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Looking for some itinerary advice... should we try to get to Dublin?

Looking for some itinerary advice... should we try to get to Dublin?

Dec 28th, 2009, 04:53 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Looking for some itinerary advice... should we try to get to Dublin?

Hello... after reviewing about 100 other itinerary posts on the site, I'm looking for some advice on a 9-night itinerary in Ireland. We will be connecting through Heathrow, so we can fly in/out of Dublin, Cork or Shannon.

Below is our current plan... however, part of me feels that to be in Ireland and not get to Dublin for at least 24 hours feels like we're missing out. My wife and I (both mid 30's) aren't really city people, but typically do try to spend at least a day or 2 in cities when we travel overseas.

Let me know your thoughts and advice. I would really like some advice on how we could get to Dublin if we removed Galway and cut 1 day out of Dingle.

PS- I know this is a lot of driving and changing hotels, but we've done this type of trip in the past and the constant movement never seems to bother us.

---------------------------------------
Friday, March 12- to Shannon (11am arrival); evening in Bunratty

Saturday, March 13- drive to Galway

Sunday, March 14- drive to Doolin

Monday, March 15- afternoon drive to Dingle

Tuesday, March 16- in Dingle

Wednesday, March 17, in Dingle

Thursday, March 18, drive to Killarney

Friday, March 19, Ring of Kerry, evening in Killarney

Saturday, March 20, morning drive to Kinsale

Sunday, March 21, early departure for Cork Airport
dave_261 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2009, 05:12 PM
  #2  
 
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Personally, I would happily give up a day in Dingle for a day in Dublin. I would not terade the Galway day.

The train Galway to Dublin is 3 hours.
annw is offline  
Dec 28th, 2009, 05:28 PM
  #3  
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Interesting advice... so in theory, we could fly into Dublin, spend about 24 hours there, and then take a train to Galway to pick up a car there and just drop 1 day from Dingle.

Sounds like this would be an interesting option as opposed to contining on driving east and then north to end the trip in Dublin.
dave_261 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2009, 05:56 PM
  #4  
 
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I was actually curious as to your one night in Doolin - the town itself is very small. I personally wouldn't give up nights in Dingle or Killarney (though actually I would stay in Kenmare, not Killarney), but otherwise I think annw's plan could work. I think you just need to decide how much you want to see in Dublin and Galway (or another spot, if you do decide to take a day from somewhere else). My personal opinion: If you drive Slea Head in Dingle, think about exploring Killarney National Park on your main day in that area rather than doing the ROK. Gives you a little more variety. Just a thought.

You don't mention where you're starting from (just that you're connecting through LHR) - if you will have any jet lag, starting in Dublin gives you the added benefit of getting adjusted to the time before having to drive.
jent103 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2009, 07:48 PM
  #5  
 
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Agree with jent about the driving. Flying into Dublin, overnight in Dublin, then enjoy a 3 hour or so train ride (check for express--shouldn't be hard to find) across the country to Galway, stay over there, and you're off and running if you are driving.

Wonderful music in Galway (the Quays, and other pubs/spots) in the event you don't end up in Doolin. A young, university town/city, very walkable. Don't know what your budget it but I loved staying at the Great Southern, right on Eyre Square, though there are B&Bs and a Jury's and the like.

Dublin has much to offer IMO -- Temple Bar area for nightlight, music, and the like; of course Grafton St. is a busy throrughfare (pedestrian); much history (the Post Office, the Liffey, Abbey Theatre), St. Stephen's Green, pub tours, literary tours, Trinity College and the Library/Book of Kells. Depending on when you're going Trinity sometimes has rooms right smack in town. We also used the Fitzwilliam Guest House closer to Merrion Square I think, across St. S Green. A friend and I were stuck there on 9/11 and they couldn't have been nicer.

My first trip to Ireland I went for 7-8 days with travel time (from west coast). Spent 4 nights in Galway, 3 in Dublin, taking the train across country as described.

While in Galway I took a boat to the Aran Islands, for me a much more compelling experience than Killarney (on a later trip), or Ring of Kerry. I did enjoy Dingle on a later trip but 2 days were enough for me compared to what else I wanted to do. Still had enough time to get over to the Blaskett Islands, go on a horse trek, and the like.

Kinsale was fun with a nice walkable town, a pretty setting, good food.

