First trip to Ireland

Old Jun 12th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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First trip to Ireland

Hello,
My husband and I are visiting Ireland for the first time in October. As we will only be there 8 days, we would like to spend a few days in Dublin, and then get out to the country for a more local flavor. Do we need to rent a car or can we take a train? Where would be your suggestion to spend the remainder of the trip? We would like to visit just one (maybe two) other places - we don't want to do a lot of packing/unpacking or a lot of driving.
It seems from the posts I've read that Cork may be more of an interesting city than Dublin - what are your thoughts on Ireland's cities?
Thank you!
Holly
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Old Jun 12th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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Hello, Holly---

Ireland is one place I would definitely recommend a car (unless you want to do a bicycle trip). Much of the charm of Ireland is in the countryside and small towns, which are best visited by car.

Your idea of picking two places in addition to Dublin is a good one. Any ideas on what in particular would would like to see or experience? One thought is a nice loop over to the west (Dingle, say) through Cork is one possibility. Another would be Waterford and Cork, then back.
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Old Jun 12th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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My wife and I drove around Ireland (Shannon, Cliffs of Mohr, Dingle, Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Dublin, etc). I loved the freedom of having a car but on the other hand the roads are sooo narrow, I had a bit of trouble adjusting to driving on the other side and we got lost several times. If I had it to do over again (and the resources) I would hire a driver. If I didn't have the resources (which I don't)I would drive as the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Ireland is a beautiful country filled with friendly people. Of all the sites I would say that the Dingle Penisula and the Cliffs of Mohr were among my favorite. Also..be sure to spend a night in real pub...good times!
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 07:26 AM
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Thanks for the helpful replies. We'll definitely rent a car. I would like to make it over to Dingle and the cliffs of Moher. Do you think I should change our flight back home to go out of Cork? It would only cost $80 and seems like it would save some major time. Or maybe there's a direct route back to Dublin (quick highway?)
Has anybody spent much time in Wicklow? It's close to Dublin and looks beautiful.
This may sound very uncultured, but really all we want to do is relax in front of a fire, preferably in a pub and talk with some people. Most of the major sights are going to have to be on the next visit.
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Holly,

That's not at all "uncultured"; the opportunity to sit by a fire in the pub and enjoy a talk with the locals is one of the best things about Ireland. You are much more likely to find this in small towns or villages than in either Cork or Dublin. We stayed in both and didn't get a chance to talk to anyone. Dingle, now, was a different matter. So your thoughts of Dingle and the Cliffs of Moher are good ones. We also enjoyed seeing the castle grounds and telescope at Birr, in the "midlands" about 80 miles from Dublin (on the way back from Dingle, more or less). We even met the Earl as we did our daily run through the castle gardens.
www.birrcastle.com

I too have heard that Wicklow is lovely, but we didn't spend any time there. Hopefully someone else can answer that one for you.
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 10:42 AM
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2 days and 11 hours until I arrive in Ireland!!

from our last trip, the best of Ireland was not only the smaller towns but getting there...to me a good trip includes driving...for instance, dingle is nice but driving the slea head loop is great. my point is even with a base, to see Ireland you need to drive...and it is slow but well worth it.

so... starting in dublin and wanting to see cliffs of moher (on my must see list) and dingle (slea head loop drive also wonderful) and fly out of cork would mean driving atleast 4 hours between...go to www.aaroadwatch.ie and add a little time (approx 35mls per hour).

flying into shannon and out of cork would be ideal (drive-2 doolin, 4 dingle, 2 kinsale, fly out of cork)
or in/out of shannon 3-doolin, 4 dingle, 1 bunratty

if already booked into dublin and if you put off seeing cliffs/dingle until next trip...
2-dublin, pick up car and drive thru wicklow/glendalough and stay
3-kilkenny (sights-cashel/cahir/kilkenny castle/jerpoint abbey/waterford)
3-kinsale (blarney,cobh, midleton distillery, charles fort)
fly out of cork


if don't want to drive, you could do 3 days in dublin with a day bus tour of wicklow/glendalough and/or newgrange/knowth/hill of tara,
then to galway for 3 (or 4) days and do day bus tours to cliffs/burren and connemara and/or aran islands,
and cork for 2 (or 1) days, day trip to kinsale or blarney castle

