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Ireland - 1 Week Options

Old Oct 23rd, 2017, 10:51 AM
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Ireland - 1 Week Options

We have lined up a 10 day boat cruise to Iceland in mid-May that starts and ends in Dublin. In addition to the stops in Iceland and Lerwick-Scotland, it stops off in Belfast for 1 day (9.5 hours) and has 2 days in Dublin at the end of the cruise (1 full day in Dublin after arriving at 6:00 am and then disembark on the 2nd day). We are now trying to decide/plan on what to do after the cruise ends in Dublin.
Our thoughts are to stay/travel in Ireland for another week (to a max of 10 days) …. it will be our 1st time visiting Ireland. We prefer walking around old towns and enjoying the outdoors; we have been to a lot of museums, churches and castles and, unless they are really unique and special (or we have really bad weather), we will not make plans for those attractions. We also prefer staying put for a few days at a place instead of packing and moving to a different hotel each night. At this point in time, our plan is to go from stop to stop by train and use public transit and not to rent a car.
In addition to Dublin, another place that we want to spend some time is Galway (including the Cliffs of Moher); the questions are how many days should we plan on visiting Galway; is Galway a place that we can set up camp for a few days and do daily excursions; should we include Cork or Killarney as a stop and, if so, for how many days; and how many days should we plan for Dublin (we will have 1 day before the cruise and 1 day as part of the cruise)?
Our final itinerary may become dependent upon our accommodation options and I will do a separate post on that -- hotel vs B&B's.
Thank you in advance for your feedback/suggestions.
Enroh is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2017, 11:32 AM
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There is express bus service between Dublin and Galway, and there are various things you can do while there, depending on your interests. You can surely find tours from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher. I've never taken one, but I saw the cliffs on my own.

You can also take a boat from near Galway to one of the Aran Islands. There is a shuttle bus to take you to the port. (We drove to the port; you can't take your car there.) I've been to two of the islands. (Inis Mor and Inis Oirr). Inis Mor is the largest of the three islands. You can get around by bicycle, by pony cart, or by minibus tour. We took a pony cart to the prehistoric fortress of Dun Aengus, which is on the edge of some very high cliffs (to rival those of Moher). The fort is well-preserved, although it had some uninformed "restoration" in the 19th century. It's an astonishing construction for prehistoric times. We walked back to the port from the fort, stopping here and there to see other things, including the Seven Churches (the ruins of some tiny early Christian churches).

Inis Oirr is the smallest of the islands, and you could walk all over it without much trouble. I visited there on a different trip, when my children were small, and we took a boat from Doolin.

You can also visit the Burren, maybe on the same day as the Cliffs of Moher. I believe there are also small-group tours to the Connemara, which is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

I consider Newgrange, a 3000-year-old burial mound near Dublin, to be one of the most spectacular prehistoric sites I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few, on three continents. They don't take reservations, and it's hard to get in unless you arrive very early in the day. There are tours from Dublin that include entrance, and these would be your best bet if you want to see it and don't have a car.

I've never been to Cork or Killarney, so I can't help you there.
bvlenci is online now  
Old Oct 23rd, 2017, 01:19 PM
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7 to 10 days will give you time to visit a fair piece of western Ireland and Dublin.

10 days would be 2 days for Galway, explore Connemara the middle day. Drive past the Cliffs and Burren to a night in Ennis. Heading to Killarney for 2 nights you could drive the Dingle figure of eight on the drop and the Ring of Kerry the middle day. 1 night in Cork and then up Kilkenny for 1 night and to 2 nights in Dublin before departure. That's 9 Days/nights so you could add in a Day along the way making things a little more relaxed.
Tony2phones is offline  
Old Oct 24th, 2017, 03:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 3,681 They do some excellent tours.

He is great. We have gone twice with Michael Faherty.
You can take the gobus from Dublin.

Mary Gibbons does Newgrange tours and you are sure to get in with her.
Train from Dublin for Cork, Cobh and easy bus ride to Midleton for Jameson tour. Beautiful area.
Two hours north to Belfast and you could do a day tour of the coast. My fav part of Ireland.

