Ireland Itinerary advice March 16-20

Old Mar 6th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Ireland Itinerary advice March 16-20

I'd like some advice on a planned itinerary for a short trip to Ireland.

We arrive in Cork in the morning of March 16 (Thurs). hopefully we'll have our rental Car and be out by 12:30/13:00. then my plan so far is:

Day 1 (Thurs) - Blarney castle/Blarney. Possibly a quick shot to Kinsale if we are way ahead of Schedule. Drive to Killarney for the night.

Day 2 (Fri) - Wake up and drive the Ring of Kerry or maybe the Dingle Peninsula (I'm curious which people think is better.)

Day 3 (Sat). This day is the biggest question mark.
Option 1 - Gap of Dunloe in the morning, then maybe drive to Kilkenny and spend the night there. The idea is to get closer to Dublin, but if driving to Kilkenny is too long then maybe option 2 is better.
Option 2 - Dingle Peninsula (assuming I didn't do it Day 2) and spend the night in Killarney or somewhere in the southwest (Kinsale?).
Day 4 - Head for Dublin, hopefully arrive around lunch time. Check out St. Pat's Day lingering festivities and the sites.

Day 5 (Mon) - Additional touring in Dublin, then fly home at 15:40 from Dublin.

My tickets are already booked but I am flexible on what I do in between. We're interested in scenery, culture (aka - pubbing and meeting people) and no doubt a bit of shopping along the way.

Any advice, particularly on distance from Killarney to Kilkenny or how best to make best use of the drive from Killarney to Dublin is appreciated.

Thanks!
Herschey is offline  
Old Mar 6th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Be prepared for the 'Green Blur' tour, as Michele from www.irelandyes.com calls it. Too much, too fast, IMHO.

Arrival in Cork, getting rental car, is fine... but you might just be too exhausted (if your flight is trans-atlantic) to do much of anything but find a cool pint and curl up to it in the local pub.

Driving to Blarney and then to Killarney is possible, but you won't really see anything -- a bit of a blur. I'd put one or the other to another day.

Dingle is less touristy and less crowded, though in March you should be fine.

I assume you're staying in Killarney, and using it as a base? Or are you doing a different place each night? Remember that involves packing, checking out, traveling, checking in, and unpacking every day -- uses up a lot of time, and daylight hours aren't long in March.

I would stay in Killarney for at least two days, do Ring of Kerry or Dingle one day, and explore around Killarney on the second... maybe go down to Blarney.

Then head up to Dublin (if you must) and do two days there. Driving from Killarney you won't make it by lunch time! Think 30-35 mph as a top speed, not a minimum. It's better on the N roads, but it's hard to get a direct line with those to a lot of places.

go to www.aaroadwatch.com and type in the routes there -- and divide the total miles by 30 or 35 to get a better idea of actual driving time. Remember that most roads go THROUGH towns rather than around, so you get slowed down at each one, city centres being crowded.

Kilkenny is a wonderful area, and if you do decide to stay there, you will enjoy it. I highly recommend Breathnach's restaurant near town centre.

The Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage are on the way from Killarney to Kilkenny (sort of), and worth a visit.

From Kilkenny to Dublin, Glendalough Abbey and Powerscourt Demense are also a great place to stop.

Here I am trying to shorten your list, and i'm adding to it!
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Old Mar 6th, 2006, 10:13 AM
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I agree with Green Dragon that trying to drive very far on the first day when your're fighting jet lag is not a good idea. I also agree that driving times in Ireland will be a lot slower than you imagine.

Here's my suggested itinerary:

Thurs: Visit Blarney Castle and then drive to Kenmare (a very pretty town and not as likely to be as overrun with tourists as Killarney will be on St. Patrick's weekend. Stay in Kenmare.

Fri: While the Dingle Peninsula is spectacular, driving there and back to Kenmare in one day won't allow you any time for walks along the cliffs or on the beaches. It would be better to drive the Ring of Kerry (in spite of all the tour buses). Better yet, drive the Beara Peninsula and get a taste of wild and remote Ireland. The drive between Kenmare to Killarney through part of Killarney National Park is very pretty. In any case, spend a second night in Kenmare.

Sat: Drive to Kilkenny, following GreenDragon's suggestions.

Sun: Drive to Dublin.

Mon: More time in Dublin before flying home.

Note: It's essential to have a detailed map when driving in Ireland. I recommend the Michelin Ireland map. It's available in travel stores and at amazon.com.
TimS is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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I agree with the others, absolutely--way too much driving for 4 nights.

I'd go a step further and suggest that because you seem to be locked into arriving Cork and departing Dublin, don't go west. Instead linger in County Cork and the surrounding areas: including Kinsale, and possibly a day trip to Mizen Head. Then work your way back to Dublin via Cashel/Cahir and/or Kilkenny.
beach_dweller is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2006, 07:40 PM
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Great advice all - thanks! I think I should add a few points of clarification on why my schedule is planned as it was:
- First, I am going trans-atlantic (from New York) as someone guessed
- Next, I figured on doing Blarney the first day since it's so close to Cork and on the way to Killarney
- I've got a deposit down on a hotel in Killarney so I'm going to be staying there at least one night (unless I eat the deposit and change my plans).
- As mentioned before, I already have my plane ticket, arriving in Cork and leaving Dublin. So at some point Dublin is a must.

Kilkenny popped into my head because I thought it would be sort of a halfway stop between Killarney and Dublin. Looking at the mileage between Killarney and Kilkenny I'm not so sure it makes for a good halfway point though.

So I guess my follow up questions would be:
1. Should I really not stay in Killarney? It seemed convenient for the Ring of Kerry plus my hotel is inside the national park which seemed nice.
2. Is the kilkenny thing just not a good idea? Would I be better off just getting up early on Sunday (my last full day) and driving straight on to Dublin?

I'm open to any other advice on how to make my trip as efficient as possible. And as for my energy level,as tired as I expect to be my first day, I can go on fumes if it allows me to see more.

Again, thanks all for the advice!
Herschey is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2006, 08:53 PM
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I'd say you want to reduce the amount of geography you're covering... you'll still have limited hours of daylight. Consider one of the following routes:
Cork/Kinsale > Cahir/Cashel > Kilkenny > Dublin
OR
Cork > Killarney(or Kenmare)/ROK > Dublin

On your last morning, you'll want to leave city centre at least 4 hours before your flight(Aer Lingus posts that check-in is 3.5 hours before departure).
yesiree100 is offline  
Old Mar 14th, 2006, 05:42 PM
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Have a good trip! Looking to visit Ireland myself at some point so this is really helpful.
LOTRHP is offline  
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