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Ireland in 10 days- Itinerary feedback needed

Ireland in 10 days- Itinerary feedback needed

Jan 9th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Ireland in 10 days- Itinerary feedback needed

This is my first time posting anything on Fodors. My husband and I will be traveling to Ireland May 19-May30th 2010. We have already purchased our tickets and are flying in and out of Dublin. I think I have our itinerary figured out thanks to reading alot of other threads on this webiste. I just want to make sure that my plans are not unreasonable. My husband and I are both thirty. We enjoy good food and pubs. Generally we cram too much into our travel plans, so I am determined to not rush Ireland....but I want to see as much as possible.

May 20 Fly into Dublin early morning
May 21 Dublin
May 22 Drive thru Glendalough to Kilkenny
May 23 Rock of Cashel to Kenmare (I know this is going to be a long drive)
May 24 Kenmare
May 25 Ring of Beara to Dingle
May 26 Dingle, Slea Head
May 27 Ferry over River Shannon, Cliffs of Moher, Burren; stay in Doolin
May 28 Aran Islands, stay in Clifden
May 29 Galway , spend last night in Athlone
May 30 Afternoon flight out of Dublin

I have a couple questions about this itinerary. First, do any of these day sound too hectic?
Also, would it be better to make Connemara a day trip from Galway and not spend the night in Clifden?

I know that there is really nothing for a tourist Athlone, but my flight leaves at out of Dublin in the early afternoon on May 30th, and I would rather arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I welcome any and all feedback!
knwolf is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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You'll be moving quickly, but not too quickly (if you ask me). The major change I would suggest is flying out of Shannon if at all possible. That would save you a long driving day at the end of your trip, and save stress about getting to Dublin in time for your flight. I don't know what the change fees are for your tickets, but if it's not exorbitant, to me it would be worth it.

Otherwise, you have a lot of driving (part of it in transit, part as an activity), so if you're OK with that, then I think it's fine.
jent103 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Way to much in 10 days unless you like driving endlessly. I did something similar for our honeymoon in 1995. In retrospect, I call our honeymoon the Bataan Death March.
SuzChicago is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Some of your days look a bit crammed, but it will also depend on what you will make of those days. For example, if you devote enough time to Glendalough and the Wicklow Mtns you may arrive too late in Kilkenny to visit the castle. But if you want just to spend the evening and night exploring the town, it won't matter.

The boat trip to the Aran Islands is quite time-consuming, so I wonder if you would not be better off using that time to explore Connemara less rushed.

Athlone is not all that unspectacular: Nearby, you will find famous Clonmacnoise and also the huge boglands that are worth visiting. Driving from Athlone to Dublin is a breeze on the new motorway. Bit East of Athlone, you will find Kilbeggan with the historic Locke's whiskey distillery right on old N6 in town. Nice tour, few tourists.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for the quick replies. I appreciate your honesty, SuzChicago, and will definitely rethink my itinerary. It does sound like of driving afterall. I am not sure if I can change my flight plans, but it might definitely be worth it. Thanks for the info on Athlone, Cowboy1968. My husband will love the whiskey distillery.

Perhaps I should just pick a few places to focus on. It is just simply too hard to choose, since there are so many lovely places! I think I will cut out the Aran Islands and spend a day around Connemara and another day in Galway.

Is seeing the Ring of Beara and the Slea Head on consecutive days too much? Is one worthy visiting more than the other?
knwolf is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 05:19 PM
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It sounds a bit like our trip to Ireland, except that we gave up on getting out to the Aran Islands because it would have taken more time than we had. If you can arrange to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon, that would be great. We tried but, for reasons I can't remember, had to fly in and out of Shannon - so we ended up in Dublin, but then spent the last day driving back.

I personally don't think it's too much to see the Ring of Beara and Slea Head back to back, but then I'm really into scenery (and we don't mind driving, or at least we didn't before we had two youthful passengers in back).

With the long days at the end of May, you can break up each day a bit and still have a good amount of daylight to get to your destination.

