First Trip To Ireland - Help Needed

Aug 14th, 2009, 05:41 PM
  #1  
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First Trip To Ireland - Help Needed

My husband and I (early twenty-something travelers) want to take a long trip to Ireland next year. We plan on renting a car and just kind of playing it by ear, but I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation. These are the places he'd LIKE to see, but we can always just take another trip

Doyle's Seafood Bar (Dingle Peninsula)
Cliffs of Moher
Ring of Kerry
Winding Stair Bookshop
English Market (Cork)
Giant's Causeway
Sean's Bar (Althone)

And I'd really like to see
Thomas Dillon's in Galway
Leonidas Chocolatier in Galway

I'm sure he'd love to tour the Guinness Brewery but I've heard mixed reviews. I have heard great things about the bar above it though!

Any help is greatly appreciated! If there are any places you think we would enjoy, I would love to know! I know there's a lot we want to see and do, but that's what we love about vacation!
nightxsky is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 04:44 AM
  #2  
 
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First question would be how many days do you have. And at the very least fly into Dublin and out of Shannon.
JOHNOD is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 05:31 AM
  #3  
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We will be staying a minimum of ten days and can stay up to fourteen. Thanks for the tip on the airports, I wouldn't have thought of that!
nightxsky is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 06:11 AM
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What time of year will you be travelling?
And 10-14 days is not a long trip but rather a minimum to cover an area from Devil's Causeway to the Ring of Kerry, IMO

Leonidas' own outlets are in Dublin and Cork only. At the other locations you will simply find independent chocalate stores which have (some to many) of their chocolates.
I think the English Market in Cork is *nice*, but not something I would travel to Cork for (if I was not in the area).

I will not ask how Athlone got on the list, but IF you should take N6 to go from Dublin to Galway (via Athlone), you could make a stop in Kilbeggan to visit the old whiskey distillery.
http://www.kilbegganwhiskey.com/place/
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 06:28 AM
  #5  
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10-14 days is a long trip for us as it's hard to get time off at our jobs. Like I said, I'd love to take another trip back so I don't want to see everything and not have something to see when we go back. Athlone got on the list from a friend's recommendation who used to live in Ireland. When we get recommendations from friends, we jot them down on lists and that's sort of how it ended up there.
nightxsky is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 04:39 PM
  #6  
 
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Don't worry, you won't "see everything in 14 days." Also as I look at your list, I don't think you can do it all without back tracking. Have you looked at a map so that you have any idea of how this works out?

So might I suggest:

Day 1 arrive in Dublin take hop on hop off bus tour to get oriented. Maybe do Guiness tour. As I don't know your interests, can't make other recommendations.

Day 2 finish up Dublin things.

I don't recommend having rental car in Dublin (driving nightmare!) and do recommend having hotel reservations.


Day 3 pick up car at airport and head toward Galway and use it as a base for the next four days or so. Stop in Athlone on the way.

Day 4-6 explore the Galway area. Take a trip to the Aran Islands, (ferry from Rosseveal or ten minute flight from airport), drive around Connemara, explore Galway, etc.

Day 7 Head south to Dingle. Stop and visit Cliffs of Moher on the way. Take the Shannon ferry from Kilmer to Terbert to avoid going through Limerick. Spend 4 nights in Dingle.

Day 8-10 explore Dingle area. Slea Head Drive, Dingle itself, Ring of Kerry can be done from here.

Day 11 drive to Cork for the night.

Day 12 back to Shannon via Rock of Cashel.

Day 13 fly home.

This gives you a night to play with--add somewhere (Cashel, Cork, Dublin)

I couldn't fit Giant's Causeway into your plan without a lot of driving and one night stands. A possibility would be to spend an extra day in Dublin and Irish Rail offers a one day tour to the Giant's Causeway by rail and bus. It seems like a long day, but you wouldn't be driving it.

There are still a bazillion (as my third graders used to say) things to do and see in Ireland so you will have plenty for another trip.

I hope that this itinerary might give you a starting point. Look at a map and get a good guidebook to check out what you might like to see and do. Remember, while roads are getting better, there are still a lot of narrow twisty roads in Ireland so plan on averaging 35 mph. Thus 140 miles is about as far as you want to do in a day. Count on stops to stretch your legs, take in a wonderful view, have lunch, and visit interesting history, etc.