Public transportation is great in Ireland.
Macross is offline  
Old Dec 3rd, 2017, 08:46 AM
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Thanking everyone for their input.
Our friends will be joining us for 10 days … resulting in us renting a car and having a lot more flexibility. We have mapped out our trip as follows:
Day 1: arrive drive to Athlone – relax in Athlone;
Day 2: day trip to Galway and Connemara National Park (Village of Cong; Killary Fjor; Kylemore Abbey);
Day 3: leave Athlone - Cliffs of Moher, Black Head, the Burren and Doolin – stay in Limerick;
Day 4: leave Limerick – Dingle Peninsula – stay in Killarney;
Day 5: Ring of Kerry, Misen Head? – stay in Killarney;
Day 6: leave Killarney – Misen Head?, Old Head GC, Blarney Castle, Cork – stay in Cork;
Day 7: leave Cork – drive the south coast to the east coast – stay in Wexford;
Day 8: leave Wexford to Dublin and return the car – sights of Dublin;
Day 9-10: more Dublin.

Q: should we be looking at Ring of Kerry and Misen Head on the same day … or do Misen Head with the Old Head GC enroute to Cork .. spend another night in Cork and forget about the east coast?

Friend leave and we are trying to figure out what to do for our last 4 days in Ireland. We want to do Belfast and the north coast … without a car …. Is it possible to do that by public transit or should we be looking for Tours out of Dublin to Belfast?

We will have spent 3 days in Dublin with our friends and so plan only to spend our last night there before flying out.
Enroh is offline  
Old Dec 4th, 2017, 09:19 AM
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I would drive directly to Galway City (or a suburb of GC) on day one. You will not be jet-lagged and it is an easy highway drive across the country...about 3 1/4 hours perhaps. It would make day 2 so much easier.
Day 3 - I would not stay in Limerick. It is a large commercial / business city, not very charming. I would recommend Ennis.

The Ring of Kerry and Mizen Head is way too much for one day and Mizen Head is much too far south (on a completely different peninsula). I would base myself in Bantry for Mizen Head and Blarney Castle (if you must) and general Cork sights. We had a great stay at Bantry House.
Bette is offline  
Old Dec 24th, 2017, 03:07 PM
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Thanks Bette for your input. We will look at Ennis and Bantry.
I'm not completely sold on Blarney Castle (sounds like you would take a pass on it) - we're not big fans of spending a lot of time in castles .... wondering if the added lure of kissing the blarney stone is worth the time?
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Old Dec 24th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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I am lucky enough to work in Belfast almost every year, so I have seen a great deal of Northern Ireland and Ireland. You'll definitely need an organized tour to do the Northern Ireland coast. The Giant's Causeway, Ballintoy Harbour, and Carrick-a-rede are some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen. Many tours also include the fabulous Dark Hedges (in Ballymoney, NI) which was a Game of Thrones filming sight. I LOVE these places. Personally, I would do it with a rental car and spend a night. But you can see the highlights in a day with a tour.

If it were me...I would cut out a couple of stops and add one or two overnights along the way. Otherwise, it's a tremendous amount of driving, (which is tiring and draining) and not a whole lot of time exploring or enjoying the places you're driving to. I'd skip the Ring of Kerry and add that day to N. Ireland or the Dingle Peninsula. If you enjoy nature walks I would include the Glens of Antrim, especially Glenariff in the North.

I'll add that IMO, you don't need much time in Belfast. The City Hall is fantastic and you could do a Black Taxi tour to learn about the Troubles. Otherwise, Belfast is a bit of a generic city, and not really what I think most people go to Ireland for. The Titanic Museum is more about the building of the ship than the sinking, but it's interesting. But I'm all about the natural beauty.

I loved Newgrange, the Dingle Peninsula, the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny, Killarney... and SO much more! You'll have a great trip. But again, my warning is not to exhaust yourself with so much driving.
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Old Dec 25th, 2017, 09:15 AM
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We spent most of a day on the Northern Ireland coast, driving a rental car. I didn't feel any need of a tour. The Giant's Causeway was lovely just to walk around. We also visited the Bushmill's Distillery, on the insistence of my kids. They have their own tours, which my kids enjoyed. Finally, we stopped at Dunlace castle, which is in a suggestive spot, but there's not a lot to see. (I live in an area full of castles, so maybe I'm a bit blasé on the subject.)

Most tours cover a lot of ground, which is both the good and the bad.
bvlenci is online now  
Old Dec 25th, 2017, 02:54 PM
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I love Dunluce Castle! It's such a gorgeous setting. I promise that most people would be very impressed! (We don't have a lot of castles in Nashville or Hawaii) ;-)
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Old Dec 27th, 2017, 08:40 AM
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Yes, you read my tone correctly. I would skip the Blarney Stone. You basically stand in a long line going up stairs - get to the top - kiss the stone - and back down; it is not a castle interior tour. The grounds are lovely, however. If any in your group are into gardening you might enjoy this stop. I would not go out of my way to kiss the stone. So many more worthwhile things in my humble opinion.
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