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Ireland next June. Please critique early plans.

Ireland next June. Please critique early plans.

Old Sep 4th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Ireland next June. Please critique early plans.

We are hoping to spend our 25th Anniversary in Ireland next year and have started to plan. Since we were last there on our Honeymoon, we can't wait to see the vast changes.

We've made up a tentative itinerary after lurking on this great board. Need lots of suggestions for places to stay, places to eat, and more things to see on the way.

We are in our 50s, don't mind driving, and are generally looking for quiet B&Bs with comfortable beds. I assume we are looking for 3 star places from 65 to 85 Euros a night - is that realistic?
Looking for a fairly leisurely trip to see historic sites, beautiful drives, a few good restaurants, and relatively quiet places. How crowded does it get in the first three weeks of June (5/31 6/21)?

Here are the plans:
Dublin - 2 nights
Arriving on the morning of 6/1. Hope to see Trinity College/Book of Kells, (I remember this very well from my Honeymoon!) National Museum, Kilmainham Jail, Guinness Brewery, and probably do a City Tour on the hop-on-hop-off bus (Thinking of the Stephen's Green Hotel or The Davenport)

Wicklow - 1 night
Friday, we will pick up car and drive South to Wicklow on the military road to Glendalough and maybe Powerscourt. (Need a B&B)

Meath - 3 nights
Saturday morning (6/4) we will drive up to Meath for a few days to see: Newgrange, Monasterboice, , The Hill of Tara, and the Boyne Valley. Possibly Clonmacnois and Kells.
(Thinking of Highfield House or Cranmore House in Trim)

Caven - 1 night
drive to Caven on Tuesday for a day seeing where my 97 year old mother-in law grew up.

Galway or environs - 2 nights
Drive to Galway via Roscommon on Wednesday and on Thursday take a Ferry to Inishmore for a day. Not sure where to stay, we are not that interested in Galway.

Clare - 2 nights
Friday, drive down to Clare and see the Cliffs of Mohr and the Burren (Thinking of Drumcreehy B&B in Ballyvaughn or someplace in Lisdoonvarna - any recommendations?)

Dingle - 2 nights Sunday (6/12) and Monday (6/13)
Sunday, drive to Dingle, tour around and see Gallarus Oratory and the Blasket Islands museum
(Thinking of the Shores, Greenmount, or Heaton's)

Kenmare/Killarney - 2 nights Tuesday (6/14) and Wednesday (6/15)
Tuesday, drive to Kenmare or Killlarney for the lakes and the park (Not interested in the Ring of Kerry) (Looking for a nice suggestion here - it is our Anniversary!)

Kinsale 3 nights Thursday - Saturday
Thursday drive to Kinsale (any suggesting for a nice scenic route there (Mizzen head?) and a few trips up the coast and to Cobh. (Thinking of Cephas House, any other recommendations?)

Cashel - 1 night
Sunday drive to the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle (B&B recommendations?)

Bunratty - 1 night
Monday we will head up to Bunratty to see the folk park, stay overnight and go home from Shannon on Tuesday 6/21.

Thanks very much in advance.

Omsam is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2004, 03:28 PM
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We just returned from Ireland a week ago (celebrated our 25th anniversary also), and loved our B&Bs in Dingle and Cashel. Both are in the price range you stated.

In Dingle, we stayed at Wildflower Cottage which is an apartment with a flower patio and an incredible view overlooking the harbor and mountains. Breakfast is served upstairs, or you can eat in. It is in a row of B&Bs next to the harbor, on the road to Gallarus Oratory (which we saw) and the Blasket Museum. The owners Marianne and Tom (Tom is Irish) were so helpful. The B&B is only 2 years old. It had an American style bathroom (full tub and shower) and a washer and dryer, which was great. We stayed 3 nights.

Derrynaflan B&B (Ballinure, near Cashel) is a great place to stay if you don't mind a 8 min. drive to town. The O'Sullivans are friendly hosts and make their own cheese, yogurt, and jam (we saw a new litter of puppies too.) The house has beautiful antiques, but is comfy and they serve a friendly breakfast. They were the only B&B to give us a choice of rooms, and we stayed 2 nights. We ate dinner twice at Davern's restaurant, which was excellent. Mrs. O'Sullivan recommended Hannigan's too, but we couldn't find it.

Happy researching!

