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County Clare, County Kerry, Kilkenny - Ireland

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Oct 28th, 2007, 07:12 AM
  #1
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County Clare, County Kerry, Kilkenny - Ireland

After a LOT of reading during the past week and trying to narrow down what we can do with 12 nights in Ireland (not including arrival/departure days)below is where I think we would like to visit. We will rent a car after leaving Dublin, planning on a 3night stay in Dublin

Originally we had thought a 10 night stay would be enough but the more I read the more sense it made to add on a couple of nights

Traveling will be 2 adults, 2 children age 13 & 11.
Time of year: 22th of June into July 2008

We like to stay at least 2 nights, possibly 3 or more when possible in one area

Dublin, Kilkenny, County Kerry and County Clare with maybe an overnight at Ashford Castle as I think the kids, and us, would really enjoy. Going home from Shannon airport

Now it comes times to choose the cities we would like to be based out of and this is where I need help.

We like cities but also enjoy the benefits of small towns and the charm and feeling they provide of really being in the country we are visiting. We like driving, walking, beautiful scenery, history, and just taking in the area we are in.
Shopping doesn't interest us

County Kerry -What city should we base ourselves in - we would like to visit Killarney park, Ross Castle, Muckross farm, Dingle area. I think we will skip the Ring of Kerry in favor of the Dingle Peninsula. Would it make sense to stay put the entire time in this area in one place and daytrip or split it up.

Kilkenny - want to explore the sites in and around this area - should we stay in town or on the outskirts

County Clare - which city to base our selves out of - we would like to visit Burren, Burren Perfumery and floral center, Cliffs of Moher, Ballyhannan Castle

We don't know if driving up to Ashford Castle would be worth it for a one night stay but I think this would be great and the kids would love the falcony and actually staying in a castle. Heck I think I would really enjoy it

I think the kids would also enjoy seeing some of the caves, any in particular that anyone would recommend

Banquets - I read about Bunratty Folk Park one often. Are there others you would recommend instead or should we think about the irish nights option

I know there are many more sights to see in each of these areas and this is just an idea of what we would like to do so that it can help us choose a town to be based in

First we need to figure out which towns we will stay in then I will search for places to stay. If anyone has any suggestions on B&B's Guest houses, hotels in any of the above areas we would appreciate them. We enjoy places that have charm but also amenities. Not interested in a no frills basic room

I have read many posts here about places to stay but without knowing where we should base ourselves I don't know which to choose

Thank you for any help, suggestions, direction anyone can provide

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Oct 28th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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I would suggest 2-3 nights in each base location. I know you'll get some good suggestions from Fodors members, but I used www.irelandexpert.com extensively for planning our Ireland trip last year and found all of the info on B&Bs, places to visit etc to be very accurate.
We enjoyed the Bunratty Folk Park, which is basically self guided but if you speak with the staff at the various stops, you'll learn lots of interesting things. We stayed at Bunratty Lodge for our last 3 nights and the owner was VERY helpful and accomodating in helping us plan our days and the B&B is very clean. Assuming you're flying out of Shannon, it's about 10 minutes to the airport from there.
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Oct 28th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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Delighted to see you are carefully considering your options! You seem to be avoiding the usual trap by visitors in cramming far too much travelling/driving. If you like driving, you will love Ireland but the driving gems are away from the main 'N' (National) roads and motorways (near cities). Get a decent map for your areas and discard the hire car free map of the whole of ireland. To try and answer some of your questions:

1. Co. Kerry. Killarney is OK but will be busy and full of tourists in June-July. We stayed in Killorglin, central for the Dingle penisula, Ring of Kerry (busy in July) and Killarney and lakes. Another option might be Tralee, a bigger town and somewhat cheaper than Killarney. The children might enjoy the Tralee and Dingle railway at Blennerville, near Tralee and there is a windmill also.

2. Co. Clare. Lots of great places here. We stayed in Doolin, not far from the cliffs of Moher, Caves, Burren landscape etc.

Unfortunately I am not sure I still have the Killorglin accommodation but there are several hotels and B&Bs in the area.

