Favourite Places in Ireland

Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:51 AM
  #1  
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Favourite Places in Ireland

I am planning an Ireland October trip and I am overwhelmed with options of where exactly to go. So many places so little time. I have 2 guidebooks but they provide very little "opinion" on what I just HAVE to see.

So.. what are your favourite 3 places / sights / experiences in Ireland?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:00 PM
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Anyplace in Wicklow (Glendalough especially)
The Ring of Kerry
The Cliffs of Moher
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:10 PM
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wilees: What a fun question! We just returned from our first family trip to Ireland in July 2006. Here are my favorite 3 places/sites/experiences:

WESTPORT, COUNTY MAYO
Why: I love Matt Malloys pub for trad Irish music; Westport is an attractive small town for shopping & strolling; good base for day-trips into scenic nearby areas. County Mayo is a bit off the beaten path.

COUNTY CLARE
Why: Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, and Greene's Pub in Ballyvaugahn for trad music. County Clare is gorgeous and mysterious.

DUNGUAIRE CASTLE MEDIEVAL BANQUET, Kinvara, County Galway
Why: It's fun to be "my lady" for one evening; love the mead; enjoyed hearing entertaining dramatization of Irish poetry/song/stories. (Note: this is close to County Clare, even though it's actually in County Galway.)

Make your list of places you "have" to see and then chop it in half. Put half in a file and label it "2nd Ireland Trip Someday".

We especially enjoyed choosing several amazing counties and spending 3 nights per county in one b&b as a base for our day-trips. We saw a lot and enjoyed not having to change accomodations every night. that's our style. Enjoy discovering your style!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:54 PM
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If Northern Ireland is an option, we loved our walk in the Glenariff Forest Park, Waterfall Walk.
http://tinyurl.com/oyvvs
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:55 PM
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Definitely the Cliffs of Moher (Amazing!)

The Dingle Peninsula (beautiful scenery and history..Blasket Islands)

The Aran Islands (rugged beauty)

If you go to the North:

The Giants Causeway (how did that happen? Myth or science?)

Carrick-A-Rede Bridge (crossing the rope bridge can be a thrill)

Belfast Black Taxi tour (brought more understanding of the troubles)

Keep us posted on your plans, we'd love to hear what your final itinerary will be!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:11 PM
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If I could return to Ireland and visit only three places, they would definitely be:

--Dingle/The Dingle Peninsula
--Glendalough
--Foulksrath Castle, the hostel outside Kilkenny
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:23 PM
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Hope this is helpful:

Favorites
1) Dingle and the Peninsula
2) Northern coast starting at Bushmills and traveling east.
3) Newgrange

Not so favorite
1) Dublin
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:30 PM
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Many options, but I would pick as the top three:
Dingle Peninsula
Giants Causeway
Powerscourt Gardens
All of those previously mentioned are worth seeing, however, although I found Cliffs of Moher to be overrated and not as impressive as the Highway 1 coastline in California.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 02:34 PM
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Dingle Peninsula, particularly Slea Head area - Beehive huts, Gallatus Oratory, beach at Inch.

Westport - delightful town, lots of neat things to do around there - Connemarra, Achill Island, Knock

Clonmacnois - amazing 6th c (I think) monastery, beautiful country there in the Midlands. Also check out Slieve Bloom Mtns., Birr and Athlone are nice towns, just south Co. Laois is lovely and often overlooked.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 03:38 PM
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It is fun asking everyone for their favorite places in Ireland. However, if you really want to narrow down your choices it would help to know where you are flying into and departing from. How long you have. What your interests are.

Maybe you are taking a ferry? I notice you do not spell like an American or Canadian. Perhaps no overnight flight for you?

There are many fantastic things to see in Ireland. The guide books don't have "opinions" because they write for a vast audience. The guide book writers do not know your personal preferences. It is up to you to read them and decide what YOU like.

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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 09:29 PM
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I have only been to Dublin and the southern and southwestern areas, but from what I have seen, these are my favorite places:

Glendalough
Dingle/Slea Head
Kinsale (in the off-season)
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:27 PM
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I am a kiwi in London so will either fly in or take a ferry depending on where I start. Will have 1 -2 weeks depending on how many places I just have to see. And we will rent a car. I like history and scenery and music. Not so into art.

I really am at the beginning of my travel plans. And we are so close that I can go whereever I like.

I will be back in NZ by 2007 so I have so many places I want to see in the next 18 months between working!!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:40 PM
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Kinsale/ Cork
Dingle
Cliffs of Moher.
Love the Irish people and the scenery there,but their roads are awful. Also the food is generally not too tasty. Enjoy.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 11:43 PM
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"we are so close that I can go whereever I like."

You can't. Ireland is BLOODY slow to travel round. If you're based in London (from where there are millions of dirt-cheap flights to over a dozen different Irish airports), and if free time is short it makes no sense at all to spend that time driving through missable, drab countryside to get from one end of the country to another.