Flutist is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Hi Omsam - we stayed at Drumcreehy for just a quick overnight last May. It was bigger/more rooms than the B&B's that we stayed in for most of the rest of our trip, so even tho it was not that big, it just seemed busier, more like a hotel not a house. Rooms were nice tho (we had Dog Violet) and brekky was good- in addition to the plated breakfast there was a buffet set up with meats, cheeses, cereals, stewed fruits, yogurts, breads. Hubby and I both thought the buffet was very similar to breakfasts we got in other travels in mainland Europe and then we noticed that most of the guests there were speaking German, so that explained that. A full Irish combined with a European style breakfast buffet means we were stuffed for the day! The place faced the water so it had a pretty view and it was quiet. We drove around the Black Head for an sunset visit to the Cliffs and thought the drive awesome. The cliffs keep getting bigger and bigger as you drive south along the coast, there were hardly any houses/people for the longest way. We also had the worst meal of our trip in Ballyvaughn - "something" Bistro sorry -have blocked out the full name - - Ack - Yuck- do not attempt to eat there.
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Old Sep 5th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Omsam, there is range of books out, called, "The most beautiful villages of........". I have the one for England, but there is also one for the Most beautiful villages of Ireland.
I will list some of those villages mentioned in the Irish Book.....
* Kenmare
* Castletownshend (near Glandore)
* Glengariiff
* Allihies (not far from Dursey Island Peninsula)
* Knightstown (on the ring of Kerry)
(There are more, but these are some that you may find interesting)
Seeing your going to County Wicklow, try & visit Johnny Fox Pub.
Also when in Dingle, try to do the Connors Pass drive.
We found only half of the Ring of Kerry to be scenic, but still well worth the drive. Really loved walking in Killarney National Park, not far from Molls Gap. The town of Killarney was a bit touristy, so we gave it a miss.
Do try to stay in farm B&B's where possible, you will find the hosts a wealth of knowledge, and they give a very good insight into their life on the land.
tropo is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2004, 05:25 AM
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We went to Ireland last year and flew out of Shannon as well. The night before we did the dinner theatre at Bunratty and stayed in Ennis at the Rail House. It was probably the best, most comfortable B&B we stayed in during our entire trip.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Sounds like you are doing almost the same route we did this past June, only in reverse.

For your drive between Kenmare and Kinsale, I highly suggest going out to Mizen Head... If the sun is out, the waters are sooo blue, but the coastal scenery is awesome. You could even stop in Bantry on your way, and drive a portion of Beara Pn (we cut across the middle). You'll have plenty of daylight!
Since you'll be in Kinsale for several nites, you can check out more of the southern coast if you don't get to on your way to Kinsale. But since Mizen is a bit of drive from Kinsale, you would probably want to stop on the way.

In Kinsale, we stayed at Four Winds BB. Very nice place, quiet hosts, but fabulous breakfasts. Bit echo-y since the whole house is pine wood, but very modern/clean.
Bunratty - Dunaree BB was great. Big rooms, great breakfasts, great hosts.

I think your plan sounds very doable and well-paced. I second the vote for driving Black Head near the Cliffs of Moher, esp around sunset.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 03:08 PM
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Sounds like a very nice trip. Nothing that's a terribly long drive, (well maybe Kenmare to Kinsale through Mizen, but you just have to do it) nice relaxing days. Here's a few thoughts:

Though I've never stayed, I've heard Tudor Lodge in Laragh (near Glendalough) mentioned as a very nice place to stay.

A couple things about the Galway/Doolin/Aran section. You could consider spending a night on whatever island you choose to visit which would make for a more relaxed time there. If you travel from Galway, (I haven't looked at the schedule) you'll have 3 hours just on the ferry. That's a lot of time. Consider going to the airport near Rossaveal and catching a 10 minute flight. It's only about E10 more and the it's supposed to be beautiful. Flights start at 8:30 AM and end at 5:30 PM. Normally, with the ferry ride, you only end up with about 3.5 hours on the island. This option would greatly increase that time and also get you in ahead of most of the crowds if you get to the plane early enough.

As far as where to stay, though perhaps not the most convenient to the airport, consider Cregg Castle. It's a beautiful old building and the owners are musicians. It makes for a great night around the fire in the Great Room. They are just north of Galway outside of Tuam about 5 miles. The actual town is Corrandulla.

