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Ireland/Northern Ireland Trip - 4 Questions

Ireland/Northern Ireland Trip - 4 Questions

May 14th, 2007, 09:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 8
Ireland/Northern Ireland Trip - 4 Questions

Hi! My girlfriend and I are headed to Ireland in September for 12 days. We're very excited. yes yes.

We're thinking a good idea is to pick three "home-base" cities...and spend approximately four days in each, with day-trips added on, as well as a possible overnight stay or two elsewhere. At this point, we're leaning towards Dublin, Galway and Belfast. Very exciting...

OK...here are my questions!

1. THE THREE CITIES - If this ends up being our only trip to Ireland...are Dublin, Belfast and Galway the best choices for our home base cities? Are we completely crazy for not visiting the southeast and/or southwest?

2. NORTHERN IRELAND: Any thoughts on the proposed portion of our trip to Northern Ireland, based out of Belfast, are appreciated. Our understanding is that Belfast is fantastic....and that besides enjoying the city we can take a fine day-trip driving up the Giant's Causeway Coast, perhaps staying overnight near Bushmills. With only four days in/around Belfast, squeezing in Derry seems a bit of a reach, so we may skip it. Still, we're wondering, is Derry a must when visiting Northern Ireland?

3. DAY TRIPS!: Any recommended day-trips or overnight stays outside of Dublin, Belfast and Galway are appreciated!!!

4. CONNECTING WITH LOCALS BEFORE OUR TRIP: I've learned that when traveling abroad, a most valuable thing is being able to meet up with a friend who's a local. Yes, the days of pen-pals are almost gone, but I'm wondering if anyone can recommend a good community website where folks in Ireland actually commiserate?

thank you!!
tdrucker is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 12:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 52
For day trips - Aran islands from Galway and Glendalough from Dublin, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities (hiking/walking) or beautiful scenery!

I think you have a good plan. Sure you will miss some folks' must sees but in 12 days, you can't see it all.

You might want to add the type of activities you are interested in, how you plan to travel, etc for more specific advice.
carolinabelle is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 07:45 PM
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Posts: 8
Thank you so much for the reply!

My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's...and very active. We'll definitely enjoy the cities but would welcome some hiking and biking to see the countryside as well. We'd love to see some castles, manors and the like...and perhaps stay in one overnight!

As far as type of travel goes, it would be a combination of driving and trains.

We fly in and out of Dublin. We're considering spending the first four days in/around Dublin, without renting a car. We'd take a train to Belfast...spend a day or two and then rent a car to drive up the Giant's Causway Coast. Then, we'd continue to drive into northwest Ireland, perhaps seeing some of the scenery and enjoying the small towns that fewer tourists get to see. We'd end up in Galway for the last four days of our trip. Then a train back to Dublin and a flight home to America!

...any feedback is appreciated... thank you!
tdrucker is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 08:14 PM
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Join Date: May 2007
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wow! I just discovered that our time in Galway will overlap with the Galway International Oyster Festival! Is this a good time to be in Galway? Will it be completely overcrowded? Is it worth it to be there during the festival?


tdrucker is offline  
May 16th, 2007, 03:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 120
I can only speak on the North, as that's where we went last summer (though we spent most of our time around the Sperrin Mountains). Your plan for the North looks good. If you stayed overnight near Bushmills, you could continue around to Derry, then either west to Donegal or south to Omagh and Enniskillen before continuing to Galway.

Be aware that, unless you're on the "M" roads, you'll average about 35-40mph driving. But I think the scenery is worth it.
djman102 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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The Oyster Festival will be vastly overcrowded. At this point it may be impossible to find a B&B or hotel but you could give it a try and see what is available.
IrishEyes is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 09:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 33
Why return to Dublin Try flying out of Shannon and save yourself a train ride.
Lalylori is offline  
May 19th, 2007, 01:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7
I was in Ireland 6 years ago and am planning a return visit this September. Personally, I would recommend finding a replacement for the Belfast piece of the trip as my experience with Belfast was that it was a rather unexciting, unlovely, industrial city. Our last trip was most memorable for the time spent in Dublin - love that city! And also really enjoyed our time along the west coast - Dingle Penisula, Doolin, Ring of Kerry, Killarney. This time we are adding in more time in Galway with a day trip perhaps to Westport and also a few days in Kinsale which we hear is lovely.
PegGep is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,256
You probably have everything planned out by now, but I hope you ignored the previous post. Any city in the world can be boring if you approach it in the wrong way.

Belfast is a great city to explore. The guidebooks all offer good info on Belfast, or you can hit the tourist office on the high street in town (across from Burger King, above Boots).

I think Derry is well worth a trip. Take the tour of the city walls. It's fascinating. Again, head for the tourist information centre.

You can go up the Antrim Coast and then hit Derry the next day, and drive back to Belfast that night. If you stay in Bushmills, you can't beat the Bushmill's Inn. It's not cheap, but it's a wonderful little inn, and the restaurant's good as well. I love the pub in the hotel, too.

Have a great trip. Eat lots of soda farls!
Ann41 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 68
Giant's Causeway is really impressive. I think it is one of the best natural sites that I have seen in Europe, although I have to admit that I tend to go to cities so have missed a lot in that realm.

My one thought is although Belfast is a big city, Derry (or Londonderry, so as not to offend either side) is a really nice town and you can take some side trips from there.

Even though I prefer cities as a rule, taking Derry over Belfast may be my exception.
dncdave is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2007, 01:34 AM
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tdrucker- are you all set with your trip to Ireland?
Viajero2 is offline  

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