Another Ireland Itinerary...advice?

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Feb 18th, 2012, 12:55 PM
  #1
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Another Ireland Itinerary...advice?

Hi, I've been scouring this forum and others for weeks now planning our trip Mar. 24- Apr. 6. I've picked up some good advice and can't resist posting our own tentative itinerary for comments, advice, or perspective from those who know more than I do! It will be my mother and I for much of the trip, and we pick my sister up from Shannon for the last 4-5 days. Mom and I fly into and out of Dublin, and will get our rental car there, so I'm trying to base our plans on navigating between those locations. We probably will not do any sight-seeing in Dublin. We're also trying to avoid any one-nighters, but I would consider one or two depending on circumstance. If it matters, we will have our own GPS loaded with a Europe/Ireland map, and I plan on buying a map once there as well. As it stands...

Day 1- Sat- flight arrives 8:00; pick up rental car and drive to Cashel. Have an easy afternoon/evening just wandering the town, getting our bearings, and head to bed early
Day 2- Sun- Rock of Cashel/Cahir Castle
Day 3-Mon- Drive to Dingle, see Dingle town
Day 4- Tues- Drive/explore Dingle peninsula
Day 5- Wed- Drive to Killarney, see the town, maybe see some of the National Park
Day 6- Thu- Ring of Kerry
Day 7- Fri- National Park/Gap of Dunloe
Day 8- Sat- still in Killarney...
Day 9- Sun- Drive to Shannon to pick up sister in AM, continue to Galway, wander town, another easy evening
Day 10- Mon- Cliffs of Moher/Burren- may or may not do a guided tour here as a driving break
Day 11- Tues- Connemara, Kylemore Abbey
Day 12- Wed- ....
Day 13- Thu- At some point, Mom and I return to Dublin, probably just book a room near the airport
Day 14- Fri- Home!

Without trying to I seem to have given us 'relocation' days with nothing major planned other than get from one place to the next. I think I like this. I'm a fill-every-moment type vacationer usually, but I can't (and don't want to) do that in Ireland. Our days get somewhat flexible in Killarney- I'm not sure if we have too much time there, or what other options there may be in the area. Mom and I enjoy hiking, so the National Park is very appealing. Also, I know just one day for Connemara is not much, but my understanding is that it's possible to do so, and at least get to see the Abbey. Any advice here is welcome! We do have a 'free' day at that point, though I'm still coordinating with the others- sis may likely have a must-see of her own for that day so I'm keeping it open for now. I haven't put much thought into B&B lodging yet either- that will be next! Thanks!
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Feb 18th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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Meagan, your plans sound good to me. We loved Dingle, Kilarney area, The Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher. The National Park is beautiful and we did the horse and cart tour there and loved it. The Abbey, what can I say...it was simply breath taking. The only thing that we booked accommodation wise was the first night. We just winged it after that. I was very surprised at how great the food was, and the beer....it is wonderful and I am not a beer drinker. Just take your time and enjoy the trip. I am sure that you know that it will be very cold, do pack accordingly.
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Feb 18th, 2012, 03:43 PM
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Kraines warns about it being very cold. That depends on from whence you hale. As a New Englander, I found that time of year to be slightly warmer to much warmer than temps here. The daffodils are usually out by then. Just pack so you can dress in layers and be prepared for rain.

Your itinerary looks good and you'll finde the days will fil before you kknow it especially as you drive from place to place. There will be lots of little byways to tempt you and wonderful vistas where you will just need to stop and take some photos. Or perhaps a little town you thought to justpass through may call you to stop and wander its streets and poke in some of its shops or have a cup of tea and a pastry or soup and a sandwich.

As you drive the Ring of Kerry do stop and see the Staigue Fort near Sneem. Prehistoric stone fort with walls thick enough for rooms. A bit off the main road in a farmer's field. Honesty box for your entrance fee.

As you drive the Connemara loop in Moycullen there is a shop with all sorts of things made of the green Connemara marble. (I have a little cat to remind me of Ireland.) In that area is Aughnanure (sp.) Castle near Ochterard. Interesting for a short visit.

On your return to Dublin Clonmacnoise Abbey ruins are on the way. Lovely peaceful spot.