You do have a lot packed in but I've had trips where I wanted to cover a lot of ground and if you are expecting that kind of trip you should be fine. Would not underestimate the jet lag and fatigue initially, however.
annw is offline  
Dec 28th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Oy, nightLIFE in Dublin.
annw is offline  
Dec 29th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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would definately do dublin over galway because of history and more sites, just overall more interesting
(of course I would scrap both and enjoy connemara/westport/croagh Patrick/doo lough:12bunratty,13/14westport and/or clifden,15doolin,16/17dingle,18/19kenmare,20kinsale/21depart)
12-bunratty-tour bunratty w/early dinner
13-tour burren, coast, cliffs of moher,doolin pubs
(which i loved both times, be sure to select b&b that you can walk to pubs)
14-drive down coast and ferry across shannon to dingle
stay in dingle b&b so you can walk to dinner/pubs
15-drive sleahead, dingle
16-dingle-to just explore more and enjoy pubs/music
17-tour killarney(ross castle/muckross house)scenic drive thur park/ladies view/moll's gap to kenmare
stay in kenmare so you can walk to dinner/pubs
18-kenmare-tour beara peninsula/healy pass
19-rock of cashel, jerpoint abbey or castle tour -kilkenny
20-dublin-loved kilmainham jail take hop on/off tour
hit pubs...we enjoyed pub crawl tours
21-depart dublin
chip is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 04:57 AM
  #8  
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OK... thank you all for your advice. Here's the latest itinerary which is still quite packed, but of course we want to try to see everything. Would gladly take more suggestions and thoughts...
----------------------------
Friday, March 12- arrive at Heathrow 6:50am, connect to flight to Dublin arriving 11:15am; spend day in Dublin

Saturday, March 13- afternoon train to Galway (pick up car); evening in Galway

Sunday, March 14- Connemara and ferry to Aran Islands, then drive to Doolin late afternoon

Monday, March 15- day and overnight in Doolin:
Cliffs of Moher, and the Burren

Tuesday, March 16- morning ferry to Dingle; day/ovenight in Dingle

Wednesday, March 17, in Dingle (St. Patrick’s Day)

Thursday, March 18, drive to Kenmare (stop in Killarney). Evening in Kenmare

Friday, March 19, Ring of Kerry, evening in Kenmare

Saturday, March 20, morning drive to Kinsale

Sunday, March 21, early departure for Cork Airport (7:30am flight to LHR)
dave_261 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2009, 10:15 AM
  #9  
 
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March 14 looks a bit packed.
I don't know how much you plan to see of Connemara, but I doubt that you will have enough time to do a boat trip to one of the Aran Islands in addition to a road trip through Connemara, and be back in the afternoon.

March 14/15
Galway/Doolin are not exactly far apart. Unless you wish to stay in Doolin for a specific reason, you can easily go to the Burren and the Cliffs from Galway.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 10:13 AM
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I agree about Aran Islands timing-- that is a full day trip IMO. I thought it was well worth the day (on my 7-8 day trip to Galway and Dublin) but depends on your interests of course.
annw is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 04:39 PM
  #11  
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Thanks Cowboy and Ann. So after doing more research on Connemara, I think we'd rather focus our day on the Aran Islands so we may pass on Connemara.

In regards to an overnight in Doolin, it sounded like an interesting spot to spend a night with relaxing pubs and music.
dave_261 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 04:54 PM
  #12  
 
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I would give up the Ring of Kerry.
We had more days than you are taking so we saw quite a lot of Northern Ireland and Ireland I would prefer seeing Newgrange and the Giants Causeway. I preferred Northern Ireland. We went to Enniskellin and Belleek and then drove through Ireland. We ended our trip in Dublin. There is a lot to see and do there. Trinity College and Book of Kells etc. Dublin is great for walking. I would give up Ring of Kerry any day to see Dublin.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 08:10 PM
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Doolin is very small, and you can find pubs and traditional music in just about every town on your list. If you were planning to stay there between Galway and somewhere in Kerry, I'd just head on to Kerry, maybe seeing the Cliffs of Moher en route.
jent103 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2010, 09:33 PM
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We took the train from Dublin to Galway and so glad we did - it was a beautiful ride and made the best of our time too.

brats said he'd trade the ROK for Dublin, but I'd have gladly traded Dublin for another night in Kinsale.

