First time to Ireland - please help!

Old Apr 3rd, 2014, 07:34 PM
  #1  
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First time to Ireland - please help!

We are planning our first trip to Ireland in the fall... Just came up suddenly and I'm getting excited but really have no clue where to start.

We will have 2 weeks in Ireland. We will fly into Dublin and probably spend 2 nights there. Would also like to fly home from Dublin as well.

Through my initial research it seems most people do B&B's with 1 day here, 2 days there, etc. Lots of moving around. That's not our style, we prefer to base ourselves somewhere and then do day trips to visit the surrounding areas. I'm wondering if this is a good idea for Ireland or not?

We would like 2 destinations to base ourselves after Dublin. Some of the places I'm considering are Kinsale (foodie) Dingle, Galway, Killarney or Kilkenny.

I think I'd like to book a cottage, apartment or private home. Somewhere within walking distance to pubs or restaurants would be great. We like to venture out during the day, do sightseeing, but come home to our place either to cook ourselves, or go out somewhere locally where it isn't a big deal to drive or walk home after some wine, or I guess in Ireland it would be pints! We'd love to explore the pub scene!

We like beautiful scenery on our day trips, maybe do some shopping, visit a castle, the cliffs, etc.

So, does anyone have any suggestions?

Any help is appreciated!

Thank you,

Patty
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 01:49 AM
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Galway and Killarney are probably two of the best touring bases. from Galway http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu http://goo.gl/Ek8bpw http://goo.gl/maps/e4gVk and the Aran Isles.

Killarney or Kenmare would give access to the whole of Kerry (including a day trip to Dingle and Kinsale tourist centres)

I am not a foodie as I prefer to eat my food than pay too much for stuff I wouldn't feed the dog. so Kinsale is just a nice place to visit for a couple of hours. I don't believe anything St Rick says and have seen schools of Dolphin and Orca so no interest in Dingle town but the peninsula is worth a look.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 07:05 AM
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I agree with Tony on Kinsale. There are tons of places in Ireland that serve delicious food!

Tony has given good advice on the Kenmare/Killarney and Galway bases. Stop and visit the cliffs of Moher on the way from Kerry to Galway.

Look at some guidebooks.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 07:13 AM
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Tony - thanks for the recommendations for Galway and Killarney.

The links you sent are helpful. I will definitely check them out.

I am not a Rick Steves follower - but assuming by your response that he recommends Kinsale and Dingle? I've been reading some trip reports here and Kinsale was mentioned by a few as a favorite place. A friend of my daughter's who lived in Ireland for many years said that Dingle is her most favorite place in Ireland - so that's why those two were on the list.

Thanks again for your recommendation.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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For bases to explore surrounding areas, we agree that Kenmare, as well as Killarney and Galway, would work. IAD on what areas you have in your plans. Kinsale is a nice little seaside town, but it's a about a 1/2 hour drive south of Cork-not too convenient as a base. There are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit in Ireland. We found that three weeks there left us with the feeling that we needed to return.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 08:59 AM
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If you opt for Kenmare take a day for Beara which although the same size as the Dingle peninsula gets only 25% the amount of visitors and as the roads are narrow and the spur rugged only a couple of small tour bus's.. get to see the place before it catches kerryitus
http://goo.gl/c1RV6W http://www.bearatourism.com/

The Sheeps head and Mizen Peninsulas are also worth a look http://www.thesheepsheadway.ie/index.cfm/page/location http://www.mizenhead.net/
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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sorry very remiss of me to forget Garnish Island http://www.invectis.co.uk/cork/garnish.htm
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Thank you tomarkot - I'll look into Kenmare as well.

And Tony2phones - Spur rugged? Roads? Catches Kerryitus? Is this a difficult drive? The links you've attached have a lot of information... is the drive around Beara a one day sightseeing day? Looks like a lot to cover.

The walks in Sheeps Head look interesting...

Thank you for the information.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 11:19 AM
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No not difficult and yes Beara can be driven in a day just a bit awkward to chose which bits but the Healy Pass is a must and far better than Dingles Connor Pass..Beara is still at the moment Ireland as it was 30 years ago without the roads being widened for the tour bus's and a gift shop on every corner.. Personally I rate south west Cork and crossing the Healy into Tourist rich Kerry some of the best and relatively untouched part of the island.. But you cant see everything so having two good touring bases gives scope to see an area in more detail than road trippers like myself.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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We wholeheartedly support the remarks above regarding the Beara Peninsula, including Healy Pass...very beautiful, less traffic. Mizenhead is very impactful! But with limited time it's a situation of picking and choosing. You can't go wrong. There's so much beauty.
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Thanks Tony and tomarkot - Sounds like good recommendations so I'll be looking for a base in Kenmare for one week.

So Galway for the 2nd week?
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Old Apr 4th, 2014, 11:15 PM
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Galway would make a good base.. for self catering accommodation we use http://www.shamrockcottages.co.uk/ and/or http://www.imagineireland.com/
what sort of dates are you looking at?
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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Thanks for the links, I'll check them out. We are thinking of going in September.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 08:42 AM
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We loved all of Ireland but the country side was our favorite, the scenery is just beautiful, all the stone fences and peat fires in the pubs.... so awesome! Our favorite views was Connor Pass and Slea Head Drive! http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/sleahead.html Just drive carefully, you are on very narrow roads. I cannot recommend a base as we did the B&B's each night.
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 09:36 AM
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If you get chance to head to Clifden then Arts week will be on 18th - 28th there will be entertainment throughout the day on weekends but check the link nearer the time if the dates fit http://www.clifdenartsweek.ie/ Galway Races are earlier in the month 8th -10th http://www.galwayraces.com/september-race-meeting.asp Clarenbridge Oyster festival is the 13-15th http://www.clarenbridge.com/ better, more traditional than the Galway Oyster Fest on the 25/28th http://www.galwayoysterfestival.com/
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Old Apr 5th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Another vote for Galway as a base for at least part of your trip.

One of my trips based in Dublin and Galway (half the days for each); flew into one, took a 3 hour train ride, and then out of the other. Enjoyed Ennis and the trad music in the area.

On a different trip we went to Killarney, Kinsale, and the like. Liked Dingle Peninsula better than Dingle itself; not for dolphins but for the trip out to the Blasket Islands and the beehive homes.

Have a wonderful trip!
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