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Dejais May 24th, 2012 12:55 PM

Help with Stops Along the Way on Ireland Driving Itinerary
I have narrowed down our self-drive itinerary for my mother's and my trip to Ireland in October. Although I have researched some things to see, I was wondering if any Fodorites had suggestions for things not to be missed along the way. We are taking our time and I have scheduled all drives (except the last day back to Dublin) for under 2 hours for the most part to leave time to stop and see things. Cities listed are where we will end our day. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Day 1/2: Dublin
Day 3: Cahir
Day 4: Blarney
Day 5/6: Killarney
Day 7/8: Dingle
Day 9/10: Tralee (Ballyseede Castle)
Day 11: Dublin

Thank you!

Dejais May 26th, 2012 03:46 AM


irishface May 26th, 2012 04:30 AM

On your way to Cahir:

Kildare has the National Stud Farm (horses) and its Japanese Garden. Also you will be coming through or around Cashel and its castle and cathedral ruins.

Once you get to Cahir, you might want to stretch your legs and walk along the river to Swiss Cottage.

By the way, I think you may have underestimated the trip from Dublin to Cahir. Tony may know if the new road goes all the way these days.

Cahir to Blarney

Rather than take the highway to Blarney you might want to take the R 668 which is a scenic road to Lismore. It goes over the Knockmealdown Mountains and has wonderful scenery. In Lismore is a castle. It is Duke somebody or others home so it is not open to the public but its garndens are though by October they might be less pretty. Lismore is a pretty little town for a lunch stop. The view of the castle as you come into town is quite something. From Lismore continue on the R668 toward Fermoy. The road runs along the Blackwater River and is scenic.

From Dingle to Tralee if it is good weather, go up over the Connor pass for stunning views. Just outside of Tralee is the Blennerville Windmill. some interesting history. In Tralee there is an interesting museum where you can take a ride on little cars that bring you through area history.

You can google any of the sights I have mentioned to see if they might be of interest to you and your mother. I have not said much about the towns in which you will be staying as I assume you have already researched them and know what you want to see and do in those places.

Hope this has been of help. Have a great trip!

Dejais May 26th, 2012 05:26 AM

irishface...Thank you for your suggestions. The museum in Tralee sounds good. I will research this. And the R668 is a great suggestion. As for drive time to Cahir, says the drive from the Dublin aiport to Cahir is 2 hrs, 16 mins. I am trying to keep the drive time to under 3 hrs per day (except for the last day which I know is a haul). If it is more than that, then yes, I may have underestimated. Anyone with knowledge on this?

jaja May 26th, 2012 09:39 AM

When I research driving times I get the mileage from (be sure to get miles and not kilometers as I usually do at first)and figure 35 mph or roughly 3 hours per hundred miles. I do have a calculator to get more precise but for planning purposes it works okay.

I would plan on 3 hours for Dublin-->Cahir. And you might factor in a stop for lunch...and you'll need to pay the M50 toll somewhere.

SeeDee May 27th, 2012 02:53 AM

Motorway all they way to Cahir from Dublin - drivers are now regarding the trip Dublin-Cork as doable in 3 hours.

The National Stud outside Kildare Town is well worth a visit, just a mile or two from exit 13 on the motorway. Don't factor it in for a quick visit though, as it needs time to enjoy the Japanese gardens. There are good catering facilities there for lunch before moving on. I would advise that if weather was not good, it might not be worth a stop.

The Rock of Cashel is very convenient to the motorway also and need not take up more than an hour, if that is all the time available to you.

If you make it to Blarney by mid afternoon on Day 4, you might consider taking the local bus into Cork City (city driving and parking is stressful at the best of times) and check out some of what the city centre has to offer - the Crawford Gallery for art, the English Market for foodies.

Dejais May 27th, 2012 06:28 AM

Thank you. Will look into all of these suggestions. Does anyone have a website for what tolls will cost on the Irish roadways?

Dejais May 27th, 2012 06:30 AM

Never mind. Lots of information out there on the M50 tolls. :)

Tony2phones May 27th, 2012 06:49 AM

Full information on Toll roads and links to other relevant sites

lovs2travel May 27th, 2012 11:01 AM

You could stop at Glendalough and Powerscourt on your way to Cahir. Both are beautiful.

We drove the Ring of Kerry during our trip. We left later in the afternoon and drove counter clockwise. We did not run into much traffic, especially tour buses, and we made plenty of stops along the way. You’ll just need to keep the amount of light you will have in mind at that time of the year.

Ballyseede Castle is lovely. You will enjoy it. Can I assume that you will be going to Killarney National Park while you are in Killarney? The views are stunning.

