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help with Ireland itinerary: flying into Dublin and out of Shannon

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Jun 27th, 2013, 05:50 PM
  #1
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help with Ireland itinerary: flying into Dublin and out of Shannon

We are flying to Dublin in late August, and flying out of Shannon about a week later, in early September. We plan to spend two nights in Dublin and currently are booked for three nights in Galway at the end of the trip, though we might change that. The main question is where to go between the two? Some suggest Ring of Kerry, some suggest the Dingle peninsula, and we don't know if one of those routes is "essential" or not.

We have never been to Ireland but are seasoned travelers. Other than a few things here and there, we don't have any particular must-sees. We are likely to rent a car for at least part of the trip, and we're more likely to want to drive (or ride) to locations rather than do a great deal of hiking.

All suggestions welcome!
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Jun 27th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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Pull up Ireland comments by tony2phones.

His comments are pretty enligthening.

He doesn't think that much of Dingle, as one can find similar all over the island. He also suggests the Ring of Barrea instead of the ROK.

And a wealth of other information.
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Jun 27th, 2013, 07:54 PM
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Three days in Galway sounds good. Could probably do a third in Dublin as well?

One thought is to take a day trip out to the Aran Islands during your Galway time.

We did drive ROK and it is quite a schlep. Maybe Killarney for scenery?

In your shoes I might skip Dingle/ROK and instead go to Ennis and maybe some smaller towns out that way; maybe aim for some good traditional music and craic.
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Jun 28th, 2013, 02:47 AM
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Not sure I deserve the accolade and can see a dangerous trend developing? Rick Steves started by suggesting off piste places like Dingle and look what happened there, 30 years from a fishing port with a single dolphin to tourist central with a single dolphin. Lets not curse Beara with a similar fate.. ;0

To the question and Dublin 2 days fine Galway 3 days fine (Connemara, Burren, Arans.)

maybe use the Burren/Aran day between Galway and Ennis so Dublin 2
Galway 2
Ennis 2 (Touring base for all Clare and Shannon Region)
That leaves 1 night ish for elsewhere or one of the above?
The Middlands have lots of unexplored resource but more aimed towards country pursuit. If I were doing this trip and I am not it's your holiday. I might be tempted to slip in a night in Belfast maybe straight of the flight and onto the bus up from the airport. Titanic and Black cab tours down to Dublin the following day? Or fit a night into Birr between Dublin and Galway. for Clonmacnoise and the rural drive through Portumna towards Galway?

lots of options and no need to cross the Shannon estuary.
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Jun 28th, 2013, 05:01 AM
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PS. St Rick of Steves is not recommended reading for Ireland..hopefully I do occasionally recommend places that don't fit my taste (like over nights in Dingle, Doolin and Kinsale which are all worth seeing)
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Jun 29th, 2013, 05:02 AM
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Thank you!

Not sure we want to go as far as Belfast on this trip, but we'll take a look at Ennis. Glad to be steered away from too many tourists, particularly as we're going during tourist season.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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By the way, what would be your recommended guidebook for Ireland?
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Jun 29th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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Well let me be the fly in the ointment - aren't you a tourist? I wouldn't miss Doolin myself- wonderful music!! We also flew into Dublin and out of Shannon. Took a tour bus on the ROK and drove the Dingle peninsula. Much preferred driving over bus. We stopped a lot! Dont miss the Cliffs of Moher!!!
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Jun 29th, 2013, 07:16 AM
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Thanks, Pam T--

I was just looking at Doolin, as a friend recommended it.

Yep, we're tourists, but we don't like crowds . . . a problem in tourist season. Interested to hear you liked driving over the bus--we are in fact thinking of driving, for just the reason you give: more control.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 07:29 AM
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If you want to splurg, I highly recommend a stay at Ashford Castle [ http://www.ashford.ie/ ] even if only for one night. I did the Falconry walk there and it was just amazing. I didn't realize until we left that right outside the gates was the cutest little town.

Near Shannon airport there is a nice little hotel Oakwood Arms [http://www.oakwoodarms.com/] with a restaurant should you have an early flight. The nice thing about Shannon airport is that you are able to clear customs right there so you don't have to do it back in the US. Enjoy your trip!
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Jun 29th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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If you don't like crowds, skip Doolin. We stayed overnight on our last trip and didn't care at all for the tiny little town. The three pubs were jam-packed at night with tourists--some bused in from elsewhere--for the music.

If you want to see dramatic cliffs without the crowds or the costs, go to Kilkee instead of the Cliffs of Moher.

