Ireland Itinerary Questions

Dec 2nd, 2005, 02:49 PM
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Ireland Itinerary Questions

My husband and I just bought our flight tickets for our very first trip to Ireland, and we are so excited! We fly roundtrip Chicago/Dublin, leaving March 17th. We will unfortunately only have 8 nights, but we want to make the most of our trip without being too rushed. Here is my tentative itinerary. Please feel free to comment.

Fly into Dublin, drive to Kilkenny for one night (see Rock of Cashel).

Drive to Kinsale for 2 nights.

Drive to Kenmare for 1 night.

Drive to Dingle for 2 nights.

Drive to Doolin for 2 nights.

Take a morning flight to Shannon that gets us into the Dublin airport about 2 hours before our plane is to depart for Chicago.

Does this sound too hectic? I don't really like 1-nighters but I'm not sure how to avoid them. If we spent 3 nights in Kenmare could we daytrip to the Dingle Peninsula, or is it better to stay on Dingle?

Is Kinsale worth 2 nights? Should we skip Kilkenny and just drive straight from Dublin to Kinsale, or is this too long of a drive?

Thanks so much for reading!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2005, 04:38 PM
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After an overnight flight, I'd try to limit my driving the first day. Stopping in Kilkenny sounds good. On our trip this past May, my family flew into Cork (from London) and drove to Kenmare for the night so I have no recommendation on how many nights to spend in Kinsale. One night is sufficient for Kenmare. Give Dingle at least two nights. It sounds like you're only planning to "pass through" Dublin. We drove from the west coast to Dublin in time to have a full evening in the city, stayed overnight, and visited Trinity College (Book of Kells) in the morning before going to the airport. We loved our little taste of Dublin and wish we had had time for more. If you do the same, you'll see a bit of the city and you won't have to worry about your flight from Shannon being delayed resulting in the possibility of missing your flight to Chicago.
TimS is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Are you flying Chicago/Dublin by American Airlines or Aer Lingus?
The Aer Lingus flight to Chicago commences at Shannon with a stopover in Dublin. and the inward flight lands in Dublin and continues on to Shannon.
I know the AA flight only goes to Dublin.
Why not spend a day in Dublin and get on the hop on hop off bus to see the city. Then again have you got accommodation as March 17th. is the St. Patrick's week which attracts a lot of visitors to the city.
Look at www.goireland.ie
Have a good trip and just enjoy. Wherever you go is worth going to and whatever you miss will be still there for your next visit.
CU is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2005, 08:08 AM
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My wife and I with friends were in Ireland for the first time several years ago. Clarification: what do you mean saying you will take a morning flight to Shannon that gets you into Dublin airport? Are you in fact arr. Dublin and lv. Shannon? If so, you can do some sightseeing in the East and then go over to the West as well. But if in and out of Dublin, you might just take in the general Dublin area, i.e., leave Killarney, Dingle, etc for another trip. It looks like you have only one week.

ozarksbill
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 09:33 AM
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I think I saw in another page that you are flying with American Airlines. The itinery would be ideal if you were with Aer Lingus as you could fly to Shannon.
Anyway Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel are worth seeing and the other segments of your journey are fine (Average 65 miles per journey) except the Dingle - Doolin journey. Be sure to travel to Doolin via the Tarbert car ferry (www.shannonferries.com and click on 'direct route')
For other journeys go to www.aaireland.com and click on 'routes'
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Dec 5th, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Thank you all for your replies. I meant to respond this weekend but was too busy to check this sight.

For clarification, we are flying from Chicago to Dublin roundtrip on American. We would have preferred to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon but got a much better price and no layovers by flying in and out of Dublin.

We have decided to spend the last day and night in Dublin as the city definitely looks worthwhile and very interesting. The hard part is going to be figuring out what to drop from our itinerary.

We spent a lot of time reading various guidebooks and talking about it this weekend. Now DH said that he definitely wants to visit the Connemara region and see the beautiful abbey (I'm sorry, the name of it escapes me) so we are thinking of dropping Kinsale and perhaps Kenmare and rearranging our itinerary from there. Is this a good idea?

Planning an Ireland itinerary is proving to be much harder than I thought!

Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 06:58 AM
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Definitely Kinsale & Kenmare as well as Dingle & Doolin are well worth a visit, but given your time constraints and desire to the Connemara region, you are wise not to cram too much into your trip. You'll definitely be back. Save that next trip for the Southwest areas. We did the Southwest Peninsulas alone in 10 days, and still didn't feel we had enough time.

Budman is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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Budman, thank you for your reply. I think I came up with an itinerary. I'm trying to get this figured out soon because I'm assuming I should book our rooms relatively quickly given the St. Patrick's day week?

Anyways, here is my newly revised itinerary:

Arrive Dublin; drive to Kilkenny; 1 night

Drive to Killarney; 3 nights

Drive to Doolin; 2 nights

Drive to Dublin; 2 nights

I know that the drive between Doolin and Dublin is long but I don't see any way around a long drive back to Dublin from the coast so we will just deal with it. How does this itinerary sound?

