Ireland Trip Planning Advice

Jun 19th, 2007, 05:50 PM
Original Poster
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Ireland Trip Planning Advice

We're planning a full-circle 10-day trip that many kindly forum folks will take exception to, for cramming in too much. But for those others, we'd greatly appreciate your input, especially any small villages or sites of particular note.

Thanks to all. You'll get our full trip report when we return. So here goes:

Day 1 - Arrive early in Shannon; drive to and stay in Killarney area; explore lakes and National Park.

Day 2 - Either full counter-clockwise ride around Ring of Kerry (or cut through north-south pass from Killorglin to Sneem and continue to Kenmare). Continue on south to coastal road to Kinsale.

Day 3 - Explore Cork and environs and head up to Kilkenny, possibly stopping along the way at Rock of Cashel.

Day 4 - Cut across to Arklow and drive up the coast, through Bray to Dublin.

Day 5,6 - Dublin

Day 7 - Long drive up to Donegal, via Monaghan (family roots)

Day 8 - Explore Donegal area, then to Sligo, drive around Connemara and stay in Galway area.

Day 9 - Explore Galway and area. Stay south on the way to Shannon

Day 10 - Return to US

dank3265 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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On our trip last year we bypassed Cork (although that was in our original plan) and drove all the way down to the southern coast to the small village of Kinsale. It was outstanding! A beautiful little was magical. If you are driving, it's not for the faint of heart to get there.
The Rock of Cashel is definitely worth a stop. Glad you are not headed to Waterford...we thought it was boring compared to everything else we saw.
Dublin is wonderful. Several friends said we could skip it but evidently it has really changed in the last few years. It's relatively small and there's a lot to see and do.
The Cliffs of Moher (sp?)is amazing, too.
sandyatlanta is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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This has become a fairly standard response to proposed Ireland itineraries: it's way too much. In particular, your plan for day 8 is a candidate for the most ambitious one-day tour ever.

As for your asking for small villages or sites of particular note: where will you find the time to look at them? I suggest that you cut your programme by about half.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Padraig pegged it right. Your trip will be drive, drive, drive from dawn to dusk. No stopping at cute towns and villages. Snap a photo from the moving car as you move on by so you can remember where you have been. Pack sandwiches for lunch so you do not have to stop. Drive, drive, drive!! If that is the kind of trip you like you will have the time of your lives. No need for a trip report...we know what it will be. Been there, done that. NEVER AGAIN!
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 09:10 PM
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"many kindly forum folks will take exception to, for cramming in too much."

I know this is not what you want to hear. And I apologize in advance for giving unwanted advice. But I have to agree, strongly, with Padraig's comments on your day 8.

Have you ever been to Ireland before? It's clear from your post that you know people will feel you're trying to do too much. But do you know why?
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2007, 11:16 PM
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I hate to pile on but I am. As much as I love Ireland, I wouldn't want to be in that car. I wish you would rethink your plans so you can enjoy that wonderful country.

Good Luck.
chatham is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 02:28 AM
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I'm not sure how you would be able to fit it into your intinerary, but the Aran islands are one of my favorite daytrips from Galway
yode07 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Everyone means well when they say, you are a big optimistic with you plans, here in Ireland, driving from one county to another is never straight forward, I personally think you are doing a little bit too much, Day 3 sounds very vague ," Day 3 - Explore Cork and environs and head up to Kilkenny, possibly stopping along the way at Rock of Cashel."

Its just not that simple, have another think about you plans, and maybe think how tired you will feel, it doesnt even allow you time to sit and chat with the locals and get a proper feel for Ireland.

lucielou is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 09:49 AM
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Well, I agree with everyone that it's a LOT of driving - and I'm someone who likes to pack things fairly full. To help convince you, some specifics: Shannon to Killarney on your first day would be a long drive, if you're used to driving on the right and haven't driven in Ireland before. If you're coming from the States and arriving jet-lagged, that's even more problematic.

On Day 1, if you arrive in Shannon at 8, have your car by 9, you wouldn't arrive in Killarney until early to mid-afternoon - and that's assuming you don't get lost (you will). Throw in checking into your accommodations, and that doesn't leave you much time at all to explore the park, which definitely deserves a day at least. What time of year are you going? You'll have different amounts of sunlight in the day.

What are you using to decide how much you can cover in a day? Ireland is small, but it takes awhile to get places. The roads are narrow and often you have to go slowly. I've heard 35mph is a good rule of thumb. And again: You will get lost. Not trying to be overly negative - but Ireland is great, and deserves to be seen not through a windshield!
jent103 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Here is a little more in terms of specifics to convince you that this will be not very enjoyable of a trip:

Your day 8 is: "Explore Donegal area, then to Sligo, drive around Connemara and stay in Galway area."

We did that in 3 full days. The first day we drove from County Fermanagh to Donegal and visited around Donegal --- and really we just stuck to the Atlantic Highlands. Driving in Donegal is extremely slow and difficult --- more so than every where else that we experienced in Ireland due to the hills/mountains and one-lane roads. We started from Enniskillen at around 9, hit the Belleek factory, and wound up in Donegal Town around noon. Then we spent all afternoon driving up to Slieve League Cliffs and wound up in Ardara.