The Shores (been visiting there for 5 years now) is fantastic. The other two get great reviews also, though I believe the Shores is a fair amount less expensive. If you plan to do heavy drinking in Dingle, one of the others might be nice, but if as you say, you are looking for nice quiet places, the Shores is wonderful.

In Kenmare, there are a couple of upscale places, the Lodge being one. The Park Hotel is way upscale and the is a place called Sea Shore Farm Guest House that made in to the Karen Brown book. I've stayed at Tahilla Cove which is actually closer to Sneem and you can't beat this for serenity. It sits in its own cove, you can take a walk out to a small uninhabited (I think) island or just take a walk along the coast with the dogs Harry and Monte. The guest house is nice, the rooms are very large and oh so peaceful. There are two buildings there. I like the one separate from the main house. The rooms have a patio which looks out onto the Cove.

I've stayed at Cephas house and liked it very much. Beautiful views though, apparently just like Four Winds, has a lot of pine wood and the stairs are a bit clip cloppy when you walk. Again, there is at least one room with a balcony that looks out over the bay. The others have great views too.

Hope this is helpful. We'll be there at approximately the same time (starting and ending a bit earlier) but are going north.

wojazz3 is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:18 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the tips.

Flying to Aran sounds like a much better option. We may do that.

We may also add some of the southern part of Sligo (family connections) to the trip. It is a bunch more driving but looking at the distances on the AA Roadwatch site - it really does not look too bad. (I think our initial planning was with the roads of 1980 in mind.)

Any advice on things to see there would also be appreciated.

I keep looking through all the threads here and ALWAYS pick up good ideas.

Our trip to Italy this past March would not have been the same without the good advice from this board.

You guys are great!!!!

Omsam is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:29 AM
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Do fly top Inish Mor, its so quick and only a bit more and you leave your car at the airport (Tiny one!) Fot Staying in Powerscourt/Glendolough. There are a few B&B's in Laragh and I have not stayed there (I drive home to dublin after my visits!) Try www.ireland.com for B&B's here.

For Dublin the Davenport and St Stephens Green hotel are both excellent Locations. The Davenport is an older lovely building on the outside and the other is very new and nice looking as well. Both are near shopping restaurant etc. Check out www.laterooms.com before you go to get a better rate closer to the trip.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:28 AM
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Your trip sounds OK although you are seeing covering quite a bit of territory. Do relax for some trad music in the pubs and a play at The Abbey and to soak in the scenery and history in Glendalough and Newgrange and such.

Congrats on the 25th (we did Scandanavia for our 50th).
Bill in Missouri [email protected]
Ozarksbill is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 07:37 AM
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Omsam - tropo mentioned Castletownsend. This seaside village is one of my favourites, we've been there several times. i can recommend Mary Ann's Restaurant and Bar for top notch seafood and one of the most delicious pints of guinness in the southwest. Definately worth a stop for lunch and a bit of an explore on yr journey from Kenmare to Kinsale.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Hi Omsam,
We just returned last week end from Ireland and it looks like you'll be in many of the same towns we were. I posted a trip report yesterday (Our Jaunt Through Ireland).

We used the Karen Brown guide for our accomodations and weren't disappointed although some were much nicer than others.

If you stay at Heaton's in Dingle, I recommend you ask for one of the front corner rooms. In the front, you'll have a nice view of the bay and the corner rooms are much larger.

If we were to do it again, a night in Dingle and a night at The Shores (per Budman, Bill's and other's suggestions) would have been fun. It looked lovely when we passed it and not as touristy as Dingle.

In Kenmare, we were orginially booked at the Shelbourne House (about a 5-10 minute walk to towncenter) which looked very nice. There was a mix up though - they were booked that night and had us for the next night. But got us a room at Sea View Farms which was very nice, located down a lovely lane and our room overlooked the bay. However, if you want a very special place to stay on your anniversary, this may not be it. I would suggest looking into the Lodge or Park Hotel or if you don't want the hotel experience, then Sallyport House or Shelbourne - maybe a bit spendier but 25 years is 25 YEARS!! Congratulations! Kenmare will be a wonderful place to celebrate your 25th!
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 09:06 AM
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Omsam--you won't recognise Dublin. I can't believe the changes in Ireland since I've been coming to/living here, and that's just been 15 years.

The roads definitely are better (and there are a lot more bypasses), but you'll still spend much of your time driving 25 mph behind a tractor.

Have a great trip.
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