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

Help with W and SW Ireland itinerary- leave in 2 weeks!

Help with W and SW Ireland itinerary- leave in 2 weeks!

Jun 23rd, 2013, 05:37 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Help with W and SW Ireland itinerary- leave in 2 weeks!

I stil have not finalized the first part of our trip to Ireland- an 8 day loop from Dublin to the west and back...We are a family of 4, kids ages 13 and 15. The second part of the trip will be based in Dublin while I attend a conference (6 days) and DH and the kids will have fun in Dublin and surrounds. We are interested in activities like hiking and biking, possibly horseback riding, castles, gardens and prehistoric sites; pubs and good trad irish music. Also interested in a farmhouse stay. Anything to do with animals-- sheep shearing, seal protection, whale watching-- all good!

I have been reading and re-reading all of the recent posts on this same topic, and have come up with the following rough itinerary. Would really appreciate your suggestions.

After much deliberation- re Dingle vs Beara pen, I decided that Dingle has the most variety to offer, even during bad weather. I am hoping that it will not prove to be too touristy. (DH wanted to go north (Donegal and Antrim coasts) for a more rugged unspoiled experience- but I was worried that if the weather is bad we could completely wash out..)

so here it is- last part is still vague and NEEDS HELP!

DAY 1- arrive Dublin and drive to Kilkenny overnight- Kilkenny Castle, Kells
DAY 2,3,4 - Dingle
DAY 5-7 - Kinvarra (Dunguare Castle) , Galway (aquarium, pubs, hanging out etc) - Westport- biking along Great Western Greenway? hiking at Connemara?
DAY 8- head back to Dublin (which route?)

Thanks for any suggestions!
manu423 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Sure you will have a wonderful time. Not sure my views would be well received on this one.

http://goo.gl/maps/L5ihu might give some ideas for the Connemara http://www.dochara.com/tour/itineraries/burren-tour/ might give some point for North Clare.

Rick Steves is great for Dingle, useless for the other 99.4% of the island but great for Dingle
Tony2phones is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 09:14 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Thanks, Tony2-- I know from the previous posts that you are not too keen on Dingle. Is it really so touristy? I am worried about that! But thought that the upside is that there are more activities for the kids- bike rental, horses, and great music, as I understand. Is the town very cutesy?

How is the bike trail out of Westport? worth it-- or Connemara-- or both?

Thanks for your help!
manu423 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 10:43 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Anything Dingle is perceived to offer is available Everywhere else. Yes the peninsula is good for young children as it has a few decent beaches. No point in going through the lists of what is elsewhere, my one voice for Ireland is outweighed by the miriad voices for Dingle.

The Western Greenway has been much improved of late but with limited time the weather might come into play on that decision. Connemara and north Mayo is almost 5 times the size of Dingle but there are key places of interest that I have pined onto the map (which only goes to Westport there is more further north/east)

If I were to tick boxes and throw Dingle to the tour bus tourists then north of the Shannon up to Sligo would give points to tick boxes, Dolphin (plural) watching from Carrigaholt or Kilkee in south Clare, Lahinch for the Aquarium swimming pool, Ailwee Caves Birds of Prey centre for Hawk walk, Sheep dog demonstrations at Caherconnell fort. A solo Dolphin (Dusty) has decided to become Doolin's new tourist attraction. Fanore Beach is the regular place to take the grand children. The Inis Oirr and Cliffs of Moher combi cruise is another favourite. Then Galway and you are on the Map and the link to the N59 route. Dan O'Haras farm/B&B would be an option for a couple of nights before moving north to the Westport, Ballina, Achill area.

if the hubby gets a compromise and you get to Donegal then Drumcorry house will tick the animal and music box's.
Tony2phones is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 11:11 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Thanks, Tony2, for all of the detailed information! The map you linked to in the previous post is amazing-- I will start looking up all of these places.

If we forego Dingle and go do the route you suggested could we also get to Donegal (and back to Dublin) within the 8 days without rushing? If so, what is the best route back to Dublin?
manu423 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 11:58 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Dublin to Kilkenny on arrival, Kilkenny to Cashel & Cahir ending perhaps Ennis. 2 nights there for Bunratty Folk Park and Castle, Loop Head and South Clare. Moving on to Galway/Spiddal/Oughterard for a night seeing some of North Clare/South Galway,
4th & 5th night Dan O'Hara's http://www.connemaraheritage.com/accommodation.htm or Faul House http://www.faulhouse.com/
Day 6 to 8 to get to Dublin so Donegal night 7 then the run south east possibly calling at the Ulster American Folk Park? That run would via Newry take 3 1/2 hours plus stops.
Tony2phones is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 12:47 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Thanks again, Tony2-
Our route has changed now to take in the northern route. We have taken your suggestions with some of the accommodations.

here is the plan:
Day 1 - arrive Dublin 2:30 pm, drive to Ballycastle (Collier House) (we have heard it is about 3 hours? hope it is not much more...)
Day 2- Rathlin Islands to see the seal colony. Continue to Inishowen (Trean House)
Day 3- Back to see Giants Causeway, Dunluce, Derry, back to Trean House
Day 4- Slieve - overnight in Donegal- Drumcorry House
Day 5,6, 7- Connemara (Faul House)
Day 8- Galway am (for the aquarium - daughter's choice!) continue to Dublin by early evening.

any other comments or changes?
We are hoping not to feel too rushed, and hoping for good weather!
manu423 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 01:02 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
You should do Ballycastle in 3 hours its good roads all the way. Doesnt look too rushed but I would have stayed Portrush Portstuart rather than crossing the Foyle onto the Inishowen.
Tony2phones is offline  
Jun 29th, 2013, 08:30 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
Well, we have heard great things about Trean House and the Inishowen from friends who have stayed there twice. I realize we will be backtracking a a bit on Day 3.

We'll be using your map, T2P, to plan the Connemara days. Hoping to find some great music along the way too.

Anyone have some special restaurant or pub recommendations for these areas?
manu423 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2013, 02:56 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
For Cliffden Connellys for music Lowrys trad Trad Mannions, EJ Kings Bar food, Off the Square or Marconi for high end food, Michels for a foodie badge (with a trip to the chipper to fill up and a reminder of customer service).
For Donegal ask Martina (not sure which bar her brother is running these days) Dom's restaurant upstairs at the back looking out over the water, stay away from the coc*tail menu, The bars in Donegal have an arrangement so there is music in at least one bar every night,
Galway, Busker Brownes for food (bar or restaurant)Kings Head is also US popular and you are spoiled for choice on music bars. http://www.galwaycitypubguide.com/
Tony2phones is offline  
Jul 4th, 2013, 01:04 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 25
great suggestions, thanks.
open to suggestions for Dublin pubs and food too.
manu423 is offline  

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 -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:05 AM.