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Itinerary Advice - Dublin to Shannon

Old May 25th, 2017, 06:12 PM
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Itinerary Advice - Dublin to Shannon

I am helping my 75yo mother and friend plan a trip this September, primary interest is historic sights. They will finish a trip with friends that ends in and includes Dublin and begin a private chauffeur tour (we believe this will be more enjoyable for these two without needing to navigate and drive). Please provide any input as to whether this itinerary looks feasible, omits great historic sights, includes less interesting sights, etc. Also, any recommendations as to brewery or distillery that we can add to this itinerary?

Day 1: Tour New Grange, Trim Castle, Hill of Tara. Issue is whether to do day tour from Dublin (Mary Gibbons or Sacred Irish Tour or similar), overnight in Dublin, and start chauffeur tour on Day 2, or start chauffeur tour and not stay the night in Dublin.

Day 2: Drive to Cork, visit Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle. Overnight in Cork.

Day 3: Blarney Castle (quick stop for stone kissing), Dromberg Stone Circle, Torc Waterfall. Ross Castle here or the next day. Overnight in Killarney.

Day 4: Ring of Kerry. Any recommendations on best sights? Overnight in Killarney.

Day 5: Muckross House & Gardens, Beehive huts Dingle. Overnight in Killarney.

Day 6: Adare Castle, Cliffs of Moher. Overnight Ashford Castle.

Day 7: Quiet Man tour. Visit Kylemore Abbey? Relax at Castle? Overnight Ashford Castle.

Day 8: Depart Shannon midday. This is 2 hours from Ashford, is that realistic? What time required to arrive before flight departure? I received a suggestion from chauffeur company to stay at Dromoland but it just seemed tacked on at end with no time at the castle and too much moving around. Any input on whether it would be a better stay at Ashford vs. Dromoland? Mom is a Quiet Man fan so Ashford looked like a better choice.

Thanks for any input!
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Old May 26th, 2017, 03:08 PM
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There is no point staying a last night at an expensive castle without making use of facilities. Fair enough with a lunch time flight you get to eat breakfast but there are folk stay at Dromoland and leave by cab at 5am or earlier.. nuts?

Have you worked this trip with your private driver?? Clearly its not me because I wouldn't be giving a trek like that.

Day 5 if you leave Killarney and do the Dingle figure of eight, Then, don't go back south to Killarney only to go back north the next day. Head onwards from Dingle and you can stay in Dromoland on Night 5.

I'm not a fan of Ashford so would give Ballynahinch or even Abbeyglen for a base to explore Connemara. Possibly have an Afternoon Tea at Ashford for access to the grounds for a few hours.

Last night try the Old Ground in Ennis only 30 minutes from SNN
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Old May 27th, 2017, 07:23 AM
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Tony: Thanks so much for your input. We have two proposed itineraries I am changing to focus on what the two want to see. One of the proposals had them going back to Killarney after doing the Dingle loop. They want to see Adare castle, so it seemed like too much on Day 5 to get to Dromoland. I am not familiar with the route, but the main purpose for Dingle was to see the beehive huts (which look to be far out the peninsula), can the loop be shortened at all to just drive there and out? Any thoughts?

Re Ashford, do you not like the property or the location? I will look at the other suggestions.

Re Day 1, any thoughts on the New Grange issue, is that an entire day, or part day?

Thank you!
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Old May 27th, 2017, 10:57 AM
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Dingle town is 30 miles down a 35 mile peninsula and billed as the Gateway to the west. The slea head route itself is a 30 mile loop drive so can't really be shortened. Whilst I have tired of the evolutionary curve Dingle town has taken the peninsula is well worth seeing.

Personally I don't see the point in going north to Dingle, round Dingle and back down south again so you can go north again. There could be the option of Ballyseede if you want a castle stay.. just outside Tralee a good alternative to Dromoland.

Ashford Castle is a 5 star pretentious hotel that just happens to be in a Castle location. The new owners care so much about their clientele that they even stopped the shuttle bus to meet the one bus a day in either direction. Give me a family run caring hotel any day. The Castle as was has been transformed from the original Towerhouse which was extended and then remodelled around a Chateaux design. Fine if you like that sort of thing I suppose.

