Ireland itinerary

Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 10:04 AM
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Ireland itinerary

Hi all --

Still tweaking my itinerary for a July trip to Ireland: 3 weeks with a rental car. Any suggestions? I prefer landscapes and historic buildings (like ruined abbeys).

Upon arrival at Dublin airport, pick up car, and stay at a nearby B&B in Swords.

Next morning: Stop at Glendalough
1 night Kilkenny -- visit Castle, Cathedral
Next day: drive on to Rock of Cashel, Cahir castle -- then to
2 nights Kinsale
1 night Kenmare (visit Muckross House on the way there)
drive the Ring of Kerry clockwise (early) to avoid busses.
3 nights Dingle
2 nights Galway -- take a shuttle and ferry to Aran Islands
2 nights Connemara at Ballynahinch Castle hotel (on the way visit Ashford Castle and Abbey)
2 nights county Sligo (trying to decide between two manor homes there)
2 nights Donegal county at Bruckless House
2 nights Bushmills (Causeway Lodge)
3 nights Dublin
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 10:12 AM
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Do you have Bru na Bonne (probably spelled wrong) aka Newgrange? It was my very favorite place although I think you have good bones to your plan and lucky you to have three weeks. I also liked Trim. Be sure to read Ireland by Frank Delaney.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 10:46 AM
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peggionthego: Thanks for your comment. Yes, was planning to visit Bru na Bonne on the way to Dublin from Northern Ireland. I'll look up your book recommendation.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 11:59 AM
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Playing Devils Advocate;

Not sure Kinsale is worth 2 nights? what are your aims from there?
Kenmare/Killarney, good base for Kerry probably deserves 2 nights.
Dingle 3 nights, sorry (I don't like the town but) as Kinsale what are your aims?
No time for Clare?
Galway with a day on Inis Mor + ?
I would aim for Cong (Ashford) on the way between Galway and Ballynahinch. South Connemara is 5 times the area of the whole Dingle peninsula, lots of options.
Sligo 2 nights, good touring base including north Mayo.
Donegal, Bruckless House mid way between Donegal town and the Slieve League,
Bushmills, lots to see from here with the Antrim Coast and Glens.
No time for Belfast just straight to Dublin?
Dublin 3 nights
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 01:01 PM
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Tony2phones: This is exactly what I needed, since I've never been before and relying on recommendations in 2 guidebooks. In Kinsale, I was going to take a side trip up to Blarney (NOT to kiss the stupid thing) to photograph the exterior from a distance. I was also going to do a recommended walking tour of Kinsale, and just shop and relax.

Most guidebooks seem to recommend 3 nights Dingle. Hoping to spend time on the peninsula taking photos, and hang out in town for some Irish Trad.

About Clare: I was planning to drive to Cliffs of Moher, and also see the P. dolmen and castle on the way to Galway from Dingle. Maybe I should stop in Doolin for a night? It looks like I'd have time to visit these sites and then drive on to Galway in one day. Maybe not.

Yes I will give up a full day going to Aran Island from Galway (and also a trad music show), but will have time to explore the town the evening I arrive. I'm not much of a city person, which brings me to my next comment. Decided to leave out Belfast and only with encouragement from a couple people did I include Dublin -- and for 3 nights, instead of 2.

Yes, planned to go to Cong before arriving at Ballynahinch. Maybe I should add a night to Bushmills?

Thanks so much for your meaningful suggestions. Feel free to reply.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 01:20 PM
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Tony: At your suggestion, also considering adding a night to Connemara. What in particular would you recommend I see (I'm planning to see Kylemore Abbey and Killary fjord).
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 03:48 PM
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I’d like to add a couple of suggestions:

On your way to Glendalough, stop at Powerscourt. We didn’t go to the house, but we toured the gardens, which were beautiful.

I agree with Tony2phones. I might consider skipping Kinsale in favor of two nights in Kenmare. Kinsale is lovely, but you could go straight to Kenmare and stop at Blarney on the way. This will be a long day so two nights in Kenmare would be worth it. We also drove clockwise around the ROK, but we went later in the day and saw the sunset over the ocean. Killarney National Park was a great place to walk around.

We spent two nights in Dingle. I liked the Rick Steves’ narrative for the tour around the Dingle Peninsula. It is an easy day trip.

On your way north from Dingle, take the Tarbert-Killimer Ferry to avoid Limerick and to save some time.

We spent a night in Doolin. It is quite small with three pubs if I recall correctly, but you mentioned wanting to listen to trad so this would be a great stop for you. You could also see the Poulnabrone Dolmen on your day from Dingle to Doolin.

Definitely drive along the Antrim Coast. It is absolutely beautiful. You will be able to visit Dunluce Castle and Giant’s Causeway. If you have the time, the Dark Hedges is in the area and a fabulous photo op.

Could you spend a night somewhere between Bushmills and Dublin? It would break up the journey.

You will love Ireland!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 05:03 PM
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lovstotravel: thanks so much for your feedback. I will keep ALL of this in mind. Yes, I'm planning to visit the dark hedges as well as Antrim coast. I had thought of staying somewhere along the way to break up Antrim to Dublin, but according to viamichelin site it is only 3.5 hours' drive. Maybe that's incorrect?

