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Is my driving itinerary for Ireland reasonable?

Is my driving itinerary for Ireland reasonable?

Old Feb 19th, 2008, 06:10 AM
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Is my driving itinerary for Ireland reasonable?

My husband and I are going to Ireland at the end of April. We will be there for 6.5 days. I have made a tentative itineray but I'm not sure if it's too much or not. We don't mind driving but we want to be able to stop along the way and take our time to enjoy the scenery and attractations. We can really use some help and suggestions!!!

Sunday- Monday Fly into Shannon
Monday- Pick up car
Drive to Galway for the night (51.7 miles_
Tuesday- Head towards Limerick (100 miles)Sights to see:The Burren Cliffs of Moher. Stay in Limerick for the night. Visit the Hunt Museum orKing Johnís Castle, Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Medieval Dinner at Bunratty Castle
Wednesday- Head towards Killarney (69 miles)Sights to see: Town of Tralee, some of Dingle Penninsula
Stay in Killarney for the night
Thursday- Head towards Kilkenny (150 miles)Sights to see: Town of Cork
Blarney Stone, Town of Waterford
Waterford Crystal Factory
Stay in Kilkenny for the night
Before leaving see Kilkenny Castle
Kells Priory
Friday- head towards Dublin 102 miles
Sights to See: Wicklow Mountains
Stay in Dublin for the night
Saturday- Dublin all day
edims is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 06:54 AM
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I know the real Ireland experts will be helpful (I've only been to Ireland once), but it seems like you are trying to see and do way too much. Remember, too, that distances are very deceiving because of the roads. I would decide what you really want to see and narrow it down considerably. I know that different people have different travel styles, but if I had 6.5 days on the ground, I would stay in only two places, maybe three.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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I agree with Ruff. Although I too, have only been to Ireland once, it was for 2 full weeks. Believe all of us who say that the driving situation there is really s-l-o-w. Roads are narrow and curvy beyond imagining. Left-hand driving takes some time to master, and even if you're use to a stick shift, I'd opt for an automatic. It's just one less hassle.

Ireland is a beautiful country, and no matter where you are you will feel her unique charm. Yes, the countryside is differnt from the cities of Dublin and Galway, but still and all you'll know you're in Ireland once you land in Shannon. IMO I'd opt for quality experiences in fewer places. Just give yourself permission to enjoy where you are, instead of being very frustrated while rushing off to the next photo opt.

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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 08:41 AM
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Your plans are not all that dissimilar to my first trip. We didn't know where we were going or when, but actually it worked out okay. We didn't do the Bunratty thing, but instead did Cliffs of Moher and Ring of Kerry right after Galway. Nothing to see especially in Limerick. I might skip that and go from Galway down the Coast Road to the Cliffs, etc. and stay somewhere down in that area. We actually made it to Killarney that night. The rest seems doable.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Though doable, that's a lot to pack into 6.5 days.
I agree with Holldoll -- I would head from Shannon to County Clare to see the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, staying in Doolin or Lahinch. Perhaps leave Galway and parts north for another trip.

The Dingle Peninsula is a must for dramatic scenery, as is the Ring of Kerry. Killarney is a bit on the commercial side, but there are some interesting attractions, like Muckross. Tralee is just a "pass through" in my book.
There are some lovely towns and villages on the south coast, such as Castletownsend, Waterville, Kenmare.

Kinsale is a colorful seaside town in West Cork. There are some wonderful B&B's and excellent restaurants. I would opt for a stay there and simply drive through Cork City on the way north. It is just a bustling city.

I realize this is your first trip to Ireland, but many well known tourist attractions, such as Blarney, Bunratty and the Waterford Crystal factory are not the real Ireland. I have visited all of them, and had I known better at the time, I would have skipped them completely and concentrated on more scenic areas.

Kilkenny is worth a visit. Limerick is not, in my opinion.

The Wicklow Mountains are beautiful. Dublin is Dublin -- a large city, but with many interesting things to see, if you like cities. Driving in Dublin is a nightmare, however.

