Ireland Trip Planning Advice

Jun 21st, 2007, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 524
I like to see it all on my trips also...we are up and out by 9am and don't usually get back to B&B until after 6(you can check out what we did on our 10 day trip last june if you click my name and search back).

On our trip we were able to see westport/connemara, donegal, some of northern Ireland, cliffs of moher/doolin/burren, dingle, gap of dunloe/killarney national park, kenmare/beara peninsula, part of ROK, ending in shannon/bunratty...way more than most on here would attempt, but with 10 people we did hire a driver w/a we just sat back and relaxed and let someone else do the driving...would not have been enjoyable driving on my own.

I doubt any of your days (not counting days in dublin) will be less than 3 hours in the car. ROK is min. of 5 hours...same with dingle, connemara and donegal are huge...both are all day drives. your drive to and from donegal will be long...and not to exciting without some stops to break it up. driving coast from kenmare to kinsale with only a couple of stops took us all day.

on our first trip we drove a dublin loop...dublin to galway, doolin/ennis,dingle,kenmare, kinsale, cashel, kilkenny, enniscourthy/wexford, dublin...we took 2 and a half weeks and it was still very fast paced.

I think you are spending too much time in Dublin...especially wanting to see it all. If you enjoy exploring smaller towns, hiking, and sites...I would definately consider trading Dublin/Kinsale/Kilkenny for Dingle/Kenmare/and more time in donegal or connemara(westport/clifden).

Keeping with your main route, I would suggest...

day 1-if you plan to explore park on your first day...I would take scenic route (part of ROK) thru park past ladies view, moll's gap and on to kenmare for the first night...would add about an hour and a half to drive time...but a very scenic drive.

day2-take coastal route to kinsale...lots of villages to explore. I would suggest driving part of beara peninsula,crossing the healy pass, you could also make a quick stop at the drombeg stone circle (note-there is a small stone circle in kenmare)...if you have time when you get to kinsale, tour charles fort (great views/interesting).

day3-may want to check out cahir castle and definately stop at rock of cashel on way to kilkennny...we really enjoyed jerpoint abbey just outside of kilkenny.

day4-would suggest a stop at glendalough on way to dublin (good luck driving in dublin!...with a car, I would stay outside of dublin and train/bus in)

day 5-dublin sites(our favorite-kilmainham jail, hop on off bus tour, literary or music pub crawl) or opt for newgrange/hill of tara and stay in trim

day 6-drive to donegal...we stayed just outside of donegal town on St. John's point at Castle Murray House...great views/strolls, great dinner, plus has quaint comfy pub.

day-7 explore noted above, you cannot "explore" donegal and drive thru connemara...each of these are atleast a day (we spent 3 nights in donegal and just saw a bit). on a long day, we left our b&b and drove along southern coast of donegal to glencolumbcille, then up coast and inland to glenveagh national park/castle...we stayed close by just north of letterkenny...stay another night in donegal.

day 8-drive south thru sligo to westport (pos. stops-belleek, knock,drumcliff(yeat's grave) carrowmore.

day9-drive past Croagh Patrick thru doo lough valley, aasleagh falls and part of connemara,quick look at kylemore abbey (no time to tour) on to last night stay near shannon....or alternative route-to cong, thru burren or around black head, pos. time to see cliffs of moher...stay near shannon (bunratty, ennis).

have fun planning!
chip is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
Using viamichelin for driving times in Ireland. How optomistic and unrealistic. Every road I was on a couple of months ago had roadworks and long stops.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 9,736
I thought about mentioning that too, IrishEyes. On the one hand, dank says he's driven in Ireland before and understands the roads. On the other, he's relying on viamichelin which everyone says hugely underestimates driving times.

dank, just be aware that those times are probably low (as previous poster akila says, probably best to double them) as you fine tune your itinerary.
CAPH52 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
CAPH52 and IrishEyes are right on. Via Michelin says 2:40 or something like that to get from Shannon to Dingle. However, when we drove it a week and a half ago (the opposite direction, but still), we...

- got lost in Tralee (believe me, it's easy to do);
- took a couple other wrong turns (you will too, I promise);
- had to wait for the ferry; and
- once off the ferry, quickly ran into roadworks that took us off the planned route onto a road that looks like the only-recently-paved road to my grandma's house, and on which we were stopped two or three times because they were only letting cars through in one direction.

We didn't stop at all, except for the ferry wait, and it still took us twice the VM-allotted time. Also, be aware that they're doing road works near the airport.

So, even if you are great with doing 3 hours of driving each day, ViaMichelin's 3 hours is not the same as an actual person's 3 hours!
jent103 is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 294
A good rule of thumb is to take the distance and divid by 30 or 35. This will give you a better idea of your drive time. None of the mapping sites allow for weather, farm equipment, sheep, cattle, bicyclists, walkers, horse drawn carts, large buses/Lories or road construction. You will encounter all of these during your driving holiday.

If the pace you set is good for you, all is well. I spend my regular day rushing about from point A to point B. It isn't how I would want to spend my vacation. Especially a vacation in someplace such as Ireland, which not only encourages you to slow down and savor each moment but practically demands that you do so.

Slan Beo,

Bit Devine
CowboyCraic is offline  
Jun 21st, 2007, 10:18 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 20
Several folks commented on the use of So, I did a check on what they used as an average mph. It's roughly 40-45 mph, with lower rates on the totally country roads. My past experience suggests that 35-40 mph is probably more appropriate. Even so, that speed adds only about 20 minutes to the average day's travel.

As an aside, I have use michelin for several trips (even a complicated trip to Hungary/Czech Republic) and have found it highly reliable. In fact, it's even far superior for US trips than google, yahoo and mappoint, both in directions, and on-screen visuals.

For those who did a "background" check on my past postings, what you saw was my trip to Panama last April. I've actually used these forums for many, many trips, but since I only usually travel once a year, you'd have to go back a ways to see other postings.

The point that I've gotten, more than given, is well taken. I'm working on a detailed trip report on Panama. However, I'm having a hard time wittling down my 15 page personal blog into a more manageable report for the Forum.
dank3265 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4
The great part of Ireland though is how quick and easy it is to get different places- It's only around 3hrs. to get from Dublin to Galway so you can really see alot in a small amount of time. You might want to think about staying in Kenmare- I had a great time there and def. enjoyed it more than Kinsale.

inationalpark is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2007, 09:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,216
IrishEyes is offline  

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