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Finally.... final rough itinerary for Ireland - could use one last suggestion!

Finally.... final rough itinerary for Ireland - could use one last suggestion!

Apr 30th, 2003, 05:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 529
Finally.... final rough itinerary for Ireland - could use one last suggestion!

Thanks to all for the great help and suggestions offered in response to my previous post of a very rough itinerary. Have finalized details and based on valued input, have broken up the longest leg of trip into two days to create more relaxed schedule. Please note that I can NOT afford to change my flight to Shannon - I am committed to flying in and out of Dublin and am okay with that. Our goal is a relaxed vacation with a relatively open itinerary but I have made advance reservations for all nights except the second to the last night of trip, when we should be somewhere between Doolin and Dublin.

Most specifically, I'm still in search of ideas for how best to spend day 7 of the trip... best to travel around the Doolin area and then get an early start for the drive back to Dublin on Saturday or perhaps stay somewhere along the way?

Days 1 and 2 ? arrive Dublin noon, get car - head to Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains area. Stay at Derrymore House two nights to decompress and get adjusted and see Powerscourt Gardens etc.

Day 3 - head out after breakfast towards the west . Leisurely drive there through scenic route,
stop at Curragh and National Stud to see horses (my GF loves horses and this is a must).
Stay at Dualla House just outside Cashel.

Day 4 ? head out early, finish drive to Dingle area by mid-day to early afternoon and check in at Clonmara outside Dingle town, overlooking the harbor.

Days 5 and 6 ? explore Dingle peninsula area with Clonmara serving as our base.

Day 7 ? check out of Clonmara, start a leisurely drive back towards Dublin, taking scenic and rural route if possible. Perhaps see the Cliffs of Mooher that morning and then stay somewhere along the way. Suggestions?

Day 8 ? would like to arrive Dublin airport by late morning to check in and return rental car, then get Airlink bus to Dublin for a bit of exploring and a nice dinner. We have early AM flight on Sunday and have reservations at Great Southern airport hotel.
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 06:08 PM
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Oh, I really hope you like Clonmara as much as we do! We'll be back there for four nights in July and I'm dreaming about it already.
MaryZ is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Owen, just a thought here -

What if you headed straight for Cashel after your Wicklow stops and saved Curragh and the National Stud for day 7/8? This would put you into Cashel early enough to actually see the Rock and without backtracking to Kildare possibly leave time to drive down to Cahir which is very close. Cahir has a great castle to climb around on as well as the Swiss Cottage.

Then, when you leave Doolin and see the Burren on the way out, you can stop short of Dublin in Kildare and have a nice relaxing day out and your GF gets a great final day to take with her. It should be pretty easy to get from Curragh to the airport. We have family we stay with who live near there and it really takes very little time to get to the airport from there, as it's about 35-40 miles and the roads are much more modern through Kildare and Dublin (morning traffic not withstanding).

Clifton is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 06:44 PM
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Let's try this sentence in actual English this time:

This would put you into Cashel early enough to actually see the Rock and possibly leave time to drive down to Cahir which is very close, without backtracking up to Kildare.
Clifton is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 06:53 PM
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Clifton - thanks... hoping you can clarify...

I'm assuming it's not much more than three hours or so from Glendalough to Cashel (a bit over 100 miles). How much time is realistic to see the rock and also get to browse a bit in Cahir? I'm not opposed to doing the Curragh on the way back but sources (love those sources but they ain't always right!) tell me that the rock is best seen at sunset or early in the day when tour buses have already gone their way or not yet arrived. I was thinking we'd do the rock in the evening after dinner or in the AM before the drive to Dingle.

Also.... you think Kildare is a good choice for that second to the last night? We are definitely open to suggestion and being that close to Dublin would be nice - we might actually get to see a bit of the city.
Owen_ONeill is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 07:49 PM
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Hmm. Well we saw the Rock both at night and in the morning. Our room in the place we stayed looked out at the site lit up at night. It's probably got more ambience at these times and I don't love crowds either. We do our travelling in May-June and it's not bad then.