Have a wonderful trip!
colbeck is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Limerick is absolutely not worth a stop. I would rate Muckross House and Farm over Bunratty castle for sure, they cover a lot of the same stuff but Muckross seems less commercial. I think you should slow down, spend more time in the Killarney area.
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions so far. You've been very helpful!
edims is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 05:57 PM
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I will take a chance on being rude and say that this is a horrible itinerary. Is there a reason you want to stay your first night in Galway? You are going way out of your way to spend one tired night there. By the time you get there you will be an experianced Irish driver and well aquainted with roundabouts. Why not spend your first night in Bunratty, 20 minute drive from the airport, take a nap and do the folk park and castle and the dinner if you must. Day 2. Travel up through Ennis to Ballyvaughn the along the coast towards Doolin. Great scenery with the Burren on one side and the sea on the other. Visit the cliffs and spend the night in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna. Next day south along the coast to the Tarbert Ferry to Dingle and spend at least one night in Dingle and drive the Sleahead drive, its a must see. Killarney, Cork and Waterford are just big cities and the Blarney Stone is a tourist trap. Killkenny is Ok and the Castle is worth a look. A night in the Wicklow Mts. will be nice but pick a small village. Your time is short and getting out of the bigger cities will give you a better feel for Ireland. Wish you had more time, have fun
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Old Feb 19th, 2008, 09:05 PM
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It takes a heck of a lot longer than you think to cover that much territory, especially when you don't allow for contingencies like the flat tire we had within the first two hours of leaving Galway! Careful driving the Burren - those roads have jagged edges!
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 12:06 AM
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I too was wondering about going up to Galway for one night and back down to County Clare. Why not spend your first night in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna? Only about a hour and half from Shannon or as John said stay in Bunratty.
You have a good start and the people here are very helpful. Good Luck, Joan
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Old Feb 20th, 2008, 01:38 AM
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We spent 2 weeks in Ireland with our two children a few years back. Well, we got unlucky and it rained just about every day, but here is what I learned:

1. get the best rental car you can afford - automatic, etc.

2. less is definitely more - the driving is a bit tedious and sometimes stressful. The distances in miles will mean nothing to you until you actually do them.

3. Don't move every night. It's just too tiring. On the other hand, try not to backtrack too much either as the driving is tough and sometimes surprisingly boring as you will often be driving between tall hedges that don't afford a view.

4. If possible, change your itinerary based on how things are going when you are there.

5. Stop and smell the roses...one castle starts to look like the others after a while anyway. If you are sitting by a lovely peat fire sipping tea and having great shortbread in a pretty inn, that is a big part of the experience, so enjoy it and don't hurry away. Same with the pubs.

6. The Cliffs of Moher are pretty amazing.

7. The Ring of Kerry and Connemara (sp?) are only spectacularly beautiful if you can actually see them - skip the scenic drives if it is a foggy day...

8. The stone circles are something special - do get to a few - wish I could remember the best ones, but you will find them in your tour books.

9. Take a hike up one of those green, green mountains if you can. You will not be disappointed.

Good luck and I wish you sunshine and clear skies!! Ireland is a beautiful and welcoming country.

gruezi is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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Monday- (skip Galway)Pick up car drive to cliffs of moher, maybe a bit of burren...early bunratty castle banquet...afterwards walk thru park for pint at mac's pub...call it a night

Tuesday-(skip Limerick)Dingle Penninsula-stay in Dingle

Wednesday-Muckross House, drive thru Killarney National park to ladies view, thru moll's gap-stay in Kenmare...or could push thru to Kinsale (I liked Kenmare better)

Thursday-Blarney Stone...if you must...I would substitute Cahir Castle and Rock of Cashel-stay in Kilkenny-(Kilkenny Castle-not a must see...especially if tour Muckross House)

Friday- Kells Priory, Glendalough

Saturday- Dublin all day
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 11:57 AM
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Again, thank you for the information. I'm thinking that maybe we'll slow down a bit and cut out the southern part of Ireland. I just don't want to miss out on anything!!!
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 05:40 PM
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Hi edims,
I think you're right to cut a chunk out of your itinerary. Spend more time in fewer places and oddly, you'll see more. I find that Ireland isn't about seeing sites in the guidebook, but about spending time in the towns visiting with people. And by towns I really mean pubs.
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 10:16 PM
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Rosetravels said it so well. Have a wonderful trip.
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