Help with Ireland itinerary please...

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 11:40 AM
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Help with Ireland itinerary please...

Hello everyone. We'll be going to Ireland for our honeymoon in late May/early June. What do you think of this plan:

Day 1: Arrive in Shannon. Explore Shannon. Stay at Dromoland Castle.

Day 2: Ennis/Bunratty/Cliffs of Moher. Stay at Dromoland Castle.

Day 3: Aran Islands. Stay in Adare. (Adare Manor?)

Day 4: Limerick and Rock of Cashel. Stay in Adare

Day 5: Dingle Peninsula, Killarney, stay at eth Park hotek in Kenmare.

Day 6: Ring of Kerry. Stay in Kinsale.

Day 7: Cork, Blarney. Stay in Kinsale.

Day 8: Waterford. Stay in Waterford (Cliff House?)

Day 9: Kilkenney. Stay in Waterford.

Day 10: Wicklow, Kildare. Stay in Dublin.

Day 11: Dublin. Stay in Dublin.

Day 12: Depart Dublin.

Am I pushing it? Are there things I could skip? Things I'm missing? Lodging suggestions? We're not rich, but this is our honeymoon, so I'd like to splurge a little....

Thanks for any help in advance!

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 11:54 AM
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Congrats on your upcoming marriage! I can't help you too much on your itinerary, having only been to the SW, but I will put in my two cents.

I have heard the Adare Manor is nice. However, my advice is to not stay in Adare. I was not impressed, and it was my only disappointment in Ireland. It touts itself as being the prettiest village in Ireland, but I saw far prettier! It's also pretty tiny and not much there (compared to other places I saw).

My other suggestion would be to stay a couple of nights in Dingle. You could splurge and stay at the best room at the Greenmount House. I could almost guarantee you won't be disappointed. The house isn't anything fancy to look at, but it has fantastic breakfasts! If you tell them it's your honeymoon, perhaps they could book you the neat room with the patio facing dingle bay. Seemed very romantic! I know it's only a B&B and not a castle (or some other splurge-like place) but many people on this board have loved staying there.

Also, I did not do the Ring of Kerry, but I understand it takes a good portion of the day. I drove from Dingle to Kinsale, and it took 6 hours (including a few stops). I'm thinking after a long day driving the Ring, you may be pretty pooped on your drive to Kinsale.

I also would chose Galway instead of Dublin as my "city" choice, and did not regret it. Galway is a neat city.

I hope you have a wonderful honeymoon.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 11:56 AM
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Oops, that should read "I also chose Galway." I didn't mean that YOU should choose it.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 11:59 AM
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Couple of comments.
Since you are doing both Dingle & the Ring of Kerry , I would stay in Killarney instead of Kenmare on Days 5 AND 6.
I personally like Killarney (Crystal Springs is just on the outer edge of town - easy to drive to but not "downtown") Even though you will have a lot of daylight, Dingle & the Ring are both pretty full days - I would base my nights in the middle.

Waterford / Kilkenny - I stayed in Waterford last time. This time I am going with Kilkenny. For your trip , I would suggest Seeing Waterford ( loved the Crystal tour) but staying in Kilkenny. Will give you a head start on the trip east.

Depending on how much of Wicklow you are planning on seeing, you may want to skip seeing Dublin this trip and stay in the Wicklow area right up till you leave. 1 full day in Dublin doesn't seem like enough. It all depends on what time your flight out will be.

Hope this helps.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 01:04 PM
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We were going to do Ireland for our honeymoon in June, 5 years ago, but the thought of having to pick up and move, pack and unpack, as well as all the driving while being on our honeymoon -- Oh well, we opted instead for a cruise of the Greek Islands and saved Ireland for another time -- been back there twice.

Having said that, all the places you picked out are wonderful!!! Enjoy.
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 02:33 PM
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Great trip!!--if you have a month. We're just back from three weeks in Ireland and we didn't cover half of what you intend to see. For example, Day Three in and out of the Aran Islands from Dromoland. I think it unlikely you can do this unless you want to sun-up to sun-down travel; Day 5 could very well be confined to the Dingle Peninsula--I really don't think you're going to be too keen on doing the Dingle-Killarney-Kenmare run at the end of that day. The road between Kenmare and Killarney is spectacular and SLOW--there are mountains, narrow roads and fences made of gossamer and matchsticks.Day 6 will probably be taken up with the drive around the Ring of Kerry, and it's quite a little haul to Kinsale; it may not look like much on the map, but a visit to any one of the innumerable threads here on Ireland (and this eyewitness) will tell you that it'll be a long,long drive after the Ring. You're really pushing it, in my view. I guess I would have thought that Limerick (not a tourist town but a commercial city) and the Rock of Cashel (touristy--very) are eminently missable. While it's a matter of taste and interest, in my view you're not giving Dublin enough time. And you really don't need a day for Cork City and Blarney. Others may differ on all these points. We travelled a lot of your roads in November (no traffic to speak of) and admittedly light was petering out around 4 pm) but found it difficult to average more than 30-35 mph. I reall think you've got a better shot at a great honeymoon if you carve some hunks out out of this trip.