How long you take depends on your interest in/tolerance for places of antiquity. The Rock of Cashel has portions going back to the 4th century, was the seat of kings and sermon mount of St. Patrick. Overall though, it's an awesome site even if you're not a history fan. We spent 3.5 hours, but I'm both a history and a photography fan, so I'm a pain in the butt to travel with.

And even after I take you all the way down that road, I can tell you - I enjoy Cahir Castle more. Cahir's just fun. It's a castle that still looks like it's ready for battle. No Victorian remodeling, no tacky souviner stands, no missing outer walls and no "do not touch" signs. You can climb up into the towers through tiny stairwells, walk the walls (no safety rail) and check out the stairs to the dungeon. The movie Excalibur was filmed at this castle. It's an exellent couple of hours even without the walk down to the Swiss Cottage.

You could possibly check in at your B&B and then run down to Cahir that day if there's time. It's about 15 mins away. Then Cashel in the morning or vice versa. They're both close to each other, so you don't have to decide until you get there.

I actually like Kildare, outside of the family connections. It's not bad in terms of distance from Dublin. I know buses run from many villages there into the city. Many of the towns and villages of Kildare are pleasant as well, in an everyday Irish sort of way.
Clifton is offline  
Apr 30th, 2003, 07:57 PM
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PS - Look into the Irish gov't Duchas Heritage Card when you get to Glendalough for 19EU each. It's a pass that will get you into most major heritage sites across Ireland. That way, if you need to go back to one of the sites to finish up, you're already paid for.

They have a big list of sites/parks/castles/museums/etc that are included on their website.

Clifton is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 03:17 AM
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About that Heritage card - I was checking out the admission prices on the site posted above and some of the prices are quite different from prices I've seen in some guidebooks. For example Cahir Castle is listed as 2.5 euro but at least one guide book says its 6 euro. I'm assuming the heritage site ought to know how much they charge for things. But I was thinking - is there a difference between the "visitor centers" and the actual sites? Would that explain the discrepancy? Or was the guidebook I saw just wrong? Thanks
isabel is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 05:43 AM
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If you're coming from the Dingle/Tralee area you might consider the Tarbert to Killimer (kill-eye-mur) ferry to Clare. It woud give you an opportunity to visit Listowel (a very 'horsey' place). Then you could drive up through west Clare: Lahinch, the Burren, Doolin and there are some other great spots like Ennistymon (ennis-tie-mun), Corofin. There are some pretty nice hotels in that area (Falls Hotel, for example) and it's something like a 4-hour drive to Dublin.

Ennis is pretty well booked solid that weekend because of the music festival.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 07:01 AM
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First - When I was there 3 weeks ago, I think almost all of the Duchas places we went (Rock , Cahir Castle, Kilkenny Castle) were around 6 euros. Glendalough was less - and you only have to pay if you want to go through the exhibit - the walk around the grounds is free.

Next - I don't recall what time of year you will be there. The problem with trying to see the Rock at sunset , is that the sun is setting later and later, and if IRC the Duchas sites close around 7:30pm. Double check the closing times. The last admit is usually 45 minutes before closing.

I would get an early start out of Dingle on day 7 - as early as possible. Take the Ferry and head up to the Cliffs if the weather is good - if it is nasty - don't bother. Then you need to decide if you want to stay in Doolin, listen to music and have a long day of driving ( and trying to get to the Stud farm) or if you want to drive some more that day, and try to get further, so that your last day is not rushed. - I would go with the 'drive half way' plan.

Glad to see you are staying at Dualla House - you will love it there. We did . Say hi to Mairead for us.

Debbie is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 03:49 PM
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From the sound of it, you're guide book is closer to the current rates than the heritage website is. I don't think they keep the website terribly current. That "website under construction" message has been there for at least a year and a half. The site information is still good though and it seems the timetables were still mostly accurate. About 6 Eu for the sites you and Debbie mentioned sound about right to me. We figured out that we made out pretty well with the card.
Clifton is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 09:13 PM
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Well, here's another option...