Ballynahinch started as an Inn then a Hunting lodge then a hotel. the grounds are as good as Ashford but the place has a soul if you like. Abbey Glen was built originally as the Priests house but largely extended into a luxury hotel on the edge of and in walking distance of Clifden which is a great town with lots of options for food drink and definitely music.

Mary Gibbons does a good tour of Newgrange and Boyne area gets my regular recommendation. Think its about 6 or so hours from memory.
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Old May 27th, 2017, 02:34 PM
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There are many good reasons to visit Dingle. In my opinion, seeing beehive huts would be one of the lesser ones. While there are some that are probably ancient (monastic buildings of the first millennium) others are more recent (storage units or bothies of the late second millennium) and are pretty well indistinguishable from the older ones. I spoke with a farmer near Slea Head, and he pointed to a beehive hut on his land, saying with some pride "My grandfather built that".

I'm not a fan of Tony's Dingle drive-by. There is much to see and enjoy on the peninsula.

Ashford Castle is a luxury hotel. Fine, if that is what you want. The building should be interpreted as a mid-19th century mansion incorporating bits of an older structure. Kylemore Abbey is also a mid-19th century mansion, and did not become an abbey until 1920, when an order of nuns moved in. In my opinion, the best of Kylemore is the view of it across the lake. The interior is unremarkable.

There are a number of manor house hotels in Connemara offering good accommodation in 19th century buildings. Among those I have visited and enjoyed are Cashel House, Screebe House, Rosleague Manor, and Renvyle House. I would happily recommend any of them for charm, comfort, and good dining. None is nearly as expensive as Ashford Castle.
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 06:39 PM
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Gentlemen: Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. Padraig: What would you recommend to see in a Dingle visit? Or would you skip that and spend the time in Connemara? As I told my mother, she doesn't have time to see everything. She likes to say she is a fan of history, so that is really her primary interest.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 02:42 AM
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Padraig would never suggest skipping Dingle, no one who idolises Dingle ever does, the place is an obsession at best more often a rose tinted addiction.

I love the Connemara its my playground and often my workplace. I won't force the region onto you though. if you want any help with Connemara or Clare (which is full of History and a lot more than a tourist bit of a 6 mile Cliff) let me know.

As to Dingle there is a great post from another forum that I post regularly
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 03:48 PM
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Before I answer your specific question about Dingle, I hope you don't mind if I broaden the context. Your mother is 75, and I suppose that her friend might be of a similar age. I trust that they are in good health and reasonably mobile.

Your itinerary involves a lot of hours in the car. Is that what they really want? My own preference would be to cut down on distance travelled, and give over more time to getting out and seeing things close up. That might involve giving up on one of the Kerry peninsulas or leaving out Connemara. My choice would be to omit the Ring of Kerry because it's such a long drive in an itinerary that already involves a lot of road miles. If they take a slightly longer route from Cork to Killarney, going via Kenmare, they will get what I think is the best bit of the Ring, the stretch from Kenmare to Killarney.

What do I like about Dingle? Scenery mostly, and the people. In terms of history and antiquities there are a handful of good things, like Dunbeg Fort, Gallarus Oratory, Riasc monastic site, Kilmalkedar Church, a couple of modest Norman castles. But the real history is that of an impoverished community eking out a living on small farms. The social history fascinates me, but it's probably too much work for a passing visitor to tackle. Back to scenery: one of the great reveals on a drive around Slea Head is the first sight of the Blasket Islands, with the long finger of Dunmore Head pointing out to them; especially wonderful if you happen there in sunshine. If they want to know about the Blasket Island community, a small population that gave us a shelf full of books, they might like to spend an hour in the Blasket Centre.

I visit Connemara every year. Again, scenery and people are what draw me there (plus nostalgia from my long-ago childhood). It's mountains and bogs and rivers and lakes and mostly rocky coastline, with its own palette of colours, different from that of Kerry.

I like Cong (a number of people who post here seem to have little enthusiasm for it). It's arguable that it is not quite in Connemara, but that's not a big deal unless they particularly want to "do" Connemara. I'm not sure about "Quiet Man" tours: while the centre of the village is recognisably like it was when the film was made, some of the other locations (including the cottage) are well away from the village, and falling into disrepair.

To my taste, the best village in Connemara is Roundstone - small, beautiful, with a number of accommodation options in it or nearby, and a choice of good restaurants. [I was there as recently as last week.]

Feel free to fire questions at me.
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