Have a great time. And watch out for the sheep with red and blue butts on the Killarney-Kenmare road!
Old Dec 16th, 2002, 03:34 PM
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OK, I'm going to take a quick shot at this. Dromoland castle will be a great place to stay a couple of nights. There is not much to see in Shannon by the way. I agre with the idea that doing the Arans and then heading to Adare is way to much. Also, I would not do Limerick at this point. There are some things to do there, but your trip is to short for all that you want to see. I'm not sure where you intend to depart for the Arans, you have a few choices, Doolin being one.

Here is what I would suggest:

Day 1: Stay at Dromoland and see some of Bunratty. You may have the strength to make it out to see the cliffs that evening. Try not to go in the middle of the day, it's a zoo.

Day 2: If the weather is good, take that opportunity to go to the Aran Islands. Stay at Dromoland. If you come back through Doolin, you'll have another chance to see the cliffs. Your other option would be to stay on the Arans.

Day 3: Ennis is a neat town, but that wouldn't be my forst choice of towns to hang around. I would suggest heading for Dingle.

Day 4: Dingle. You could finish this day in either Dingle or Kenmare.

Day 5: See the Ring of Kerry, Stay in Kenmare

Day 6: See the Ring of Beara on your way to Kinsale

Day 7: Hang around Kinsale, There is a lot to do in the area, Cork is probably the least interesting if you don't know your way around and it is very confusing to drive in.

Day 8: Instead fo staying in Waterford, go to Kilkenny and stay there. If you must take a day trip to Waterford, you can, but Kilkenny is a MUCH more interesting town to stay in. You can visit the Rock of Cashel and Cahir on the way to Kilkenny

Day 9: Kilkenny.

Day 10: Visit Glendalough. Stay somewhere around there. Avoca for instance. I can't think of the name of the town on the coast there, but I understad there are some great places to stay there. You can stay in Dublin if you like. But you'll only be about an hour outside the city.

Day 11: Though this wouldn't be my choice, visit Dublin. You need more time to really see Dublin and with your length of stay, I wouldn't do it at all, but it's an option.

Day 12: Pack up and leave weeping.

OK there are my suggestions. Have fun.

Old Dec 16th, 2002, 05:12 PM
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Good ideas from Bill but I still think that with this being your honeymoon you need to put more relaxation into your trip. Don't paint yourself into a corner with having to be somewhere when you'd rather hang out where you are and take it easy. Day 1, enjoy the grounds at Dromoland and be sure to make a reservation for dinner there. Excellent food. On day 2, Bunratty is one direction and Cliffs of Moher the other.
We started out in the morning and drove to Lahinch, looked around and then went up to the Cliffs. Day 3 see Bunratty on the way to Adare. You'll drive through Limerick on the way to Adare and then can decide if you want to see the city. Day 4 and 5 should be set aside for Dingle. Days 6 and 7, stay at Kenmare, you'll love it and do your trips from there. If you too tired to travel, it will be a good spot to rest. Play the rest of your trip by ear. You won't believe how long it will take you to get from place to place until you're there... but it will be a beautiful trip.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 04:43 AM
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I actually agree with Maxie. You are trying to do too much, especially on a honeymoon. I was trying to get in as much as I thought was maximally reasonable. In fact, if it were me, and it was my honeymoon, I'd go the opposite direction to where the tourists aren't and enjoy NW Ireland and a bit of NI. But hey, I only had ten minutes to plan their honeymoon .

I would suggest slowing way down and if it were me, I probably wouldn't even go to the east coast. I'd fly in and out of Shannon.

The other suggestion is that you don't have to stay in hotels for it to be romantic. B&Bs are as, if not more romantic and I have found B&Bs that were as plush as most castles, and you get a kind of personal service that you will never get in a hotel.

So take some time, find a deserted beach to walk along and breathe. They have those things in Ireland.

