Ireland in August 2011

Nov 2nd, 2010, 03:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 481
Ireland in August 2011

Hi all,
I'll buy a guide book but I'd like to get your knee-jerk reaction of what to see in Ireland. I know this will vary by interest but I'm wondering if there are places we must see to make it a worthwhile experience. Seven days in total and flying into Dublin. I don't know a thing about it or where to even begin (stress). I have a lot of time though. Two adults and two kids (7, 8). I'll try to book a few places with golf/pool. We were thinking of taking a train over renting a car but that's up for discussion. We are inclined to get out of the big city and see the countryside I think. Blarney Castle, Ashford Castle are on the list. After that, no plans. Any advice or ideas of beautiful Ireland would be greatly appreciated. Tickets are booked. We are flying out of Paris so we'll need to get to England. We've allowed three days onto the seven for England. Two for Paris (been there) Thanks!
lenlu is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 410
With your younger travelling companions, planning to see lots of the country might not be the best strategy - even if your time allocation of 7 days seems generous.
Using the train system is a more interesting way to travel for kids but almost all train lines radiate out from Dublin so a round Ireland railway trip is not feasible.
Perhaps if you concentrated on two 3-day expeditions from Dublin (Sligo, Galway, Killarney, Cork city are some options) but you would require a car to explore around your end destination.
A wonderful place that your kids would enjoy for a few days is Kellys Hotel, Rosslare - there is a rail connection from Dublin to Wexford town and Rosslare Harbour (both close to the hotel). Lots of activities for children and a top class restaurant too. The hotel can have a minimum stay policy at certain times of the year so you would need to check that out.

I would be particularly conscious of the dilemma of wanting to tour Ireland to take in the scenery - with two small people in the back seat of the car. Be aware that the amount of ground you might like to cover will probably take more time than you think, using the smaller Irish roads.
Basing yourselves in one or two regional centres would allow for shorter day trips - and save on the need for the driver to wear earplugs.
SeeDee is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 05:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
If you want to get out of the city and into the countryside, you will want a car. Trains in Ireland tend to radiate from Dublin as a hub, and do not cover many places that would be fun for the whole family. Also a car with kids means that you can stop when and where it is comfortable for you.

I have found from taking my nephews on several trips that a car worked well as we stopped at the first grocery store and stocked up on juice boxes, fruit, cookies, a loaf of bread, jam and peanutbutter so that we could stop for picnics when necessary.

If you are going to Blarney Castle (I found Blarney to be a driver's nightmare) in that area is Fota Island where there is a wildlife area connected with the national zoo. They are breeding endangered species and the animals have large areas to roam, many unfenced. I enjoyed it a lot as did the youngsters. You might want to take in the museum in Cobh which is dedicated to all the Irish who left for America from that port. It was also the last stop of the Titanic so there is an exhibit about that.

Near Dublin is Glendalough, an 8th century monastic community founded by St. Kevin. The paths among the ruins are an easy walk. The history and geology of the area are covered in the visitor center in an interesting display and film. The Powerscourt Gardens and the waterfall are great visits. The waterfall will be rather thin in August unless there is an especially wet summer, but at 476 ft. is the highest in Ireland. There are easy walks near the waterfall. You can wade in the area just below the falls.

The towns south of Dublin along the coast have good beaches.

Kilkenny is an interesting city (not big in population, but is a city by virtue of being the seat of a cathedral--St. Canice) where there is a round tower, a castle, and medieval streets. Dame Kytelers Inn has decent food and an interesting history involving a supposed witch.

The Rock of Cashel is a castle ruin and church ruin with an interesting history. Also has a round tower. Hike over to Hoare Abbey ruins which are visible from the rock. The rock by the way is literally a rock which sticks way up above the Tipperary plain. the castle ruins are built on this outcrop.

Over in the Shannon area you might want to take the kids to Cragganouwen. There is a fortified tower house which has been restored and furnished as it would have been six hundred years ago. On the grounds is a recreated farmstead built in the middle of a pond. There is a secret tunnel. Now you cross a bridge but in its day the only access was by stepping stones staggered underwater and only the inhbitants knew the pattern to be able to cross safely. You will see reenactors going about the business of a family who would have lived in one of these forts. The "Brendan", a fifth century hide boat, which was built and outfitted in the late 20th century and then sailed across the Atlantic to prove that St. Brendan could have discovered America, is housed here. There are also wild boars in the woods. The boars are fenced off from the path so you are safe. There are also cattle that have been "down bred" to recreate ancient breeds.

In county Clare there are the Ailwee Caves. They are well lit and a guide will take you through the walk and tell about their history and geology in an entertaining way.

These are just a few of the things kids might enjoy. They are by no means "must sees", just my ideas from living there for a couple of years and many return trips in the last 45 years.

Tell us about your interests and a little more about your time schedule and from where you will fly out, and you will get lots of info from those who know more than I. Above all,
get a guideboook, see what looks interesting to your family, and look at a map!
irishface is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2010, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 986
If you end up at Ashford Castle, please consider a Hawk Walk at the Ireland School of Falconry on the grounds of the castle. It was the highlight of my grandsons' visit. I guarantee the kids will love it and the grownups will enjoy it too. You can pay for just the kids, and there is a price break for two, but the adults get to go along and take pictures and I even got to mess about with the hawks and the eagle owl for a bit.
jaja is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 7
Hello - just saw your post. I would highly recommend you think about a small group tour, especially with kids in tow. Check out There is also Vagabond Tours. These are not the "big bus" type tours at all and take you off the beaten path. I've been on 3 Wolfhound Adventure tours and they are a delightful way to see the country, learn about the people and the culture and be highly entertained the entire time! MUCH better than trying to drive on the left side of the road and especially since you have so little time. Enjoy!
Orourke_jane is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,871
I have to 100% (make than 10000%) disagree w/ the above advice. 7 and 8 yo children will likely be very unhappy on a coach tour. There is no flexibility, no accounting for possibly picky eaters, no avoiding 6:30 AM wake-ups and luggage in the hall at 7:30 AM, no choice where to sit on the coach - the driver will rotate folks so probably 1/2 the time the children won't have window seats, and the kids will be 50-60 years younger than most other passengers.

Just not a good fit IMO.
janisj is online now  

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