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A week in Ireland = Questions

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I'm working on the itinerary for trip to Europe this summer. I will be flying into Barcelona Spain, and I will fly home from Dublin Ireland. I plan to spend a week in Ireland, possibly with a friend of mine, but possibly alone. I am interested in what I should see in Ireland. Anything unique and interesting that isn't necessarily a huge tourist attraction?

Also what is the transportation system like there? Is there a reasonable train system or is it necessary to drive?

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    I just spent two weeks in Ireland, and am going back next spring. I will be glad to give you my opinions, for what they're worth. It also would be helpful to know a bit about you, what kinds of things you enjoy, etc.

    In answer to your question about transportation, in order to get to the kinds of places I think you would enjoy, you will need to rent a car. With the narrow and winding roads, as well as the sheep and tractors, throughout Ireland, you should plan on averaging something like 40 mph. They drive on the left side of the road in Ireland, so that may be a bit of an adjustment for you.

    You asked about unique and interesting things to do that aren't necessarily tourist attractions. Again, it would be helpful to know more about you, to answer this fully. However, the beauty of Ireland is in the countryside, and its people. They people in Ireland are the friendliest, warmest people I have ever met. Some of my best moments were spent in pubs, listening to authentic, traditional Irish music, and being part of that special atmosphere.

    To me, the Connemara region was breathtaking. Galway makes for a decent base from which to see Connemara, and Galway has pubs, restaurants, lots of shopping (maybe too touristy for you) and a very high energy level. You would easily do a couple/three days/nights in Galway and Connemara.

    This is just a start. Let us know more about yourself, and I'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions. One thing I will say. There is no right or wrong. Some people in this forum will tell you that you are crazy to visit a particular area. What one person loves, another may dislike. Just pick those things which fit you.

    Also, let us know when in the summer you will be in Ireland, as that could make a big difference.

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    Also what is the transportation system like there? Is there a reasonable train system or is it necessary to drive?>

    There is a good but skeletal train system in Ireland - going to main cities but there is a really good bus service that takes up the slack - no need for a car here though this is one place that a car makes more sense than in other countries.

    Spend a few days in Dublin before going home but to me the absolute highlight of Ireland is like garyincary says - the rugged West Coast - the Connemara, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Mohair - Galway is a nice lively university town that makes a nice base from which to hop to nearby coastal sights as gary says.

    The West Coast is also the sole remaining bastion of Gaellic being spoken by locals as a daily tongue - most Irish I think only know Gaellic from studying it in schools but like Latin never use it.

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