Ireland itinerary - first trip


May 23rd, 2004, 05:02 PM
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Ireland itinerary - first trip

A friend and I (two women 40s/50s) are going to Ireland in July - first trip for both of us. We're flying into Shannon and renting a car. We've got about 9 nights. We like a mix of small towns and larger cities, great scenery, and a chance to soak up as much local culture as possible. How does this sound:
- Arrive at Shannon Airport, drive to Galway (see Cliffs of Moher enroute)
3 nights - Galway (sidetrip to Aran Islands)
- Drive to Dublin
2 nights - Dublin
- Drive to Kilkenny
1 night - Kilkenny (or we could spend a few hours in Kilkenny and move on to Waterford for the night?)
- Drive to Kenmare (via Waterford and Blarney - or skip Blarney and make quick stop in Kinsale instead?)
1 night - Kenmare
- Spend next day driving Ring of Kerry - ending up in Dingle
3 nights - Dingle (or maybe just 2 nights and move someplace closer - where - to the airport for our last night?)
- Fly home next day.
althom1122 is offline  
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May 23rd, 2004, 05:44 PM
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I'd exclude Dublin, and probably Kilkenny/Waterford, too. You have 9-10 days and I'd spend it all in the west/southwest. Galway will give you a taste of a 'larger city'. It's hard to soak up local culture if you're spending your days in the car.
MaryZ is offline  
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May 23rd, 2004, 05:48 PM
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My husband, son and I are going in early Sept. for the 1st time for a week. We are flying in and out of Shannon and aren't sure just where to go first. Do we need to make reservations for the 1st night? Thought maybe to stay in Doolin for two nights then head down to Dingle? We would really appreciate it if you would pass on some advice after you get back. We are open to any suggestions. We are renting a car and just going to go with the flow... Thanks again
pitterdunk is offline  
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May 23rd, 2004, 05:50 PM
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Would also appreciate the name of any B & B's that you stay in that you really enjoyed.
pitterdunk is offline  
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May 24th, 2004, 10:02 PM
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My sister and I traveled together in Ireland this past fall, renting a car and taking in the southwestern region. We both agreed that if we had it to do over again, we would stay in places longer and drive in the car less. Your itinerary has too much driving for the time you will be there.

The itinerary I would suggest for you involves skipping Dublin, Kilkenny, and Waterford and reverses your route to put you closer to Shannon for your last day. Here is what I suggest:

Day 1: Drive to Dingle (115 Miles), settle in at The Lighthouse, with Mary Murphy as your gracious hostess. We booked all of our B&Bs at, a great site, and you wil find The Lighthouse on that site. Hit the Pubs, even if your'e not beer lovers to really take in the local culture of traditional Irish music in Dingle.
Day 2: Drive the Dingle Peninsula, and don't miss the Blasket Centre at the western tip of the peninsula. It is Smithonian quality.
Day 3: Drive to Killarney (50 miles), a quaint little city with more to offer than Kenmare, Select a B&B in the town center within walking distance to the Pubs. The quaint shops are delightful in Killarney, so take in the town.
Day 4: Take a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry. This is much more enjoyable and relaxing because the drive is quite challenging. Your B&B host can arrange for the bus to pick you up at the property.
Day 5: Drive to Kinsale (75 miles) and stay at Landfall House, also found on T&Country site. Margo Searls, your hostess is delightful and full of suggestions for dining and pubs tolistn to traditional music.
Day 6: Enjoy the beautiful port of Kinsale, including Charles Fort and a walking tour of the city that leaves from the tourist information center in the AM.
Day 7: Drive to Galway (150 miles), via Blarney and visit the castle and kiss the stone if you so desire, but don't forget to stop at the Blarney Woolen Mills.
Day 8: Take the ferry to Aran Islands, and do Galway by night.
Day 9: Drive to Doolin and visit the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Display Center. Doolin is a great little town to spend your last night in Ireland, known for it's traditional music and it's just a little over an hours drive back to Shannan airport. If you have a late flight the next day, visit the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, adjacent to the airport.
If you have an extra day, I'd spend one more day in Galway. The best driving tip given to me for driving on the left side is just remember that as a driver, it is the same as drivng on the right: always position yourself on the center line!
Have a wonderful trip.
SandyB is offline  
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May 25th, 2004, 12:32 AM
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Your itinerary is fine. Don't be put off by people saying exclude this or that, esp. Dublin. 9-10 days is enough if you're not doing Northern Ireland or Donegal. I've been a few times, and in hindsight I have no regrets about our first-time itinerary which (adjusted for a Shannon arrival & departure) was:
1 day Kilkenny & Cashel
2 days Dublin
2 days Galway (Clonmacnois on way, and drive Connemara while there)
1 day Doolin (see Cliffs of Moher)
2 days Dingle
1 day Glengarrif
1 day Cork & Limerick
twoflower is offline  
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May 25th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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My wife and I had a similar itinerary a few years ago when we visited but we started in Dublin and ended in Limmerick. As long as you like to drive then you will enjoy your itinerary. We really loved Kilkenny, there is a great tour in the castle all about ghosts and such so I'd recommend staying there (but I haven't been to Waterford). Is there something you are desperate to see in Waterford? Because if you like old castles Blarney is a great visit. The grounds are so lush and the castle so much fun to poke around in that I've done it twice, and would do it again!

Also in Cashel is the ruins of St. Patrick's cathedral. An amazing site as you drive through rolling hills and dales when you are suddenly confronted with a enormous rock with a church on it.

If it were me I'd do another night in Dublin, there's lots to see there and some of it's spread out so it takes some time to get around.

No matter what, you'll have a great time. Enjoy your trip.

kjcrowley is offline  
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May 25th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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There are so many different objectives and interests when traveling Ireland it's hard to give advice w/so little information. This will be my 3rd trip there this summer, and I always go the first week in July b/c I play Irish trad music and the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay in Co. Clare is awesome! It's also VERY crowded and if you aren't a musician or dancer, then it might be a bit hectic. The good news is that the surrounding cities (like Doolin) have the best Irish musicians in the world dropping in to play tunes. If you are interested in learning to ceili dance, you can attend the school too.

Then there was a friend who went on a horseback riding trip up around Sligo and had the time of her life.

I met some guys on a golf holiday. My friend likes to check out all the stone ruins and mystical places. I'm not as into stones as she is, but if that's your thing, there's plenty of it.

I enjoy the tunes and the beauty of the late sunsets and empty beaches that are so stunning and breathtaking you'd think you were in heaven.

Be aware that driving in Ireland is nerve-wracking if you are a westerner. You drive on the other side of the road and the back roads are narrow, windy and have no lines. A car got stuck between the rocks on the side of the road and a bus once! Pull over when you ses a bus! It takes a LONG time to go from one side to the other, although in miles it looks relatively short. It's faster to take the train from Westport to Dublin (and I recommend Westport). Go to Drougheda (I haven't been, but I'm going) if you go to Dublin, and don't neglect the Guinness Brewery. You get a 360 degree view of the city from the 7th floor.

As far as the Aran Islands go, I went to Inisheer and nearly tossed my cookies on the ride over. I wouldn't do it again. The island was nice, many other places I enjoyed better. There's still much I haven't seen, and staying in one place getting to know the people is nice. Don't worry about finding a B&B...they're EVERYWHERE and they all seem to be pretty nice. Even hostels are cool places in smaller areas.

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