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Looking for the less commercial side of Ireland

Looking for the less commercial side of Ireland

Aug 17th, 2009, 05:10 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
Looking for the less commercial side of Ireland

My husband and I will be traveling to Ireland for 8 days in late Sept. We love beautiful scenery, small scenic towns, day hiking, kayaking, some cultural things, and I love traditional music. We have no interest in Dublin, the Blarney stone, and crowds. Please take a look at my itinerary and make any suggestions. Is is too ambitious? Can we make it to Kenmare on the first night? How long from Galway to Dublin?

Day 1: arrive Dublin early. See Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle.
sleep in the area. . maybe Dundrum
Day 2: drive to Beara peninsula and explore
sleep in Kenmare
Day 3: spend time in Killarney National Park and drive to Dingle
sleep in Dingle
Day 4: explore Dingle peninsula
sleep in Dingle
Day 5: head to Cliffs and the Burren
sleep in Doolin
Day 6: see Cliffs if bad weather on day 5, travel to Cliden
sleep Clifden
Day 7: Clifden/ Connemara Park
sleep Galway
Day 8: Galway until early PM, then head for Dublin
sleep near airport
Day 9: return car and home

Sorry for the lengthy post. Any help appreciated on itinerary or things to do . Thanks
happytrails06 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 210
In my opinion, you are going to "commercial" spots in Ireland. If you truly want to get away from the crowds, head north. There is some beautiful sights and great hiking around Donegal. Of course if you have never been, some of the things on your list are worth the crowds. However, if you have seen them before, you might want to change things up a bit. One of my favorite towns in Ireland is Westport, which is north of Galway. The drive from Galway to Dublin is roughly 200 km; however, depending on how you go, the smaller more interesting routes will take you quite awhile. If this is your plan, I would plan a day for the drive. If you are taking the Motorway, it should take about 3 hours.
catherinehaas is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 4,248
Have you bought plane tickets already? Because it seems there is really no reason for you to fly in and out of Dublin. Except for Cashel, everywhere you want to see is on the western side of the country. I'd fly in and out of Shannon (and would take a little bit of a hit financially to do it, personally, to save two long drives and two at least partially "wasted" days). If you must arrive in Dublin (and are coming from North America), I would really stay there or close by for your first night. I handle jet lag and overnight flights fairly well, but I would not want to drive very far coming off of one - an hour or two, max. Remember, you're driving on the opposite side of roads which may be pretty different than you're used to. You could fly into Dublin, rent a car and go to County Wicklow, maybe seeing Glendalough on that first afternoon (definitely worth a stop). Sleep there that night, and then drive your long drive the next day.

You're moving hotels almost every night. That would wear me out, and I like to travel fairly quickly. I would really think about cutting something out - what it is has to be up to you, since no one can tell you what you'd like best.

As far as the commercial aspect: I don't think Ireland, as a whole, is that commercial of a country. Yes, you'll find souvenir t-shirts and pint glasses and whatever in some towns, but it's not overwhelming. If you want to avoid that totally, maybe catherinehaas's suggestions will fit (I haven't been to the north). However, I just don't think it's be a big issue. I've been to Dublin and Wicklow (several years ago) and Killarney, Kenmare, Dingle, and Ennis/County Clare two years ago. Of those, the only one I think you might want to avoid is Killarney, and I'd tell anyone that (I just think Kenmare is nicer, has more options and isn't as touristy). The Cliffs of Moher visitors' centre has a gift shop, true, but you can easily avoid that.
jent103 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,989
happytrails06, another vote for Westport - charming. From there I would suggest a day trip to Achill Island. Now there is the real thing...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 746
I agree, Westport is great...and Achill Island is just fantastic...beautiful, and everything you imagine Ireland to be. If you want to see the "real" Ireland I always suggest just stopping in towns off the main roads...there are always B&B's somewhere in the town and music in a pub or two...you will then see where the Irish do their shopping, banking, and go about their daily lives. I am in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon twice a year (will be there next month again) because my mother is there and its the real deal..not a tourist in sight...nothing "fantastic" to see but the Irish and that is "fantastic" enough!
Have a wonderful time!!
Shadow is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 4
Thanks to all for your suggestions. We're traveling from PA and got a great package, but it only allows us to go in and out of Dublin. Since this is our first visit we are still doing the "touristy" things but hope to temper it with some choices like Beara over ROK. I am thinking that maybe we'll stay in Westport on days 6 and 7. Is this a good base for Connemara, etc.? Thanks again for your help.
happytrails06 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2009, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 32
I really liked Clifden and much preferred it over Westport. It is much smaller than Westport and had more of a small town feel. Great music there as well.
tayjamarie is offline  

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