Critique my itinerary.

Old Dec 31st, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Critique my itinerary.

I've decided to change my mind about having a base camp and do daily B&B's instead. I haven't really even looked into that yet. Still working on revised itineary. 3 woman renting a car.

day 1. Fly into Shannon in morning, pick up car and head to Galway. Spend the night there.
day 2. Drive to Doolin stopping at Aillwee Cave, The Burren and Doolin cave. Spend night in Doolin.
day 3. Cliffs of moher, Go to Ballyvaughan. Drive to Bunratty for medevil banquet. Spend night in Bunratty.
day 4. Drive to Dingle with a stop in Adare. Spend night in Dingle.
day 5. Drive to Killarney and spend night there.
day 6. Do Gap of Dunloe then drive to Blarney Castle. Continue on to Ardmore with a stop in Youghal. Spend night in Ardmore.
day 7. Drive to Waterford. Do crystal tour, Reginalds tower then drive to Kilkenny. See Kilkenny Castle, St Canice Cathdral and Black Abbey. Spend night in Kilkenny.
day 8. Drive to Cahir. See Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage. Drive to Cashel/rock of cashel and continue on to Shannon. Spend night in Shannon.
day 9. Fly out of shannon.

Is there anything thats too far or things I should or should be seeing. Looking for the "touristy" things but also looking to stop in small villages/towns along the way. Not intersted in big cities. Any suggestions/comments welcome. Also thinking of just booking b&b's up to Killarney then "winging it" afterwards.. Thanks!!
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Old Dec 31st, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Certainly others can chime in on what to see/what not to see, etc. I have been to Ireland 5 times, but will only say in this post to slow down

WHY would you only want to stay one night in each city? You are going to spend most of your time driving. Have you ever driven in Ireland before? It may look on the map like it's an hour drive, but may well (usually) end up taking much longer.

IMHO: Way, way, WAY too much.. Quite frankly, it's ridiculous.

Ireland is a lovely country, especially the small villages. Why not just pick two places and really enjoy the relaxed pace of Ireland? Also I'd skip the Medieval banquet. You'd have more fun in a pub meeting locals.

All of this in 9 days? (actually 8, as you are flying out the 9th day) *= Overnights

The Burren (Cliffs)
Blarney Village (Blarney Castle)

This is your itinerary on a map --- >

It's really a lot for only 8 days. I was in Italy for a month and didn't go to this many cities. (nor would I want to).
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 07:24 AM
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You can't blame people for wanting to 'See It All' -- It's a natural, human ideal. Ireland looks so SMALL, on the map and distances are relatively short.

That's highly unlikely, though.
Here's a way to REALLY assess your plan:
Just as an example --
"day 6. Do Gap Of Dunloe then drive to Blarney Castle. Continue on to Ardmore with a stop in Youghal. Spend night in Ardmore."

According to AA the drive is 104.5 miles (168.14 Km)and their historically OPTOMISTIC drive time lists 2 hours and 42 minutes. Call it 3.5 hours - Minimum - and you would be CLOSER to accurate. The typical Tourist can expect to average 30-35 MPH on N and R roads, according to most experts. Personally (with 16 Visits to my credit)believe that a First-Timer will likely AVERAGE closer to 25-30 MPH.
There's just so MUCH to see -- So many reasons to stop for photos -- at practically every bend of the road!

Still, it still might SOUND like it COULD be done -- But the Devil is in the DETAILS ...

The full Gap of Dunloe Tour (with travel through the Pass and the Boat ride across the lakes begins about 10:30 AM and ends around 4 PM -- see:

Blarney has beautiful grounds, an interesting Manor House and a picturesque Castle Keep (Plus, the Rock for snogging -if you are into such)that will take a MINIMUM of an hour to visit -- IF it's not crowded.

The N25 misses MOST of Youghal, so assuming you want to see more than just the outskirts, you'll need to add (at minimum)another 1/2 hour.
So, after Touring the Gap, depart Killarney about 4:30 or 5 PM and drive to Blarney -- arriving around 6:30 PM (Being Optomistic- distance is approx. 60 Miles) Assuming they are still open, Spend 1 hour.
Depart Blarney at 7:30 and drive to Youghal (Approximately 40 miles -- call it an hour and a half, as Cork traffic can really slow you down) and arrive at 8:30. Spend 30 minutes seeing/doing whatever and resume driving at 9:00.
The drive into Ardmore is under 10 miles, but the R 673 is slow going -- I would allow 1/2 hour and call it 9:30 PM.

What I've laid out provides MINIMUM stop times for attractions, but you would also need to factor in at least one more stop, for a meal -- minimum of 1/2 hour, but more typically (in Ireland) it will be AT LEAST one hour.

That adds up to in excess of a 12 hour day and assumes that what you want to see is available when you are. It also assumes good weather -- something that is NEVER guaranteed.

I would STRONGLY suggest that you revisit your 'Must See' list and determine what is REALLY essential.

Good Luck!
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 08:42 AM
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shaizme, I hope you will listen to the last couple of posts. I have not been to Ireland in a long time, but we did your proposed first 6 days, albeit in reverse, in about a week and a half. That was pre-children, when we still did not mind jumping in the car and going every day, but we found that it was really, really nice to stay at least two nights in one place when we could. (We alternated between B&Bs and small hotels.) The distances on the map are quite deceiving.

