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Best Ireland Trip Ever - help!!!

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Feb 6th, 2014, 07:21 AM
  #1
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Best Ireland Trip Ever - help!!!

Hi there,

Could someone please help me out with our proposed 8 day itinerary in southwest Ireland! We have 4 days planned at the end in Dublin so that is not included below. I am just curious as to whether we are better off staying longer in some places - and then which places to keep and which to skip - and if it is reasonable to drive the amount planned each day or if this is too aggressive. I was thinking this itinerary would avoid retravelling roads we've already been on - sort of doing a loop - but it might also be nice to unpack for more than one night at a time. Here is the plan:

Day 1 - fly into Dublin, rent car and drive to Kilkenny for the night. Langton House booked but open to suggestions...
Day 2 - drive to Kinsale, stay the night. Hotel/B&B suggestions?
Day 3 - drive to Dingle, stay the night. B&B booked.
Day 4 - drive to Tralee, stay at Ballyseede Castle Lodge.
Day 5 - drive to Doolin, stay the night. Hotel/B&B suggestions?
Day 6 - drive to Connemara, stay at Ballynahinch Castle.
Day 7 - no plan; can head to Dublin, or stay somewhere else, or???
Day 8 - drive to Dublin.

Any help and guidance would be sooo appreciated. There are 6 of us travelling together - likely each couple will get their own car - none of us have been before, and we're interested in relaxing in good pubs, with great music and food, and seeing some sights along the way. Thanks in advance!
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Feb 6th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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That's an ambitious road trip.. I see the tourism Ireland or general tour bus route input with the key hyped locations of Kinsale Dingle and Doolin..

Basically it can be done, but why splash on Castle hotels just to get there at 6pm and leave at 9am..

What sights are you aiming to see between these locations? No point in just going point to point.

Day 1, Kilkenny straight from the Transatlantic flight is fine (no daft sightseeing over the Wicklow mountains just head straight there)lots to see in and around the town

Day 2, Kinsale? Any special reason I might aim for Kenmare (you will find good food there is cheaper as well).

Day 3, Dingle. compulsory must see on the list of anyone who hasn't been to Ireland. By staying in Kenmare the night before you could drive the Ring of Kerry or just see some of the National Park, Muckross, Gap of Dunloe?

Day 4, Slea Head drive and over the Connor Pass to Ballyseede or maybe Dromoland for the castle stay.

Day 5, Doolin for the Cliffs of Moher and Burren. maybe take a Cliffs cruise before opting for one of the 3 pubs all of which will have put music on for the tourists

Day 6, lots of options on the N59 route to Ballinahinch which I really like, but consider Abbeyglen Castle (or a guest house) in Clifden so that you can walk into town and hear local Irish, Irish music.

Day 7, Back to Dublin calling into Kylemore Abbey for a photo shoot by the gates and maybe a stop off between Galway and Dublin.. This is a long day with lots of options so maybe break the journey around Athlone?

Day 8, Dublin or if you took the break, see Clonmacnoise early and head for Dublin?

Good food can be found All over Ireland as can good Music and decent bars. Take some time to see the Ireland that isn't in the guide books, you won't be disappointed.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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IMO the way to fix this is to . . . Cut Dublin back to a day or tw and use those extra days to stay longer in a couple of places. Otherwise you will be packing/checking out/moving/checking every single day.

I much prefer the scenery/villages on the west coast to Dublin. Dublin is certainly OK but for 4 days it would be underwhelming (for me)
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Feb 6th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Personal comments: Tony2phones, surely you don't advise rushing through Wicklow Mnt. and missing Glendalough. Yes, certainly Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher and lovely Western Ireland.
janisj, we much enjoyed leisurely days in Dublin. And yes time out for the music in pubs!
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Feb 6th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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>>janisj, we much enjoyed leisurely days in Dublin. And yes time out for the music in pubs!<<

Certainly -- but not at the expense of a mad dash around all of W/SW Ireland. If one has the time -- then do both. But a rands only has 11 days - probably more like 10.5 in 'real time'. For such a limited time, something has to give. Two days/nights in Dublin and - less insanity on the west coast
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Feb 6th, 2014, 02:03 PM
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No I do not advise anyone to get off a plane from across the Atlantic, jump into a strange car with the steering wheel on the wrong side and set off on a wonderful moorland jaunt along narrow winding poorly signed roads whilst the dreaded Jet Lag waits to throw the poor souls into a ditch or out into the wilderness.