After leaving Dingle, take the car ferry as someone else suggested to drive North, swing by Cliffs of Moher, then go a little further North to Galway. It's almost directly across from Dublin and would be a fairly straight shot back on a national road or highway (I THINK it's a 2.5 to 3-hour drive) Galway is one of my favorite cities and has much more to do compared to Doolin. Plenty of pubs with live music, restaurants, shopping and a nice city center to walk around in.

Also, check the car ferry schedule - it only runs once an hour http://www.shannonferries.com/
BarbBC3 is offline  
May 1st, 2003, 09:35 PM
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I agree with Barb about going through Galway. Perhaps you could stay there that night? It's known as a 'party town' and will have some good entertainments.

As for the National Stud, I"m a 'horsey' person too, and I've visited there. While it was interesting, I'd forgo it for, say, Newgrange, or more time in Dublin. The tour really isn't that interesting, although the Japenese garden are lovely (but small).
KateIP is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 04:54 AM
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Soooo.... Listowel might be a good stop for someone who's into horses? I read that if one visits the National Stud in early morning it's possible to see the horses exercising - what is considered early morning in that area? Would Listowel be a better choice? I don't feel compelled to see the national Stud, just interested in including some thigns that will be of specific interest for her and I've taken on planning responsibilities for this trip. Galway sounds like a good possibility - am I best advise to reserve lodging in advance if we plan to stay there for one night? That happens to be the only night we don't have something already reserved. I'm not that particular but she must have ensuite bath and nice accomodations or I'll never hear the end of it {;-) !
Owen_ONeill is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 07:32 AM
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Well, if you hit the pubs in Galway on a weekend, they will be PACKED. Everyone needs to inhale and exhale alternating with those who are next to them to make room. Of course, that's true of the Doolin pubs in the summer months also.

wojazz3 is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Owen -

I have family near the Curragh, too, though have only gone once to the National Stud. However, I have to say I really enjoyed it - we saw several of the stallions that had their own postcards and many mares with foals either feeding, playing or flat out on the ground. Of course you can't get too close to them but we got some great pictures nonetheless. Also they had a miniature horse and foal as well as a mini donkey the year we were there. There's a horse museum to view and a nice cafeteria in case you get munchie.

Note and a word of caution: the fences are "painted" with a kind of tar or something so be careful if you lean over or touch up against the rails. I leaned over to scratch the mini-foal and got this sticky tary stuff on the front of my shirt. I was not able to get it all off but lucky for me it was an old shirt!

I agree with the staying overnight in Kildare before going to Dublin. We always do this and always have pleanty of time to drop off the rental car, turn in our VAT back paperwork and even take in some duty-free shopping.

Wicklow is a great place to hire a horse and explore some of the trails yourselves. It's one of my goals to do this one day. I'm sure your Significant Other would love it!

I have to say that while I enjoyed Cashel it wasn't my favorite place. Cahir Castle I would visit every trip but I just got too loaded down with stories about this saint, that bishop, etc at Cashel. While some of the stories were funny and entertaining I don't think I could repeat one of them to anyone.

Good luck!

I was in Cahir Castle in early April and the cost for getting in was 6.50 euro. We bought the Duchas cards but didn't have much luck with them as many of the sights I wanted to visit were closed at the time. Of course if you're going in the summertime you won't have that problem. Just make sure to look at their newest booklet for the open times and when the last guest is allowed inside. We missed Blarney (not Duchas) by arriving 30 minutes before closing when they stopped letting people in 45 minutes before the open hours say. Your guide books are much more accurate for adult prices into these places.

My husband's family is from Newbridge. Just wondering who your family is and if they happen to know each other?
waffle18 is offline  
May 2nd, 2003, 02:02 PM
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It's actually my wife's extended family that's in Ireland. Her mom's from there. Myself, my ancestry is throughly German, right down to grandparents who had heavy German accents, even though they were 3rd generation American. I can always be Irish on St. Pat's Day though, right? ;-)

We visit with my wife's cousins who live in the northern Co. Kildare, in the little town of Celbridge. A very homey little town along the river there. They're moving, I've heard to Wexford soon as they have a house in Spain and Wexford is more convenient to going back and forth.
Clifton is offline  

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