Help with Ireland Itineray

Old Jan 19th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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Help with Ireland Itineray

I am planning a trip to Ireland late sept or early october for 8-9 days. I just want a good overview or Ireland culture mixed with tourist attractions.

Here is my proposed itinerary:

2 days in Shannon - covers County Clare (Cliffs of Moher)
2 days in Killarney - covers Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula
2 days in Cork - covers blarney castle/stone and possibly Mizen Head
3 days in Dublin - all Dublin related activities.. can stop at Donore and/or make it out to Burren as well.

I would fly into Shannon, rent a car, explore the south and west making my way to Dublin. End in Dublin fpr 2 to 3 days. Any helpful info on renting a car is welcome as well.

Thanks for any help.
chboyer is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2011, 09:40 AM
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We did the west coast in Sept.'10 and are planning to return in May'11 to see more. Here's our trip report if you are interested.

Here are a few things we found on our travels:

Driving is harder than you think and it takes longer to get somewhere than you ever plan.

Dingle Peninsula was the hightlight of our trip.

Killarney and ROK was the most congested, hard to get around area of our trip. We were glad we were staying in Kenmare.

We wanted to get to the Kinsale, Cork area but with 13 nights we just didn't have enough time.

The food was far better and the people nicer than we ever dreamed.

Skipped the Cliffs of Moher because it was extremely foggy the day we were in the area. We met people who were there at that time and they couldn't see their hand in front of their face. Keep the weather in mind and change your route accordingly.

Just my opinion, but I think your original plan is way too tight.

As far as car rental goes, we used Dan Dooley and were extremely pleased with the service. We will use them again. Also take all of the insurance you can get. We had no problems, but the narrow roads are unforgiving.

I hope I have been of some help and good luck in your planning.
TPAYT is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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Thank you Tpayt. You have been very helpful.
chboyer is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2011, 12:54 PM
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I think the advice that you've got an aggressive plan is one that I would agree with. Don't underestimate how long it takes to get from place to place -- this itinerary has a lot of driving in it.

I wouldn't skip the Cliffs of Moher - I thought they were incredibly beautiful. Be prepared to be flexible with regard to your itinerary if needed.

We enjoyed Kinsale and thought it a really fun town to walk around in. I would consider skipping the Dublin side and just staying in ROK, Kinsale, and going up to Cliffs of Moher.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 02:16 PM
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Thank you for your input surfmom!
chboyer is offline  
Old Jan 19th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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We are taking our 8th trip in April. Our plan is just about as agressive as yours:

Night 1: Dublin (to visit a friend, usually we fly into Shannon)
Night 2: Kilkenny
Nights 3, 4: Kinsale
Nights 5,6: Kenmare
Nights 7,8: Clare.

I like your plan because you are not changing locales every night like a lot of first-timers. (Am I correct in assuming you are one?)

Where are you flying from? That can make a difference for your first day, because you could be really exhausted.

Late September/October is a great time to go.
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Old Jan 19th, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Driving in Ireland is not easy for a No. Amer. --Not because you are on the "wrong" side of the road but because you MUST shift with your left hand, Renting an automatic is the answer but costs much more. We used Dan Dooley on three of our trips and had good luck..The first time was the best as we had a stay and drive package..Don't know if these still exist but the price was right, the places were both B&B and hotel and we got to choose our own routes..The first time we did not do the So. West. That came later. All the stops, sites and sights were outstanding. Hope you have a great time. Take ponchos as the rain doesn't stay on the plain in Spain..
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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Thanks guys. This information will really come in handy.
chboyer is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2011, 07:15 AM
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I'm sure you realize you are missing a lot by trying to cover so much ground in a short time. I think most would agree Ireland is enjoyed at a slower pace. Its a beautiful country with friendly and fun people. When you spend so much time in the car, ticking off tourist sights, you miss the best of the country. Traveling by car there is MUCH slower than the actual mileage would indicate.

But I understand the need to try to see as much as possible, especially if its your first time.

With that said, here's my two cents:

"2 days in Shannon - covers County Clare (Cliffs of Moher)"

Cliffs of Moher is beautiful. Lots of people and there now is a wall somewhat obstructing the natural scenery. We had visited Slieve League in Donegal on a previous trip and thought the Cliffs were a letdown after that. But they are still spectacular, if not expensive. When we were there in 2009, it cost 8 Euros to park. I think that may have changed.
Also, since you have 2 days, maybe you can see the Burren while in Shannon?

"2 days in Killarney - covers Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula"

IMHO, this is way too much ground to cover in two days. There is so much to see in this area and you will spend way too much time in the car and not enough actually experiencing anything.

"2 days in Cork - covers blarney castle/stone and possibly Mizen Head"

We loved the Cork area. There is so much more to see besides [or instead of] the Blarney Castle. Mizen Head is beautiful.

"3 days in Dublin - all Dublin related activities.. can stop at Donore and/or make it out to Burren as well."

We also loved Dublin, but for your limited time, I might take one day off here and add it to Killarney, especially if you get to see the Burren earlier.

Good luck with your planning and your trip.
egnolive is offline  
Old Jan 20th, 2011, 08:24 AM
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Thanks egnolive. I appreciate you taking the time to give such useful information.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 01:44 PM
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I thought the Burren would actually be a "place" like a park where you had directions and knew where you were and what you were looking at. It's not. It's like a county or a state, it's a place with all different kinds of towns and landscapes. We literally drove all day looking for it, without realizing we were driving in and around it. It is neat, but if you've been to a western desert, you know what I mean about not seeing much from a car.