Dejais May 28th, 2012 05:42 AM

lovs2travel...Yes, we will be going to Killarney National Park as we have two nights there. And we are looking forward to driving the Ring of Kerry although I do have to say the prospect of driving has me a bit nervous. :) I was looking into GLendalough but was unsure if it was actually along the way or not. It will be our first day of driving when we head to Cahir and as I said, I am a bit nerous. Wrong side of the car, wrong side of the road AND stick. Wow. I have to say I am just glad we will not be rushing to get anywhere. *S* We are really looking forawrd to Ballyseede Castle and will be taking a day at the Nadur Spa while we are there. It will be a nice way to end the trip. Thank you for your input.

lovs2travel May 30th, 2012 05:12 PM

Dejais – we were also a bit nervous about driving on the other side, but we quickly got used to it. Think positive thoughts and you will be fine. Have an awesome trip!!

GreenDragon May 31st, 2012 06:21 AM

Glendalough is a bit south of 'on the way'. I would recommend EITHER Kildare (Japanese Gardens/National Stud/St. Brigid's Holy Well) OR Glendalough/Powerscourt Gardens and Waterfall and then on to Rock of Cashel. Each one could take a couple hours, and another optional stop is Kilkenny - wonderful medieval city with a castle, two cathedrals, and lovely cobblestone alleys and such.

I recommend both Kildare and Glendalough - they are lovely! I suppose it depends on if you are more garden/horse-lover or waterfall/cemetery-lover.

Blarney folk park and castle are a great afternoon. They have two evening shows - the medieval feast in the castle and the ceilidh in the corn barn. The former is more formal and 'class' while the latter is more peasanty and funny. I enjoyed the ceilidh greatly - yes, it's horribly touristy, but I had fun.

Killarney - I prefer staying in Kenmare, as it's a smaller, more walkable town, but that's a personal preference. Killarney National Park has fantastic things to see. Gap of Dunloe is my favorite - I've walked it, driven it, and gone up in a pony cart. Along the Ring of Kerry, Valentia Island at the end is great. We stopped for a stretch of the legs and hiked up the end of it for a fantastic view of the Skelligs. If the weather is nice, that might be a great trip out to the islands (if you aren't scared of heights). Ballinskelligs beach is a nice break, too. Along the south end of the ring is a lovely crepe/tea house called Strawberry Fields. It takes a bit to find it, but the food and tea is VERY worth it! There are lots of random forts and fishing towns along the ring, quite lovely. In Killarney, see Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, Ladies' View (there's a nicer spot farther up from the gift shop, and a bit quieter). We also had a lovely walk through the woods.

DIngle - Conor Pass is a must. You may have to try a couple times for a clear view - early morning and dusk usually means lots of mists and no visibility. The Dingle side is wider and a better road, the north side can be a bit scary at times. If you are nervous about driving, I'd keep that in mind - much easier to go DOWN the north side than up, especially if there is mist. Now, with that said, the north side of Dingle is beautiful - Brandon Point is stunning. On the south side, there is a lovely Celtic Prehistoric Museum (privately run) not far from Dingle town and Gallerus Oratory. Slea Head is one of the more stunning views of Ireland, and not to be missed. Blasket Island has a great visitor centre and information area.

Tralee - from Tralee you can easily visit more places you missed earlier in Dingle, it's very close. It's actually not a terrible drive to take in the Ring of Beara from Tralee, if you want - the roads are a bit narrower, but much less crowded as a result. It's a wilder, simpler version of the Dingle and Kerry rings. Alternatively, you might want to choose a place farther away from Dingle, perhaps down near Cork or back in Kildare towards Dublin, breaking up the journey back a bit.

Dejais May 31st, 2012 11:05 AM

Lovs2travel..Thanks for the encouraging words. I actually found an automatic car now for only another $100 or so so we have decided to upgrade. I feel so much better about the driving now! :)

Greendragon...You are exacctly why I posted this question. You have given me several ideas that I had not thought of or known about! Thank you so much. I think Kilkenny is right up our alley and along the way so that is going into the planning. And I just loved your info on Dingle. Geez, I thought stretching the trip into 13 days was going to be enough but wow! those days got used up quickly! Thank you so much for your thoughts!

GreenDragon May 31st, 2012 01:21 PM

They do, and there is SO much to see on such a tiny island! However, be certain to stop and enjoy it while you are there. Don't 'green blur' the places you stop at. Enjoy! We had a great lunch at the Marble City Cafe in Kilkenny, and on an earlier trip, great steaks at Breathnach's.

In Dingle, we had great fish-n-chips in Harringtons. Kenmare had a fantastic gastropub that was also our B&B, O'Donnabhain's.

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