Ireland Itinerary - Welcome Comments

Feb 9th, 2004, 08:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 35
Ireland Itinerary - Welcome Comments

Message: I have been working on our trip for several months now, but after reading the threads on this site would welcome comments and suggestions from experienced travellers to Ireland, or better yet natives to Ireland.

We arrive Shannon from the US(San Diego) after flying all day June 22 and overnight.

June 23 - Arrive Shannon 8:10am; pick up car and drive to Doolin, if weather is good see Cliffs (Would welcome a restaurant suggestion for breakfast in Shannon or Ennis as we will not only be tired but starving!)
Stay at Ballinalacken Castle Hotel 1 night

June 24 - Drive through the Burren, see Burren Vistors Ctr, go to the Aillwee Caves (what else in the area?) Stay in Kinvara - Merriman or Fallon B&B. (Would we better off going on to Galway? If so, I need a recommendation for a B&B in Galway)

June 25 - Drive to Bunratty (sights along the way?) Stay for 2 nights, see Bunratty Castle, Folk Park, Dinner at the Castle etc.

June 27 - Drive to Killarney - stay 2 nights at Kathleens Country House - see Ross Castle, Muckross House, Jaunting Car etc. Drive a peninsula(Dingle or Kerry?)

June 29 - Killarney to Cashel - Stay at Legends Guesthouse - see Rock of Cashel - Depending on comments - stop on the way to see the Blarney Stone -

June 30 - Cashel to Callan via Waterford - see Waterford Crystal Factory -

July 1 - Callan through Kilkenny to Dublin with perhaps a backtrack to Jerpoint Abbey.

July 2 - Dublin - With only 1 1/2 days, what would be the best things to do in Dublin?

Any recommendations of sights, tour times etc. would be helpful. We (my husband, 11 year old son and I) enjoy just seeing how other people live. Strolling through small villages as well as the main highlights has provided us with a lifetime of memories. If there are special spots along our route, we would welcome suggestions. I have tried to keep our driving to 100 miles or so.

Finally, in June, I think I have read that daylight extends to 9:00pm perhaps even later since it will be near the solstice, can anyone confirm... if so this will help as we are not early risers!

Thank you in advance for your comments!

DebD is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 09:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,414
Hi Deb:

I don't see any problems with your itinerary other than you have four days in Co Clare and are staying in three different places. I think I would consider picking one central spot and touring from there. If nothing else, spend two nights in one place and two in another. It's so nice to come back to the same place at the end of the day.

Other thoughts:
June 23rd: You will probably get some sort of breakfast on the plane, so you probably won't be starving. If you arrive at 8:10, you probably won't be out of the airport in your car until about 9:30 with getting bags and your rental car. There is an ATM right next to the currency exchange there. Use it instead of the exchange.

I'm not sure on the Ennis restaurants for what will probably be lunch by that time, but you can pick up some pretty good pub grub at Gus O'Connors in Doolin. It it were me, I'd stop for a toasted sandwich at the Biddy Early brewery in Inagh and perhaps have a half pint of one of their beers. Great stuff.

June 24: Aillwee Caves usually don't get huge reviews. I've never visited, so I can't say for sure. You should definitely stop and see the Poulnabrone dolmen. Another option would be to head south from Doolin and follow to coast road to Loop Head. This route is off the tour bus trail and is a beautiful drive. There are a number of nice little towns to stop in for lunch. At any rate, I would try to end this day either back at the place you started, or at the place that you are going to spend the next two nights.

25th: The castle and the folk park won't fill two days and in my mind, barely one. The dinner is fun though touristy. You would have some options on day two such as heading to Killaloe and cruising Lough Derg. There are lots of things to do around Co Clare, but I wouldn't focus on Bunratty itself for two days.

27-28: Killarney will be very busy at that time of year. The park is beautiful. Consider the option of a Gap of Dunloe Tour. You can go in either direction which can include trip through the gap in a jaunting car and a boat ride back. It's quite an adventure and takes up the whole day.

You'll get a whole bunch of people wondering how you could get so close to Dingle and not visit Slea Head. This is a spectacular drive, with very few that rival it. You might want to consider a day in Dingle or more. Personally, I would skip Waterford for Dingle ANY time.

I would skip the Blarney stone and see the much more intersting Cahir Castle. Really, it's just a rock that you hang upside down and kiss. In June, the lines up the stairs to share your germs with others are not worth it. Cahir Castle is much more interesting.

I'm not sure what you are looking to do in Callan, other than play golf. I understand there is a nice golf course there. Again, if it were me, I wouldn't go to Waterford unless you consider going to the factory a sort of pilgramage (which some do). You can but it anywhere, it's not cheaper at the factory and, though an interesting tour, I'd rather be in Dingle. You could drive from Cashel to Dublin easily (or stay in Cahir) and go through Kilkenny and by Jerpoint Abbey.

Finally, yes the sun sets very late at that time of year and you will probably have light in the sky until atleast 10:30. Sunset in Limerick on the 23rd is 10:03 PM.

Hope this helps.

wojazz3 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 397
Second post, same as the first...


I go to Ireland from San Diego, too! Please feel free to email me with questions directly if you want. (I'll be gone to Disney World from the 10th to the 15th of this month but afterward I'm open for Ireland questions!) I've been to Ireland a few times (6 and counting) and visited most of the places you're going.

First off let's say that I agree with the Janis about airlines and food. You may find you are not hungry at all. If you and your family are lucky you will have been able to sleep on the plane on the way over. (I never can! Bummer.) Either way, bring snacks with you in case you do not like what is being served and to stave off the whole hunger thing. Snacks will also come in handy when you're in the car and driving about - until you find items you like there. Most of the small towns have a butcher shop or corner store where you can buy fresh sandwiches. A nice day in the Burren is a perfect place for a picnic.

