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JimKal May 5th, 2014 05:11 AM

Driving trip in Ireland September
My wife and I are traveling to Ireland in mid-September. We are flying into Shannon. We will be there for two weeks. My tentative plan is to spend the first two days near Shannon - either Ennis or Limerick. We will Probably try for the Dublin area after that and will spend a few days there. Then we will head for Cork and again spend a few days. Some questions I have for experienced Ireland travelers:

Should I just rent a car at Shannon or is it possible to take public transport to Ennis or Limerick and then rent a car as we prepare to leave for the rest of the trip? (I'm a little concerned about driving after being up so long and our usual plan when traveling to Europe is to just stay awake as long as possible that first day to get back on schedule - walk around town, general exploring).

I would prefer to stay somewhere on the outskirts of Dublin and take public transport in for sightseeing, museums, etc., to avoid urban driving. (Safer for the locals and me) Is this possible?

Each place we stay would serve as a temporary base while we explore the town and surrounding countryside so I would appreciate any suggestions on how long to stay in each place and places we shouldn't miss. We enjoy museums, historical sites, country walks, urban exploring. My wife and I both have some Irish ancestry so this visit is, in part, to explore this roots.

bilboburgler May 5th, 2014 05:50 AM


Tony2phones May 5th, 2014 09:05 AM

Shannon is a good simple and easy introduction to Irish Driving whether you pick up a car on arrival (which I recommend) or after some time on the ground. My question would come with Dublin in the middle whether having a car for those first days makes sense.. I am a bit confused as to the Shannon region - Dublin region - Cork region order of things

Have you considered using open jaw and starting/ending in Dublin?

JimKal May 7th, 2014 05:59 AM

Thanks Tiny. I've seen you provide a lot of helpful information on this forum to us first time Ireland visitors. I sorry if my query was a bit confusing. Unfortunately, I've already made the flight arrangements in and out of Shannon. On most of our trips to Europe we have used public transportation and I had been thinking of doing the same in Ireland. But, much of what I have read has convinced me that renting a car is the better way to visit. So, we don't have a particular order of how to arrange the visit other than the first day or two will be spent somewhere close to Shannon - probably Ennis or Limerick. We will stay awake as long as possible to get on the local time schedule so it will be best spent walking around a town with things to do and see. My wife wants to see the Clare area - her ancestors, and I want to see the Cork area - my ancestors. We both want to see Dublin because it's Dublin. Castles, museums, countryside, food, and drink will get the rest of our attention.

Itallian_Chauffer May 7th, 2014 06:53 AM

Have you considered renting the car and the visiting Clare and Cork and then turning in the car and taking the train to Dublin?
After Dublin you could train back to Limerick and and catch a bus to Shannon.

Itallian_Chauffer May 7th, 2014 06:54 AM

Alternately, DRIVE to Dublin, drop the car and THEN train / bus to Shannon -- If you want to visit Cahir, Kildare or the Rock of Cashel, on your way to Dublin.

mkd58 May 7th, 2014 07:16 AM

Have you given any thought to Kerry, especially Dingle. The peninsula is breathtaking! The Great Blasket Island, Ring of Kerry, Inch Strand etc. We drove from Dublin to Kinsale, Cork then over to Kerry. I have flown into both airports, driving out of Shannon is fine, be sure and bring a GPS. Have fun!

mkd58 May 7th, 2014 07:25 AM

if you go in that direction...Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, great food. Out of the Blue in Dingle, both seafood focused!

Tony2phones May 7th, 2014 09:46 AM

Don't think anyone has called me Tiny before? you must have caught me in a very big empty room or from a long distance ;)

I would move the Dublin point as suggested by IC. Ennis for a couple of days as a touring base then Killarney then Cork. train or express bus to Dublin and then the bus back to Bunratty for your last night and learly morning cab to the airport (there is now a bus from Dublin to Bunratty)

Where in Clare and Cork is your ancestry as these are large counties..

I shouldn't comment on overpriced fish from unimaginatively named posh chippers but I wouldn't eat in either of them.

flpab May 7th, 2014 10:06 AM

You can do public transportation all over Ireland. There are many day tours to see things that you would need a car for in the bigger cities. One of the villages like Bray or Greystones along the train line are nice to stay at and you can take the train into Dublin and enjoy the sea at night.

