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Ireland questions for traveling in November 2017

Ireland questions for traveling in November 2017

Old Oct 8th, 2017, 10:11 AM
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Ireland questions for traveling in November 2017

Traveling to Ireland for the first time in early November (I realize weather is questionable but we are from New England, USA so use to it and this was when we could get away!)
We have 7-8 nights tops and flying into Shannon from Boston on Nov 3rd and out of Dublin 11th or 12th. We would like to enjoy the countryside and adventure a bit and see as much as possible!
We are not going over to the southeast coast where Waterford is nor Blarney (two places we aren't as excited to see) - would like wild atlantic area: Galway, Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Maybe Aren Island, Connemara and Clifton (maybe wing it so we can keep our fingers crossed and hope for good weather.) Would like to have a backup plan should weather not cooperate. Would love some help with a few things:
Questions-
1.) Should we stay in Galway and then do day trips to the north and south or should we break up 3- 4 nights and do one night north, one night Galway and one night south maybe Killarney?
2.) Then, if we were to stay in a castle hotel for one or two nights which one is most recommended? I have found several around Dublin and several on the west coast for instance 1st night Bunratty.
3.) Last 4 days should we do another stop on way to the Dublin area such as a detour to Donegal or
4.) Has anyone ever done a day trip up to Belfast or a "Game of Thrones Tour?"

Thank you
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 10:38 AM
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Pity you are not going the other way, Ennis Trad Fest runs the 9~13th.

Bunratty Castle hotel is a castle hotel because its near a castle, lots of Irish Castle hotels like that. Blarney Castle is a fine example of an Irish rather than Norman castle and has wonderful grounds especially in the summer. Ignore anything with Rick Steves as its author but having mentioned Killarney I might be getting the wrong feeling.

I haven't done the Game of thrones bus tours, they do get good reports but never even seen one episode I do know a driver guide up in the north who has taken folk round but the bus would be a cheaper option.

The Itinerary? I have a 10 day plan which you could reverse and shorten. https://drive.google.com/open?id=13p...L0&usp=sharing

Start in Ennis night 1, see Bunratty castle and folk park then Quin Abbey on the way up. Day 2 past the Cliffs to Galway for lunch, then on to Clifden. Clifden to Donegal, Donegal to Portrush , then Belfast before Dublin. Consider Lough Esk Castle Hotel for Donegal or go from Clifden up the Doolough valley to Westport and cross to Kilronan Castle for a Castle "Castle" hotel and up to Portrush from there.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 11:51 AM
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Hi- Thank you for your suggestions on the castles/hotels and itinerary.

We don't have our airline tickets purchased as yet; however I do know that reversing into Dublin/out of Shannon was several hundred dollars more per person. That said, we could consider flying round trip to/from Shannon.
I just was thinking if we are seeing Dublin then it was the best way to not backtrack. Will look into that.

So to clarify, do you suggest not visiting Ring of Kerry and going more north west than south? I was really hoping to go to Co. Kerry.
Also, I noticed that you suggested Ennis on the 1st night then Galway (through lunch) vs staying there. I'm assuming it is a way to get us to Belfast quicker, but have heard so much about the Galway area and Clifden and Connemara.

Appreciate your insight.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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Everyone has their preferences, mine being that with just 7-8 days I would spend it all in the west and southwest. North of Shannon are Galway, Connemara, Clifden. Galway is a fun base with a decent selection of restaurants and a very lively music scene. South are the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren with its ancient ruins and some great villages with pub-restaurants. Bunratty folk park is very interesting.

I can think of two castle/manor hotels in that area Ashford in Connemara which is very grand, just outside Cong (The Quiet Man village) and Drumoland very near Shannon. That would be wise for a first night's stay.

I think you have time to get down to Kerry and Dingle as well. Keep in mind driving times are greater than the actual distances seem and the days are quite short in November.
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Old Oct 8th, 2017, 04:38 PM
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We visited Dublin in 2002 and went up to Belfast as a day trip.
Not much time of course but took a fascinating city bus tour and had a pleasantly boozy lunch. Bus driver gave a thoughtful and respectful background of “The Troubles” and I especially liked seeing the shipyards where The Titanic was built.

We technically took the train, but due to difficulties of some sort, were switched to a bus for much of the trip. Didn’t take long, didn’t cost much. I loved it.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 12:42 AM
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We did McCombs small bust game of thrones tour from Belfast. It was fun and extremely beautiful.

Day tour from Dublin to Northern Ireland would be Wild Rover.
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Old Oct 9th, 2017, 03:05 AM
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I pinched a quote from David J. Ennis in answer to a question on Postcards from Ireland the other day :

" Lots of people will promote their own areas/regions, my advice for what its worth would be to follow what you feel is right, you wont be disappointed "

I suggested the Northern option because you had asked about Connemara and Northern Ireland as well as Dublin and then Kerry. Given your time scale then Kerry was the odd point and 3 out of 4 is sometimes better than forcing 4 points into a time too tight for them all, you are tight enough for 3 points anyway.

Dublin isn't an in the middle location, messes with car hire as you do not need a car in the capital especially as they are deliberately making it increasingly difficult for motorists.

If you land in Dublin get on the bus to Belfast for 2 nights. drop back to Dublin Airport on Morning 3 and drive to Galway for 2 nights. see Connemara the middle day.

From Galway drive to Killarney following a bit of the coast to include Moher (assuming decent weather) 2 nights in Killarney means you can potentially drive the ring of Kerry or do some more local points.

You have 2 nights left. full days drive from Killarney to Dublin and explore the city on your middle day.

As I say tight..
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Old Oct 10th, 2017, 02:52 AM
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I think you are making a fundamental mistake in trying to pre-plan a scenic tour in November. Days are short, and weather is unpredictable. What if you are driving through beautiful country on a grey rainy day, with very limited visibility? I have driven through the Inagh Valley in Connemara on a day when one could not see lough Inagh or the mountains, and gone around Slea Head in Kerry on a day when one could not see the sea. These were not great losses to me because I had been there before, and will be there again. But it's not the same for somebody who spends a fortune to get to Ireland.

I suggest no more than two centres, preferably not too far apart (because you should not invest limited daylight on transfers). Pick places that have something to offer other than scenery, because you might need to create a wet weather alternative.

Given your wish-list, Galway seems obvious. If you stay there 4 nights, you might be lucky and get 2 full (but shortish) days for touring.

I don't have a strong recommendation on a second base. It's for you to decide your preferences. Heading for Belfast seems to me a long journey in the circumstances, especially if you are unlucky with the weather.

Perhaps you should hold back on decision-making until you are in Ireland, get the feel of things, and can check short-term weather forecasts.
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