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Ireland - Need opinions on driving trip please!

Ireland - Need opinions on driving trip please!

Feb 28th, 2014, 06:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Ireland - Need opinions on driving trip please!

Good morning all - I'm taking a trip this summer with my significant other to the Emerald Isle. It's a 9 day trip total, and we're planning on spending the majority of it exploring the beautiful Irish countryside, mainly in the southwest and south. We're pretty seasoned travelers, so not too worried about jetlag issues on the first day in.

Looking for opinions/critiques/tips and tricks for a first-time visitor to Ireland:

Day 1: Land at Shannon, pick up rental car, drive to Bunratty Castle, and on to Doolin where we will stay the first night. Intend to see Cliffs of Moher here, and other local sights (any suggestions??)

Day 2: Up early to drive to the Dingle Peninsula, and tour around. Perhaps stop for a lunch in the town of Dingle proper. Drive on to Killarney, where we will stay the next two nights.

Day 3: Up early again to do the Ring of Kerry. Now, I've read on different topics in these forums that the RoK may not be worth the time. Is there something we'd be sacrificing to spend the day at the RoK? We've got another day in Killarney, so I figured we could do the town and all that day. Stay in Killarney this night as well.

Day 4: See the town of Killarney (any must see local sights?) and drive on to Kinsale/Cork. Now, we've been given different opinions about this particular stop. I've been told staying in Kinsale is great because of the views/how picturesque it is. But, I've also been told that Cork is a town worth staying in because of the atmosphere and general "funness". Thoughts? See the Blarney Castle, tour around Cork (regardless of whether we stay there or not).

Day 5: Spend the day in and around Cork/Kinsale. What ideas have you for must see sights? We'll spend this night in Cork/Kinsale as well.

Day 6: Transit to Kilkenny. Settle into accomodations, and explore the city. We'll stay this night in Kilkenny.

Day 7: Continue touring around Kilkenny, and then drive on to Dublin. Arrive Dublin, drop the car off, and check into accomodation. Will be staying here 3 total nights, with lots to see/do.

Day 10: Up early to head to the airport and back to reality.

Is this a sensible itinerary? Also definitely looking for suggestions for the things to do/see around Cork/Kinsale.

Thank you!!
dctraveler2122 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 18,272
Well, I don't have a map in front of me and it's been a while since I drove in Ireland, but I can offer one bit of advice: Presumably you are planning to drive along scenic roads and not highways, so don't underestimate the driving times.

It will take much longer getting from place to place on the country roads so be sure to give yourself enough time.
panecott is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
Day 1 consider Ennis for the overnight base it cuts almost an hour from the run to Dingle town and gives chance for a spot of lunch in Listowel..and makes the run through to Killarney for night 2 more practical. I would have 2 nights in Killarney and use the middle day to see a little of all that is on the doorstep, Ring of Kerry, Muckross and National Park, Gap of Dunloe etc etc. Day 5 is enough for Cork area
Tony2phones is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 75,965
Well I liked Cork about as much as Dublin - Cork is in many ways I believe ireland's Culture Capital - known for its singing pubs - kind of a gray grim looking city but a nice place to wander around a day and hit a 'singing' pub at night for old Irish folk songs.
PalenQ is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,842
What?? Cork, Culture Capital.. 56 next month and never heard that before.. Which Pubs? (unless there during a festival) Cork is Ireland's 2nd biggest city and I suppose if folk come to Ireland for cities then it would factor along with Limerick which is the City of Culture, for next year anyway.. There are though far better places in Europe to visit cities.
Tony2phones is offline  
Feb 28th, 2014, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 11
You could do the short Ring of Kerry and see if you liked it and if you did, you could just keep on going! I would recommend staying in Kinsale because as you said it is very picturesque and the food is great, there are some great places to eat. You are close enough there to go in and explore Cork city and maybe do a tour if you wish. Kilkenny is a great town and you should check out the Castle there, the tour only takes 45mins - 1hr and is well worth doing. There's a design centre across the street from it too for picking up gifts. In Dublin I would get a ticket for the hop on hop off bus, it's valid for 48 hours so a great way of getting to see what the city has to offer... Enjoy!
JamesLuke227 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2014, 01:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 21
Like Tony says, Ennis might be a good step-off spot, but I am a real Doolin fan, so you won't go wrong there! Need recommendations for accommodations or pubs?
Many deride Killarney as too "touristy", but the craic is mighty, plenty of real Irish pubs with trad music seisuns, and decent restaurants. Within walking or biking distance, reasonable rentals are avaiable, is Ross Castle on the beautiful Lakes, and boat tours. While the RoK is stunning, may I suggest doing the Valencia Island loop? Off the beaten path, with beautiful coast lines, Skellig Michael boat tours, etc. I can recommend a fab B&B in-town Killarney if you like.

DO drive thru the Cork and Kerry mountains to Blarney, Bantry is also a nice town, famous for their mussels. Kinsale is a gorgeous harbor town, very medieval and charming, and famous with foodies. and, of course, lots of lvely pubs. May I suggest the Tap Tavern in Brideswell? Tell Mary hello for us Lots to explore and do.
Kilkenny is famous for it's castle and around 90 pubs... a very friendly and walk-able town, lots of history. I also have some recommendations for Kilkenny. We love visiting Kilkenny!
While Cork city IS Irelands "second capital", it is IMHO, a grey dingy city, tho the English Market is something to experience.
And definitely do the Hop on Hop off bus tour in Dublin, it takes you everywhere, is relatively inexpensive, and one comes by like every 10 minutes... Watch the traffic, tho, sometimes it is faster to just walk when the bus is stuck in the notorious Dublin traffic. eating out is EXPENSIVE in Dublin, so keep that in mind. Also, steer clear of the Temple Bar area at night. It is full of drunken lager louts who behave badly and vomit everywhere.

Ireland is a BLAST! The people are nice, the food great, the scenery looks like a postcard. Have fun!
RuaMor is offline  

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