I also agree with Janis about finding yourself a nice B&B in the Burren area and not moving from place to place every night. Much less packing and unpacking plus you will really get a feel for a place more if you stay more than one night. Either way, be sure to ask your B&B hosts for places to eat or things to see and do. They will be a wealth of info you.

Driving through the Burren can take all day or only an hour or two depending on what you stop to see and do. In Kinvara, be sure to do the castle there. It's only a small tower house but I'm betting your son will enjoy it! The Caves can be busy so you may have to wait your turn for a tour. They have a nice little tea shop there to help pass the time. I think that driving all the way to Galway when you are going to spend your next few days in Bunratty and further South is too far. Unless you changed and did one night at Bunratty and then do your one in or outside of Galway.

If you do not make it to Galway you could take the ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands for a day or half day trip. This is well worth your time and you can visit all three islands (if you want) which you can't do from the Galway ferry.

Muckross House is worth doing but I really enjoyed the Farms more. You can get a ticket that will allow you go get into both attractions (they are right next to each other) or just one or the other. I think your son will enjoy the Farms, too. Lots of farm animals as well as several replicated buildings of Ireland farms in the 18th century that you can explore. (I think that's right...)

If I had to pick between Dingle or Ring of Kerry, I'd go for Dingle every time. The drive over Conor Pass from North to South is worth a few white knuckles.

Cashel will be quite busy but is also worth the time if you have it. If I had to choose between the Rock of Cashel or Cahir Castle I'd go with Cahir. I think your son will really enjoy Cahir Castle, as well. Part of it were used in the movie "Braveheart" (Trim Castle, Co. Meath was in it as well) which is fairly exciting. But the best part is that there is a tour AND you can explore on your own! Even down into the dungeon!! How cool is that?

I have to agree with the Janis, too, about Waterford. Though I've not done the factory tour I can vouch for the lack of charm of the town itself. It's a working town with not a lot to see and no nice hotels (well, one nice one but it's Very Expensive). If you do end up staying in the this area stay out in the country side somewhere.

Jerpoint Abbey is right next to Kilkenny. I enjoyed both in a single day and that's with a drive to Kildare (near Dublin) thrown in. (We stayed in Isintioge the night before.)

Dublin has loads to offer and is a good place to take a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour of the city if only to see a majority of sights in a day or two. Then you can linger over those places that interest your family most. If your son enjoys museums be sure to take him to The National Museum where they have a great Viking display - including a mummy. (Actually there are many mummies to be viewed in Dublin if you enjoy that sort of thing. Best to get a book about Dublin and bring it with you.)

Because of the time difference you WILL be early risers in Ireland. They are 8 hours behind us so your internal clocks will be cattawhumpus for several days if not longer. When my husband and I go we often find ourselves wide awake at 4am (Irish time) and ready to get the day on. If you can, when you arrive, try to stay awake until at least 9 or 10 that night. It will help to give you a full night's sleep that night. Do this even if you didn't sleep on the plane. Otherwise you'll be up and ready to go when the rest of Ireland is sleep!

Hope this is some help to you. Enjoy your trip!

Safe travels,


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waffle18 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 12:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 899
You'll have very long hours of daylight when you're there and I love that! You'll probably still have some light in the sky as late as 10:30 or 11.Ireland is perfect for those who aren't early risers. The country moves more slowly in the mornings than the US does.

I think the Doolin area is a good stop for your first night. It's only about 90 minutes from Shannon, so it's not too hard to get there and then see how much you feel up to doing on your first day. If this is your first time driving in Ireland, I wouldn't recommend tackling the traffic in Ennis on your first day. You'll probably go through Ennistymon on your way to Doolin and you could stop there if you're hungry.

Kinvara is one of my favorite towns and a great place to stay if you like small towns. If you'd rather get a taste of the city, Galway is only an hour or so farther on.

I'd take one night away from your Bunratty stay and add it on elsewhere. I do agree with Bill---you shouldn't miss Dingle and I think your 11 year old would enjoy the town. In fact, if you skip Waterford, maybe you could do 2 nights in Dingle.

Since you're staying overnight in Cashel, visit the Rock late in the day or first thing in the morning. It's a very different experience if you visit before the tour buses arrive or after they've left. I hope, too, that you can make time for Cahir Castle. No 11 year old boy should miss it.

MaryZ is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 45
I'm confused! Ireland is AHEAD of the US time-wise.... So, if it is noon in Ireland, it is only 4 a.m. in California. So, how does that add up to being an early riser while in Ireland -- I think it would make you an even later riser! ? or am I missing something?
Celiaanne1 is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 08:37 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 35
Thank you all so much. Based on your comments, I am thinking of making a few changes. I really appreciate the insight on several of the sights - Cahir Castle in particular, especially as it relates to my son.

I am now considering the banquet at Dunguaire Castle and leaving Bunratty early for Dingle.

Can anyone tell me is Muckross Farms and House included in the Gap of Dunloe tour? or is it just Ross Castle and the lakes, and Kate Kearney's Cottage?

Finally, are many of the sights open later in the summer - 7:00 or 8:00 at night?

Thank you again!
DebD is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 12:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Celiaanne1 - I think MaryZ meant that because the daylight hours are so long, you can sleep in in the mornings and still have plenty of time to see and do things as it's so bright in the evenings.
cailin is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The tour version I had did not include any of the farm, house or castle. It just included the trip to Kate Kearneys and the boat ride. We bargained for the jaunting tour. We used the heritage pass for Ross Castle.

wojazz3 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 899
Some places will have later closing times in the summer, but it's going to vary. The Rock of Cashel stays open to visitors later in the summer, but when we were there last July, closing time wasn't very late --- 6 pm or so?
MaryZ is offline  
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