Ireland: City or Country?

Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 08:37 PM
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Ireland: City or Country?

We've rented a house for a week in Galway for a family reunion this Sept. This will be our first time in Ireland. Husband & I will spend another 5 or 6 nights afterwards and are conflicted about where to go. Have a chance to spend 6 nights in a villa near village of Adare, 10 miles from Limerick. We could do a trip to Waterford from there, or a (long) day-trip to Dublin. Or we could spend all of the the time in Dublin instead.

Since we have never been there and I am reading about narrow roads and slow driving, it's hard for me to know how much territory we will have covered in a few days traveling out from Galway. Is it likely that we could arrive in Adare having already seen "the right stuff" of southern Ireland? Or are the chances good there will still be things we can see by ourselves?

Although I've been reading about people "doing" Dublin in 2 or 3 days, I assume we could be quite happy wandering round and seeing different sights for longer. Or not?

Thanks for any/all help.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 11:50 PM
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I havent been to the Irish countryside but have spent a lot of time in Dublin. In my opinion it is good for 1-2 days of sightseeing. It is honestly my least favourite city in Europe (and I have been to a few). Probably bottom of the list of all places I have been. I find the architecture boring, the sights are very spread out, the food to be even more expensive that London and just not that much to see compared with other places - especially the Irish countryside from what others say. So I would definitely plan for most of your time to be outside of Dublin. If you do go the Book of Illuminations is great to see at Trinity College. Just my 2 cents worth!
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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There is always more to see in the Irish countryside, and the west/southwest is well packed with stuff you can see. Dublin, as jamikins said, is worth a couple days - but it is still a city, and you've seen cities. The true charm of Ireland is the countryside.

I would say Adare has lots nearby that isn't convenient from Galway. Dingle, the Ring of Kerry, Lough Derg, all sorts of things to explore. Galway has Clare island, Achill island, Connemara, Galway itself, the Aran Islands (ferry from Rossaveal), the Burren... you will not be bored

On the way down from Galway to Adare, explore the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin - and enjoy!
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 06:42 AM
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Adare would be a bit too boring for my taste, but it is somewhat conveniently located and a quaint village.
The immediate surroundings of Co. Limerick are not the most scenic Ireland can offer IMO. Somewhat boring flat terrain.

As Galway and Adare aren't THAT far apart, the advantage of staying in a different location is somewhat less than you might expect. Any sight in Co. Clare is an easy day trip from Galway already, the day trip to Dublin is more or less the same effort, so the advantages of Adare are more the better accessibility of the Kerry and West Cork coast with their peninsulas and "rings".

Travelwise, that "long day trip" to Dublin will probably also one of the easiest. Both from Galway or Adare, you will just drive 5-10kms on a regular wide highway until you hit the motorway all way to the M50, the Dublin beltway. It's around 2.5hrs driving at 100-120kph. No sheep, no sharp bends, just a 4-lane freeway.
An easy way to explore Dublin is to use the Park & Ride facility at Red Cow (interchange of N7/M50; assuming you do it as a day trip from Adare/Limerick) - and take the tram into town. No driving on city streets necessary, and the parking fee is modest.

"Doing" the Ring of Kerry would be more of that driving on narrow roads once you got south/west of Killarney.

I'm not too sure if I'd "waste" a full day on Waterford. It is a quite nice town, agreed, but being in Adare you have many sights "nearby", like the Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle, Swiss Cottage, Lough Gur, Lough Derg and much more.
If you wanted to see another "big town", I think I would rather choose Cork than Waterford. Either destination can be reached on regular 2-lane highways, often plus a breakdown lane.. so again, no driving amongst sheep on tiny backroads.


And completely different alternative would be to pick a totally different location much closer to Dublin, e.g. in Co. Wicklow. The setting can be as rural as in Adare but you will be much closer to the capital for maybe one trip to the city center and another one to the sights in the surroundings or suburbs, like Newgrange.
And you will find the "Big Houses" and/or gardens there, e.g. Powerscourt or Emo or Altamont. Which could be more of a contrast to the rugged Wild West around Galway than Adare.

