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janey47 Mar 30th, 2006 12:02 PM

Ireland in July with kids, from L.A.
We are visiting friends outside Galway for over 2 weeks early July 8. We'll hang out with them and do day trips from there, but the kids (10 yrs) aren't into long drives(hours) to see a crowded attraction. They do appreciate a walk along beautiful scenery and love castles etc. I'd love to see everything I can! Any particular recommendations of where to go with an overnight (or 2) stay?

Also, just found out AA won't allow regular freq flier miles anytime around then so now I don't have enough points for 4 tickets Haven't seen any good deals so far. Re: a car, we can be picked up at Shannon, which I'd prefer due to jet lag and rent a car locally, or try to get a fly/drive deal. Any recommendations? Thanks.

TimS Mar 30th, 2006 12:33 PM

Your Galway-area friends are probably your best source for children-friendly sites and good places to stay overnight. However, here are a few ideas. Drive the Connemara loop, breaking it up with a night in Westport. See Ashford castle near Cong. Take a ferry ride to the Aran Islands. Drive to Dingle and spend two or even three nights. It's a fairly long drive from Galway, but the Slea Head Drive is spectacular. Marvelous scenery and more archaeological sites than anywhere else in Ireland. Many people think the Dingle Peninsula is the best of all of the SW Ireland peninsulas.

TimS Mar 30th, 2006 12:37 PM

A coupel more ideas. See Dunquaire Castle near Kinvarra south of Galway. Drive through the Burren, stopping for walks along the way, and see the Cliffs of Moher.

rgiord Mar 30th, 2006 12:49 PM

It depends on exactly where you are - how close you are to Galway City. If you re-post, I can tell you better. I'd say take a ferry (or small plane if you tend to get seasick) to the Aran Islands. You can walk around or rent a bike. Even on Inishmore, the big island, once you get away from the pier area, you're away from the touristy stuff and it's beautiful. In Connemara, going out I believe the Oughterard road, there's a small but pleasant castle (one of its names is Faherty's Castle). It belonged to the family that pirate queen Grace O'Malley married into. Lots of times we've gone and no one else is there, except the animals in the adjacent fields. If you take the Barna (coast) road out of Galway City, there's a stable called Roisin. You can ride on the beach. Along that road on the left coming from the city, now and then you'll see little signs (I think they're brown and white) that say "tra" this or that, which means beach or strand. The locals will know of one called Silver Strand. The nicest was further out near a town called Ferbo; it's called something like tra saile. (Sorry for being not so precise, but I have family there who takes us around.) If you have a day of pouring rain and your kids are getting restless, in Salthill just outside the city, there's a water center called Leisureland, with a big indoor pool and large indoor water slide. On non-rainy days, there's rides and a little arcade. Salthill is pretty tacky, but the waterfront promenade there is nice. You can get an ice cream and walk. There's lots of great restaurants around Galway. One we liked a lot that you might not otherwise find is O'Grady's on the Barna pier. It looks out to the sea. As far as car rental goes, I don't know the cost of a taxi to Galway (it can be done), but we've arranged to rent cars that we've picked up at the Galway airport. Last time was a few years ago, and the cheapest was an Irish company, Dan Dooley. I think you'll probably just miss race week in Galway, but if you're there then, it's a lot of fun, even if you wouldn't ordinarily care about horse racing. It's kind of a scene. There's also some very good theater in Galway City. You can check what's playing when you get there. Several pubs have traditional music sessions at night and people bring their kids. Have great time!

janey47 Mar 30th, 2006 08:14 PM

Our friends are in Caughwell, less than 1/2 hour from Galway city. We will be going to Connemara with them, and other places an hour or so away. Thanks for the suggestions. We want to see as much as we can, but at a comfortable pace.

I read about Dan Dooley on other posts here, but the consensus was not favorable.

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