Ireland plan for May 2011

Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:23 PM
  #1  
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Ireland plan for May 2011

Hello folks! It's been a while - I've been absent for a while. However, I've got a new trip in the planning... it will be me (I've been to Ireland three times, the British Isles 6 times), and my friend Vicki, who has been to England lots to visit family, but never to Ireland.

I'm around 40, she's 27. We're great friends, and we know we travel together well. We're both accountant artists

We love beautiful landscapes (we both love photography), ancient sites, churches/graveyards, and charming towns. We're skipping Dublin this time (I've been three times). The driving times are from www.viamichelin.com - I'm well aware the times will probably at LEAST double due to stops, explorations, etc. We both like driving, and don't fear it. I've done the Green Blur tour before, and I tried to alleviate that with few one-nighters. This was originally a three-week plan (and may become one again, possibly).

Fly into Shannon airport, leaving on the 13th, flying to Shannon, arriving on the 14th, Saturday. Returning on Sunday, the 29th of May.

14th (Sat) - Drive to Kenmare (2.5 hours), overnight in Kenmare.
15th (Sun) – Drive Ring of Beara (2.5 hours), overnight in Kenmare.
16th (Mon) – Meet Vicki's grandpa in Cork (1.5 hours each way) (he's flying in from Wales), overnight in Kenmare.
17th (Tues) – Drive up to Dingle (1.75 hours), overnight in Dingle.
18th (Wed) – Explore Dingle Peninsula (2 hours), overnight in Dingle.
19th (Thur) – Drive up to Ballyvaughn (3 hours), overnight in Ballyvaughn.
20th (Fri) – Explore the Burren, overnight in Ballyvaughn
21st (Sat) – drive to Galway ferry to Inis Mor (2.5 hours), overnight in Inis Mor.
22nd (Sun) –Ferry back to the mainland, explore Connemara, (2 hours) overnight in Westport.
23rd (Mon) –Explore Achill Island, Galway, overnight in Westport.
24th (Tue) – drive up to Donegal (2.5 hours), on the way visit Sligo, Carrowmore, overnight in Donegal.
25th (Wed) - Slieve League Cliffs, Glenveigh park, Overnight in Donegal.
26th (Thu) - Slieve League Cliffs, Glenveigh park, Overnight in Donegal.
27th (Fri) - drive up north Antrim coast, Giant's Causeway (3 hours), overnight in Cushendall
28th (Sat) – Explore Antrim Coast, glens, relax before leaving, overnight in Cushendall.
29th (Sun) - Fly out of Belfast (1 hour) to home.


Comments/suggestions for B&Bs/critiques are welcomed.

We like B&Bs that have or are near pubs, preferably with traditional Irish music sessions. We like to be near enough to walk to them, so we don't have to worry about driving.

Go raibh maith agat!
GreenDragon is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 07:47 PM
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Green, in Donegal look at Rhu-Gorse http://lougheske.com . She has a twin room that would be just right for you and your traveling buddy, but the boys had that one and I had the double upstairs with the most amazing views of Lough Eske. It's a bit north of Donegal town and well worth the drive. Don't miss the Famine Pot along the road into town.
jaja is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 04:11 AM
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Two thoughts, Balleyvaughn is a nice place but two nights might be too much. Might think about leaving Dingle and taking the Tarbert ferry then up the coast to the Cliffs and then overnight in Doolin. From there it is a shorter boat ride to Inishmor then from Galway and the view of the Cliffs from the sea is spectacular. From Doolin the ride up the coast to Ballyvaugh is great with the sea on your left and the Burren on your right. Second, the drive from Kenmare through the Mts. and around the ring of beara is going to take most of the day, its worth it but it will be a full day. If it is your friends first trip be sure to do the Connor Pass on Dingle and the Healy Pass on the Beara. Have fun
JOHNOD is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:24 PM
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Would not particularly be attracted to the plan for the first days of your trip.
Kenmare is a nice place but creating a route which ultimately gets you to Cork is putting a lot of driving on you in days when you should be easing yourself into driving Irish style. Why not consider making tracks directly to Cork, perhaps basing yourselves in Kinsale for two nights.
Weather permitting, Sunday will offer touring opportunities to the coast, direction Clonakilty, or inland to Gougane Barra, including Blarney Castle en route. If the weather is less promising, Cork city itself has plenty to explore or see Cobh/Fota Island as an alternative.
SeeDee is offline  
Jan 4th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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I'm certainly no expert on Ireland but it seems to me it would ( at least logistically ) be better to explore Galway after Ballyvaughn rather than backtracking from Achill Island. There is a great place to stay on Achill, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to visit.

I'm not sure your drive times are accurate as I remember it taking longer, especially from Donegal to Giant's Causeway, but it's quite possible that I've forgotten exactly how long it did take.

Cushendall is a great spot for Glenariff Park etc. but again some backtracking if you plan to see any more of the North Coast. Dunluce Castle is certainly worth a visit.
historytraveler is online now  
Jan 5th, 2011, 08:26 AM
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Hi GD, I agree with SeeDee - it seems a pity if you're going to drive from kerry up to cork and back that you don't stop some where like Kinsale or (my preference)Bantry. If it's scenery you are into from Bantry you can cover the Mizen, Sheepshead and Beara peninsulas - all absolutely stunning.
cbcha is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Thank you all for the suggestions! The drive times are www.viamichelin.com, and certainly don't take into account stops, detours, explorations, etc. - the reality will of course be much more.

We've actually already adjusted the itinerary - backwards. We have discovered it is cheaper to fly into Belfast and rent a car in the UK, than the other way around. So... pretty much the same, in reverse.