Regarding Kenmare, I plan to visit Muckross and Killarney park on my way to Kenmare. Not sure I need two nights? I agree that two nights might be too much in Kinsale. I'm willing to revamp.

I may change to 2 nights Dingle to give more time... perhaps that night in Doolin. I also plan to hear Trad in Dingle (and possibly Kilkenny). Much to consider.

Last summer I did a 4-week drive throughout England. For the most part, allotted time worked well. I discovered I could see sights "on my way" to the next destination.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 05:46 PM
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Not sure you will have enough time to do Glendalough, Kilkenny Castle and Cathedral on the day you are driving to Kilkenny. Especially if you do Powerscourt that day as well.

Also, I think 2 nights in Kinsale is good because by the time you've stopped at the ROC and Cahir Castle on the way down from Kilkenny, it'll be late afternoon before you get to Kinsale. So that only leaves the next day for actually exploring Kinsale. Charles Fort is pretty great too.

Our itinerary after leaving Dublin (we only had two weeks) was this: Avoca 1, Kilkenny 1, Killarney 2, Dingle 2, Kinvara 1, Galway 2, Bunratty 1 before our flight home from Shannon. It worked perfectly for us.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 05:55 PM
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Azzure: Thanks for your comments! I've decided to skip Powerscourt, only because I saw many grand gardens in England last summer. I think I can see the ruins at Glendalough, then make my way to Kilkenny by 3 PM, giving me a little time to explore the castle. I could be wrong. I could always borrow a night from Kinsale.

Much to consider, folks, and I do appreciate your comments. I will consider all that you say.

A photog friend on Facebook said he was glad they chose to stay 3 nights in Dingle -- because one of those days you couldn't see a hand in front of your face. Allowing more time in scenic places is important for photographers.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 06:59 PM
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We were in Ireland last May and really enjoyed the Blarney castle. The gardens were very pretty and we enjoyed exploring them. Kenmare is a beautiful town for a base and we really liked the Beara. Have a great time!! We loved Ireland and want to go back.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for your comment, Paqngo. Looking forward to all of it!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:12 PM
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You can avoid Limerick by using the new tunnel. The ferry is grand unless you drive up just as it "sails" and you have to wait for the return trip. Depends on how much time you have.

If you call in at Ashford Castle consider a Hawk Walk.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:16 PM
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Hi jaja: Yes, I'm considering the Hawk thing at Ashford. I hadn't heard of the tunnel. Will check it out. Thanks!
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 05:47 AM
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We loved Kinsale and actually tried to add an extra night there but our B&B was booked; we stayed at Perryville House and loved it. Whatever you end up with for your itinerary, I don't see how you can "lose." Ireland is fabulous. I would go back!
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 06:41 AM
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Unfortunately Google maps updated and butchered my touring examples in many different ways but you might still get something from some of them.

Between Dingle and Galway, The tourist magnets of Doolin and Dingle https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...k.k-dUa5-sZLd4 West Clare to Galway https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...k.krVSjOoux3oU you will get good Hawk Walks at the Ailwee Caves/Birds of Prey Centre. and more choice of music in Ennis than Doolin in fact more choice of everything. Ballyvaughan would be a good option for Ailwee and the Dolmen comes a close 2nd to Doolin on the tourist map. A little further north over the Galway Border Kinvara is beginning to get recognised as a good option.

Connemara https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...k.ktfCqfP94onE & http://goo.gl/Ek8bpw

For a Northern area road trip https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...k.kKcBkGlzt308
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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Hi Tony -- Thanks so much for going to all this trouble. The maps are helpful. Thanks also for the link about the boat ride across the lake to Ashford castle. From looking at your last map, you show a loop around county Mayo, and only the southern border of county Donegal (I'm currently booked at a place in Bruckless -- had planned to skip Mayo). Now I need to rethink things. I definitely enjoy off-the-beaten-path places much more than tourist traps.

Peggionthego: Thanks for your comments. I'm sure I'll enjoy Kinsale. I'm booked at the Old Presbytery B&B.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 10:30 AM
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The last map was for an Australian couple taking 10days Dublin and back. I like Donegal but don't know enough about the area to give best advice. Used to Hike up there and do some Whale watching from the north coast when the Orca were running (they still do twice a year on migration)Green Draggon is the lass to message about that region, she had a week up there last year. http://www.irelandtravelkit.com/?s=D...&submit=Search might give some pointers.

Trouble is trying to fit things in with limited time.
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Tony2: thanks so much for your helpful advice. I'll most likely have to skip north of Donegal this trip. Just not time to see everything. As it is, I will probably need to juggle some nights. I think Antrim to Dublin (and seeing Bru Na Boinne on the way) is too much. May need to spend the night somewhere to break it up and see Bru first thing in the morning before driving on to the airport to return the car (and then cab to Dublin).
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Old Jan 4th, 2015, 02:18 PM
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Realized I left Kinsale out of the itinerary we followed above. That was between Kilkenny and Killarney, for two nights. We had plenty of time to see the ROC, Cahir and even Swiss Cottage between Kilkenny and Kinsale. The first afternoon/evening in Kinsale we just wandered, and the second day we took a walking tour, went to Charles Fort and had fun at Bulman's Bar. Then off to Killarney via the Wild Atlantic Way.
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