Killarny: take either ROK or Dingle don't try to do both. Personally I think Dingle is more interesting: lots of ring forts, beehive huts, etc and much more dramatic scenery. don't miss some of the trad music in Dingle. I have been told that it is surpassing Doolin in the music area. O'Flarehty's should not be missed if you love the music, and even if you don't, Fergus is a character you will remember for years. We were there when the US was playing in the world cup and he took us all into a back room to watch it so we "wouldn't be disturbed" or cause trouble, not sure which.

skip blarney castle. I've never known anyone who says it was worth the waiting in line, and the locals all say it's a big scam. Kinsale is beautiful and the seafood capital of Ireland, so if you're a foodie, it's a can't miss. go there instead of Blarney. There's lots of old castles in Ireland better than Blarney. some of my classmates went to Blarney just to say they'd been there (we were law students)and said they wished they'd done something more interesting instead. Outside of Ennis up in Galway or Clare, don't quite remember, there's reconstructed feudal village and castle that are fascinating at Craggaunowen. They even have living historians there at the castle.

In my opinion slow down and spend some time at each place, get to really see it and spend some time with the people. They are the true attraction of Ireland. I know you'll have a fantastic time no matter what.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 04:24 PM
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We were there in Sept/10, you're going to love it. We flew in and out of Dublin and so traveled via train to the west coast, an easy, inexpensive way to get across the country. We rented a car in Killarney, loved the estate there. Arbutus House hotel is great, right downtown, great pub. Then went to Skelling Island, wouldn't do that again. Enjoyed Dingle, but wish we would have gotten north to Connemara or Aran Islands out of Galway. Galway I wouldn't stay for more than a day. Didn't get to Cork, saw Cliffs, they are GRAND, wish I would've had a better camera. The Burren wasn't much of anything. Stay in Dublin at least 2 days, its fabulous.Book of Kells, to many cathedrals and pubs to visit. Don't miss Temple Bar area and pub. Allow at least 3 hours at the airport when leaving, security check points every 100 feet it seemed.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 04:58 PM
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Ireland is a wonderful country to visit.

Our first trip in 2006 was great. We stayed in Co. Donegal, town of Portsalon.. It was very remote, not sure why I choose it, I really didn't know where to begin. It was beautiful country. It was a little remote, as we backtracked everywhere we went. But I am glad we saw that part of the Country.

Our second trip in 2009, we stayed here:
after reading reviews here at fodors.

It was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!

The perfect "Ireland" experience.

It made us fall in love with Ireland. We are those people that would live there if we could. The Dingle Peninsula was all you have heard it to be.

Anything you do, anywhere you go, will be worth it and so magical, that you will forever have a problem planning a vacation elsewhere.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Cliffs of Moher has become very commercialized. I highly recommend the Loop Head Drive in Clare, the cliffs along the way to the lighthouse are amazing.
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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I am hoping you can help me more! We have decided on dates and booked our flights and have a very ROUGH itinerary.

Flying into Shannon and out of Dublin. Our dates are Sept 23 through October 3.

My first question is: We land at 7 am on Friday the 23rd. One thought I had was to get in our rental car and head straight to the Cliffs of Moher, explore that area and stay in Doolin for that first night. It will be an early night due to our extreme jet lag coming from the states. I am thinking this first because this is the most northern point we will go on our journey. From here we go south, west, and east.

Day 2 - Saturday, we will head back to Shannon and explore this area and city. Do we spend the night in Shannon or keep going to get further south? If not IN Shannon, can you reccommend a location near by? How many days do you suggest for Shannon as the city itself?

Day 3 to 5 - will be spent on the Dingle Penninsula, Ring of Kerry, Killarney then on to Cork? Not sure how much time to spend in this area.

Day 5 to 8 - Cork, Kinsale, Rock of Cashel and on to Dublin.

Day 9 to 11 - Remaining time in Dublin. May take a day tour (organized tour) up to to Giants Causeway.

Thoughts on these locations? Driving time, etc? As you can see we have details on the first few days of the trip but are still defining the 2nd half of the trip.

One thing we would like to do is ditch the car prior to arriving in Dublin. We would like to take the train into Dublin, but don't want to miss anything along the way. Thoughts?

Also, I want to leave a lot of our trip up to chance. I have been to Europe several times but have never done a self-driving tour of any country, I h
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Old Feb 15th, 2011, 02:35 PM
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I am figuring you have 10 nights, is that right? The plan to spend the first day around Doolin is good. You can drive through the little towns and start to get the flavor of the area. I like to have tea and a bite in the airport cafeteria upstairs, helps me feel like I am starting the day. We have also stopped in Lahinch for a pot of tea in one of the hotels. That was nice. We drink a lot of tea in Ireland.

The cliffs can be breathtaking if the weather is good. If foggy or rainy, skip them, maybe the next day will be better.

There isn't a whole lot to Doolin, a few pubs and B&Bs.

As for day 2, there really is nothing to the town of Shannon. There is a mall with a few shops and I think a McD's in the area. Bunratty is nearby but even this town is mostly B&Bs, pubs, and a Blarney Woolen Mills. I would head south this day instead of hanging around.

I think the Dingle Penninsula is beautiful and deserves at least two nights. You could easily spend two more nights in the Killarney/Kenmare area. Remember that if you are spending two nights in an area, that really only gives you one full day since you spend a good part of the first day just getting there.

From the Kenmare area you can drive to Cork for a couple of nights. Take the coastal route through Skibereen and Clonakilty for the scenery. My husband loves Cork, I am not such a fan but I do love to wander around the English Market, and we visited the Cork Gaol one year. You could stay in Kinsale, where there are some small interesting shops and lots of places to eat, in addition to lots of history.

Then onward to Dublin, and you can visit Cashel along the way.

I think you would have to drive this route, if you want to stop in Cashel, and then I don't know how you would turn in the car. Maybe someone else can chime in on that topic.
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