JimKal May 7th, 2014 01:24 PM

Thank you everyone for your great suggestion and a special apology to Tony for mistyping his name. My fingers outran my brain, a great feat since they are both getting slower:) Unfortunately I don't have more specific information about locations in Clare and Cork. My grandfather left Cork at the turn of the last century and he died some forty years ago, If I can find some Moriartys perhaps they can clue me into locations. I really like the idea of using the car for Clare and Cork and then public transport to and from Dublin. As the flight is relatively early I had been thinking of staying in the hotel at the airport. Many here have reported that you can simply walk to the airport. The info I have seen indicates that you need to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight. A 9AM flight means we would need to be at the airport by 6AM.

Padraig May 7th, 2014 03:48 PM

Tony wrote: "I shouldn't comment on overpriced fish from unimaginatively named posh chippers but I wouldn't eat in either of them."

That's very unfair.

Tony2phones May 8th, 2014 02:16 AM

I can think of only 4 places on the Island I will never eat again 2 of them above, Mitchelles Clifden and Morans on the Weir in Clarinbridge being the others.

Moriarty's Lane no longer exists in Cork but there is/was Moriarty's pub Mallow.. It is a known name in Cork so you might find someone down there,

The Park Inn is the Airport Hotel, the Oakwood Arms in Shannon is a short cab ride away but I was thinking Bunratty (which I don't usually recommend)because of the new bus service which connects Dublin to Ennis via Limerick and Bunratty, why not SNN is anyone's guess?

Padraig May 8th, 2014 02:53 AM

It's still unfair to dismiss out of hand, without giving any reason, restaurants that are generally highly-regarded. That high regard is borne out by reviews that can be checked online.

I like seafood. I like good cooking - but I'm not into chippers. I'm prepared to pay the price for quality. Whenever Herself and I are on the Dingle Peninsula, we are likely to eat in Out of the Blue because it is far from being an overpriced posh chipper: it'a a proper seafood restaurant, tending towards high-end dining.

Tony2phones May 8th, 2014 07:16 AM

Unfortunately I was reared on fresh sea/river/farm/sky to table food even made a living running a popular 60 cover Restaurant/Bar for a short time in the early 80's


I prefer to taste the meat rather than the dressing and I know Dingle runs on Dublin prices but Dab (sorry Plaice??)at well over €20? (about 3 years ago)sorry.

Can't remember what I paid for a Mussels starter and a seafood Chowder at Fishyfish but we didn't stay for the main..

Mitchelles wouldn't give it the dog but then being wound up by pretensions (straight from the Irish ferries mould) staff didn't help.

Morans on the Wier nice location nuf said?

mkd58 May 8th, 2014 08:29 AM

I am not going to join the foray over food; personal taste in food, is as individual as the person.

Anyway, I was with my friend who grew up in Cork today, and mentioned this thread. She wanted to add her advise...don't miss Cobh in Cork. It is very powerful emotionally!

thirdgen May 9th, 2014 03:58 PM

Don't forget the west coast,especially Connemara, Clare & Dingle. They are gorgeous counties and Connemara & Dingle are Irish speaking. Dublin is fine but if you have been to large European cities, you might want to skip Dublin and concentrate on the countryside & towns.

Celticharper May 13th, 2014 11:13 AM

There are so many wonderful places to visit in the west that I'm wondering if skipping Dublin this time around might be something you should consider. We found that driving time in Ireland is a lot longer that one would anticipate looking at the map. We did the Dublin then the west coast areas on one visit and found that we felt very rushed the entire trip. Our second visit was west coast only in and out of Shannon and was alot more enjoyable since we found we could dawdle whenever we pleased and had a much slower paced trip even though we traveled more and saw more places than the previous trip. Our first trip was in the fall in October and we found the weather lovely that time of year.

Ozarksbill May 13th, 2014 11:25 AM

I would favor buses etc. Anyway, yes Kerry for sure, not much in Limerick. En route going east Rock of Cashel if possible. Lots in Dublin depending on taste. How about Abbey and Gate theater performances? Surely the pubs as well. And of course Glendalough to the south and Newgrange to the north.

JimKal May 13th, 2014 12:35 PM

Again, thank you everyone. You have given me much to think about. We will focus on the west but I would still like to get in a short visit to Dublin.

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