Bottom line - IMO - if you pare down just a teeny bit, and don't mind driving, you'll probably have a great time.
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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You will love Ireland -- and find many of the things you "PLANNED on doing" - you didn't get too! If you're husband likes whiskey -- don't miss the Jamison Factory in Dublin -- Dublin has much to offer - don't hesitate to use the hop on/hop off bus (one fare you can use the tickets for 24 full hours) - we saw dublin this was and I would NOT recommend driving in dublin - WAY WAY too hectic -- WAY to hectic - lol - If you're unfamiliar with driving on the opposite side - there's a learning curve -- lots of round da bouts - if you have a GPS - and can get the Ireland routes - worth it -- Loved Rocked of Cashel - well worth seeing - we LOVED LOVED Dingle -- well worth going Slea Head -- bypassed Ring of Kerry and don't regret it a bit - I agree with most if you can fly out of Shannon do it -- Galway to Dublin is a hike and i'd worry you won't make the international airport in time - although i did read a post recently that said a new hwy has galway to dublin in 2.5 hrs. - i'd check that out before making definte plans for that! We chose to bypass Blarney because I didn't want to kiss a rock 6 gazillion others had kissed and too hard a climb on a recent surgery knee... but had no truoble will all the walking and pubs we went to! lol

One spot I'd tell you to try and see is Adare - lovely lovely little town -- like alot of towns - nothing 'famous' there other than Adare Manor - gorgeous castle - and a quaint little town I can't wait to go back to! lol Don't miss the Pink Potato or Sean's Pub!

Have you booked B&B's or Hotels -- you'll love Ireland -- enjoy and let us know! Jeri
Irishgal127A is offline  
Jan 9th, 2010, 10:03 PM
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The Ring of Beara with Slea Head the next day might be a lot of scenic driving; it really boils down to what you like as a rule, AND how sick of you are of being in the car at that point in your trip. Not to mention the weather. Personally, I'd research alternate activities in both areas (hiking in the national park near Kenmare or visiting Ross Castle/Muckross House, for example, or a trip to Great Blasket Island in Dingle) and then play it by ear.
jent103 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 06:57 AM
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P.S. Only now I noticed that you mentioned "good food and pubs"
As in any tourist destination worldwide, the most popular places often charge an arm and a leg for rather mediocre foodstuff or "made for tourist" craic. When looking for a nice pub, it will always, always, always pay off to forget the travel guides' "secrets" and ask the locals, like the B&B hosts.
One online resource you may want to browse in addition is:
You will spot their logo at the doors of the mentioned restaurants or pubs.

Re GPS: True, these devices can help a lot, especially when navigating larger towns. But: The motorway system grows substantially year by year, and when the old national roads hit the roadworks area for the new freeways, GPS is not always up to date. So it always pays off to have at least one decent map (get one in Dublin, or at any filling station). And have a rough idea if you're currently heading towards Dublin, Galway, or Killarney to identify correct exits in detour or roadwork sections, as you will not find signs giving directions by the compass.

Driving from Cashel to Kenmare is not really that far or complicated, by the way. If you go via Cork, you will have good motorway from Cashel to Cork, and a decent 2-lane highway from Cork towards Killarney. Routing systems want to "guide" you through the city centre of Cork, but when you look at the map, you notice that you better use the Southern Ring Road, which is a freeway that by-passes Cork and puts you straight on N22 towards Killarney.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 09:26 AM
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I don't think this sound undoable. I would consider the suggestion from jent to maybe skip the drive around the Beara Peninsula and hike and visit some of the places in the Killarney Ntl. Park.

It looks as if you are planning on doing the Aran I. visit from Doolin. I would suggest taking the ferry from Roseveal which is between Galway and Clifden. The trip is much shorter and the ferry is not weather dependent. Also it will be a very long day to return to Doolin on the ferry and then drive to Clifden. If it were I, I would push on to Galway on May 27 and then head out to the Aran Islandson the 28th and then when you return in the afternoon do a little poking around Connemara and back to Galway.

If you can get your tickets changed to fly out of Shannon, spend another night in Galway to give you more time to do the Connemara loop. Or on the 29th head down to Ennis for the night. It is a quick trip from there to Shannon. While in the Ennis area you can explore Cragganouwen, Quin Abbey, Bunratty Folk Park. My personal favorite is Cragganouwen.

Have a great time!
irishface is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for all the advice! I am glad to know that the drive from Cashel to Kenmare is not going to be too long. Would it be worth stopping in the city of Cork since we will be driving by it? I will definitely ask the locals for food/pub advice. Cowboy, looks like you seem to know alot about Ireland. Any suggestions on things I should definitely not miss? How bout things I should avoid?

Thanks for the suggestion about the Aran Islands, Irishface. I was wondering if I should just skip them in order to slow our pace down. Would this be a mistake?

I really enjoyed your upbeat post irishgal! Thanks for letting me know about the Jameson distillery in Dublin. I looked into the motorway from Dublin to Galway. It appears it was finished on Dec 18th. The drive is reported to only be about 2 hours. I don't think it is worth changing my flight to leave out of Shannon if that is the case.