Not too far from the airport are the town of Trim with its castle as well as the burial mound at Newgrange and other treasures of the Boyne Valley.
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Feb 18th, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far, and to irishface for some ideas. I was considering what sights we may be able to catch on the drive back to Dublin. The weather shouldn't be a problem. In fact, I don't expect it to be much different from the weather at home, though perhaps wetter! Layers are my friend.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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If your sister is coming in early at Shannon airport you could see the cliffs on your way to Galway and then take the Galway tour bus the next day from the coach station and do a Connemara tour. It is cheap and they do a lovely job.
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Feb 19th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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http://www.galwaytourcompany.com/gtc/daytours.jsp

The Aran Island tour from Rossaveal is great, bigger ferries that run daily.

On your way back to Dublin get off the main rd and visit Clonmcnoise and some of the nice villages along the way. Tullamore Dew is always fun to visit.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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The overall plan looks fine. I do like flpab's suggestion of hitting the Cliffs enroute from Shannon to Galway.

My only real concern is your plan for day (assuming you are flying in long haul). I personally think driving on arrival is a bad idea. Could be only tiring -- OR could actually be very dangerous. The airport to Cashel is about a 2.5 hour drive. I know you said you didn't plan on doing anything in Dublin -- but it would be a good idea to stay one night to recover/get over the jetlag.
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Feb 20th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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I think your route looks great.. and I normally sleep on the long haul plane ride and am so ready to go once I arrive.. I think you should wing it and end up where you may.. you will enjoy yourself more! We will be in Ireland from March 29th to April 7th also.. We are planning on Trim and Clonmacnoise and on to Westport from Dublin..
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Feb 20th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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Some photos and commentary from our trip to Killarney, Dingle, Galway and Aran Islands if that helps on the micro-level planning.

http://ukfrey.blogspot.com/2011/08/ireland.html
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:44 PM
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Thanks all! Our plans have shifted some- hopefully not spreading ourselves too thin, but it's been difficult arranging things for maximum family time when we are coming/going from different places.

Day 1-4: Same as original post
Day 5-7: Killarney National Park/Ring of Kerry...more on this below
Day 8-Sat- losing a day in Killarney in favor of making our way to Galway
Day 9-Sun- Sister will arrange transport from Shannon to Galway and take a rest while Mom and I entertain ourselves for the morning/afternoon
Day 10-Mon- Cliffs of Moher/Burren
Day 11-Tues- Connemara, Kylemore Abbey
Day 12- Wed- Aran Island tour from Rossaveal
Day 13- Thur- Bunratty, drop sis off in/near Shannon, head to Dublin
Day 14-Fri- Home

Adding Bunratty makes for a longer day Thur, but still manageable? What I would really love some advice on is how best to arrange our time in Killarney. We will have 2 full days and the afternoon of Day 5 assuming we don't linger in Dingle that morning. Maybe Sat morning before driving to Galway also? One of those days will be driving Ring of Kerry. So, I would like to see the typical spots- Ross Castle, Muckross House, Torc Waterfall, Gap of Dunloe. It looks like the Gap takes most of a day. Are we giving ourselves enough time to see the rest? I may decide to reclaim Sat in Killarney if not!
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 03:06 PM
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For a nice room/place near the airport look at Belcamp Hutchinson in Malahide. Not inexpensive, but nice, relaxing and close. Enjoy.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 05:20 PM
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Ok, after some quality time with previous threads and my friend Google I'm hopefully making some more sense of our time in Killarney. This is what I'm thinking...tour Muckross House, Muckross Abbey, Torc Waterfall after our drive from Dingle. Then one day ROK and one day Gap of Dunloe, possibly Ross Castle. If we do not see Ross that day we can see it in the morning before we leave for Galway. We'll have to think on how best to see the Gap- hiking, jaunting car, combination? And if we can tour Ross Castle, not just see the outside, without becoming stranded somewhere depending on said Gap options Does this sound feasible? Much thanks.
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Feb 25th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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We stayed at the Lake Hotel in Killarney and quite enjoyed it. It is right on Lough Leane with fantastic views of the mountains and the lake. We made sure to get a room with the lake view. It was a very convenient place to explore Ladies' View, Torc Waterfall and Muckross. We really liked Muckross Abbey. From there we took the long walk to Muckross House only to find out that you could only see it by tours which ran once an hour and we had just missed it. We didn't feel like waiting around an hour so we walked back to the abbey where we had left our car. We would have taken a jaunty car but my husband is allergic to horses.

I got some great photos of the abbey, waterfall, and Ladies' View. We visited Ross Castle after dinner as the sun was setting and got some nice photos there as well. Of course it was not open that late so we only saw the outside. We were only in Killarney one night and didn't have time to do everything.
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