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Itinerary help - first visit to Ireland

Old May 1st, 2009, 04:29 PM
  #1  
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Itinerary help - first visit to Ireland

We are two well traveled boomer adults who will be going to Ireland (home of my ancestors) for the first time. It will be a 10 day, decidedly off season trip and I would be grateful for any comments on this itinerary. We are interested in the countryside, spending some time outdoors and not making ourselves frantic trying to see too much.

Thursday 11/26 Flight day SFO-DUB
Friday 11/27 Dublin} (Four Seasons)
Saturday 11/28 Dublin}
Sunday 11/29 Train to Cork. Pick up rental car and drive to Kinsale for the night.
Monday 11/30 Drive Beara Pen. Stay in Killarney ( too much for a day??)
Tuesday 12/1 Killarney National Park / Ring of Kerry. Stay in Killarney
Wednesday 12/3 Dingle Penninsula. Stay in Dingle Town.
Thursday 12/4 Drive to Adare – Adare Manor (looks too amazing to miss!)
Friday 12/4 Drop off car in Limerick and take train to Dublin.
Friday 12/5 } Dublin (Four Seasons)
Saturday 12/6 }
Sunday 12/6 Depart DUB-SFO

Would be most grateful for any comments or suggestions! (Aside from Dublin the rest of the accomodations are undecided.)
mstraveler is offline  
Old May 1st, 2009, 10:01 PM
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Your Itinerary looks very good and you seem to be pacing your self very well.

Just one question, Why are you taking the train too and from Dublin? Is it to try and save time or cut down on the driving ? Cork and Limerick are about 2 to 3 hours from Ballsbridge on good roads.

If it is to save time you might want to look at the pickup points in Cork and Limerick where are you collecting / dropping off the hire car?
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Thank you very much jeanmarie9. The train was not to save time but wear and tear on my psyche. I have never driven on the left (my husband isn't sure he wants to drive at all here!) and was afraid to do it for the first time in the cities. I also thought traveling through the countryside without the stress of figuring out where I was going would be nice. BUT, I also think it is going to be a bit of a headache to do all that transfering and getting from train to car rental place, so if it does not seem completely crazy to do, it would be much easier to just rent the car in Dublin and do it all by car. (The Four Seasons is also running a special which includes parking...)
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 11:41 AM
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Hi traveler!
The day that looks tight to me is 12/1; it takes virtually an entire day to do the ROK, if you're going ot stop and look at things...that doesn't leave much time for the National Park, Muckross House, Ross Castle, etc -- especially since the days will be very short then. You're doing Beara Peninsula, ROK and Dingle Peninsula on three consecutive days -- maybe you don't need to do them all? Most people seem to prefer Dingle and/or Beara to ROK...

I'm not sure the train to Cork/returing from Limerick is such a bad idea if you want to cut down on the driving. It might depend some on how lightly you travel -- if you tend to have multiple bags, carryon stuff, coats, etc. then getting on and off the train might be a hassle (as opposed to dumping everything in the back of the rental car)? If you "travel light" it shouldn't be a problem -- and would give you a chance (if you're still a bit jet-lagged) to look at the countryside without telling yourself "(stay) left, left, left!"
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 01:12 PM
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Thanks skibumette. I wondered about the ROK day too, and we could probably play that be ear, and maybe do the Beara and Dingle and skip it if we feel pressed for time.

We will be traveling fairly compactly (backpack and medium roller bag), but I am just not sure how much trouble it will be to get to and from the train stations in Cork and Limerick to the rental car places, and also how difficult it will be to drive around those cities. I think if I could get a car someplace in Dublin near the road to get out of town, and take roads to these western areas could by pass any big cities, a car would be easier. Given that I don't care if we see Cork or Limerick maybe we could just take smaller roads and save the train ticket buying and transfering between trains and cars.

I feel hampered by not really having any idea how difficult (or not) it will be for me to drive on the left. It should be a slow time of the year for tourism and traffic, but it will be dark a lot!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:55 PM
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I like your general plan (including using the trains) very much. But you do need to take the weather into account. You could hit really bad stuff - or not so much. But when you set out such a set itinerary you run the risk of not seeing a darn thing. The days you plan the ROK, or the Dingle peninsula could be cloudy/foggy/rainy/bitter - but the next day the storm could blow through and it is too late for you to see the glorious scenery.

You do not need to book everything ahead of time - it is very off season. So off season that some B&Bs will be closed, but enough will be open that you will have you pick. No one will be booked up. So I would not pre-book anything except for in Dublin and Adare Manor -- and then have a plan A, B, C whatever. In other words - go where the weather takes you . . . .

