Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Help! I can't decide NE Ireland or Dublin?

Help! I can't decide NE Ireland or Dublin?

Nov 20th, 2006, 10:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 13
Help! I can't decide NE Ireland or Dublin?

We are going to Ireland in May. I've planned this much - we fly into Dublin -only stay one night then move along the coast where my sister will fly out of Shannon 5 nights later. My husband and I then have 5 additional nights. My question concerns these 5 additional nights. I know I want to spend some time in Ballina because that's where my family is from. Here's my question. Our last two nights in Ireland will be the weekend. Should we try to make it back to Dublin that last weekend? Or should we just stay in NE Ireland (ie Galway to Ballina)for the entire 5 nights? I need to book our airfare home and I can't decide whether to spend our last weekend in Dublin or the Shannon area.
(And staying in Dublin longer on the first couple of days in Ireland is not an option because of my sister's time constraints.)
Please help!
michelle110 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 13
Well, we just returned from Ireland and our last weekend there was in Dublin. We absolutely loved it!! There was plenty to do those two days, and I wish we had had more time. Dublin is very easily travelled on public transport or on foot. We took the LUAS everywhere we wanted to go. We started our trip in Shannon (Limerick, actually), and then we made our way to Dublin. I don't think you would go wrong ending your trip there.
kwt1966 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2006, 11:21 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
First thing to do is straighten up your map: Galway/Mayo is the west of Ireland, not NE!

Second: either option is good. Which is better depends entirely on yourself and your tastes. You give us nothing to go on. Do you want scenery or theatre? Pubs or fine dining? Without knowing what you like, it is impossible to answer your question.
Padraig is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 06:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 13
Padraig, I realized my error last night, I meant to say NW Ireland!

My husband and I are more for scenery and pubs - we're not fine dining people. We also like the action of a big city. The thing that intrigued me about Sat. in Dublin was the Temple Bar area market. I hear there's a stall that serves oysers and wine by the glass. That experience sounds fun to me but I'm not sure it's worth the effort to get to Dublin, unless Dublin is great fun.
michelle110 is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 895
In one week I drove around the coast of southern and northern Ireland, back to Dublin, then west to the west coast and by a different route, back east to Dublin again. It is easy to do.

The difference between a fair and great holiday in Ireland is the weather, with the west coast around Connemara being wettest.
kaneda is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 08:08 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 5
I think it would be worth coming to dublin for a couple of days, you will probably get a lot done in 3 days in Ballina.
Dennis_Wilson is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 525
while I enjoyed my time in Dublin...if you like pubs and scenery, you really can't go wrong spending your 5 nights split between Ballina, Westport, and Doolin...great scenery and pubs!
chip is offline  
Nov 21st, 2006, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 683
I was in Ireland this summer. I loved Dublin and did not like Doolin at all. In fact we left Doolin after one night and went back to Dublin. On this board people usually love Doolin and don't care for Dublin. So it just goes to show you everyone has different taste. But I must say going to where your family is from can be a wonderful experience, that is what we did. Maybe you could do both.
hester is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,433
Okay, Michelle, if you lean towards scenery, pubs, and general sociability, I suggest that you stay in the west (btw, we don't consider Galway/Mayo to be NW -- that starts somewhere near Sligo).

You can oysters in lots of places, and you can get your city buzz fix in Galway. Dublin is worth visiting for lots of reasons, but you can't do everything in a short trip. Connemara and the Mayo coast, that's special.

Padraig is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 04:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 599
My advice would be head to the northwest to Donegal. You can put me in the list of people who think Clifden,Doolin, and Galway are overrated. Not that I didnt enjoy my time in these places but I found the farther North I was the more I enjoyed Ireland.
panhandle is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2006, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,414
I agree that the NW of Ireland (Donegal) is one of the islands truly special places. The town of Doolin itself is not particularly interesting, but the area around it certainly is worth a stop. I fear the "improvements" to the cliffs of Moher is going to ruin it. Last I checked, it appears there will be "amphitheater" type viewing of the cliffs. Lost is the natural feeling that allowed you to walk to the edge. Evenings there could be magical as the sunset over the Aran Islands. The coast south of Kilkee is beautiful though.