Thanks for the all this great info!
knwolf is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:59 AM
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Knwolf -- so much advice - lol - but you'll love Ireland -- oh the factory in Dublin is the Guiness factory - but they have a part about Jamison as well.

I loved Ireland ... so will you I'm sure! Can't wait to hear what you think!!

Do you have a b&b for dingle -- check out the Emlacht house (owned by maggie) - great location - facing dingle bay and wonderful breakfast by Maggie -- nice local -- only a few minute walk to town!

Irishgal127A is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 11:51 AM
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I think Irishgal is referring to Emlagh Lodge. I stayed there as well and loved it.
jent103 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Honestly, I would not stop in Cork. Not that I would not like the city, on the contrary. But you will lose a bit of time going to the city centre (which is notoriously jammed along the quays where most thouroghfares run). So it's rarely a "quick in, quick out".

You also have covered so many other major sights (all of them worth your time) in your itinerary that you should leave some "buffer time" for that village or beach or castle you pass on your way and you want to spend an extra hour or two.

There are tons of options more or less en-route, like
Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage (Cahir, South of Cashel)
Dunmore Cave (N of Kilkenny town)
Kinsale (S of Cork city, nice harbour town, touristy, but nice)
the Ennis area sights that irishface mentioned (and Cragganouwen is my favorite, too)

I'm kinda weak on West Cork or Kerry since I always stay with friends who live in No. Tipperary, so I'm more familiar with the Midlands and Clare and Kilkenny Co.

The impressions on the byways or regional roads will more likely make your trip special than visiting just another Anglo-Norman castle.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 09:37 AM
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Thanks so much for all of the advice. I have adjusted my itinerary and now just need one more suggestion.

May 20 Fly into Dublin early morning
May 21 Dublin
May 22 Drive thru Glendalough to Kilkenny
May 23 Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle to Kenmare
May 24 Kenmare
May 25 ?
May 26 Dingle, Slea Head
May 27 Dingle
May 28 To Doolin via ferry; Cliffs of Moher
May 29 Doolin to Galway ; Burren
May 30 Flight home

Should I spend the 25th near Kenmare or Dingle? Alternatively, I could spend an extra night anywhere else in my itinerary.
knwolf is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 01:33 PM
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Much better with the flight out of Shannon! I think you should hang out in Kenmare for the 25th - and do try the Ring of Beara. You could also explore Killarney National Park, which has loads of beautiful and interesting sites, such as the Gap of Dunloe, Ladies View, Muckross House, Torc Waterfall, etc.

At the end, you could do Galway in a day trip, and drive through the Burren on the way there, if you like...that way you stay in Doolin, and you don't change locations yet again. And you still end up reasonably close to Shannon airport at the end.
GreenDragon is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 07:33 PM
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Thanks GreenDragon! I think I will choose Kenmare so that we can do the Ring of Beara that day. Thanks for the help!
knwolf is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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Hi Knwolf, Our trip is very similar to yours. We're leaving this May 31. Check it out
June 1 Arrive Dublin drive to Kilkenny (River court hotel)
June 2 Check out Rock of Cashel, Killarney on way to Kenmare (hawthorn House)
June3,4 ROC or ROB then off to Dingle for 2 nights(Emlaugh Lodge)
June5,6 Doolin(aran View Hotel) Cliffs & Anan island by boat, Burren
June7,8 Connemara (splurge staying at Ashford castle 1 night,Oughterard 1 night)
June 9,10,11 Dublin(Stauntons on the Green)

We'll have to compare notes!!!!
truckinbob is offline  
Feb 16th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Hi TruckinBob! That sounds like a great itinerary!! Our trip is indeed very similar. I have modified it a bit at the suggestion of other people on this forum. We decided to spend more time in Kenmare and Dingle to slow down the trip. So our itinterary now looks like this:

May 20 Dublin
May 21 Dublin
May 22 Kilkenny (via Powerscourt and Glendalough)
May 23 Kenmare (via Cashel and maybe Blarney Castle)
May 24 Kenmare - Killkany National Park
May 25 Kenmare - Ring of Beara
May 26 Dingle
May 27 Dingle - Bike Slea Head
May 28 Dingle
May 29 Galway - CliffsMohr/Burren? (not sure if time)
May 30 Drive back to Dublin for afternoon flight

I really did want to see Connemara and the Aran Islands, but I just don't think there will be time. My husband and I usually overfill our schedules then are so tired after our vacations. I wanted to try to relax this time...and I stress "try." I am dedicated to keeping a detailed travel journal so I can post a very informative Trip Report on Fodors. I hope you have a great time!
knwolf is offline  
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