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KellyCB May 22nd, 2016 09:19 AM

Ireland -- tour recs; into Dublin/out of Shannon; short trip
Hi! Thanks in advance for suggestions! I've read through many posts and found everyone's comments so helpful, especially Tony2Phones, so I'm hoping to finalize my plans with this group's guidance.
We were in Dublin as a stopover from Paris to home base of NYC last summer. We loved Ireland and have wanted to go back ever since. This is a milestone b'day for me in August, and my ancestry is Irish. Must see southwest Ireland -- but this must be a quick trip due to work.
We are flying into Dublin (our starting point is Chicago, and this was the only non-stop at a good rate) and back home to NYC from Shannon.
We only want one night or less in Dublin, since we saw it last summer. Then we want to see the southwest, Aug 12-16 (it is a really short trip, we realize).
We also want to use public transportation and tour groups; myself, my husband and our well-behaved 11 year old son. We are just not up for driving. Also, we do not mind spending just one night somewhere and onto the next.
I love Tony2Phones' suggestion from another post to spend one night in Ennis, Bunratty Castle's medieval banquet, then to Shannon airport the next day.
If we are starting in Dublin, then ending up in Shannon, with only four days, is there a tour recommendation?
Day 1: Aug 12 -- Arrive Dublin 10 AM (we have been here before, so perhaps just a day tour and then depart for southwest via tour bus in the afternoon/evening, or do we spend the night there?)
Day 2: ? Aug 13
Day 3: ? Aug 14
Day 4: ? Aug 15 to include Ennis; Bunratty Castle
Day 5: Aug 16 Depart Shannon airport
Thank you in advance! Once again, we know this is not the ideal length of time, but we will be back!

flpab May 22nd, 2016 09:55 AM

What have you seen in Dublin? I have been many times and many days and still have not seen everything. If you don't care for history then maybe a day trip to Howth or a Wicklow tour. Take the train Dublin Connolly to Killarney, several a day right after you land and skip Dublin.

bean11 May 22nd, 2016 11:55 AM

Dublin could be used as a base for a few more day trips. In 2014, we used Paddywagon tours for a long day trip (I think about 12 hours) to Belfast, Giant's Causeway, and the rope bridge. Lots of beautiful scenery on the way. Day 2 we had a shorter trip to Glenalough and the Wicklow Mountains. It was only about 9 hours and left us time to spend an evening listing to music in a pub. I know there are other day trips available from Dublin too. Tony2P doesn't advise seeing the Cliffs from Dublin as it is a very long trip in a day. (Tony, I hope you don't mind me quoting you here. Correct me if I am wrong). On my 2 trips to Dublin, I have not been a fan of Dublin on the weekends as everyone is out and about and everything is crowded. Next time, I'll try to get into Dublin on a Monday when the pubs and visitor sites are less crowded.

KellyCB May 22nd, 2016 12:31 PM

Thank you, flpab and bean11! Interesting idea to go on day trips and use Dublin as our home base, since this has to be a shorter trip. We love history and I'm sure haven't seen everything in Dublin. Great suggestion to be on day trips over the weekend, too. Many thanks!

elberko May 22nd, 2016 12:54 PM

You can check to see if any of the Rabbies tours fit your interests/schedule:

I've taken one out of Edinburgh and liked it a lot, as have others here on Fodors.

flpab May 22nd, 2016 01:11 PM

We are climbing Crough Patrick and staying in Westport our first week next trip and said we really want to see St. Patrick's
grave so found this day tour. I have been to Belfast but friends have not so they are wanting to do this. We are renting a flat in Dublin for the week but you can do shorter. We are doing the Literary pub tour one night, hoping to see a show at one of the theaters. Doing a Wicklow tour and day trips on the coast by taking the dart train. We like night life so love staying in the city. I know there is also a Causeway tour, long day but you get to see some great scenery.

This is a smaller bus but packed with many things. I am a huge Balleykissangel fan from PBS so had to see Avoca where they filmed this. Skipped the Avoca weaver's part and headed to Fitzgerald's pub for a pint.

bean11 May 22nd, 2016 05:57 PM

We did two Rabbie's tours in Scotland. They were small, 13 passenger vans, and provided an excellent trip. I would go with them over Paddywagon if I had a choice because they are more personable because of their small size.

Tony2phones May 23rd, 2016 01:24 AM

There are lots of other folk give great advice on this and other forums so don't just listen to me ;)

If you do want my advice, consider getting on an express bus from Dublin airport to Galway and have the 3 days in Galway, first for the City, second for a tour of the Connemara and 3rd for Inis Mor.

Or arrive Galway have the night of the 12th on Inis Mor. the 13th is a Saturday so you can get back to Galway drop your bags and take a tour of the Cliffs of Moher. the 14th take a tour of Connemara.

Then Shop in the morning take a Lunchtime bus/train to Ennis, Grey Gables is 2 minute walk from the Bus/train. You can get to Bunratty see the castle/folk park, stay for the banquet/Corn Barn before heading back to Ennis or scrub Ennis and stay in Bunratty if you like (I wouldn't but then I'm not working on a morning flight home)

4 days isn't long but you can fill and enjoy every waking minute

kleeblatt May 23rd, 2016 03:47 AM

Inis Mor turned out to be our favourite spot in Ireland. Galway was fantastic for shopping and some good trad music at the Crane. Connemara was also wonderful.

(I really enjoyed Dingle too but that's for another trip.)

Padraig May 23rd, 2016 04:20 AM

If you regard the southwest as a must-see, you could head straight from the airport to Heuston Station and get a train to Killarney. It's not my favourite Kerry town, but you might like it more than I do and, in any case, feasibility is important. From Killarney, you can take some day tours.

If you want to do the Bunratty banquet, then overnighting in Ennis might not be the best plan. It would involve the trouble and cost of a late-night taxi, and you would not have much evening time in the town. There are plenty of accommodation options in Bunratty (indeed, there is little else!).

KellyCB May 23rd, 2016 11:22 AM

Thank you all so much!

jaja May 23rd, 2016 03:49 PM

I have a couple of recommendations for Bunratty B&Bs if you are interested.

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