Around the Emerald Isle in 18 days

Old Sep 10th, 2000, 05:42 PM
  #1  
Bake
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Around the Emerald Isle in 18 days

Like many contributors to this site, it will be our first trip to Ireland and because I'm from Australia probably won't be able to return due to financial constraints. We therefore want to see as much as we can without leaving my wife and myself physical wrecks on completion of our holiday. We are also spending time in the UK.

After reading numerous posts on this site I have prepared the following itinerary.
Fly into Dublin on 14 June 01.
Two nights Dublin.
Belfast (1 night)
Portstewart (1)
Donegal (1)
Sligo (1)
Galway(2)
Doolin (1)
Limerick (1)
Kenmare (3)
Cork (1)
Kilkenny (2)
Glendalough (2)then fly to London 1 July 2001

We intend to stay in B&Bs and farmstays.
Hire a car on the morning we leave Dublin and leave it at the airport on our last day. We have no particular interests, I do play golf but my wife doesn't which counts that out. We will want to see the "touristy" sites, Waterford Crystal, Belleek Pottery, THE Brewery, a distillery, maybe the Aran Islands, coastal scenery and take a few leisurely walks.

Is our itinerary too ambitious?
 
Old Sep 10th, 2000, 08:27 PM
  #2  
Debbie
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Sounds like a lot of one nighters ( pack pack pack) and a lot of driving.
Remember, if you do 2 one nighters in a row, you will be spending part of each of those days just getting there. You may get really tired of packing/driving all the time.

For some expert advise & ideas check out Pat T. Preston on www.irelandexpert.com

she has been really helpful for me , planning my trip.

Good luck - you have lots of time for revisions.
 
Old Sep 10th, 2000, 10:54 PM
  #3  
gaelen
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Bake,
I agree with Debbie, too many one nighters. Ireland is actually not that large of a country and if you pick four or 5 (max) central cities, you'll be able to do a grand tour easily. Dublin, Belfast (consider Giant's Causeway)Sligo (day drives to Donegal, Connemara), Kilkenny (Pop over to Rock Of Cashel) Since you've got some planning time, read some good travel books (Lonely Planet, Fodors, Frommers) first and decide what you really want to see, then find central, but nice (skip Limerick) places that give you three or four day trips. Split from your wife a few times so you each have some time of your own, and something to tell each other over dinner. Have fun!
 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 05:38 AM
  #4  
Cathy
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Bake,
The first web site to check out is www.ireland.travel.ie as it is the official web site of the Irish tourist board - it has lots of interesting links to the regions and a list of accommodation. Check out some of the other postings on Ireland the web sites I have recommended there including hidden ireland and farmhouses accommodation. Do think of purchaising a heritage card for the duration of your trip (www.heritageireland.ie) as it will save you money.
I would advise against travelling in Northern Ireland in June and July as it the height of the marching season and there has been trouble each year during the loyalists marches. Riots etc - Northern Ireland is a wonderful place to visit but not in the summer months.

The other option is to drive to Sligo and onto Donegal but staying within the Republic - that would also cut down on the many one nighteres you have planned. On the way to Sligo you could visit the Kilbeggan Whiskey Distrillery and have a free sampling of whiskey (it is about 1 hr and 30 minutes from Dublin and a good half way point). When in Sligo I would recommend Temple House (www.templehouse.ie) as a location to spend one or two nights. Make sure and pre-book your accommodation in Galway as it is very busy throughout the summer season with foreign and Irish visitors alike. Dublin too. In Dublin Jury's Inn is excellent vale and in a great location for all the main sites (it is in Christchurch and is a few minutes walk to the Guinness Brewery and Trinty College). You could spend a night outside Galway ie in Connemara region and then head into the city for one city.

I don't think you need to spend a night at Limierick - better to stay just in Doolin and see what you want to see ie the Cliffs etc and then stop off in Shannon to see Bunratty and then onto Dingle/Kenmare and use the extra night down there. In Cork visit the Cobh Heritage Centre - excellent for tales of emigratants leaving Ireland. Ballymaloe House in Shangarry is wonderful for food and overnights.