The next day, we headed from Ardara through Sligo, stopping on the way in Knock, and wound up in Galway. That was a long day --- about 4 1/2 hours of driving.

The next day, we woke up pretty early and drove all through the Connemara to Clifden and back to Galway. Again, this is a difficult drive through lots of hills and one-way roads.

Donegal and Connemara are magical places and I highly recommend giving more time to them. Of course, in the end, it's your trip, but remember that whatever trip time you find on AA or Via Michelin, to double it and then you will be more at the correct time.
akila is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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It's beginning to look like it's not so much many forum folks, but all of us who think you're trying to cover too much. I really hope that we've convinced you to reconsider. While Ireland is a beautiful country to look at, it's an even better country to "experience". And you're not going to do that at the pace you've planned.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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I think we scared away the OP with the truth.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Yeah, I think you're right, IrishEyes. Probably me more than anyone. I really piled it on by posting twice. After all the recent threads complaining about posters asking for advice and being told something totally different than they're asking!

But I still think we're giving good advice!
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 04:28 PM
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CAPH52, Well my first reply was not exactly tactful. If people do not want the truth they should go elsewhere. Maybe to the cloud cuckoo, leprechaun, rainbow, pot 'o gold, shamrock land forum.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 09:31 PM
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IrishEyes, I certainly wouldn't worry about your first post being less than tactful (not that I think it was) because it was certainly the truth! And I think you did a very good job of explaining why his itinerary is not a good idea.

But I have to admit that I really wish the OP would come back because I'm genuinely curious as to why he's chosen this particular itinerary when he made a point of saying that he knew people would tell him he'd be cramming in too much. I'm wondering whether it's because he thinks this will be his only chance to go to Ireland and therefore wants to see as much as possible. Which is certainly a very understandable reason. Or whether he didn't realize how slow travel can be in Ireland.

Not that it's any of my business, of course! As I said, just curious.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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CAPH52, I know what you mean. There are people who just take advice and never return again or post trip reports. They are off on new adventures without a thought of the past ones. I clicked on dank3265's name and he does not have very many posts. Most are about a trip to Latin America. The one asking for itinerary help in Latin America had the same problem of doing too much with too little time. That may just be the way the OP travels. There are many hyperactive people who must be on the go like the energizer bunny. If that is the way he likes to travel, more power to him. I would just hate to be along for the drive.

I notice there was no trip report for the Latin America trip. We probably do not have to worry about one for Ireland either.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 11:49 PM
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Thank you to all my thoughtful and knowledgable correspondents: To respond to your inquiries: I have been to Ireland, but it was long ago (the standard Shannon, Cork, Waterford, Dublin route by car). I found traveling the roads at 30mph was pleasant and relaxing and still provided time for stops in towns and villages along the way. I'm accustomed to right-side driving and winding country roads.

I’ve also taken 8-10 day country/city trips to 10 European countries and 20 Caribbean/Central American countries, so I have a good sense of what my style of travel is. My preference is for an extensive “tasting” as opposed to a few “large meals.” While I’ve found in all my travels that there were areas I might have wished to linger in longer, I’ve also found that there were few locales in my “crammed” itinerary that I wasn’t glad I got to visit.

Other factors in my packing everything into one trip. My Irish lassie partner will likely never get to Ireland again. I've carefully gauged the travel time using the "discovery" route on, so that driving time is roughly three hours per day. The days are long and with a 9am start, that leaves about six+ hours per day for exploring towns, visiting sites, and taking hikes. So, I'm not sure how the "drive, drive, drive from morning til dusk" really applies. Many of you comment, but don’t give a sense of what I’ll be missing. Perhaps a more specific response might be helpful.

That said, I do see now from specific replies, that my Day 1-2 would work better with a trip to the Dingle Peninsula vs. Ring; and Day 8 would work out better with a layover in Connemara. As with everyone else, I’ll certainly continue to tinker with my itinerary, and look forward to your continued comments.
dank3265 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 11:55 PM
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Thanks, IrishEyes. Your research provided a likely explanation. If he was told by posters that his Latin American itinerary was too much, that's probably why he expected to be told the same in this case. And I suspect you're right that he's one of those people who likes to move in hyperdrive! To each his own. But I'm still not sure that Ireland's the best place for it.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 12:06 AM
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Looks like we were posting at the same time! Thanks for the explanation, dank.

As for explaining what you'd be missing, it's difficult other than to say that Ireland is a country to be savored rather than rushed. So much of the joy of a visit there has to do with slowing down and enjoying the people, the music, a couple of pints in a pub, etc. But, as I said in my last post, to each his own. And you made it very clear in your last post that you are, indeed, a very experienced traveler and know your own style.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:19 AM
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dank - If that's how you prefer to travel, more power to you and I hope you two have a great trip! I will agree with your comment about Dingle vs. Kerry. We didn't drive the entire Ring of Kerry, but did drive from Killarney to Kenmare, which I was told by several people was the most beautiful part of the ROK. It was lovely, but I much preferred Dingle and the Slea Head drive to that drive. So, personally, I think that's a good choice.

I still doubt whether you could make it from Shannon to Dingle town in three hours; it took us closer to five, even with taking the ferry. Obviously it's your choice; just wanted you to be informed.
jent103 is offline  

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