Best bases for seeing SW/W Ireland

Aug 15th, 2003, 01:20 PM
  #1  
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Best bases for seeing SW/W Ireland

Having never visited Ireland my husband and I have 9 nights to spend in the W/SW of Ireland. We plan to fly in and out of Shannon and will arrive early A.M. Since this opportunity has just come up I have not been able to complete my research but think we would love to seeingle, County Clare the Aran Islands,County Kerry, Kinsale and Cobh.
Tentative schedule: Dingle Peninsula -2 nts (Need suggestions of place to stay)
Kenmare/Bantry/Ballilickey 3nts
Kinsale/ Cobh -1 nt
Cashel/Clifden -2 nts
Near airport(considering Corofin, Clarecastle)thanks so much for your help.
Pawleys is offline  
Aug 15th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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A couple of thoughts:
I don't understand the Cashel/Clifden nights. Those towns are about a 5 hour drive apart.
You mention wanting to see Clare and the Aran Islands, but that doesn't seem to be built in anywhere.
I wouldn't do the drive to Kinsale/Cobh for just one night.
I think a great 9 day trip would mean 3 days around Dingle, 3 days around Kenmare, and 3 days up in Clare. Save Kinsale/Cobh for next time.
MaryZ is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 07:18 AM
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Mary Z,
Looking at Fodor's map of the West,it appears Cashel and Clifden are just north of Rossaveel. I thought that area would be good for visiting the Aran Islands. What do you suggest? Where is a good place to tour Clare from?
Thanks for your suggestions.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 07:39 AM
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Pawleys,

The Cashel you've spotted on the map is a small village in the Connemara, as is Clifden (far west County Galway). If you're looking for the well known Rock of Cashel though, you'll find that in the larger town, also called Cashel, that's in County Tipperary. As Mary said, quite a distance to Clifden.

I do like your choice of bases however. I think the Arans may be tough to work into the schedule.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 08:16 AM
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Plan on averaging about 35 mph when you drive in Ireland. My husband refused to believe that until we got there. Just trust me!
happytourist is offline  
Aug 16th, 2003, 08:32 AM
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Pawleys,
Clifton idenitified the source of my confusion. Did you want to visit the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary or the little town of Cashel in County Galway?
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Aug 16th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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Mary Z,
I was planning to go through the Burren, Cliffs of Moher area and spend 2 nights in the Cashel, Clifden area, north of Galway. Is that too far north
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Aug 16th, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Not to insert myself here or anything, but if you're itinerary is in the expected order, I'd say that Cobh to Clifden (two personal favorites, by the way) is a very long drive. I think you'd lose most of that day driving (depending on the time of year, as autumn/winter has short daylight hours)

Of course, driving scenic byways in Ireland is not without it's own rewards, but a long day on what will be some lesser roads, could be tiring. I'd wager a guess at 5-6 hours from Cobh/Kinsale to Clifden, not counting stops. As much as I find Connemara to be fascinating, it's on the "wrong" side of Shannon from everything else on your trip and you may want to think about whether there might be some interesting things to see in Tipperary or along the Cork coast to add those days to. Just as a thought.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 01:13 PM
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Well, I guess actually Clare is also on that north side of Shannon. I think that would probably be as far as I myself would push it, distance-wise.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Now I get it. The Cashel/Clifden area isn't terribly far north. Looks like it would take only about 2 hours to get from Ballyvaughan (good base for the Burren) up to Cashel.
Now that I understand that you want to be in the Co. Galway Cashel, I might try this:
Nights 1 & 2: Cashel/Clifden
Night 3: Ballyvaughan
Nights 4 & 5: Dingle
Nights 6, 7, 8: Kenmare
Night 9: Ennis or Killaloe (both 30-45 minutes from Shannon)
This doesn't include Kinsale/Cobh, I know. You could add a third night to the Cashel/Clifden area to give yourself time for an Aran Islands day trip. Lots of different configurations possible, I guess. Looks like you're going to be in some wonderful places.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for the input Clifton, Mary Z. I do this every time plan to narrow my scope on a trip and take time to really savour the area, then I can't resist stuffing in one more site.
Does this itiniary look feasible?
Drive straight to Dingle (is that too far after transatlatlantic flight?)
Spend two nights there.
Drive via Killarney area to Kenemare, three nights there.
Drive to Ballyvaughan for one night
Two nights nights in Clifton; then last night near the airport.
I hate to give up on the Kinsale, Cobh area; but there seems to be plenty to see around Kenmare? How far south do you think we could day trip from there?
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Aug 16th, 2003, 03:02 PM
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I think that looks great! I know how hard it is to whittle things down.
We drove directly to Dingle from Shannon in July. It was about a 3 hour trip, and a bit of a push after flying all night. We stopped midway, though, for a bite to eat and that was enough to revive us.
From Kenmare and Beara area, you can easily get down to Bantry and Sheep's Head and Mizen Head peninsulas. I'm not a Skibbereen fan, but I do like the Union Hall/Glandore area along Cork's southern coast. Gougane Barra is also beautiful and just to the eat of Kenmare.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 03:22 PM
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In Dingle, we stayed at Heaton's Guest House for 2 nights. It was wonderful; would definitely stay there again. But, IMO, 2 nights is not enough. We tried to extend our stay, but they were booked. All in all, we spent too much time in the car and hauling suitcases around. I learned a valuable lesson--don't try to cram so much into one trip.

After flying all night, we drove to Killarney for our first leg of the trip. Driving a car with a manual transmission on the other side of the road is difficult on a good day, but after a night with little sleep, it makes for a very long drive.
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Aug 16th, 2003, 05:32 PM
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Cobh (Queenstown) is a must see. It's the last port of call the Titanic made before sinking. There is a heritage museum that is full of interesting items. It is such a beautiful, picturesque seaport town. We will be staying over when we revisit in May.
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Aug 19th, 2003, 01:08 PM
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We just had a good visit to Ireland (back 6 days ago, enjoyed all the sunshine & warmth -- best place to be in Europe!) - we started by flying in to Cork, stayed 2 nights in Kinsale at the wonderful "Old Presbytery" B&B. These were the best breakfasts and the most comfortable as well as quaint, rooms on the trip. We should have listened to our host for restaurant recommendations, as had one bad experience at the Blue Haven (written up well in some guide books, but it has gone down hill in past 2 yrs we later learned, in changing hands). For touring Clare (Burren & Cliffs of Moher) we stayed in Ennis at Cill Eoin Guest House (see my remarks for Ennis).

I can't help with the rest, as we then drove north to Donegal and then to Dublin.

Have fun!

Donna
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Aug 19th, 2003, 08:41 PM
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I second Cobh. Will be on every southern Ireland trip as on overnight or more, now that we found it. Stayed a few nights at the Waters Edge hotel right next to the Queenstown exhibit.
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Aug 20th, 2003, 04:01 AM
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I looked at your followup (I was startled like the others that you were following Kinsale with Clifden, and that matter seems to be straightened out) and I think Ballyvaughen may still be a little bit too north in sequence for the rest of your trip. Given what you want to do in the Southwest, I think the most you should try for going north is the Cliffs of Moher, something rather easily done from a town like Ennis.

Word of warning: Aran Islands eats time because of the ferry schedule.

I don't think there's much of a problem getting down to Dingle on the first day. Traffic can be heavy in spots, but it's a great place to plop until you get reoriented from jet lag.
 

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