P.S.
I think I am one of the only 10 people on the planet who actually like Dublin. The museums around Kildare St or Merrion Sq, Temple Bar, Trinity College, GPO, the new Financial district and the shopping streets are all in very walkable distance within an appr. 1 - 1.5km radius.
Just as rural Ireland has no natural wonders like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, you don't bump into the Louvre or Prado at each street corner of Dublin.
Nevertheless, you can have your best "Irish moments" in Nealons Pub in the heart of Dublin or in some god-forsaken hamlet in the middle of nowhere or the most touristy pub in Doolin.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:41 AM
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I like Cowboy's suggestion of staying in County Wicklow. The scenery in County Wicklow is amazing and you could putter around the little towns there to your heart's content. (Be sure to visit Glendalough National Park.) And you can easily visit Dublin (I think a couple days in Dublin should suffice). You are also close enough to do day trips to Kilkenny, Waterford, Newgrange and/or Trim. All of these destinations would probably be a 2 hour drive or less.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:44 AM
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Cowboy, glad to hear that you like Dublin. It is not my favorite European city, but it is close to the top.

Your suggestions, IMO, are spot on. If one wanted to base in Dublin for five days, one could easily spend 2-3 days exploring the city itself. Then take a couple of organized day trips outside the city. Newgrange to the north or Gledalough to the south. Or keep your car, find a B&B in one of the suburbs near the DART (train into Dublin) for a taste of the city and then explore the countryside on your own. Glendalough, the Wicklow Hills, Powerscourt House and gardens, Powerscourt Waterfall. Then do a northern route to include Newgrange, Mellinfont and Monasterboice Abbey ruins, Trim and its castle, etc. In your plans, several of the museums in Dublin are closed on Mondays.

However,the rental in Adare is close to explore parts of the SW. Tralee (rose gardens and museum), Blennerville Windmill and the small train into Tralee and back, the flying boat museum near Foynes, Bunratty, Loophead drive out beyond Kilkee, and above mentioned activities and sights.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Fodorites come through once again! Will check into staying in County Wicklow, Cowboy, though if we do wind up in Adare you have given great suggestions to keep us busy. Driving info. very useful. Seems like Dublin will be quite doable in a brief visit -- I'm mostly interested in the Georgian architecture and the Book of Kells. Big thank you to all of you for taking the time.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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I could never disagree with Wicklow. Glendalough is one of my favorite places in the world!
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 06:07 PM
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4 days with a Galway hub last September
http://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-...8-Ireland.html
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 06:30 PM
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I'm with GreenDragon - Glendalough is just magic!

I'd go with the whole Wicklow idea!
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:16 PM
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Catch a ryanair flight cheaply to another country!
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:45 PM
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You can't see everything...but definitely Dublin in the East in addition to Galway etc. in the West. I don't see what you mostly are interested in, i.e., historic sites, colorful towns, pubs and music, churches and abbeys, theatre and so forth. Indeed Co. Wicklow and thus Glendalough.
Bill in Boston
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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Adare Manor grounds are fabulous and in the "prettiest town in Ireland." So we tried it for the first time this past June. Those short day trips weren't as short as expected. After a long day of driving through mountains and exploring sights it was no fun to have to drive---even a couple of hours---back just to get into bed. Spent a lot more on fuel than on previous trips staying in B&B's as we went. Certainly didn't benefit from having a "fully equipped kitchen" since we were out all day every day. It's way too easy to find great B&B's (with huge breakfasts) in every nook and cranny of the country.
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Old Jan 25th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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Wicklow seems to be gathering steam...

Treble, I did Ryanair from London to Prestwick a few times when they first opened and it was an amazing value. Lately though I have read some pretty scary things about flying with them & have been put off.

Annettafly: Great comments and input about Adare. Have to think on that, though carting suitcases and packing/unpacking everyday was one reason we liked the villa idea.

Thanks everyone.
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Old Jan 27th, 2012, 06:44 AM
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while in Galway make sure you do Michael Faherty Aran Island tours. He is the best! Galway tours also has great and cheap day tours from the Galway coach station. I love Doolin and Lahinch.

I LOVE DUBLIN! I am a history buff and Dublin has tons of history, great food and shopping. There are also many days tours from Dublin if you want to use it as a base.
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