(I personally think you are spending far too much time in Dublin for such a short trip. If it was me -- I'd land at DUB and immediately fly on to Cork. Spend the night there and pick up the car the next day. But then I'm not a big fan of Dublin)
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:56 PM
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meant to add - the days wil be quite short so impacting your options/scenery even more.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 07:20 PM
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Like your plan, though I might cut a little off the Dublin time and add Galway or Connemara. I love the train idea, and thoroughly agree with your reasons for avoiding driving as much as possible.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:08 AM
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Thanks so much for recent replies. Good suggestons. [We need to spend a few nights in Dublin although I know it is long for this length trip.] I was wondering about not booking anything ahead of time but just going with what suited us with the weather etc. My concern was that we would not be able to easily find some of these places in the dark. My experiences in the past with being more flexible is that we end up tired, hungry and crabby and if we are not careful, lost! So maybe a list of some potential places we like in different areas and making sure we don't let it get too late in the day before we look for lodging would be the best move. And the train/car balance is always a matter of what will be the most relaxing in the end. The hassles driving are a trade-off with the hassles of trains, tickets, finding one's way between the train and car rentals etc.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:11 AM
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I am usually an advance planner (my family would say that is an understatement!) -- but, on the one trip we did without any advance reservations beyond the first night, we found it worked well to call around lunch time for reservations that evening. (This means having a list of possible hotels or B&Bs -- or a reliable guide book -- with you. I think we carried a Karen Brown guide and a Michelin red guide with us.) By that point we had a pretty good idea where we would be by the end of the day, we didn't spend the afternoon worrying if we'd have trouble finding a vacancy, and we could get driving directions at the time we called.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:43 AM
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I am glad to see that you planned your first two nights in Dublin – it will ameliorate any jetlag. We bought a ticket for the Dublin City Hop-on Hop off tour bus (the red double decker). It was good for 24 hours so you can go at your own pace. If you go online, you will be able to decide which sites you want to see. If you are able, I would highly recommend going to Powerscourt House and Gardens (30 min from Dublin) and Glendalough, both in Co. Wicklow (45 minutes from Powerscourt). If you rent the car in Dublin, you will end up driving by/through these sites anyway on your way to Kinsale. My advice would be to skip the Ring of Kerry and focus on the Dingle Peninsula. We stayed at the Milestone House. It was very comfortable, served a great breakfast and the owners will review a map of the peninsula and give recommendations of where to stop. Don’t miss the Gallarus Oratory. I would suggest that you consider flying out of Shannon instead of going back to Dublin, especially since you are working from east to west. We found it so much easier to do than to return to Dublin and the cost was just about the same. Enjoy your trip!
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Terrific ideas Nancy_W. Unfortunately we are using an American frequent flyer ticket so we don't have the flexibility, although I suppose we could work from east to west and fly ourselves to Dublin and get our return flight.

I am always too wiped out after these transcontinental red eyes to go anywhere else but our hotel when we get to Europe. We are in San Fransisco, so it is a long haul and we have a connection at O'Hare, which could be very nasty in late November. I think I have decided to do the Beara and Dingle Penninsulas and skip Kerry. Also unfortunately, the Milestone House is closed Dec-Feb. I am running into that quite a bit, but we knew it would be very low season. It is just a week that works well for us for traveling. Hopefully offset by lack of crowds and ease driving!
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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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I'm doing basically the same trip in July. Already bought non-refundable r/t Newark/Dublin.
We are staying 1st night in Dublin, then going back to the airport the next day to rent the car. Since the airport is north of the city, you just leave the airport and hop on the M50 which goes around/bypasses Dublin all together. You'd save money on the airfare/train expense/hassle of trying to get to Cork to get your rental. I was going to do the same thing! But I talked with a friend who lives in Dublin who assures me if I get the car rental at the airport (NOT from a location in city centre), I'll be fine. Will be my first time driving on the left too. Trying not to be nervous about it..but rather look at it as yet another adventure! I've family in England and visit twice a year so I'm used to being in a car traveling on the left..just have never driven it myself. How hard can it be? (knock on wood)
Have a wonderful trip!!!!!!
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Old May 4th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Thank you so much memichelle. I had just started looking into the whole train/car rental thing in Cork and Limerick and it seemed like it was going to be a hassle all in all. So I was going to look for a car rental on the outskirts, but sounds like the airport is the best bet. I would love to get some details from you when you return!!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:43 AM
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A question for those of you who know Dublin: since we are staying in Ballsbridge and heading south and west as we leave Dublin, going north to pick up the car seems out of the way. Is there someplace that we could go near the ring road to rent the car more on the south end of the city area?
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