Old Dec 17th, 2002, 07:14 PM
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Quite ambitious. Since you asked for thoughts, I'd suggest you cut out a couple of stops. Spend more time particularly at a couple spots to really try to absorb the atmosphere. If you are in any condition similar to my wife and myself after our wedding last year, you'll want a day or two to just relax without the pressure of making all your stops. My suggestion where - Dingle peninsula. Have lunch in Dingle and walk around a little, then head west to Slea Head Drive.

have fun.
Old Dec 17th, 2002, 07:38 PM
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Way too ambitious. Cut it down by half (and you'll still be racing around quite a bit). You'll much more enjoy your visit if you stay 2-3-4 nights, and plan day-trips from your accomodations.

You could, ostensibly, cover your planned itinery, but you wouldn't enjoy it so much.

If it were me, I'd select just TWO overnight destinations, and then day trips in all directions from them.

You cannot possibly enjoy our country by racing all about.

My recommendation would be to arrive in Shannon, spend the night nearby. Select a destination within 100 miles to "live" for the next 5-6 nights, then drive all about from there.

Then, go on to your next most favorable desintation and spend 4-5 night, going all about from there...

Then, spend your last night at Dromoland Castle, before flying out the next day.

This IS your HONEYMOON after all?

Old Dec 19th, 2002, 06:50 AM
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Hi Stephanie,

You have received some excellent advice. My two cents.

Adare is good for a lunch. Staying there is a bit out of the way - you can visit the village easily from a base at Dromoland castle.

I would do the lakes region on the edge of the Ring of Kerry and skip the entire ring. You get the highlights of the area and miss the drudgery of the entire drive.

I recommend Greenmount House in Dingle as have others. In Dublin look into the Trinity Lodge - best location in Dublin for doing the highlights of city center - and that is the only thing you will have time for.

Have a great honeymoon.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 07:18 AM
david ess
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A couple of alternatives for your consideration

1. in Dingle, Heaton's Guesthouse--lovely place, lovely proprietors. Try for Room 8.

2. in Dublin, Brooks Hotel. Just as central as Trinity Lodge, considerably more luxurious and about twice as expensive. Worth every penny. For the money, few can beat it.
Old Dec 19th, 2002, 01:19 PM
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We, (six of us) toured Ireland in August. Had a grand time, but the only thing I think we did wrong was to try to see too MUCH. Remember, roads are small, usually one lane, go thru each and every town, and getting there is much more time consuming that at home...thus you have little time to BE there, which is all important to me. If I had it to do over, we would travel less, and see more.
Old Dec 20th, 2002, 06:45 PM
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Day 3 if you see the Aran Islands, staying at Adare will put you in the opposite direction. Adare is about 45 min south of Shannon, and Aran Islands are about 3 hours north of Shannon.

You can do Waterford and Kilkenny in one day. The only real thing to see in Waterford is the Crystal Factory, and my husband drug me out of there after about 2-21/2 hours cause of what I was spending. =)

I would absolutely stay at Dromoland Castle. It was so nice. I know it's nice to stay in teh same place more than one night, but you seem to be doing a lot of back tracking for it. No way on Earth I would drive 2 hours from Limerick to the Rock of Cashel two hours back that night, only to do a two hour drive to Dingle the next morning. Yeah, most places are only 50-60 miles away but the WILL take 2 hours if not more to get there. You have a good plan but you'll find that backtracking will waste a lot of touring time. Also, Kilkenny is halfway between Waterford and Dublin, why head back to Waterford only to go to Dublin the next day?? Just my two cents on it. (My husband and I just went about 5 weeks ago.)
Old Dec 21st, 2002, 01:24 AM
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We spent a couple of weeks in southwest Ireland last May, and covered a lot less ground than you are trying to do. Roads there are very pretty and there is plenty to see, but travelling quickly is not one of the options. Much of the time you will be doing well to average around 30 miles in an hour - less if you want to look around.

I suggest you need to cut back on the number of places you are planning to see. Kinsale is good, and the Ring of Kerry, and Dingle / Slea Head. We enjoyed Killarney, which could be a good base for that area.

Good luck! Whatever you decide you'll enjoy the trip.
Old Dec 21st, 2002, 08:58 AM
D. Dillon
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You've made a bold choie in Ireland as your honeymoon destination. The weather gods, of course, are a bit harsher than those that reside in the Caribbean or the Greek Islands.

If you're looking for romance, you may consider avoiding some of Ireland's more predictable and all-too-touristy locations. Bunratty is one of them. As an alternative, spend a day hiking in the Burren. Not into hiking? Take a long, leisurely drive along the west Clare coast, get out of that rental car, and explore the marvelous Burren. Search for wildflowers and have a picnic lunch. Monk's Pub, located in Ballyvaughn, is a terrific spot for an indoor lunch, dinner, and a few pints.