While in Kilkenny you could get a round of golf in at Mount Juliet or at Glendalough try Druids Glen golf courses. Waterford Crystal Factory will only take half a day (you could also do the Galway Crystal Tour when in Galway.) If you get nice weather then Glendalough and the Wicklow Mts are wonderful (avoid driving if it is very misty as it is very mountainty and dangerous in the heavy mists). Places to stay include the delux and expensive Tinakilly House or Mitchelle's in Larag or Hieghfield B&B (Reasonably priced) B&B in Woodenbridge (beautiful location). While in Kilkenny be sure and visit the Castle and Dunmore Caves outside the city, also worth checking out near Kilkenny is Jerpoint - (beautiful glass products). Kilkeeny Design and NIcholas Moss pottery is something and place your wife will want to try.

You might like to spend your last night near the airport rather than south of Duvblin in Wicklow/Glendalough as traffic is very heavy in and around Dublin.

Hope this helps,
post if you have any more queries and have a great holiday.

Cathy
 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 06:41 AM
  #5  
Annie
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I agree with prev. posts - too many one nighters. Focus on staying in the larger cities and take day trips. While in Kilkenny (I am traveling to there this Sunday) - Rock of Cashel is lovely, be sure to see the Castle, and Kilkenny Woolen Mills for shopping - it's a pretty city, spend the day, have tea/sandwiches in The Kettlers (?sp) Inn or dinner in Langton's. Have a great trip. You're much more organized than I am - My itinerary consists of Arrive Dublin Mon, hire car, 3 nights Monaghan, 6 nights Kilkenny (with a night in Kildare), 2 nights Monaghan - I hope to travel a bit during the day.
Good luck,
Annie
 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 06:44 AM
  #6  
Surf
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Bake

I think your itinerary is a little over ambitious. I understand that you want to see as much of Ireland as possible while your there, but you will need more time to appreciate the towns/cities you visit. Have a look at the suggested itineraries at

http://www.goireland.com/low/Itineraries

Have a great vacation

 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 10:27 AM
  #7  
Lisa
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Bake,
I have nothing to add to the above comments except that you should avoid the goireland site and its recommendations. I had a very bad experience renting through goireland. They claim to be Ireland's National Tourism Service but they have nothing to do with the official Tourist Board as I discovered when I tried to complain. Have a good trip,

Lisa
 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 11:58 AM
  #8  
Debbie
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If you are looking for ideas for itineraries, check out Karenbrown.com or her book on Ireland. Also, I am using a FROMMERS book - Ireland's best loved driving tours. It has great detail on 25 different tours covering the entire country. Lots of pictures and details - well worth the $18 at the store. I plan on taking it along on my trip in Nov.
 
Old Sep 11th, 2000, 07:07 PM
  #9  
Bake
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Thank you for your replies, I am gradually refinining my itinerary.

Cathy

I thought that the "marching season" was at the end of June and into July and was confined to Belfast & Derry/ Londonderry.

We would dearly like to see the Antrim Coast. If we were to avoid Belfast and Derry/Londonderry would it reduce the the likelihood of being involved in any "troubles".
 
Old Sep 12th, 2000, 02:28 AM
  #10  
George
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Hi Bake,

The marching season actually starts just after Easter, but doesn't get into full swing until the end of June/ July. Also, it takes in most of the major towns in the North, not just the cities, although if there is trouble, it usually happens somewhere like Belfast or Derry. There is also a village called Drumcree which I would avoid at all costs - this has been a severe trouble spot for the last 3 years. Having said that, you could probably go anywhere you wanted in the North and not see any trouble - you would have to be unlucky to get caught up in something.

