Driving Ireland Itinerary

May 22nd, 2011, 12:28 PM
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Join Date: May 2011
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Driving Ireland Itinerary

My wife and I are coming to Ireland this summer from Aug 11-Aug 19. We are flying into Dublin and will be renting a car. In my online searches and purchasing the Frommer's guide to Ireland, this is what I have come up with. Can someone tell me if what I have planned in possible, crazy, too much, not worth a stop, etc. Thanks in advance.

Day 1. Arrive in Dublin in the morning, rent a car. Drive to Kilkenny, Waterford and finish in Cork. Sights to see: Mahon Falls, St. Anne's Church and the Blarney castle.

Day 2. Drive from Cork/Blarney to Killarney, Limerick and Galway. Sights to see: Muckross House and Gardens, Muckross Abbey, Crag Cave, St. Mary's Cathedral, Cliffs of Moher,

Day 3. Drive from Galway to Sligo/Ballina. Sights to see: Eyre Square, Bunratty Castle, Moyne Abbey, Rosserk Abbey, Corrowkeel Passage Tomb Cemetery. Markee Castle??

Day 4. Drive from Sligo to Belfast. Sights to see: Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrickfergus and the Antrim Coast, Belfast, Ulster Museum, White's Tavern, Odyssey Complex

Day 5. Drive from Belfast to Dublin. Cave Hill Country Park, Giant's RingReturn car.

Day 6. Dublin. St. Patrick's Catherdral, Dublin Castle, Grafton Street, Temple Bar

Day 7. Dublin. Dublin Zoo, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Ghost bus

Day 8. Dublin

Day 9. Leave to come home.

If you have suggestions on where to stay, I am open to anything. We would like to stay in a castle one night. maybe Bunratty, but not sure yet. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
jeffakaal2001 is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 12:48 PM
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Day is nuts. Not only will you be jet lagged -- you will be driving about 5 hours w/o any stops/sites.

And none of the following days get any better.

You are basically trying to circle the entire island in less than 5 days. That would really be 10-14 days worth.

Then you have 3 days in Dublin. I'd put your Dublin stay at the front end to get over the jet lag -- maybe 2 full days in Dublin. Then rent a car and do part of the Dublin > Cork > Galway > Dublin loop. I'd skip Waterford, and you just don't have enough time for Northern Ireland.

In re-calibrating your itinerary --use 30-35 mph except for the few motroways.
janisj is online now  
May 22nd, 2011, 01:07 PM
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I will have already been in Scotland for a week previous to that. But thanks for the advice, I will try to cut it down then. Much appreciated.
jeffakaal2001 is offline  
May 22nd, 2011, 01:43 PM
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Oops -- that should have read Day 1 is nuts.

OK - no jet lag. Good But the rest is still way too aggressive IMO. If you are trying to get to the SW - why are you flying into Dublin at all? You can fly from either EDI or GLA to Cork and then you can travel all along the SW/W coast and actually see/enjoy things
janisj is online now  
May 22nd, 2011, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Yeah, wow - lots of stuff being crammed in. You'll see lots of Ireland, as it passes you by out of a car window

Day 1, as noted, is pretty crazy. Day 2 is a bit crazy, too. From Cork to Galway, via the several places you mention - is probably close to 5-6 hours in the car. You will head west to Killarney, then back east to Limerick, then back slightly west to the Cliffs before heading up toward Galway. Trying to go that distance means that you will not enjoy any of the places that you plan on stopping to see.

I'm with janisj - focus on the SW/W OR Dublin/NI. My first trip was 12 days and we only did a half circle from Shannon to Dublin, and I still didn't get to do everything I wanted. It may seem like you have to see everything, but you can't, and trying will only mean giving the things you do see short shrift.

Also, you can't stay at Bunratty Castle (Bunratty Castle Hotel is actually a hotel across from the castle), but there are others to choose from, like this one near Galway - http://www.ashford.ie/location.html . Can't vouch for it, but it looks pretty swanky!

More folks can offer accomodation advice, I'm sure, once you work out more of your plans.
jefe is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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I've been to Ireland twice and it took us 2 trips of 8 days each to see what you want to do in the first 6 days of your trip. You simply won't be able to do all that you want to do in that amount of time.
A good website for driving routes, distances and times is the AA Route Planner: http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/
longhorn55 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I agree that this itinerary seems CRAZAY!

We spent nine wonderful days in Ireland last summer, and it was really one of our best trips yet. We flew into Dublin and out of Shannon, so I would modify our itinerary a bit to get you back to Dublin, but here's my trip report, including links to photo albums and details about each of our stops:

It's tempting to try to squeeze everything into a short trip, but then you will really miss out on actually experiencing Ireland. After all of our research on Ireland, we decided to focus on Dublin, Dingle, and Galway. That being said, I'd modify your itinerary as follows:

Day 1. Arrive in Dublin in the morning, DO NOT rent a car yet.
Dublin. St. Patrick's Catherdral, Dublin Castle, Grafton Street, Temple Bar. Stay in Dublin.

Day 2. Dublin. Dublin Zoo, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Ghost bus. Stay in Dublin.

Day 3. Drive from Dublin to Dingle via Kilkenny and whatever else looks interesting along the way. Full day of driving. Stay in Dingle.

Day 4. Dingle. Slea Head Drive. Stay in Dingle.

Day 5. Dingle. Conor Pass and Dingle Peninsula. Stay in Dingle.

Day 6. West cost drive from Dingle to Galway via the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. Stay in Galway.

Day 7. Galway. Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, and Ashford Castle. Stay in Galway.

Day 8. Galway to Dublin. Stay in Dublin.

Day 9. Leave to come home.