Straight to Kilkenny safe and in one piece is better than hunting out Powerscourt and Glendalough with Sally Gap and the Devil's Den thrown in for good measure. Do that when you are fresh and have the time.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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We were in Ireland last year and after flying into Cork we spent 2 nights in Kinsale, 2 in Kenmare and 2 in Dingle.
Kinsale is a good choice; beautiful harbor town, with good restaurants, pubs and a fun walking tour departing every morning from the TI office. We stayed in the Cloisters B and B which is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor and is run by two women who were very hospitable and friendly. Highly recommend.
After leaving we drove to Kenmare. The drive took most of the day as we stopped in towns along the coastal route, and at Dromberg circle.
While in Kenmare we partially did the Ring of Kerry. Others at the B&B went to the Beara Peninsula. We then spent most of the day driving to Dingle where we stayed at the Coastline B&B which I also highly recommend.
We found that driving took longer than expected and we were very happy to spend 2 nights in each town otherwise we would have constantly been on the road.
We did not make it to the Cliffs of Mohr. (Next time). We returned our rental car in Cork and took the train to Dublin where we stayed for 3 nights. We took a one day tour of the Wicklow mountains from Dublin.
What I would take away from this post is to seriously consider staying in a locale for more than overnight.
Ireland's beauty is only surpassed by the friendliness of the people you will meet. Enjoy your trip.
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Feb 6th, 2014, 02:42 PM
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If you did an extra night in Doolin it would be nice so that maybe if the weather is good you could take the ferry to one of the islands. The ferry that departs in Doolin also has a ferry that gives you a ride under the cliffs and that is a great view. We usually stay down by McDermotts but I would try the other end and am only saying this place because they have laundry facilities and it is closer to O'Conners pub and you can really walk to the ferry from here. You can take a day trip to the burren and see the cliffs one day. http://www.doolinlodge.com/
Connemara is worth maybe an extra night and I would pick Cliften or somewhere along the coast. I just did Kinsale for the day. We have stayed in Cork City several times and did day tours to Blarney, Kinsale and Cohb. We like the night life so that is the only reason why. If you just want dinner after a day of touring then stay in a village.
I love Dublin and there is so much history and things to see there. Great food and music. Where are you staying there?
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Feb 7th, 2014, 09:24 AM
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I really don't want to be too ambitious - everything just sounds so lovely I don't know what to cut back on! As for Dublin, we are there on a conference Thursday to Sunday, so we can't really cut it back. I was thinking we would be able to see the Wicklow Mountains on a day trip while we are there. We are really not tied to any particular places - even Kilkenny I just thought was a reasonable drive after our overnight flight, but really, we could go anywhere. And yes, we want to see the 'real' Ireland, not just what the tourist sites suggest (which is why I was skipping Waterford, Limerick and Killarney as overnights…). So, we're open to any itinerary suggestions at all! As an aside, I had also read to do the loop clockwise (so we're not stuck behind the buses which go counter-clockwise)… Could someone please plan the perfect trip for me!!!!
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Feb 7th, 2014, 11:15 AM
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Waterford and certainly Limerick (Excluding Adare) are not tourist towns or at least not on many regular tourist routes, certainly not tourist derived/conceived in the way of Dingle and Doolin. Killarney is a tourist town dating back to visits by Queen Vic but large enough to avoid the tour bus brigades if you so choose.

Kenmare 1/2 hour down the road is a good alternative to Killarney. Castlegreggory on the north coast of the Dingle Peninsula is a good low tourist count option. Ballyvaughan is popular but an alternative to Doolin as would be Lahinch or Ennistymon south of the villages or Kinvara above Ballyvaughan just over the Galway border.

How you drive the ring is up to you but the "official" Kerry tourism guide is to go counter clockwise and if you are on the road before 10 am you will be in front not behind. In July and August high season driving round clockwise could be foolish especially on a couple of the tight bends where you can go round a blind bend and come face on with a coach making "effective use of the road" to get round. The best parts of the Ring are off the tour bus route on the smaller side roads but need time which most do not have.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 07:45 AM
  #11
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HI all,

We're going in May so its not high season, so hopefully driving against the buses will be okay? Also thinking of trying to stay longer in some places - what about this itinerary?

Day 1 (Thurs) - arrive Dublin, drive to Kenmare and stay there. Hotel/B&B recommendations? (we get in at 5 am and my husband is fine with jet lag). Was thinking this would get us over to where we want to be faster and allow us to stay longer in Dingle.
Day 2 - Ring of Kerry (or not - depending on what people want to do - each couple will have their own car) to Dingle. Stay 2 nights.
Day 4 - stay at Ballyseede Castle in Tralee. Perhaps this is too much time in one area? We would skip this hotel if there's another castle or manor house, maybe in county Clare, that would be appropriate (and not as expensive as Dromoland which seems really expensive). Alternatively we could do Doolin for 2 nights but I've read that might be a bit long in such a tiny town?
Day 5 - to Doolin - stay 1 or 2 nights, depending on above. B&B still not booked. Ideas?
Day 6 - Connemara - Ballynahinch Castle
Day 7 - Open to stay anywhere!!! Ideas? A second night at Ballynahinch, Clifden, or somewhere on the road back to Dublin?
Day 8 - Thurs arrive at Four Seasons in Dublin for 3 nights.