Another expert professional for Irish travel is:
http://www.irelandyes.com/

For driving timescale and ideas, please see the driving tips on my website below. Additionally, the Munster tour will give some idea of how long it takes to drive in Ireland! Have fun planning,

Peter (anyone is most welcome to ask me questions via the 'contacts' section of the site below).

http://www.hidden-dublin.com/tours/drive01.html
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Oct 30th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Hi ga9497. Mostly very small villages in county Clare, but Doolin suggestion is pretty good, and very close to the cliffs of Moher. Added advantage of a ferry crossing from Doolin to Aran islands. www.irelandsislands.com and www.burrenpage.com are useful links.

Other villages to consider are Ballyvaughan and Lahinch. If you choose Ballyvaughan you could also factor in banquet in Dunguire castle in Kinvarra.

The only Ballyhannon castle that I can think of is nearby Quin village near Bunratty - but this is a weekly rental castle. Are you thinking of Lemanagh castle?

Consider using www.shannonferries.com when coming from Kerry to county Clare, and when you reach Kilrush, take a trip around Loop head www.loopheadclare.com

If you feel that Ashford is too far, consider Dromoland castle - no falcons, but it is convenient to SNN, or alternatively, not a castle per se, but have a look at http://www.ballinalackencastle.com/ in north Clare/Burren area.

You can visit Ailwee caves or Doolin caves - and if possible take scenic route between Doolin & Ballyvaughan via Fenore for amazing views - and in the Burren, make your way to Corkscrew hill for views of Galway bay.

Finally, if you're spending any time in the Shannon area before departure, visit (obviously) Bunratty village, Craggaunowen, Knappogue castle, Dromoland, Quin abbey in Quin village & Mooghaun hill fort.

Nice restaurants : Gallaghers, Red Door & Bunratty Manor in the area.

Accom with a variety of budgets: Courtyard B&B (Bunratty), Ardsollus B&B or Abbey Tavern(Quin/Dromoland), Oakwood Arms (Shannon) , Carrygarry House (Newmarket on Fergus) Cahergal farm house, and obviously Dromoland castle.


Hope that this helps.
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Oct 30th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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ga9497,

It sounds like you are doing a good job of researching and planning your trip.

My family -3 adults, 3 kids 17, 15, 13 enjoyed a wonderful but short visit to many of the same areas of Ireland at the end of June 2007.

I am in process of finishing a trip report about all of our travels but I have completed the posts on our Ireland stay. Since you too will be travelling with teenagers, you many find some of the information that I have included helpful. The dates to look for for the Ireland portion of the trip are the posts for the end of June 20th - June 24th. Here is the link to the trip report http://tinyurl.com/2y98ky

Good luck with your planning!
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Oct 30th, 2007, 07:21 AM
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ga9497, you are mirroring my trip last summer! We stayed in Ennis (County Clare) which was a good based for the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, etc. We then stayed in a self-catering farmhouse about 20 minutes outside Killarney - very remote, probably not great for a family with kids. I would second Tralee as a central location for convenience to Dingle.

We stayed at Alcantra in Kilkenny, a great place. Kilkenny is very walkable, so I would recommend a place in the city.


Here's the details of my trip for more ideas:

http://www.greendragonartist.com/BItripreports2006.htm


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Oct 30th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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If you're in County Clare in late June & early July you might visit Miltown Malbay for Willie Clancy Memorial Summer Scoile Classes & Competitions. They are centered at the Armada Hotel on Spanish Point. Google Willie Clancy for dates.

If one or both your children are girls, you might get them some Step-dancing lessons (a la Riverdance).

I've stayed at Fitzgerald's B&B on the main drag in Miltown Malbay. I believe they have an e-mail address
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Oct 30th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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Thank you everyone

NEDSIRELAND- actually my son is very interested in this and I am going to start looking locally for any place that offers them


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Oct 31st, 2007, 02:48 PM
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ga9497 writes: "... actually my son is very interested in this and I am going to start looking locally for any place that offers them."

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound chauvenistic. Of course they need male dancers too. If you refer to locally (County Clare) Ennis would probably be your best bet to find some one-on-one instruction, especially in the week or so leading up to the Miltown Malbay thing (last week of June). Check with Cruise's Restaurant & Pub on Abbey Street in Ennis. That's where all the Ceili people get together.


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Nov 1st, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Nov 1st, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Looks like the plans are coming along nicely. A few things:

Ferdia was right, Ballyhannon Castle is a very cool self catering castle just outside the village of Quin. We got to tour it when it was up for sale. Rents by the week for not very cheap.