Thanks everyone!
Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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Tracy,

Doolin, in my opinion, is not worth 2 days. Consider one night in Dingle at the least. Leave Killarney after breakfast, take the short drive to Dingle and drive Slea Head, then check in to your accommodations, tour the small town, grab a few pints, spend the night, and in the morning take the Connor Pass via the Tarbert Ferry, to Lahinch for lunch/shopping, tour the Cliffs of Moher and spend the night in Doolin. The following morning, head for Dublin.
Budman is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 09:01 AM
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Thank you for clearing that up. The hardest part of planning itineraries is figuring out how long it will take to do things. We were considering taking the ferry out to the Aran Islands, which is why I had 2 nights, but I think we may skip that. I don't even know if the ferries are running in March.

Do you think we should spend 3 nights in Dublin, or should we tack on the extra night from Doolin and stay in Dingle?
tcreath is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 10:30 AM
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Ferries run from Doolin to the Aran Islands year-round, but depend on the weather.

To get from Doolin to Dublin, consider dropping your car off in Galway and taking the train to Dublin. Your car will be of no use in Dublin itself and there's little to see by car on the Galway-Dublin route.

I've done what you are considering doing: flying into Dublin and immediately renting a car and driving to Kilkenny. While doable, I found it thoroughly exhausting. I won't do it again.

I recommend starting your trip with 2 or 3 nights in Dublin, then renting the car and doing the rest of Ireland.

At the end of the trip rather than stay in Dublin again, you could stay in near-by Trim. It has some great sights itself and it's about an hour from the Dublin airport by car.

Consider this possibility.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 10:34 AM
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Let me add that depending on where the Galway rental car dropoff point it, taking the train from Galway to Dublin could be a hassle. I had to drop my car off near the Galway airport then take a cab back into Galway to get to the train station. There may have been an easier way to do it, but it wasn't self-evident.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 10:56 AM
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I'm with Budman on taking a night from Doolin to see Dingle. I have been through Doolin, although we have never stayed there. It was a very small town with B&Bs and some pubs, didn't see much else.

I like your 3 nights in Killarney because there are so many things to see from there. (Last year we stayed in Kenmare for 3 nights and only one in Killarney, and that worked out well for us.)

You can keep your car for the final leg of your trip. We have stayed in Dublin with a car, which was a huge hassle for parking and driving. A better plan would be to stay south of the city (Dun Laoghaire is a nice town, easily accessible by Dart) or north in Malahide and take the bus in. (I'm not familiar with Dart routes here.)

If you love Ireland as much as many of us do, you will be going back again to see some of the things you missed on this trip!
allisonm is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 10:58 AM
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Thank you for your replies Edward. Would you suggest we spend the first night in Dublin and then leave the next morning for the countryside? We were trying to find somewhere between Dublin and the Dingle Peninsula area to break up that long drive. We both take Ambien and sleep very well on the plane so I think we will be up for the drive, but if its that exhausting I don't know if we should do it or not. Also, if we don't go to Kilkenny the first night I'm not sure how to add it to the trip later, as I want to head to Dingle from there. Is Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel a must see?

I'm sorry for all the question!

Tracy
tcreath is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 11:09 AM
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If you are reasonably sure you will be well-rested upon landing, then you should probably stick with what you have planned. Kilkenny is a good stopping point. I think the combination of strange roads, driving on the left, and jet lag tapped my energy more than normal when I did it.

However, if you do choose to stay in Dublin the first few nights, Kilkenny or Cashel would still make a good stopping point on the road to Dingle.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Don't worry about asking questions -- you've got a long way to go to catch up to the Biologist's wife.
Budman is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Let me expand on the previous poster's reference to the ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands. Here's a quote from Rick Steves' Ireland 2005 Guidebook: "Even a balmy day can be too windy (or the tide can be too low) to allow for sailing from Doolin's crude little port. If you're traveling by car and have time limits, don't risk sailing from Doolin." There are daily sailings from Rossaveel, 20 miles west of Galway, on Island Ferries.

You say your DH want to see a bit of Connemara. Basing yourselves in Galway rather than Doolin would give you the flexibility of choosing between a ferry to the Aran Islands or a drive north to Connemara.

If you were planning to use Killarney as a base to drive the Ring of Kerry, then for this trip you might skip Dingle. While it would be wonderful to see both the Iveragh Peninsula and the Dingle Peninsula, you won't have time to see much of Connemara if you tour two southwestern peninsulas. Pick one of them. (Since I've only driven the Dingle Peninsula, I can't compare it to the Ring of Kerry. However, I'm sure other posters will be happy to rate them for you.)
TimS is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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There are also some flights from nearby Galway to the Aran Islands. I was tempted to try this but the departure time wasn't workable that day.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Based upon your condensed schedule, I would skip the Ring of Kerry and do the Dingle Peninsula -- more Bang for the Buck. Again, if you had the time, you might want to do both.

Also, I would skip the Aran Islands considering your time constraints. Spend that time visiting the Connemara area.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Actually, the Rock is in Cashel, which is relatively near Kilkenny, but not exactly 'next door'. If your goal is to see the Rock, why not head there directly (on the N7) and spend the night there?
The next day, you can head to Dingle for two nights, then Doolin for one. I think I would push on to Galway to spend the night, though, as it's bound to be much livelier than Doolin, in March. The next day, you can drive a loop out through the Connemeara, and take in Kylemore Abbey, to appease you spouse. If you are a "nester", spend that night in Galway, otherwise, consider a night in Westport.
From there, head back to Dublin via either the N5 to the N4 or the N6. Stay one night on the road and spend your final time in Dublin.
Bob
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