In September you will still have a good amount of daylight for driving, which makes it a little easier, IMO, to base yourself in the same place for more than one night.

I won't make any specific suggestions because it's been so long, except for this - we did not stop for Bunratty mid-trip, but since we were flying out of Shannon, we planned to have our last dinner there. Several friends had said it fell into the "touristy but lots of fun" category. As far as the itinerary went, it worked out well to do that - we drove to our last hotel, checked in, and I had time to go walk around the grounds of the Folk Park before it closed. Alas, we had to cancel the dinner plans, because my husband had food poisoning stemming from an unfortunate breakfast choice the day before (leading to our non-negotiable "no black pudding while traveling" rule). Since your time is somewhat limited, I would suggest leaving that for the end rather than stopping there at the expense of some of the other places on your list.
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 05:38 PM
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Thank you Italian chauffer (Bob) and Barbara. Your replies are what I was looking for. I knew I had too much and I was looking for opinions on "tweeking" it. Maybe that was "ridiculous" of me. lol So with your suggestions so far, I have cut Galway and Kilkenny with adding one night longer in Killarney.

I was also thinking of cutting Bunratty. But would that make it too long to drive straight thru from Doolin to Dingle? the only "must haves" are The cliffs, Waterford (unless theres an equivalent somewhere closer to the West Coast?) and Blarney Castle. Yes, I know they are a great deal apart. As far as 12 hour days, thats not a problem. I'm not on vacation for a "relaxed" time. So I know I still need to work on my itinerary, specially in the Waterford area. Still a work in progress. Thanks for your input! Any further are greatly appreicated!
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 06:00 PM
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Ok - I'll ask - why Waterford? It is certainly OK - but IMO not worth the time to get there plus it cuts time you have in other/better areas. (I'd keep Galway over Waterford any time.)

You really do need to take more than just the drive times into account. Everything will take longer for three than someone traveling alone.

Try to arrange two night stays most places. If it takes most of a day to get someplace and then you leave first thing in the AM, you won't have spent any time 'there'.
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 06:26 PM
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One of my companions "must have" is Waterford. The only thing she definately wants to do. So I have to work it in there. I figured it would be better to just stay a night there then a day trip from somewhere else and double the driving?
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Old Jan 1st, 2013, 08:34 PM
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There's Kinsale Crystal where you can see the cutting but not the blowing; they bring in blanks from somewhere else. A mom and pop operation but pop used to work for Waterford.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 04:18 AM
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Thanks jaja. I did find out about Kinsale last night while searching alternatives. It looks good. I think I've got my companion convinced. So the "tweeking" continues. What I'm looking at now is:
# 1 fly in to Shannon and go to Doolin.. spend one night seeing the burren & cliffs.
#2 & #3 nights spend in Dingle.
#4 & #5 nights spend in Killarney.
#6 & #7 nights spend in Kinsale.
#8 head back up to Shannon and leave on Day #9.

So my question now: Can I still "cram" Cashel in on the way back to Shannon. I know thats a long haul from Kinsale..
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Old Jan 2nd, 2013, 07:13 AM
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"Maybe that was "ridiculous" of me."
No, not at all. You merely committed the most common, first-timer's planning error. I did almost the exact same thing, on my first visit, 14 years ago!
"As far as 12 hour days, thats not a problem. I'm not on vacation for a "relaxed" time. " Not everyone's travel style is the same. Those of us who are 'Repeat' Visitors, generally fall into the more slower-paced category. That may well be because of our preferred style of travel --but it also has a LOT to do with the nature of Ireland and the Irish.
Generally speaking, the country and the people are of the more, 'Laid Back' variety. Sometimes, and idle question can morph into HOURS of fascinating conversation -- if you allow it to happen ...
And THAT is the real Beauty and Magic of Ireland. It is FOR moments like that, that we return -- Again and Again.

More to the point : Waterford is an easy day-trip from Kinsale (90 miles, each way on MOSTLY good roads). You could probably go, visit and return in 6 hours time.

The drive from Kinsale to Shannon, via the N20 is about 94 miles and should take about 3 hours, without stops. Adding in a Cashel detour, makes it 126 miles, which should take about 4 hours. If you allow 2.5 hours for touring the Rock (don't miss nearby Hore Abbey!),lunch (at Ryan's Daughter, or Granny's Kitchen)-- That STILL makes the day DO-ABLE, without being TOO frantic!

As to what you are giving up -- Galway and Kilkenny are both delightful, youthful, hip SMALL cities. Well worth a visit but the antithesis of "Not intersted in big cities."

I suspect you will enjoy what you DO get to SEE much more than you will regret, what you 'Missed'

All mileage and routing came from: I ignored THEIR Travel Time figures -- as should YOU -- as they presume that you are an Irish driver, familiar with Irish roads, vehicles, Right-Hand driving -- AND, that you are only interested in getting from Point 'A' to Point 'B'.
NOT at all what visiting (and SEEING) Ireland is all about!

Hope you have a WONDERFUL, Memory-Filled Trip!

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