Does this seem more manageable than the original itinerary? Again, thanks so so much for any and all suggestions!!!
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Feb 11th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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"Arrive Dublin, drive to Kenmare" That borders on plain Daft! Too far straight of a flight.. US drivers pay stupid insurance, why because they get off a redeye and drive until they crash.

Dingle does not have a hospital, but you could end up in one.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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One thing to think about before driving the Ring of Kerry clockwise! You are driving on the left, so when you come around a bend smack up against a tour bus, you will be on the "outside", the side that looks straight down to the ocean (often with no guardrails--unless more guardrails have been added since I last did the trip).

If you go counterclockwise, you will be on the right hand side of the road, and if you have to pull over to let a truck or other vehicle pass, you will be on the landward side of the road.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Have been to Ireland four times. I like Tony2phones recs.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 09:19 AM
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If you haven't purchased your airfare yet, you might think about an open jaw ticket - fly into SNN (Shannon) and fly home from Dublin. I think this makes more sense for the early part of your trip, which is heavily concentrated in the West.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 11:08 AM
  #16
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Hoping beyond hope not to be called daft again, I'm assuming everyone thinks it would make more sense instead to drive to Galway or thereabouts upon arrival and do the trip counter-clockwise, thereby avoiding running into buses and also avoiding the long drive to Kenmare on day 1. Would that be a more reasonable drive? It is in fact too late to switch our flights to another city, and I am attempting to not spend the first day in Dublin and region as we have an entire 4 days there at the end of our trip. I would also presume we'll won't get into a hotel or b&b until mid-afternoon, and having arrived at 5 am, we will need to go somewhere!!! BTW - we're Canadian drivers, not US
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Feb 11th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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Thing is 2 hours on a motorway then another 2 hours on standard roads straight of a flight is just too much.. I apologise for the US implication, Fact is those coming Transatlantic are hammered by Irish Insurance..including Canadians.

If you have to get to Dingle for 2 days then who am I to say not to..then you could have night 1 in Kilkenny.. maybe Adare 2 hours down the M7 plus 1/2 hour. Maybe even grab a flight from Dublin to Kerry?

I stand by my 1st answer above but lets face it all anyone on the forums can do is offer opinions.

The worst bends on the ring going clockwise have you between an oncoming bus and a rock face.. Works really well when some eejit has parked their Hertz Renault in the widened out space so the can "Only go for a short walk" and cause 2 miles of jams.
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Feb 11th, 2014, 12:33 PM
  #18
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No need to stay on in Dingle for 2 nights, just that previous posts thought it was a good idea to be more than 1 night in various places.

I agree that we should be doing the Ring of Kerry with the buses - does that also go for the rest of the trip along the coast i.e. the Dingle Peninsula as well?

Adare is a great suggestion - you would say that's doable as opposed to Galway - on the first day? I was changing up the schedule to head west as previous posts seemed as if it was crazy to include Kilkenny and Cork into the trip. So maybe we go to Adare, then down to do the Ring counterclockwise, stay in Kenmare, then back up to stay in Dingle, Tralee, Doolin, Connemara and one more night somewhere. Should we double up any of those nights in particular? Am I making any more sense or just confusing matters???

I looked briefly into flights, but it seemed they took up most of the day and had stops along the way (in some cases in the UK). I'll look again as that would be the ideal solution...
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Feb 11th, 2014, 02:26 PM
  #19
 
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The straight run from Dublin Airport to Adare is M50-M7-N21 so its 2 1/2 hours, the last 10 miles being the only off motorway stretch.

This map gives points along the way, you might want to check out one of them to stretch your legs of grab a bite to eat (but don't overdo the sight seeing or it will defeat the object)
http://goo.gl/maps/8diVp

The Slea Head drive is signpost out from Dingle, I think that is counter clockwise as well (with the bus's).. The Connor Pass could be done both ways, there is about 300 yards single track with passing places where the rocks stick out a bit.

Some points on this map might be of interest above the Shannon http://goo.gl/maps/I8Vzh and http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu for Connemara
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Feb 12th, 2014, 09:04 AM
  #20
 
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Tony2phones, can you point me to a tutorial on how to make detailed custom map like the ones you linked? I've started attempting them in google maps, but yours look great and I'd love any tips you can direct me towards to improve mine. Thanks!
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