to get more of a feel for Ireland I would suggest staying in B&B's
also, in pubs, if there are open seats at a table in a pub near the music don't be afraid to join the table...that is how we started up coversations with locals or other travelers (usually European travelers)...also works well to get to a pub early, find out where the music is and get a table close by, enjoy pub grub and a pint until session starts, if you be sure to have a couple of extra seats at the table, others will join you and it is usually easy to get a conversation going.
my experience is that locals were very friendly and interested in talking to americans

off to finish packing
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 01:32 PM
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Wow - so helpful - thanks so much! I didn't mean to say that I didn't want to drive at all, just not getting from point A to point B the entire trip. We'll definitely get a car.
Just picked up a couple of guide books today, so now the fun planning starts.
Thanks again for the great advice.
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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I will tackle the Wicklow question. Co. Wicklow is a beautiful area of the country. It is called "the Garden of Ireland" because there are so many gardens there. Add dramatic mountains, beaches and the incomprable Glendalough and you have a fine destination for hiking, driving, sightseeing, interacting with locals and just enjoying a different type of locale that many tourist breeze through in just a day. Lingering in Wicklow for a few days would be heaven.

Not too far off is Kilkenny. It is a great city and is surrounded by lots of interesting things to see and do.

You could easily spend your 8 days in Dublin, Wicklow and Kilkenny and be perfectly happy.
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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marking
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Old Jun 13th, 2006, 10:41 PM
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I stayed 5 days in county Wicklow and it is all that Irisheye says it is. I stayed at Hunter's hotel in Rathnew. It's very,very old but warm and welcoming. Also set in lovely gardens. Have a great trip.
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 02:21 AM
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Hunter's Hotel in Rathnew is gorgeous. Also Tinakilly Hotel down the road from it is also fab, but probably a bit more expensive. If you are spending time in the Wicklow area, you should try Marc Michel's organic life for lunch some day, also the Hungry Monk in Greystones does excellent food.
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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You are all so much more helpful than the guide books I bought yesterday. The Fodor's Ireland is not a great book (sorry Fodor's!!!) and the English journalist who wrote it is pretty negative about lots of Ireland's destinations. So, don't waste money on that book.
Okay, my two cents being said, I can move on. I have pretty much decided to either go in and out of Dublin and visit Wicklow and surrounding areas, or in and out of Shannon and visit a few of the spots in the Southwest. Which area do you think fits the "typical Ireland" beauty and friendliness that you envision when you think of Ireland?
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Old Jun 14th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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having been to both on my last trip...
southwest-in/out of shannon

1-doolin (cliffs/pubs), 3-dingle(slea head,pubs), 3-kenmare (killarney national park,muckross, ross, castle, ladies view/moll's gap, beara pen., ROK, pubs),1-bunratty(on way stop in adare and/or limerick,castle,banquet or pubs)

1 day and 14 hours until I land in Ireland!
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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I am leaving for Ireland on Tuesday. What type of clothing do you suggest to take. Looks like highs in upper 60's.
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 09:04 AM
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Layers, layers, layers. Short sleeve top with long sleeve sweater, and shawl or jacket over that. Why? Because it will be 50 and raining when you go out in the morning, 65 and sunny 2 hours later, rain in the afternoon at 60, then hot sun at 75 late afternoon, cool again misty in the evening. Layers!
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Old Jun 16th, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Dear holly Iam from Ireland and travel back there alot.Certainly do Dublin Wicklow-see powerscourt-Majestic - Clare and Kerry doolin Cafe in Clare -worlds best food..tiny and amazing -leave from Cork good idea.Layers and layers good shoes for walking.Canadian weather !and rain rain...Enjoy and try to find a few castles to stay in -there are lots and its amazing to have an evening beer or two in such surroundings.Enjoy your trip and do be afraid to chat to everyone.!!!!be aware of being too friendly -just dont leave your caution at home.Ireland is great but I have found myself being too wrapped up in thinking its like the old days and getting tourist stings.Rent a car -and honk the horn if you cant see around corners on small roads..its used by locals to prevent the airbourne youth who hurl on the back roads at huge speed.Have a great time and by all means get lost.Best adventures are the unplanned.
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