I agree totally with Cathy's suggestions and will just add, don't miss Galway! It does get very busy so make sure to book well in advance. And being from Co. Clare myself, I have to recommend Doolin and the Burren - also there is a very good little restaurant called Monks in the village of Ballyvaughn (between Galway and Doolin, on the coast road) which has some of the freshest sea-food you will ever taste! Don't forget to have a look at the Cliffs of Moher on your way past too...

Nothing else to add except Ireland is a small country and it doesn't take that long to drive places - like everyone else, I'd cut down on all the one-nighters, there isn't any need for them. Bear one thing in mind though, Dublin traffic can be a nightmare so I really would consider spending my last night somewhere close to the city, if not actually in it. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. Us natives are rather proud of the place - I'm sure ye'll have a great time!

G./
 
Old Sep 12th, 2000, 06:25 AM
  #11  
Dave
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I would second the recommendation for Monk's in Ballyvaughan. My wife and I stopped there last September on our way to Doolin and loved it, some of the best seafood chowder, if not the best, I have ever had. The coastal road that runs to Doolin is absolutely beautiful, a must drive. I'm jealous, I want to go back
 
Old Sep 12th, 2000, 02:03 PM
  #12  
Cathy
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Bake,
George is correct the season doesn't get into full swing until June or July but there are minor incidents and marches prior to the big marches but avoid Drumcree at all costs at any time of the year as there is a standoff there at present for the last few years.

With the situation in Northern Ireland you can never really tell but at the moment there are splits within the loyalist/unionsists camps and some minor rioting. I won't make a decision to go or nor to go until nearer the time. If I was in your shoes I would plan to pop into Northern Ireland ie Derry (only the British authorities and Unionists call it Londonderry) from Donegal, and leave Belfast and Portstewart as possibles depending on the atmosphere coming up to your trip. Remember you will be driving a car registered in the Republic and if tensions are high then it may be safer to avoid heading into the North, but as George says you would have to be very unlucky to get into trouble early in June - it all depends on the run up to the marches so my advice is wait and see.

Hope this helps,

Cathy
 
Old Sep 17th, 2000, 03:13 PM
  #13  
Darren in Belfast
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To bring a little perspective to the whole 'marching season' debate, the ONLY time you should avoid visiting Northern Ireland is around the second week of July (although you may want to leave yourself a few days on either side of that).

During the rest of the marching season, there are virtually _no_ serious incidents, and any which do occur will most likely be in places which any tourist wouldn't be going to anyway. (for instance, you would never ever ever just happen to stumble upon Drumcree). It's the usual story - if there is trouble, take local advice. You should have no bother at all if you're driving a southern registered car.

At any other time of the summer, you should encounter no problems whatsoever, especially outside Belfast.
 
Old Sep 22nd, 2000, 07:00 AM
  #14  
Kathy
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I agree with Darren. I used to live off the Dublin Road in Belfast, and I was close to a lot of parades. The only problems really arose right around July 12, when every sane person in Northern Ireland goes away for a few days.

The rest of the time, Northern Ireland is a truly spectacular place to visit. The people are incredible, the food actually can be quite good, the drink's always flowing, and the scenery is out of this world.
 
Old Sep 22nd, 2000, 11:20 AM
  #15  
Paddy
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Expect to be on the road a lot with that schedule. Three more suggestions- loverly Valentia Island in the far southwest; Cong, where much of "The Quiet Man" was filmed and the Aran Islands, one of the more traditional Irish locales.
 
Old Sep 28th, 2000, 06:25 PM
  #16  
Scott
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Bake

The 'pack, pack, pack' point is important to keep in mind.

Ireland is not very big, about the same size as Tassie, so a lot can be done from the one point.

My wife and I travelled there in autumn '98 and used self-catering cottages. We therefore used each as a base for exploring the local (and often quite distant) sights each day. The big plus was being able to return 'home' each night, eat some of the delicious local cheese, drink the beer and relax in a way that is not possible in a B&B.

Whatever you do, enjoy this most engaging country.

Scott
 

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