I agree with Ned on Ennis in general. The trad music scene is very strong there with lots of options and more educational opportunities. Doolin has long been considered a mecca for trad folks and there are certainly some good players, but it is a small village with three trad pubs. The scenery around Doolin is beautiful though.

I stayed at the Lakeside Lodge just outside Ennis. It is a working farm that perhaps the kids would enjoy. It's very peaceful and no more than 10 minutes into Ennis. The view is across the lake to Killone Abbey: http://www.lakeside.ie/ They have family rooms.

If Dingle is your main interest in Co. Kerry, consider The Shores Country House, my personal favorite B&B. I rave about Annette here all the time and have stayed with her enough times that we've established a nice friendship with her and her family. Beautiful place looking out on the longest beach in Ireland with Brandon Point in the distance. The peninsula is filled with fascinating history and mile for mile, gives you a great bang for the buck. The Shores is on the north side of the Peninsula and is more than worth the drive over the pass. If you were considering Tralee, (I consider Tralee not terribbly intersting and somewhat industrial), Castlegregory would make much more sense. http://www.theshorescountryhouse.com/

If you want a traditional Irish pub, Ned Natterjack's in Castlegregory is a fun place, way off the tourist path. Rather unassuming from the outside, it's warm and comfortable inside and they do some great trad there. Not everything is in the town of Dingle.

Staying at Dromoland or Ashford is a luxurious option. Both are beautiful 5 star hotels set in castles. You will be well pampered at either. That said, you won't get this old castle feel, rather, to me a very nice hotel in an old building. Really beautiful places though.

Hope this helps.

Bill
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Nov 1st, 2007, 10:07 AM
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I actually thought that Bunratty Folk Park was pretty cheesy after the Muckross Farms. So I'm not sure if you should do both (and I loved the Muckross Farms). In that area we stayed at the Doire farmhouse http://www.doirefarm.com/ which I highly recommend. It's near Kenmare out in the country but easy to get to the areas you are wanting to tour. We also thought the Burren and Cliffs of Moher were outstanding. You can read my trip report at http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/Ireland.htm. Good itineraries for a few of your days (like the burren touring one)
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Nov 2nd, 2007, 10:46 AM
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ga9497. If you're in Shannon area, think your lads would probably enjoy Bunratty. There's a reinactment of medieval bttle weekend every June - so timing wise might suit. Castle was carefully restored around 50 years ago by Gort'Hunt family (& Irish govt) with little consideration given to cost - so there's great attention to detail. You can also visit house that final occupants (Studdert family) moved to across the other side of the 'folk park' once the castle fell into disrepair in 1804.

Folk park has a range of farm animals - and a timber castle with a maze for kids to play.

Quin abbey (as are many castles in the area) has strong connections to the castle - and if you visit the old Bunratty church in the village - you'll discover alot of history of the village.

kids will also like Hazelbrook farm house - the HB icecream shop - which was transported brick by briack to the folk park.

Unfortunately the great Avoca shop/restaurant in the village recently burned!
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Nov 3rd, 2007, 11:10 AM
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12 nights will be a nice visit to Ireland.

I would suggest 2...but if you stay 3 nights in Dublin I would definately do a day tour to Newgrange. (personally, I would pick up car, drive to Newgrange and do on own...stay in trim and tour another castel...Trim castle and stay in Trim)

2 nights in Kilkenny...would stop at Glendalough on way. Tour Jerpoint Abbey (just outside of Kilkenny)...if tour Rock of Cashel on way the next day...you could tour Kilkenny Castle.

3 nights Kenmare...stop at Rock of Cashel on the way (you may have time for a stop at Cahir Castle also)...from Kenmare you can tour Beara Peninsula/healy pass and garnish island one day and Ross Castle and Muckross House the other.

another great day is a full day tour of the gap of dunloe by jaunting cart then boat thru lakes to ross castle

2 nights Dingle...be sure to drive scenic route thru moll's gap past ladies view and thru Killarney National Park...on full day in Dingle drive/explore Slea head loop...could do boat trip to see funghi on arrival day.

2 nights Bunratty-take killimer/tarbert ferry across shannon, up coast to cliffs of moher on way to Bunratty. Next day could spend at Folk Park and do either the folk night or banquet at the castle (we all enjoyed....including my niece and nephew ages 13 and 16)

link to our trips


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...ame=chip&fid=2

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...ame=chip&fid=2
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