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Ireland by car

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Dec 30th, 2012, 08:46 PM
  #1
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Ireland by car

My wife and I are taking a driving trip thru Ireland during our Easter break and would like to get some feedback on our planned itinerary.
Day 1 - Land at Shannon and drive to Killarney
Day 2 - Killarney
Day 3 - Doolin
Day 4 - Westport
Day 5 - Donegal
Day 6 and 7 - Belfast
Day 8 - Leave
Is it too many one nighters/? Recommendations of what to see on this route? Places to stay?
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Dec 31st, 2012, 03:23 PM
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I’m afraid that it is not just too many one nighters, it is too much territory to cross in a week. I understand that you want to see a lot, but all you will be doing is driving and not enjoying Ireland.

You could fly in and out of Shannon and focus on the West Coast. There is so much to see there. Although beautiful, I wouldn’t include the North on this trip.

Is there a reason why you picked these particular towns?
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Jan 2nd, 2013, 05:35 PM
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We definitely want to get to Belfast. I've been there before and know my wife would be fascinated with it. I heard great things about Westport and Donegal and thought they would be good stops enroute to Belfast. For us, we do enjoy the touring thru the country so the drive isn't a chore. I may rethink the Killarney and Doolin stops. I had a great time in Doolin but this will be in the off season so there may not be much going on. The reason to go to Kilarney was to drive the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle peninsula but I am also worried that the weather in late march may not be so good which would not be the best way to experience that scenery. Let me know what you think.
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:01 AM
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With such limited time (and Belfast as a MUST), I suggest you drop Killarney and Doolin. Driving straight to Westport from SNN is a LONG haul, with jet lag, 100 miles, so between 3 -3.5 hours, but I suppose you could PROBABLY do it.

Two nights in Westport would be a minimum, I think, since you will 'Lose' so much of the first day...

Nearby -- Achill, Croagh Patrick, Connemarra, Doo Lough Drive and Castlebar and the Museum of Country Life.

The drive to Donegal, from Westport is also about 105 miles, which might leave enough time for a 'Detour' to Slieve League - depending upon how often (and long) you stop along the way -- Knock Shrine, Sligo (for Yeats), Drumcliff (more Yeat's).

The direct route, Donegal to Belfast, leads through Omagh (Irish American Folk Park)and is 115 miles. More likely, though, you'll want to drive via Derry (or, Londonderry - depending on your political perspective)and Ballycastle, so call it more like 150 miles (4 hours of drive time)for added attractions. Derry is a GREAT city -- we spent a couple of hours touring it. Also along this route -- Grianan of Aileach (near Burt), Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge (may not be open, in March), and Bushmill's Distillery.
The coastal views along the way can be incredible, IF the weather co-operates!
A LOT to see, in one day, you would probably need to stay overnight somewhere, in the vicinity of Derry.
That gives you 2 Westport, 2 Donegal, 1 Derry area and 2 in Belfast.

Still ambitious, but probably do-able.

Bob
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 05:03 PM
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I agree with Itallian_Chauffer. He’s laid out a good plan. The north is absolutely beautiful. I would suggest flying into Belfast and spending a couple days there, which will help with the jetlag.

Drive north via the Coastal Road, which lends itself to some beautiful views, on your way to the Antrim Coast. We stayed in Cushendall and they had a lot of rain before we arrived so we saw so many waterfalls as we drove along. As Itallian_Chauffer noted, there is so much to see along the Antrim Coast. One of our favorite stops was Dunluce Castle. We stayed in Portstewart for two nights to explore the area.

Make sure to see Slieve League when you stay in Donegal. It is breathtaking. Westport is lovely. We found some great restaurants and pubs with fantastic trad music.

You could then fly out of Shannon via the Burren National Park, which is pretty fascinating.

Nancy
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Two potential flies in the ointment:

1) Flights out of Belfast (in the UK) are generally heavily taxed and therefor, more expensive. Interestingly enough, flights INTO the UK are usually taxed at a lower rate.
2) One-way car hire that originates in one country and ends in another (Northern Ireland, as opposed to the Republic)generally entail QUITE hefty 'Drop-Off' Fees...

An option, would be to fly into DUB, rent a car and drive to Belfast -- REVERSING the route, so that it ends up, in SNN -- avoiding the 'Penalty'.

To do THAT, though, would require cutting 1 night from somewhere, so that you could spend your last night, closer to the Airport.

If, instead, you fly into SNN and follow my original suggestions, you could spend nearly all of the 2nd Belfast day exploring the area and THEN drive the 2 hours down to a Dublin Airport Hotel, for your last night, Get up in the morning, return the car and fly out ...

Tough choices, to be sure ... NOT trying to confuse the issue -- just trying to make you aware of the facts ...

Bob
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 05:54 PM
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Thanks for the tips. What do you all think of:
Days 1,2 - Doolin
Days 3,4 - Westport
Day 5 - somewhere between Westport and Belfast
Day 6,7,8 - Belfast
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 06:36 PM
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Thanks for the tips Bob. Our flights are already booked (using miles) and we are actually flying to Edinburgh from Belfast and back to NY after a few days there. The one way car rental was not too bad, About $320 US. (The dropoff fee was as much as the rental!) We plan on turning the car in as soon as we get to Belfast.
I had a great time n Doolin a few years back. I'm just not sure if it will be as much fun on a Saturday in March.
Larry
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:08 PM
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Actually, that's not TOO bad. Dunno about two nights in Doolin -- it MIGHT be interesting on a weekend, it being in the general vicinity of St Patrick's Day ...

I'm more of an Ennis fan, personally, but, different strokes for different folks and all ...

I think that I would NOT book anything for the night of Day 5, and just, 'Wing It'. I WOULD make a short list of POSSIBILITIES, though, and verify that they WERE open during that time of year --

For example, Ballyshannon, Donegal town, Letterkenny, Derry and Limvady -- maybe 2 places, in each town. Then, about 2 PM, I would figure out which was a suitable stopping point and call ahead, to book a room for the night.

That would allow you some leeway to explore along the way without feeling too much pressure -- As I've said -- There is a LOT to see, between Westport and Antrim.

Let us know what you finally settle on -- And, on how it all works out!

FYI -- I've got an old TR from 2007 floating around the web, a small part of which details time spent in Donegal and NI. Dunno how interesting it might be, but the photo link therein MIGHT provide SOME tempting fore-taste ...

Trip Report:
http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spa...picID=12825158

Pix are here: (also some from '05 and '06)

www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/

Bob
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Jan 3rd, 2013, 07:14 PM
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Direct link to Northern Ireland Set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallia...7600769833589/

Some from Edinburgh (same year):http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallia...7600737512305/

Westport (2008): http://www.flickr.com/photos/itallia...7606082291641/

Hope you find them of some use.

Bob
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