I have taken the ferry from Doolin to Inis Mor before, and from what I've heard, it's cancelled due to weather more often than the shorter one from Rossveal.

I'll definitely be doing both Conor and Healy pass. I've driven Conor before, but the fog was so thick we could see nothing at the top

The stop in Ballyvaughan is to explore the Burren and the coast, something I've done once and want to do again.

Kenmare is more of a stop for exploration - we will be doing Beara, a day in Cork to meet Vicki's grandfather (coming over from Wales for the day), etc. But we want to dine in Kenmare each evening, and sample the fabled yummies there We're also trying to keep the one-nighters down, as it wastes lots of time packing/unpacking/finding/checking in/checking out of B&Bs. So we tried to find places we could radiate day trips from, while moving along the considerable coastline. I tried to choose somewhat central locations for each of these spots, while cutting down on intra-spot driving as much as possible.

Also, we may now be able to add a day or two to the itinerary, both of our bosses permitting!

Rhu Gorse looks lovely - but it doesn't seem to be near pubs
GreenDragon is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 07:30 PM
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No, sorry, but Rhu Gorse is out in the country a bit. Can't help you with B&Bs in Donegal town.
jaja is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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No worries, we decided we liked Ardara better. We've pretty much chosen our stays. Also, we may have added a person to the trip! Any positive or negative feedback from anyone would be great!

Cushendall: The Meadows B&B http://themeadowscushendall.com/

Ardara: Bayview Country House http://www.bayviewcountryhouse.com/ (we figured we could stagger 1km, even if drunk!)

Westport: The Boulevard Guesthouse http://www.boulevard-guesthouse.com/

Inis Mor: Man of Aran Cottage
http://www.manofarancottage.com/index.html

Ballyvaughan: Oceanville B&B http://www.clareireland.net/oceanville/index.html

Dingle: Blooming Wildflower Cottage http://www.wildflower-cottage.com/index.html

Kenmare: O'Donnabhain's http://www.odonnabhain-kenmare.com/
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Mar 16th, 2011, 04:31 AM
  #10  
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We have finalized our plans, got plane tickets, rental car, and all our B&B reservations. These are the final details:

Fly into Belfast on the 13th of May
Cushendall - Riverside B&B 3 nights
Ardara - Bayview Country House 3 nights
Westport - Boulvard Guesthouse 2 nights
Inis Mor - Man of Aran cottage 2 nights
Ballyvaughan - Oceanville B&B 2 nights
Dingle - Blooming Wildflower Cottage 2 nights
Kenmare - O'Donnabhain's B&B 3 nights
Back home via Shannon on the 30th. (yes, we know that's an early morning long drive, we're prepped for it)

Just the two people. Car rented with Dan Dooley. Ferry already reserved for the trip to Inis Mor.
GreenDragon is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 07:23 AM
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I agree with you about going to Inis Mor from Rosseveal due to possible cancelations from Doolin. also the trip was much shorter from Rosseveal. When my niece and I went from Rosseveal, we had reservations, but got to the pier earlier than planned and they let us take an earlier ferry. That gave us two full days and on the return, when it was bucketing rain, we got to leave on an earlier ferry than we had planned. and that was in July at high season! From Doolin there is only one trip per day each way.

It sounds like a great trip!

Don't know if you'll have time, but Garinish is doable from Kenmare and the little putt-putt boat out to Garinish Island is a nice trip. The island's gardens are stunning!

Near Clonakilty there is a miniature village that is interesting to visit. Also a recreated ring fort.

While in Ballyvaughn you might want to nipp over to Kinvarra and Dunguaire Castle. They do a banquet there accompanied by more traditional music, song and poetry. Kinvarra itself is a pretty town and you can visit the castle by day, skip the banquet and eat in town. I can't remember the place, but we had supper at a lovely restaurant on the pier and watched the "sun go down on Galway Bay." I am not a foodie, so take my rec. for what it is worth. I only want a cafe or restaurant that looks fairly clean and is serving when I am hungry--friendly service and nice view are bonuses.
irishface is offline  
Mar 17th, 2011, 07:25 AM
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It's odd, Green Dragon, was thinking about you the other day as I was reading an Irish question, and wondering if you had been on any good trips recently. I always love your tales and pictures.
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Mar 21st, 2011, 09:14 AM
  #13  
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Thanks, Irishface, for both the suggestions AND the compliment! I will, of course, be writing up a trip report. I can't wait - 7 weeks and 3 days! I've not been on a 'real' vacation since Scotland in 2008, just family visits... so I'm really looking forward to this.

I wouldn't consider myself a foodie, either. I appreciate wonderfully prepared food, but I also appreciate simple meals, as well - a good lamb stew, a pint of cider, and some Irish soda bread. What more could you want?
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May 9th, 2011, 12:47 PM
  #14  
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Well, I'm finally off this Thursday, I'll be back with a trip report
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May 9th, 2011, 12:51 PM
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Have a wonderful trip!!!
Judy is offline  
May 10th, 2011, 05:31 AM
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My eyes are green with envy!
irishface is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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looking forward to meeting you!
gablues is offline  
May 11th, 2011, 04:29 AM
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Have a great trip, I'm just back from Ireland and we had excellent weather
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May 12th, 2011, 02:42 AM
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I heard the weather has been lovely! I'm sitting at PIT now, waiting for boarding to start. Yay!!! I'll have lots of pics to share, of course!
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Jun 2nd, 2011, 11:46 AM
  #20  
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Trip report has begun! http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-may-2011.cfm
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