If you want to see dramatic scenery without the crowds, drive the Beara Peninsula rather than the Ring of Kerry.

If you want to see Inishmore without (most of) the crowds, do an overnight visit. That way you can have a night in a pub with the locals and get a jump start the next day on your sightseeing before the day-trippers arrive. We did the Aran Island Ferries special ferry/B&B combo and it worked out great for us.

While I'm not a Rick Steves-hater (his guidebooks do have some useful info), I primarily used Lonely Planet and Rough Guide for my two trips to Ireland. I'd recommend checking out a variety of guidebooks from your local library and see what books suit your travel style best.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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I've done this trip and highly recommend getting out of southern Ireland and heading up to Donegal, then up and over thhrough northern Ireland! Don't waste time in Gslway. Very circusy at the beach (salt hill) and expensive for anything decent. Donegal was just as pretty and much better prices. A local at the hotel in Gwlway told us to do that and he was so right! The northern part of Ireland and the country of Northen Ireland are beautiful, way fewer tourists, way better prices and all the charm you can ask for. Go to Connemara for gorgeous scenery, too. Skip all the southern common places that will be full of tourists! Dublin was worth seeing, but the rest can be skipped. We stayed at the Portmarnock hotel in Portmarnock which is on the beach just a little ways outside of Dublin. Very nice hotel. Portmarnock is a cute, beach town and better prices than Dublin without the city noise. Take the city bus into Dublin for cheap and only tkes about 20 min. Or get a taxi from the hotel. Not cheap, but only about 20 min either way.

We got a car and drove ourselves everywhere with no problems. Easy to do. You will want a car to go to smaller towns and you will save a lot of time. You will easily make up the cost in the savings by heading north straight from Dublin.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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Now Longhorn you know there are Four bars in Doolin not Three, I have been told often enough elsewhere. They have music and standing room only in high seasons coping with the 100+ B&B's guests. Music can be found anywhere and with comfort. Ennis has at least 3 music bars all year not just March to October.

If you want a Hawk Walk then the Aillwee Caves Birds of Prey centre in Ballyvaughn or Dromoland Castle in Newmarket on Furgus are better options to Ashford (although what the new owners will modify has yet to emerge, you can guarantee prices will be on the increase at Ashford)

For the Burren area this site gives some Key points http://www.dochara.com/tour/itineraries/burren-tour/ West from Galway on the N59 http://ireland.activeboard.com/t5005...-galway-route/ and Connemara has a selection of options http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu

Guide books range from Lonely planet to the Big Dummies guide. anything that informs rather than instructs and remember that accommodation/restaurant and other information will be last year and unlikely to have exactly the same staff.

With only a week you will have to be selective. Yes a green blur road trip will get lots of different places as photographs, I know, that's the way I travel at times but you might prefer just selecting as you have a couple of bases.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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a few of the sites mentioned by tony and longhorn during our trip:

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/ireland.html

I think it was Longhorn that got us down to Loop Head.
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Jun 29th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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A couple of bases is how we usually like to travel: to go deep into an area rather than sweep through many areas.

I work at a genealogical society, where we just published a book about a family with ancestry in the Loop Head area. Even though it's not my family, I read enough about the area that I feel like I know it, so will be good to see it.

Returned Rick Steves and Eyewitness to the library and got out Fodor's and Lonely Planet for some different perspectives. Thanks, all for your info and advice!
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Jun 30th, 2013, 03:02 AM
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Loop Head has been awarded the best place to visit award this year,, I recommend folk get there and see the place before Clare council do a Moher on the place, put a toll booth and one way system into Carrigaholt.
http://www.loophead.ie/
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Jul 6th, 2013, 07:17 PM
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Tony2phones, thanks for all your comments. We've decided to go from Dublin to Galway and then spend our final two nights somewhere where we can tour Loop Head/the Burren. We're looking at Ennis, Doolin, Ballyvaughn, Lahinch . . . do you recommend one over another?
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:21 AM
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Ennis is always my recommended base for the Whole of Clare west and east south and north. Plus the bounds of the Shannon Region all within an hours drive..Doolin fits my nice place to visit, wouldn't overnight. Ballyvaughan is Tourist popular, Ennistymon would rate above Lahinch which can be a bit ??*?? in high season
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Jul 7th, 2013, 06:54 AM
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If you are interested I have a B&B recommendation in Fanore which would be a good location.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 07:47 AM
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Agree about Ennis --
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