Advice for our trip to Ireland this July

Old Apr 24th, 2003, 08:39 AM
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Advice for our trip to Ireland this July

My husband and I are planning a trip to Ireland this coming July with our 3 children, 23, 21 and 16. We have had the offer of a home to stay in near Cork, and will probably try to use it as a "home base" to travel from. We are very interested in the Cork area, since both of my parents were born there, and also the Dublin area, where I have some family. We will most probably try to rent a minivan type vehicle. I'd appreciate any input on how to plan the two weeks out. What can we expect as far as driving times Cork to Dublin, etc? Thanks, everyone!
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:20 PM
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That's quite a treat to have a place to stay in near Cork, though Cork is not a favorite city to visit. It is very confusing to navigate your way through. Day trips to Dublin aren't really feasible and I would suggest a couple of overnights there.

From the Cork area you could make trips to:
Cobh, Kinsale, All along the west Cork shore. Beara, Mizen and Sheepshead Peninsula. This will involve a lot of driving back and forth.

Cashel and Cahir are an easy trip and the ever touristy Blarney Castle is just outside of Cork. Gougane Bara Forest Park is nearby. I guess you could hit the Ring of Kerry, but that would be a very long day from Cork. To go to Dingle, I would suggest an overnight or two again.

You might consider flying into Dublin or Shannon and out of the other. That way you could spend a few days in Dublin at one end and take a some days at the other end to visit places (sort of) on the way to Shannon.

Bill
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 06:17 PM
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Bluesky,

Allow me to echo the idea of heading west and exploring West Cork. This is a most attractive and relatively undiscovered part of Ireland, perfect for a family outing. You'll no doubt enjoy touring the backroads of West Cork, strolling through such small towns as Glandore, Castletownshend, and Baltimore. Speaking of Baltimore, do consider a day-trip from this town out to one of the nearby islands, Sherkin or Cape Clear. As Rick Steves might say, these are true "back door" locations.

Lastly, take the time to obtain a good and comprehensive travel guide to Ireland and learn more about this most distinctive part of Ireland.

Best of luck.
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Old Apr 25th, 2003, 07:05 AM
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Thanks so much for the input. The way the trip is loosely structured right now we will be flying in to Shannon and driving to Monkstown where we will be staying. We have two weeks from start to finish for our stay in Ireland. We will fly back home from Dublin. Things like the Waterford factory don't interest us, but I'll bet that the kids will insist on Blarney Castle! One thing that was suggested to us was to spend a night in a castle, probably further north. Any ideas on a good one? Also, car rentals. Are the agencies pretty much all the same, or is there one with better rates on the minivan we'll need for 14 days? Thanks again!
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Old Apr 26th, 2003, 05:54 AM
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Bluesky,

For perhaps too many visitors to Ireland, the word "castle" is limited to the likes of Dromoland and Ashford. While these accommodations have much to offer, for the greater majority of tourists the cost to staying at these elegant addresses is prohibitive.

As an alternative, consider the following accommodations, both castles, both featuring prices that are more down to earth:

Castle ffrench is located in the eastern part of County Galway, so you'd have to depart from your Cork base for a couple days. The castle was built in the late 18th century and has four rooms, with prices at about euro 75 per person. Learn more at www.castleffrench.com

Another consideration, and one that is a bit closer to "home", is Ballaghmore Castle, situated in Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois. At this location, you can choose between the castle or a manor house. The castle will set you back about euro 75 per person. One writer described the castle as a "15th century tower house converted into a medieval fantasy." I don't have a web address for Ballaghmore, but you can fax owner Grace Pym at 0505 21195.

Best of luck.

P.S. Before I sign off, allow me to recommend just one more castle, one that is located not far from your base, near Timoleague, South Cork. It's called Kilbrittain Castle, is very favorably priced (about euro 45 p.p.), and you can learn more at www.sawdays.co.uk
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Any car rental advice for an automatic...probably a minivan would best suit our needs being a family of 5 (with two guys 6'3") and luggage for two weeks?? Thanks so much! We'll want to pick up in Shannon and drop off in Dublin.
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