Galway Day trips

Old Oct 15th, 2002, 08:59 AM
  #1  
Shasson
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Galway Day trips

Hi -- in March a group of 6 of us will be spending some time in Galway. We will not have a car. Has anyone done the daytrips from Galway to Cliffs of Moher & The Burren or Connemara that are offered by tour companies via coach? If so, do you recommend them? In early March will the weather make one of those trips less or more desirable than the other? Thanks!
 
Old Oct 15th, 2002, 09:35 AM
  #2  
Dave
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I took both day tours with Lally Tours two years ago. They are fine as far as coach tours go. For me it was a bit frustrating to ride past such beautiful scenery without getting a chance to stop, admire and take a photo. I've taken other day tours (not in Ireland) where there were more stops. Still, unless you're willing to rent a vehicle for the day, there's not much alternative.

I can't say I'd recommend one over the other - although the Cliffs of Moher might be less appealing in wind and rain. At that time of year, you probably can buy tickets on the morning of the tour, so you can see if the weather will be an issue before spending the money.

If the weather permits, consider a day trip to Inishmore (the largest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay). Island Ferries offers a shuttle bus from Galway to their dock at Rossaveal. When the ferry arrives at Inishmore, there are numerous local "round-robin" vans that shuttle tourists to the major attractions. With 6 people, you could probably even negotiate a private tour for a reasonable price. On a sunny day, this is about the best possible day trip from Galway that doesn't involve driving.
 
Old Oct 16th, 2002, 01:50 PM
  #3  
mikey
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Go to Pat's Ireland Guide at www.irelandexpert.com for a list of all daytrips from Galway. Click on Ireland Guide, the West, and then sightseeing tours for the list
 
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 11:30 AM
  #4  
shasson
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Thanks, much Dave and Mikey. Actually, I learned of these trips from Pat's site. As a follow-up: how many times does one leave the bus on these tours? It's a 7-hour itinerary, is that 5 hours stuck on the bus, and only a few stops? Or, are there 6 or 8 stops built in?
Thanks, again!
 
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 11:43 AM
  #5  
Bob
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Having just returned from the Galway area I'd recommend it highly but consider driving if possible to enjoy the villages and sights the tours by pass. A word of warning, however, for drivers over 70: If you rent from Eurocar at Shannon Airport be prepared to pay an additional $12/day car insurance which is a further add-on to the usual fees the rental companies charge.
 
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 12:38 PM
  #6  
David D.
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Dear Shasson,

There are any number of day-trips from Galway that would be worthy of your attention. Spending a day in Connemara - assuming you have good weather - can be a real Irish highlight. What's especially pretty is when the light in Connemara is low (early morning or evening). There are hiking opportunities galore, and in March you'll get an early taste of spring. By all means do the "touristy" things, such as Kylemore Abbey and Clifden, but also try to go off the beaten path, such as taking a trip out to one of west Galway's offshore islands or hiking on Connemara National Park.

A visit to the Aran Islands can be memorable, especially when it isn't overrun by tourists (July and August). Go to Inishmore, the largest island, and visit the remarkable Dun Aengus.

Galway City is a joy., It has an infectious energy about it, and it's a good deal of fun strolling its pedestrian-only streets, shopping, pub-crawling, and people-watching. Check it out.

The west coast of Clare and the moon-like landscape of the Burren shouldn't be missed. Pick up a good travel guide, like the British Rough Guide, and learn more about this distinctive region.

As for the Cliffs of Moher, by all means go. However, try to go very early or late in the day, as the experience is compromised by "regular hours" tour groups.

Best of luck.
 
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 12:44 PM
  #7  
David D.
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Shasson,

Oops! Allow me to add one more note. I agree with Bob; the best way to see the region is via car. It may be more pricey, but the added flexibility is worth it. The Irish roads, moreover, are just fine, and you'll have the added attraction of not driving during "high season."
 
Old Oct 17th, 2002, 12:59 PM
  #8  
Shasson
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Thanks David D. Preliminary inquiries suggest a rented mini-van for our group might not be all that much different in price than each of us paying for a tour. Obviously, the flexibility of the car makes it the preferred option. Great information, again, thanks.
 
Old Nov 15th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #9  
Wendy
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Shasson,

May I just add my two cents in here, albeit belatedly?

If you do hire a car/van and do some of your own driving please, please, please drive Galway to Clifden through Connemara. This area is one of my most favorites and I can't stress enough how the landscape will take your breath away!

Clifden is a great little town and a perfect place to get some lunch and the drive there is stunning - you won't belive how blue the lakes are. Say "blue" a thousand times and it still won't compare.

It will be windy as it always is on the West coast so bring a good rain/wind jacket as well as something to cover your ears and hands. (Layers is the word to remember.) Driving at that time of the year should be no problem traffic-wise --> just don't park too far off the road with the minivan on any tall green grass as it may be quite boggy but stick to pulloffs and gravel if you can.

The other places you and others mentioned are all worth the time but Connemara is also not to be missed. Let me add that a good, not so rainy day is best for this trip.

Places to see:
Dan O'Dea's Farmstead (B&B available but not sure of open season on the main Clifden road)
Kylemore Abbey
Clifden
Roundstone
12 Bens
Spiddal - shop at Staudan's (sp?)

Have a great time!
 
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