I'm not at all surprised to hear someone say they didn't like Doolin in the summer. It's a madhouse. I did find that Doolin in the off season (November) was very nice. The musicians could be herad at Gus O'Connors and we ended up chatting with them. It is though, a very small village and packed with tourists (beyond what it can comfortably handle) in the summer months.

Dublin on a weekend night is frenetic, almost too much so for this 40 something. The bars are packed, the people are crazy and there will probably be a pretty good number of Hen and Stag parties going on. I prefer a week night.

As to heading north to Donegal, it is certainly beautiful, but time could be an issue, depending on how much time you want to spend in Ballina. With only 5 days to see the west and NW, Donegal could be a bit much. It sort of depends though. If you want to just say you were there and saw it, you could make it to Donegal and then back in five days with a day or two in Ballina. Remember 100 miles in Ireland is not like 100 on an Interstate in th US. I think you could easily fill the time in Galway and Mayo though.

Connemara is lovely. A trip on Lough Corrib to Inchagoill Island is a great way to spend a couple of hours. Westport is a great little town with lots of music opportunities in the evening. Achill Island is beautiful and worth a whole day if the weather is clear. You could take a boat trip out to Clare Island also.

OK, so what I'm saying is that my choice would be to stay in the west and slow down. There are plenty of wonderful things to do in Counties Clare, Galway and Mayo. May is a good time to be there and it's hard not to have fun.

I didn't fall in love with Clifden either, but it's not a bad little village. Again, it's location is great and a drive out around the Sky Road is wonderful. There are a number of nice pubs. May will be shoulder season, so it won't be packed, but it won't be too quiet either.

wojazz3 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 794
We just call Galway/ Mayo....THe West.

Speaking as a Dubliner, I think you might enjoy heading back to Dublin for the last two days, Dublin nightlife is more than just Temple Bar and stag parties. There are lovely theatre's,restarants, and nice pubs just a few miles away from the city centre and the madding crowd!
lucielou is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,414
I agree that Dublin nightlife is a lot more than stag and hen parties and there is so much to do in Dublin. It is crazy though on the weekends and I much prefer it on a weeknight. She did mention Temple Bar (admittedly for the market) which is crazy, but can still be enjoyed. There are some great places in Dublin to visit though. No offense intended.

wojazz3 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,137
Count me in as one who really liked Dublin. I loved Westport, don't care for Galway.

You may want to read past trip reports to get a sense of what others thought and experienced. For us, the pub life in small towns is really where the action is - conversation, Guinness, music... it's all good.
rosetravels is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 794
Absolutely no offense taken wojazz3

I was just doing my bit for Dublin Tourism.
lucielou is offline  
Nov 29th, 2006, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Michelle...after four visits to the unmatchable green land...driven the entire perimeter on three occasions...in our most recent visit I must say that Dublin is flirting with becoming a world class city...there's much to keep one busy and awed therein...don't write it off.

On the other hand, there's no dismissing beautiful Connemara and the further north west between Wesport and Donegal...and on into Northern Ireland's gorgeous coast.

For the extra 5 days I suggest two days in and around Ballina, and spend the last weekend in Dublin...our favorite lodging in town is Staunton's on the Green...location is superb..smack across from St. Stephen's Green...but I do understand that the price is getting to be over $200.

If too expensive, try the more moderate Egan's (Johnnie and Betty)excellent b and b...we stayed there a few years ago and loved it also (a fairly long walk or short bus ride into the center.



Stu T.

tower is offline  
Nov 30th, 2006, 06:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,172
The temple bar market on Saturdays is not crazy i.e. thyousands of people but gets busier in the afternoons. I go most Saturdays and buy my cheese and veg here. Its a fun enjoyable afternoon and you can get some snack to take away or eat on the spot.

There is an olivestand, Spanish Tortilla, Oyseters, Venison burgers, Quiches and Potato cakes, Japanses sushi, Mexican as well as various bread stalls and Cheese and Olive stalls. Its a fun place and there are buskers playing music all day as well.

SiobhanP is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 22nd, 2019 02:18 PM
Jan 24th, 2009 10:34 AM
Feb 12th, 2008 05:03 AM
Aug 21st, 2006 06:08 AM
Apr 29th, 2006 05:04 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:43 PM.