Ireland Itinerary- Too Ambitious?

Mar 5th, 2008, 04:09 PM
  #1  
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Ireland Itinerary- Too Ambitious?

We're traveling to Ireland this fall (1st and maybe only trip) and could use some input on our itinerary. So far we are thinking:

Day 1- arrive in Dublin around noon. Overnight near Newgrange.

Day 2- Visit Newgrange site. Drive from Newgrange to Northwest (Sligo or Balycastle?).

Day 3- Drive to Bunratty via Cliffs of Moher, visit castle and folk park. Overnight in Doolin.

Day 4- Drive inland through Adare, then back to shore and around the ring of kerry. Overnight in Kenmare.

Day 5- Drive to Cork (visit St. Fin Barre's Cathedral?), Blarney- visit the castle & kiss the stone! Overnight in Cashel.

Day 6- Visit Rock of Cashel. Drive to Wexford, visit Irish National Park. Overnight in Wexford.

Day 7- Drive to Dublin. Spend day/night in Dublin.

We would love input from more experienced travelers. Too much time in some places, not enough in others? Any sites we should add?
Thanks
GuysNS is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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Almost every time somebody comes here and asks if an itinerary is too ambitious, the answer is yes.

In this case, the answer is an emphatic yes. It's bordering on madness!
Padraig is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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Gotta love the honesty
What would you suggest we change? Any stops in particular you would omit, or drives that aren't doable?
We don't mind long drives and there are 2 of us to take turns, but if the drives are too long for the time we have then we'll adjust.
Thanks for the input!
GuysNS is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:12 PM
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1. I don't see what your point is in going to the north-west; you'll arrive, at the earliest, in late afternoon, and have to leave early next morning to get to your next target.

2. The Ring of Kerry is a day's programme without taking the extra bit of starting well away from it; further, by stopping at Kenmare, you are omitting what I (and many others) consider the best bit -- the journey from Kenmare to Killarney.

3. I don't see that you get a lot out of the diversion to Wexford.
Padraig is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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I should add that the scenic parts of Ireland make for slow driving, partly because the roads in scenic areas tend to be narrow and twisting, and partly because you will want to slow down or stop to enjoy the scenery.
Padraig is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:21 PM
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you have 7 days and want to 3/4 of a country where you will be lucky to average 35 mph. Padraig's "madness" was being kind

Forget all the 1-night stands - too much time spent packing/checking out/checking in/unpacking.

Have you already bought your tickets?? If not, I recommend flying in/out of Shannon and forgetting Dublin and the east side of the country. W/ 7 days starting/ending in Shannon you have a chance to see all those places. From Dublin - nope.

If you've already bought your tickets in/out of Dublin - you need to bite the bullet and drop many of those west coast sites.
janisj is online now  
Mar 5th, 2008, 05:25 PM
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While it's true that Ireland is a small country and thiings may be close together inn mileage, they're not really close in time. You have to realize that there are essentially no highways - almost all roads are local, with slow moving traffic - and tons of sheep in many places.

You can't figure on more than 30 mph and actually seeing anything. Plus - you're left very little time for stops/seeing STUFF, rather than just viewing scenery.

And, while I know most people go to Ireland for scenery Dublin deserves at least 2 days, between the Castle, Musuems, Trinity College etc.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 07:53 PM
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Well...YES! You have just a week. You don't need to see the top 5 sights, you need to see Ireland. Spend a couple days in Dublin, then choose a couple other places. You could visit Cork and Kenmare or Kenmare and the Burren. But that will be plenty.

By slowing down you may actually see or experience something and really get to know Ireland.

Day 1 and 2 - Dublin

Day 3 & 4 - Cork

Day 5 & 6 - Kenmare

Day 7 - Dublin

Even that's a little fast but could work.
rosetravels is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 08:07 PM
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I lived in Dublin last summer.

And honestly, the Antrim Coast was one of the most spectacular trips of my life. My parents compared it to Hawaii. And guess what? There are so few tourists up there, it is heavenly.

Your itinerary is mad, for sure

If I were in your shoes... I would do Dublin, and then head up to Northern Ireland for the Antrim Coast. Just my 2 cents.
jumper22 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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The previous poster compared the Antrim Coast to Hawaii ... my two favorite places!!! They look nothing alike -- but are each spectacular in their own ways.

On my most recent trip to Ireland I went to the Dingle Peninsula, Adare, Killarney; the Gap of Dunloe; Co. Donegal and lots of brief stops at places in between.

During our twelve days, we stayed in two incredible castles (Dromoland and Ashford), one beach hotel, and two "authentic" cottages along the way.

Was it gorgeous?

Yes.

Did we see tons of scenery?

Yes.

Did we get incredible pictures?

Yes.

Did we have a relaxed, enjoyable trip?

Not really.

I was exhausted and frankly, sick of driving. The driving is not relaxing because the narrow, winding roads demand constant concentration -- and as other posters have commented, the going is SLOW.

For me, the better approach is to pick a couple of areas to be a base -- and focus on really experiencing and seeing what those areas have to offer. I strongly recommend the Antrim Coast.

If you want an incredible place to stay with great access to the Antrim Coast check out Limepark.com. I'd suggest using that as a base for at least five days, so that you feel settled in somewhere; you get familiar with the area -- and truly enjoy the spectacular day trips to Dunluce Castle, the Giant's Causeway, the Glens of Antrim, driving the Torr Road, and simply enjoying that gorgeous coastal scenery.