Ask us some questions when you have a little more concrete plans. Have fun and don't forget to give us a trip report when you get back!
irishface is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 04:47 PM
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I forgot to say that while I recommend reservations for your first nights in Dublin, on the rest of the trip, I say wing it for B&Bs. People on this board are of two minds. There are some who say plan every night and make reservations ahead. There are others (myself included) who like the flexibility of finding a place as I go. The tourist offices in most towns are very good about finding places in your price range. It does not take an inordinate amount of time out of your day. I have never had a problem finding places as I went and there were many years before retirement when I had to go in high season. Also I have just walked around town and looked over B&Bs, but that is a bit harder as a single and many places do not take singles. Another option is going to the TI as you leave one town and booking that night ahead in the town to which you are going.
irishface is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 04:55 PM
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We arrived in Dublin at the airport, rented a car and headed for Newgrange. That night we stayed in a b&b. We made our reservations in b&bs before leaving home - stayed in a hotel in Dublin. Many places that we wanted were booked so happy we did this.
The next day we went to Giants Causeway, the rope bridge and walked across that, Bushmill distillery tour. We went to Enniskillen, Belleek to the Belleek Pottery company. Down to Westport, the Burrens, Cliffs of Mohr, Dunquire castle banquet. We drove the ring of Kerry but I think Dingle Penninsula would have been a more intereting place to see. Also, Rock of Cashel, the Blarney STone (which could be skipped). We ended up in Dublin, returned the car and spent a couple of days in Dublin and flew home.
Would love to do this all over again - the scenery was beautiful and we met so many nice people at the b&bs.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Aug 15th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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I agree a bit with 'irishface', but here is what I'd like to suggest as well:

1. If you are going to stay in Dublin stay somewhere outside the city (i.e. Skylon Hotel) if you plan to rent a car and take the bus or taxi into town to see the sites. You can drive a car into town, but this is city driving...on the other side of the road....and you'll probably rent a standard transmission car because Ireland does not have many automatic transmission cars. (If you can drive a stick well, you'll do fine.) And yes, do go to Guinness Brewery because it is Ireland and it will be the best nitrogen pint you'll ever have! The view is very nice from up top too.

2. Galway is well worth a couple days. Do take the ferry to the Aran Islands (i.e. Inis Mor) and either ride by horse and carriage or by bike. Spend the whole day.
Hit downtown Galway on Saturday, if there, for the farmers market. Great crafts and food and well worth the cultural experience. Remember to smile and eat the local flare.

3. The Cliffs of Mor are a bit overrated, but if you wanna see them check them out. You can drive through Limerick, don't pay to take a ferry to avoid it. (My nextdoor neighbor is from there and he turned out just fine.) The Dingle pennisula is great for a night or two, but I'd also recommend staying in Killarney for the music, food and closeness to the Ring of Kerry, Dingle, and Killarney National Park. You can day trip out of Killarney and see a lot. Staying at B&B's throughout Ireland is the way to go because breakfast is the 'most important meal' and the knowledge and humor from the local owners is priceless. If you are gonna stay in Killarney, stay at the Elyod House B&B on Ross Road. It is great, 5 minute walk from town and the food is excellent and the hosts are helpful.
For dinner hit the local hangout of Cronins Restaurant in downtown. It is reasonably price and excellently good. Then go to Laurel's for a pint or two.

4. If you decide to go to Cork, do go to the English 'open air' Market because there is excellent food (i'm a foodie). The place is filled with vendors gallore and anything and everything you want to eat. They serve only Barry's Gold tea in Cork so drink it...it is smoother than Bewleys, but I'll drink either. After your belly is full, head over to the Church Cathedral near the Beamish brewery. For dinner - Market Lane restaurant.

Goodluck, you'll have a great time
my3cats is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 06:15 PM
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"The Cliffs of Mor are a bit overrated"

my3cats is certainly entitled to his/her opinion (even though he/she didn't state it as such). But so am I. I think the Cliffs of Moher are well worth a visit.
CAPH52 is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 10:01 PM
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"The Cliffs of Mor are a bit overrated"

That may be a first on Fodors!
janisj is online now  
Aug 17th, 2009, 12:38 AM
  #12  
 
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There is a Leonidas chocolate shop in Galway - it's in Corbettcourt (part of the Eyre Square shopping centre)

While the chocolates are GORGEOUS, don't expect anything from the shop, I think if you make it a "must see" destination you will be disappointed...
littlejane is offline  
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