For you - unlike Americans who have to invest in a transatlantic journey to get to Ireland - it will probably make most sense to break your Irish experience into gobbits after deciding where you want to go.

Spend an autummn week in the South/West, for example, hiring a car from Shannon, Galway or Kerry airports. Then pop back later for a boozy, car-free, weekend in Dublin - which you can do practically any time.

It's very hard to see any point at all in getting a ferry. True, the scenery in West Wales, Snowdonia and Galloway is glorious and Liverpool is wonderful. But it just complicates your plans trying to combine these with an Irish jaunt.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2006, 01:27 AM
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I would suggest you pick 3 or 4 major towns as bases & explore each area depending on the weather at the time.
If wet explore the town, if dry get out to the views. It will also allow more time to absorb the experience & make the trip more memorable.
I would visit Galway - consider trips out to Clifden, Cong & Strandhill on dry days & explore the town on wet.
Cork - trips to historic Cobh, Kinsale, Ring of Kerry or even Dingle.
My preferred location is Carrick on Shannon, Lietrim - a little gem of a town I have visited regularly over the last 15 years.
The best place for ice cream cones is 1st in Roosky at the general store, 2nd best is Gartlans in Carrick on Shannon & 3rd was a little toy shop on the old N4 in Ballisodare. I do like the cones everywhere but those have been the best ones I have had that have stayed the best each year I have been.
If you refine your request to a few areas you will get better advice. I wouldn't want to be speeding from one end of Ireland to the other even though the places are worth seeing. You should concentrate on 1 or 2 places. You should have a good time anyway.
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Old Aug 26th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Dingle-nice B&B's in town so easy to walk to everything...charming town to stroll, shop, great dining, pubs, and music...scenic drive-slea head loop/connor's pass ...could also do boat trip, golf/pitch+putt, horseback riding,hike, bike

Kenmare-ditto above but scenic drives x3...north thru moll's gap past ladies view thru killarney national park (or on way from Dingle to Kenmare), west-ROK, east-beara peninsula/healy pass...could also boat to garnish island plus stone ring at edge of town

Doolin-3 great pubs (can recommend O'Connors and McGann's for good pub grub)...sights-cliffs of moher, burren, scenic coastal drives

visited all 3 on first trip and on 2nd trip this past June (can click on my name to look up trip reports for more info) and would love to return to each...lots to explore in these areas
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Old Aug 26th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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The key to your trip is that you are going in October. I was going to suggest No. Ireland but most things are closed there except for weekends (historic houses, gardens, castles, etc.). Many of the smaller places that people have suggested will be ghost towns.

Because of your limitations I would suggest:

Kilkenny: Great little city with plenty of beautiful scenery on the doorstep. Good base for a few days.

Wicklow Mountains: Powerscourt, Glendalough, etc. The leafy areas should be full of autumn color.

Cashel/Cahir: Steeped in history, fantastic ruins, fab castle, wonderful little folly.

Killarney: I know that the others will slice and dice me for this suggestion. In Oct the tourists are just a fond memory. It is perfectly situated for doing the whole southwest as day trips. Plus its pubs, restaurants, B&Bs, etc. will all be open.

Dingle: I would go there any time even in the dead of winter.

Galway: A town that grew too fast into a sprawling city. But a good location for more day trips (both south, north and west). Good restaurants, B&Bs, pubs and more.

You will want to base in larger towns and cities so if the weather is bad you have other options.

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Old Aug 27th, 2006, 07:59 PM
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wilees...Enjoy Ireland in October! There isn't anyplace you HAVE to see, because I can tell you that you will fall in love with Ireland no matter which Counties you decide to visit. By the way haven't I heard from you on the New Zealand forum? I am over there planning our 25th anniversary trip...are you going to New Zealand for work or do you live there?

Let us know where you decide to go in Ireland. Yes, it is annoying when guidebooks make every place sound equally good...it doesn't help. For Ireland I found Michele Erdvig's Best Little Guide to Ireland very helpful, as she has it narrowed down a bit more and her style suits our style. I used fodors and also Michele's www.IrelandYes.com travel forum and her book. Those were the best. (I have a whole shelf of Ireland guidebooks now actually!)

Read a lot and talk to a lot of people, and my advice is then select 2 or 3 counties to concentrate on. My favorite counties were County Kerry, County Clare, and County Mayo.

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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 01:45 AM
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Inishmore (stay overnight).

Malin Head.

Galway.
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Old Aug 28th, 2006, 02:12 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions.

Irish Eyes - Good point. We did Scotland in October last year and kinda expect the same level of "openness". I just will need to plan ahead and check online opening hours. It also makes finding accommodation really easy.

Melissa5 - I am a New Zealander. I have been away for 16 months now - with 12 more to go. I occasionally lurk in the NZ forum - and think I answered your post. But I am very homesick at the moment. (Remedy - plan more travel!!!!)

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