Even this seems like a lot packed into a short amount of time to me!
Haven17 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 11:10 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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More or less repeating what has been said before:
Unless Dublin is a must-see on your list, you should take advantage of the multitude of air connections from Scotland.
Besides Cork and Shannon, you should also be able to fly nonstop to Kerry airport (for Killarney, Ring of Kerry) or Knock or Derry (for the NW). Check Ryanair, possibly easyjet, or Aer Arann for route maps.
There is no need to start in the big city unless you want to.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
May 27th, 2011, 08:43 AM
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Thank you to all who have given their "two cents" about driving around Ireland. I will reconsider our itinerary to try and enjoy a little more, rather than driving soooo much. Thanks again for the advice!!!
jeffakaal2001 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2011, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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4 of us went to Ireland last summer for 9 days. We flew in & out of Dublin & rented a car& immediatly headed out to the Wicklow Mt. Area, Kilkinney, Waterford, Rock of Cashil, Kenmare, Doolin, Galway & back to Dublin for the last 2 days. Dublin seemed like driving in any big city in US. Crazy but doable. It does take longer to get around due to the roads. . .narrow! Curves! Few signs on the minor roads. We got lost a lot but never minded because of how beautiful all the scenery is. Driving thru the smaller towns was the best! And stopping at the local pubs for dinner was always fun. Most had live music in the evenings. We spent too much time in the car just doing that route. We would have skipped Kilarney if we did it again. Too touristry, crowded, traffic, spent too much time looking for a parking spot. Kenmare was just as beautiful, with lots to see & do. No matter what you do, where you go, or how long you are there, you will leave a fan of. ireland. The 4 of us would go back tomorrow! We stayed in b&b's except in Dublin. All were very nice and owners very helpful with planning info for us. I couldn't get over how many of them there are. We went thru CIE tours for vouchers. Their list of b&bs are inspected and approved to meet their list. Enjoy!
Marilynwantstogo is offline  
Jun 12th, 2011, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Well from an actual Irish persons point of view your itinerary is wonderful and attempts to capture the best aspects of Ireland but unfortunatly its is unrealistic.
You should take the advice that Haven17 has given you. For someone who isnt from here, it is an excellent plan. Well done!

That being said I would like to give you a another few pieces of info =)

Day Two I honestly wouldn’t bother with the Ghost Bus. Just walk through the streets of Dublin, its worth your time.
Also on Day Three, Don’t drive to Kilkenny, Take the motorway the whole way to Cork, it magnificently fast and you could be in Cork in less than 2 and half hours. Ok the sights arnt too great along the way but you get to see more when you arrive as you save hours. Personally I don’t like Kilkenny town but maybe im being biased! When you arrive in Cork there are many things that you can do. If you want more info then let me know! Obviously since Queen Elizabeth’s arrival to the English Market, it is booming but it has always been a love of mine.

Dingle or an Daingean as its supposed to be called is a wonderful welcoming touristy town that is about two and half hour’s drive from Cork City but sights are splendid along the way so it isn’t very painful! I spend alot of my summers on the peninsula. A Few tips, that you don’t have to do if you don’t want but I think they are a must. Stay in a nice B&B in the town, Get ice cream from Murphy’s ice cream. It is outrageously delicious! If you like Fish make a reservation at Out of the Blue, the fish it literally just off the boat and served! Instead of seeing Fungi (a famous Dolphin that is soooo popular especially with children) take a trip to Blasket Islands. But only do this on a really clear day.
As Haven17 said drive Slea Head but again only a really clear day!

My last bit of advice is when you drive the Conor Pass on Day 5 go into a small little holiday town called Castlegregory. I spent all my childhood summers there! Drive through the village and out towards the beach, you will pass the front beach on your right and see all activities out on the water like windsurfing and a trampoline in the water. Although this beach is lovely continue on until you see cars and jeeps parked in sand dunes and on the grass, its a scramble to get parking for the back beach. But once you find something hop out and go onto the beach on the left. It is my favourite beach in the whole of Ireland and I think it’s one of the longest. Walk along the shore for miles and enjoy watching all the surfers. Alternatively you could climb Mount Brandon if your into this. It’s not that hard but moderate fitness is required. It’s about 3000 ft but you don’t have to go the whole way up as the last part is the hardest. The views, even from three quarters of the way up are great as your looking down on this beach.
Then you could return to Dingle via the Conner pass or go the other way through Annascaul. If you decide to go this way the stop at Tom Crean’s (the famous explorer) pub – The South Pole Inn. Sit outside and enjoy a nice well deserved pint and some Cheese and Onion tatyo crisps!
Make sure to go to an Irish Traditional music session in Dingle too and usually the old church in the town on the main street St James Church runs lil concerts throughout the summer. They are wonderful and truly 'Irish'.

The rest of your itinerary sounds great. Happy Travelling
ArtyJones is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2011, 04:48 PM
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Thank you very much. I am taking all of this information in.
jeffakaal2001 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2011, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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ArtyJones--I'm quite jealous of your summers on the Dingle peninsula. I love to travel, and Dingle is my favorite place ever. Your recommendations have me aching for a trip back very soon.
Haven17 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2011, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6
Last trip to Ireland there were six of us - spouse, parents, sister, 18 yo nephew - had a blast. My advice, if you decide to visit Cork, is to not drive an LR3 through the city; very tricky on those one lane streets when you encounter on-coming traffic (but LR3 wins). Guinness Storehouse in Dublin was interesting, but am very happy that we didn't have to pay for it; time was far better spent drinking Guinness at the Brazen Head and catching the music pub tour (get your tickets at The Oliver St. John Gogarty). Can't wait for the next trip summer of 2012!
kdee is offline  

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