Heading to the Clifs of Moher? Do so, but get there early or late in the day. Avoid the hordes of tourists. Take a long hike away from the crowds, with the wild Atlantic on your right. (You can hike for up to five miles if you wish.) Catch a sunset or sunrise at the Cliffs. It'll be romantic - and chilly.

The Aran Islands are wonderful. Make a point, however, of staying for one night. Kilmurvey House, located on Inishmore, is close to the striking Dun Aengus. It's a fine accommodation, one that offers a good meal. But you'll do better at the nearby Man of Aran, which offers romantic and scrumptious candlelight dinners.

President Clinton stayed at the very pricey Adare Manor. I've not, the town of Adare has a too tidy, stage Ireland look and feel about it. You'd do better heading down to the Shannon Estuary and taking a boat out in search of dolphins and/or a visit to the monastic ruins on Scattery Island.

The Rock of Cashel is a must-see. Consider eating at the very fine Chez Hans restaurant, located down the street from the Rock. The Cashel Hotel offers nice atmosphere and a good lunch.

Limerick City is often overlooked by tourists, but don't make that mistake. Spend the better part of a day there and see the excellent King John's Castle (one of the best in the Republic). In addition, not far from the castle is the outstanding art collection at the Hunt Museum, along with some decent pedestrian-only shopping possibilities. Finally, if you've read Angela's Ashes, you might consider taking a tour of some of that book's sights.

Lest I become too long-winded, I'll sign off now, but will only add do spend at least two full days and three nights in the greater Dingle region, at least a full day in Killarney National Park, and by all means take a trip out to the memorable Skellig Islands, off the Kerry coast. Read more about the history of the Skelligs in a goog travel guide, like the Rough Guide to Ireland. Lastly, spend a good deal of time driving the byways of west Cork (have lunch at Mary Ann's, in Castletownshend), and leave time for the Waterford Coast which is vastly underrated (But don't tell too many people, as you know what happens when word spreads).

Best of luck.
Old Dec 21st, 2002, 09:12 AM
D. Dillon
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Pardon my re-appearance, but allow me to concur with at least one other writer and say that your plan may be too ambitious. If you try to see too much in a relatively short period of time, you'll need, in the words of travel writer Rick Steves, "a vacation from your vacation."

Slow down and take the time to savor the relaxed pace of rural Ireland. Going from the Aran Islands to Adare in County Limerick in one day will leave you exhausted. Worse will be the trip from the Ring of Kerry to Kinsale in south Cork. As mentioned, Ireland's roads are not like Route 95 from boston to New Jersey. Besides, you'll have a much better time driving on the quiet backroads. In short, condense your trip, not by days, but by regions.

Old Dec 21st, 2002, 09:36 AM
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I guess I will also add my 2 cents here.
I agree with most people that your plans are overly ambitious. I would fly in and out of Shannon and skip Dublin. It is not that I do not like Dublin, quite frankly I think I would enjoy living there. It just that I think the most interesting part of Ireland is outside in the country.
I will also be the only one I am sure who was not wild for Dromoland. Yes, the grounds are well manicured, the service lovely, rooms nice etc. and it is convenient to Shannon. Its not that I disliked it, I just found it very expensive for what it is and sort of sterile in a Epcot Disney sort of way and full of American tourists. I must add that I do not I have any problems with expensive hotels, having stayed at a fair number of Four Seasons, Ritzs etc. I do tend to prefer more "local" environments.
My advise would be to fly to Shannon, and drive to Ashford Castle where I would decompress and relax. Use it as a base for a few days to explore Galway and the Connemara. I would than move down to the Burren, base myself somewhere like Doolin or Ballyvaughan to explore the area including the Aran islands, (stay the night in Aran?), Cliffs etc. Recommend Drumcreehy house in Ballyvaughn. I would than move southward to Dingle. We liked Heatons alot. Base in Dingle to explore the area including Muckross and the ring of Kerry. (Yes I know it is alot of driving but having one base is preferable IMHO)Leave from Shannon.
I suppose you could add another location here but I would keep it simple. We found the Karen Brown guide for Ireland to be quite useful. Also check out Pat Prestons web site. Pat would be the best person to address your questions. Have fun!

Old Dec 30th, 2002, 04:57 PM
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What a wonderful place for a honeymoon. My only suggestion is to stay in Kilkenney and take a day trip to Waterford (45 minute drive). I also agree that attempting the Ring of Kerry and then driving to Kinsale is too much especially if you plan on driving the entire loop. I was the driver and the smartest thing I did was to take a tour from Killarney for the Ring of Kerry. Take day tours whenever you can so that both of you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Have fun !!
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