You can't really go wrong either way - it's a beautiful place I can't want to go back
sheri_lp is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2010, 08:35 AM
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Agree, hard to go wrong--you'll have a fine, though packed, trip, but put me in the column that would pass on driving the Ring of Kerry.

If you do the Aran Islands trip you actually depart by boat a little ways from Galway (I know we have threads on this topic); I didn't have a car so took a bus from Galway but if you have picked up your car that should be easier. I bought the boat tickets in Galway at a small tourist centre/shop around the corner fro Eyre Square but then I had a bus-boat combination to deal with and you don't. Also the boat crossing can be tossy and I recommend sitting in the lower level. As you get off the boat in Inishmore (the largest island) there are pony carts, tour cars looking for business, a tourist office, a pub and a bike rental shop; maybe read up and consider how you'd like to see the island. I was there solo that trip and rode a bike all around. Late in the day while waiting for the return boat I got a good rate on a short pony ride around the area which had looked to be a bit hokey but was great fun and informative.

I've always been sorry I missed Doolin but found plenty of good trad music in Dublin, Galway, Dingle, and pretty much wherever I went. If I didn't know where to go I asked the hotel folks or taxi drivers or just wandered, listening. In Dingle there are a number of pleasant B&Bs as well. I think we stayed at The Captain's House.

BTW in Galway the train/bus station are together and right at the corner of Eyre Square, also where the Great Southern is. The GS also has a nice dining room and downstairs had a pub, Flaherty's, if memory serves. Also a pleasant sitting area with a peat fire, music, and tea. If you and the missus are so inclined, in Galway, Claddagh area, over by the Spanish Arch, there is a little Claddagh jewelry shop, and Claddagh rings for one or both of you would make nice mementos of the trip.
annw is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:09 AM
  #16  
 
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Ok....I am not sure on Doolin - but Dingle is AWESOME! And to be there on St. Patty's Day -- you will have a blast -- there are so many pubs up and down the streets in Dingle -- and Slea Head (around Dingle) is beautiful with lots of fun spots to 'pause and take photos' - I'm not saying stop - because there are few places to actually 'stop' ... I'd give up Ring of Kerry for Slea Head anytime -- less traffic and just as nice!

Are there things you'd want to see in the cities you have listed or just pub stopping points? Think of adding Castlemaine -- quaint little city - loved it.

We loved Connemara and wouldn't tell anyone to pass up the Burren or cliff's of Mohre -- both wonderful!

I'd suggest getting a hop off/hop on bus pass around Dublin - so much to see and i'd research out exactly what to see (Fodor's book is great for this) - and see if the bus goes by where you want to go. Great place for dinner / show on sunday or thursday is Arlington Hotel - great meal (like 5 courses) and show for a very reasonable (25-30 euro) for both.

Enjoy!
Irishgal127A is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 04:25 PM
  #17  
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Thanks to all for the great advice. I think we're going to cut out Doolin and spend those days in Galway... partially because of the info here and also that a castle we were looking at is closed in March.
So, here's the updates... please let me know if this is looking good. Thanks!
-------------------------------

Friday, March 12- arrive Dublin 11:15am

Saturday, March 13- afternoon train to Galway (pick up car); evening in Galway

Sunday, March 14- Connemara and ferry to Aran Islands, stay in Galway

Monday, March 15- Galway, excursion to Cliffs of Moher, and the Burren

Tuesday, March 16- to Dingle; spend day in Dingle

Wednesday, March 17, in Dingle (St. Patrick’s Day)

Thursday, March 18, drive to Kenmare (stop in Killarney).

Friday, March 19, Ring of Kerry, evening in Kenmare

Saturday, March 20, morning drive to Kinsale

Sunday, March 21, early departure for Cork Airport
dave_261 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2010, 07:18 AM
  #18  
 
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Sounds more doable to me -- you will be covering a lot of ground but that is as you wish. The 14th is a very full day I think but then I haven't done it (just did islands--probably you will do main island, Innismohr, right). Be sure to find where the craic/music are when you get back to Galway each night. Also, I recommend checking out the driving around Dingle -- some challenging stretches. I don't know Kenmare, so can't comment. Kinsale is a pleasant stop. Watch for timing to get to airport, get car dropped, etc. Have a great trip and please report how it went.
annw is offline  

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