On my next trip I'll be splitting my eleven days between Dublin and the Antrim Coast, with a quick stop in Belfast to visit friends.
Songdoc is online now  
Mar 6th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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GuysNS,

I agree with all of the above. I like Songdoc's suggestion of picking a place to stay a few days and make short day trips. That's what I've always done on my trips. I've been eight times and still have a lot of the country I haven't seen but I enjoy every minute talking to and watching the wonderful Irish people. They are what I go for. Go slowly so you can enjoy them also. Yes, the scenery is outstanding but without the Irish people it would be nothing. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Joan
chatham is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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GuysNS,

I too agree with all of the other posters. You need to spend more time in two or three places, rather than buzzing all over the country. Concentrate on either the south or the north, not both.

You asked if there are any portions of your itinerary you should eliminate. I agree with Padraig that Wexford is nothing special, compared to other areas. I am surprised that none of the others has suggested skipping Blarney --- it is really nothing but a tourist trap.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!
colbeck is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:44 PM
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I'll add in my two cents. I would highly recommend staying in each place at least two nights. Packing, finding, checking in, and unpacking does take up time that you could be sightseeing or relaxing!

35mph is a conservative estimate. One morning we were stuck behind a herd of cows for a half mile. Really! Other times we had to stop and just drink in all the beauty of the vistas.

If you can get an open jaw ticket into Dublin and out of Shannon, even better. Into Dublin, spend two nights. Then to Kilkenny, spend two nights. Cork, two nights, Killarney 2 nights, Ennis one night and fly out of Shannon.

That only shows 1/3 of the country (not 3/4) but you will SEE it, and not the green blur as it goes by!
GreenDragon is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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I agree with most of the other posters . It seems a little ambitious, but if you have the energy and will to see the entire country in 7 days, then by all means, go for it! One suggestion that I would make is to definitely rent a gps if you plan on driving. Especially since you are on a strict timetable, the last thing you want to do is spend half your trip lost while driving. We rented a gps from http://lowergear.com/product.php/cat/27 the last time we vacationed in Ireland, and it was a lifesaver. Hope I could help!
azcobaltblue is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Oh my - I love to travel and see as much as possible on a trip however, you will be zombies by the time you get home. Way too much territory to cover. Two years ago we spent a week in Ireland flying in and out of Shannon and only did the southwest and we covered alot - moving every night. See my trip report - Ireland Trip Report - An Excellent Adventure. I could not imagine covering more than we did in the time we had and enjoying it. I agree with most of the other posts that you need to re-think your itinerary. Ireland is such a gorgeous country that needs to be seen slowly to really appreciate it.
starfish1 is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Thanks for the comments everyone.

We're currently revising our itinerary; I think we'll keep the focus in the south.

Our flights into and out of Dublin are already booked (best prices to/from Canada) so we won't be able to change to Shannon, but we are looking at cutting out the Northwest and Wexford as per your comments- Wexford was only added in the first place because we'd read an interesting article on the National Park there, and since we're still planning on seeing the folk park in Bunratty we don't think we'll miss it too much.

We are a bit confused about the recommended 2-3 nights in each town- perhaps our thinking is a little backwards, but it seems to us that the time spent checking in and out at each B&B will be minimal compared to the "backtracking" (extra driving) of returning to our starting point each night. We were going to travel in a sort of "loop" to avoid this. Is there something we're missing?
GuysNS is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:01 AM
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yes - using a base for day trips often lets you see MORE than traveling in a linear fashion.

You can get started earlier in the a.m. since you can just take off after breakfast. If you are checking out - by the time you settle up and get on the road it will probably be close to 10:00. And in the evening you can stay out touring w/o having to find the next B&B and check in which also takes a chunk of time.

And if you plan well - there is no backtracking. Loop tours out and back "home" let you see much more of an area than just driving straight through a place to the next stopover.


janisj is online now  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Hi GuysNS,

In April 2006, 6 of us rented a self catering cottage in Kenmare (Shamrock Cottages)for a week. We made day trips driving our rental car around the Ring of Kerry, out to Dingle, to Kinsale & Clonakilty and spent a couple days resting and relaxing in beautiful Kenmare. On days when the destination was about 100 miles away, the round trip, including stops literally took all day with about 6 hours of driving. We had a great time and saw a lot. In October 2007, 7 of us rented a self-catering cottage (Fuschia Cottage)in Doolin which was very beautiful with the most fantastic views of the Atlantic, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren! From there we took days trips to the Cliffs of Moher, Kinvarra and Ballyvaughan, Ennis, Kilkee, Kilrush, Lahinch (the last 3 on one day), and we took the boat ride out to Inisheer. We saw a lot of beautiful Ireland, ate lunch out every day and managed to get in a session every night in Doolin after supper. We decided that that if you drive in a big loop each day, you aren't backtracking and you see a lot more. Having a home base worked well for us each time. We drove a lot less in 2007 and had just as much fun. We're looking forward to going again.
barrydecarli is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:46 PM
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Hi Again, I forgot to mention that we flew into and out of Shannon each time. We had no plans to visit Dublin. Maybe next time. Also, overall, we had a better time when we weren't always driving. Doolin was only about an hour from the airport so we actually got to do some sightseeing the first day. Driving can be unnerving at times mainly because of the narrow roads, but we never really had a problem. Just drive slowly and keep left!
barrydecarli is offline  

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