so we are going to try and just drive to everything. It looks like it will be about 400 dollars for the week. It's a bit spendy but I think the added flexibility will be nice. I'm definitely looking forward to the Irish leg of this journey
TylerTraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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sounds like a wonderful trip and I think you'll find the car well worth it for the adventures and side trips you can make, stop anywhere you want, grab the makings of a picnic in the local grocery store (an interesting experience in itself).

I might suggest that you pick up your car when you land and head for Belfast first thing and either add the extra Dublin day at the end or to one of the other stops. It would be one less pack up and move.

Looking forward to seeing your pictures. I remember your photos from another trip were awesome--funny, beautiful and engrossing.


Have a great time!
irishface is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 12:33 AM
  #19  
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I finished all of my updates from Ireland so I thought that I would stop in and say thank you so much for all of your awesome help! I have pictures and reports up from Ireland now.

Enjoy!

Trip reports:

http://tylernofziger.com/messageboar...forum.php?f=32

Pictures:

http://tylernofziger.com/messageboar...forum.php?f=33

TylerTraveler is offline  
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