July Itineraries in Ireland

Old Feb 27th, 2003, 08:38 PM
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July Itineraries in Ireland

We're considering two slightly different itineraries for a July trip to Ireland. Priorities are beautiful countryside, pleasant pubs, getting a feel for local life and avoiding huge crowds/high tourist areas. Would appreciate critique and comments, suggestions for great places to stay.
Option 1: First night near Shannon, three nights Connemara, three nights near Burren, two nights Dingle (Castlegregory), three nights Cashel/Clonmel region(some heritage hunting), three nights Dublin.

Option 2: First night near Shannon, three nights near Burren, three nights Connemara, two nights small town on/near Lough Derg, three nights Cashel/Clonmel region, three nights Dublin.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 05:27 AM
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I think both options are very good. I would suggest moving out from Shannon when you first arrive, unless your flight arrives late in the day. You may as well head up to either Galway or the Burren if you are heading that way as it would shave time off your morning trip allowing for possible side trips and such. With regard to the Lough Derg area, I have stayed in Killaloe and it is a very comfortable and unique area at the bottom of the lake. I don't think that you could go wrong either way. Dingle will be crowded no matter what but it is an exciting town in summer and you can always wander to the smaller towns to escape the crowds. All very nice areas. I wish you the best on your trip.KJS
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 07:25 AM
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I agree that both are fine. Dingle will be crowded at that time of year, but Castlegregory is much less crazy. I suggest "The Shores" B&B near there. It's a beautiful place. The Conor Pass Rd might be a little hairy at that time of year.

You might as well spend your first night near the Burren instead of Shannon. It is not a long drive to any of the towns and there is nothing wonderful about Shannon other than it gets you into Ireland.

Bill
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 07:35 AM
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I realize the Conor Pass road is a challenge.
Would someone give me an opinion if it is less or more of one from Tralee to Dingle, or the other way around?
This is in May.
Thanks.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 07:48 PM
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Wren2,

I'll join the chorus and say that both plans have much appeal, but in the end plan #2 should get the nod. While the Dingle region is quite remarkable, you'll also see much natural beauty in the second plan while also reducing your overall driving time.

You might consider a few tweaks in plan #2. Rather than spending three days in the Cashel area, consider four days in Connemara, dedicating an overnight on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Dun Aengus, a pre-historic fort that overlooks the wild Atlantic, is a must-see site, and the Man of Aran Cottage, lcated nearby, offers pleasant accommodation along with delightful meals in a very attractive and traditional (think "The Quiet Man") setting.

Finally, a few words about the Shannon region. While getting from the airport to the Burren requires a short drive of little more than an hour, I think the Shannon area is too often bypassed by many tourists and not given its due. True, it hasn't the allure of west Clare, but it isn't without attractions. Located east of Ennis is Quin Abbey, a nicely preserved Franciscan friary, circa 1430. Moreover, nearby is the privately owned and most enjoyable Craggaunowen Project. The project concerns a re-creation of Ireland's ancient history, including ring forts and artificial islands. In addition, you can get an up-close look at a replica of the Brendan, a curragh that somehow, in the 70s, made the long voyage from Ireland to North America. The voyage was made in large part to see if St. Brendan the Navigator could've actually made the same trip more than a thousand years ago. These are just a couple attractions (don't forget Bunratty Castle and Folk Park), and you might consider seeing them on your first day or while your touring around Lough Derg.

Best of luck.

P.S. In response to Sher's question about the Conor Pass, I wouldn't hesitate driving it in May should you be coming down to Dingle town from Tralee. While it is a challenge, it is not a problem if you take your time and stay focused on the road rather than the striking views (to enjoy the views, wait for the auto pull-off, especialy when you get to the Pass' summit). There is one more consideration, however. Don't take the Pass should the conditions be cloudy, as your highly-focused driving won't be rewarded with any views. But on a clear day, don't miss the Pass.

Best of luck.
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Old Feb 28th, 2003, 08:13 PM
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I really appreciate the feedback. We had originally thought we'd spend most of our time on the Southwest Coast, but after doing some research and reading this board, we thought we'd be better off saving those explorations for a May or September trip (we already want to go back!!!!) Connemara sounded less crowded and should be especially fun since my husband (of Irish extraction) can quote long passages of the Quiet Man. Bill, if we do go to the Dingle area, The Shores is at the top of my list. We're looking at Errisbeg Lodge in Roundstone, Connemara. I'm just starting to research options around Lough Derg and Cashel/Clonmel, so would love to hear more about suggestions for places to stay and things to do there.

Thanks all!
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 04:41 AM
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Thanks David. We are staying in Quin our last night, so we can explore the area a little.
WE will leave Galway in the a.m. and I have the town of Quin itself and Craggaunowen and Knappogue Castle on our list, which we think will be interesting.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 06:32 AM
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Wren,

Concerning your stay near Lough Derg, allow me to direct you to a well-regarded accommodation. It's called Annagh Lodge Country House (www.annaghlodge.com), located in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, near the shores of the lough.

Annagh is a Georgian shooting lodge, and with a more than 150-acre property, you'll have ample room to explore this very underexplored part of Ireland. Annagh also has a very good reputation for food.

Best of luck.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:06 PM
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Thank you for the great feedback.I'm almost ready to give up Dingle -reluctantly and with a promise to myself to go some September. So, the Lough Derg area, or something in that direction will get the nod. Annagh Lodge seems to be for sale, according to their web site, so I'm not sure what the situation for staying there would be this summer. Keenan, where did you stay in Killaloe?

The Aran Islands are tempting, but I'd heard that you can sometimes get stranded if the weather is too rough for the ferries. Truth, myth or something in between?

We will need to do the first night near Shannon. Because of a conference I'm attending at the end of the trip, we're flying through London, and won't get in to Shannon until after 3 or 4 in the afternoon and jet lag is definitely an issue. (I'm doing a separate post on that issue)

Once again, thanks for the advice!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 05:26 AM
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Wren2, I stayed at the Kincora House which is right in the town of Killaloe a block from the river/lake. It was quite interesting with period decorations from years past. Kind of old timey but nice. I will say that my mother and sister thought the beds to be too soft, but I slept like a baby. There is a town straight across the bridge called Ballina which also had B&Bs. We ate dinner in Ballina at a wonderful pub/restaurant by a fire(begins with the letter G). I can't remember the name of it but you could see it from the Killaloe side. Very unique area as it feels real cozy and you are on the water. You also wouldn't have to worry about driving once you got there. Also, I would recommend the Dolphin Beach House B&B on the Sky Rd ten minutes from Clifden and on the water. This place was very nice with modern decor within an old cottage house and some rooms have water views with patios outside. You can also walk down to their private beach(lots of rocks, though, or walk along the cliffs. My wife really enjoyed this place. Anywho, you are getting some good advice and you should have a good trip. There is so much to explore in Ireland, it is just wonderful.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 12:07 PM
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Hello Wren2.. Husband and I were in Killaloe two years ago, and stayed at Rathmore House.A lovely home, gracious hostess, and good food! http://www.rathmorehouse.com/ We would rebook in a minute if we were going to Killaloe in our May trip, but perhaps next time. The BandB is about 5 minutes from town centre. My most favorite Irishman is Brian Boru, King of Ireland in 1002-1014. Killaloe is the original site of the royal palace of Kincora. Beal Boru, what remains of his ring fort, is located at the point where Lough Derg narrows before the town. We finally found it after a little searching. Also, there were two-hour cruises up the Shannon from city centre. A wonderful area, so much history. A great read is "Lion of Ireland" by Morgan Llywelyn. Hope this is some help. Happy and safe travels!..Helen
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