must see in ireland?

Old Dec 27th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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must see in ireland?

Traveling to Ireland Jan 12 2006. Where is a must see to put on my list that we should definitaly not miss. Also, what should we not bother going to see?
charbran11 is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2005, 01:46 PM
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What airport are you flying into?
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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we are flying into dublin and have a car rented and are planning on driving all around the country execpt for northern Ireland(we won't have time to include that one on our trip). And are going to be there from Friday morning to Thursday morn(we fly out of Dublin).
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Interests??? Scenic drives, touristy attractions, medievel ruins, hikes, seascapes, castles???
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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 03:25 PM
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Hi charbran:

A couple of things. It's a little hard to give advice without more idea of what you are interested in. I'm going to mainly talk scenery here. Don't plan on going very far your first day. If you are flying from the States you will be quite tired. Don't plan on going any further than Kilkenny or better yet, spend the night in Dublin if you want to see the city. What you then have is 5 days left to see the country. My suggestion is to not even consider seeing the whole country.

Ireland may look quite small on a map, but getting around is very slow. There are very few motorways outside of Dublin and most roads take you right through the middle of towns. If you take into account going slowly through towns, figure you won't AVERAGE much better than 35MPH. Of course you will have many moments when you exceed that speed but that will be off set by some very slow driving also. You could easily pick just one section and settle there for a few days and not regret a minute of it.

Keep in mind that the days are very short in January. Total darkness is by about 5:00pm and the sun doesn't rise until about 8:00am. Many of the sites are closed in the off season, but my two favorites, the scenery and the pubs are always open.

Things that everybody loves:
The Southwest. That's a long way from Dublin so you have to keep that in mind. For instance, Dublin to Killarney is a full days drive one way, especially with short days. Kilkenny is a nice town for a night. Killarney is tourist mecca in Ireland but in the off season can be quite nice. The surrounding scenery is spectacular. The Dingle peninsula packs more scenery per mile than most places in Ireland. Of course, if it is raining, much or most of that is lost in the mist. From Killarney you could see both Dingle and Killarney National Park and some of the Ring of Kerry. That would be plenty to fill your time in Ireland.

You could also head west and see Clare and Galway. The Cliffs of Moher are pictured in almost every Irish travel brochure. Galway is a busy city with plenty to do. Connemara is the region immediately to the NW of Galway with some beautiful mountain areas and coast. Galway is about 4 hours from Dublin, give or take.

Things not to see: Blarney Castle. With such a short trip, I wouldn't see the Waterford Crystal factory, though for some, it's a pilgramage.

You could easily spend all of your time on the east coast which is quite beautiful, but again, the west and SW is the area that is "in your face" beautiful. You will see few tourists at that time of year and have long evenings to enjoy a pub or two.

I hope this will give you a start with planning.

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Old Dec 27th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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One of the Christmas presents I received is 1,000 Place To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz,published by Workman Publishing in New York at €18.95. The Irish entries make up 3% of the total and include the following: Dromoland Castle,Blarney and Bunratty castles,Cork Jazz Festival,Kinsale,Glenveagh National Park,Ballymaloe House,Bloomsday,The Book of Kells, Pubs and St. Patrick`s Festival,Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud,Aran Islands, Galway,Dingle,The Ring of Kerry,Killarney National Park,Adare Manor,Ashford Castle,Connemara,Wexford Opera Festival,Giants Causeway.Ballybunion and Royal Portrush Golf Clubs and the Mountains of Mourne.I myself would like to add the Rock of Cashel and the Wicklow Mountains to the list.
Old Dec 28th, 2005, 03:21 AM
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For the west coast, we did the following in 5 days and had a wonderful time.

Day 1
Arrive Dublin, picked up the car and headed west
Stopped off at Clonmacnoise (high crosses and monastic ruins)
Drove to Galway (stayed for 2 nights)

Day 2
Explored the Burren and Cliffs of Moher
Stayed in Galway

Day 3
Headed up to the Connemara
Stopped of in Cleggan to go horse riding on the beach
Stopped off at Kylemore Abbey
On to Leenane to overnight

Day 4
Headed to co. Sligo to see the Carrowkeel Passage Tombs
Then right back over to the east to see the Hill of Tara
On to Dublin to overnight
This was a very big day of driving but also really rewarding!

Day 5
The Guinness Factory which is completely surreal!
Jumped on a late flight back to London.

This is really just the skeleton plan of what we got up to. You can spend more time in all of those areas depending on what your interests are.

You can hike on the Burren or go caving with the Burren Outdoor Centre (creepy, wet and fun)

Around Co Sligo are loads of megalithic cemetaries and tombs. For me I would not miss the Carrowkeel passage tombs but that because I like that kind of stuff.

Check the ireland section of my site for more info on the places we stayed and ate as well as the passage tombs.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:07 PM
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I would agree that list is quite good, but out of all those, the only ones I would choose are The Mourne Mountains, and the ring of Kerry, the rest I could die without seeing!!
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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There is so much to see in Ireland that for one to spend 5 days only looks at the cover of the book. There are so many great things to discover and so many new friends to make that many a person just keeps coming back.
To give you an idea as to what can be packed into 5 days in Ireland go to and just have a look.
I travelled from Cork to Clare today (Thursday) and the traffic was 'light'
90 miles and it took just under three hours without a stop. Just putting this in to support wojazz3 above.
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Old Dec 29th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Have a look at and also Here you will get the 7 day forcast so you will have an idea what to expect when you arrive. At present and up to the 7th. January temp is to stay around 7 c with showers.
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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 05:31 AM
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Anyone going to Ireland should be aware of how difficult the driving is. It's not just slow, but it's also difficult and stressful. Most of the roads are very narrow with no shoulder. Passing an oncoming vehicle is not an easy, automatic task like it is at home on our wide roads. I wondered why I heard so much about tire insurance there. I soon found out. The roads are so narrow that you tend to steer leftward to avoid oncoming cars in the other lane. This often takes you onto stone edgings or against stone walls that wreck the tires. Get the smallest car you can to give yourself the most room for passing.

Driving on the left and shifting with your offhand (even if you know how to drive a standard) is hard to master and you are bound to make errors and wander into the wrong lane from time to time. This happens most often when you lose concentration for a second, say to look at signs for directions. Hope than no one is coming at that time. Needless to say, the road accident rate in Ireland is extrememly high

All of this makes driving quite different from the easy, automatic driving at home, so keep your driving time down to maybe 3 hours in a day. As others have said, it is deceiving to look at a map of Ireland and read the distances. If ever there were a copuntry were bus tours were a good idea, it's Ireland.
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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 06:10 AM
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I was in Ireland in May 2005. My favorites were Newgrange/Knowth (ancient burial mounds in Co. Meath just north of Dublin) and the Cliffs of Mohr. Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 06:44 AM
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I have to disagree with all of the critiques about the driving in Ireland. We drove from Dublin to Cork, around the Southwest and up to the Cliffs of Moher, then back to Dublin all in 7 days. We did all of this between Christmas and New Year's. The weather was fine, perfectly manageable. It was a phenomenal trip! You can EASILY do it. I've traveled all over the world, and Ireland is the most simple, stree-free place to visit, especially with a car. We never got lost, and had no trouble with a little car. Just designate a navigator and a driver!
As for MUST SEES: Please please please do not skip Blarney Castle - some things are famous and "touristy" for a reason. I've been there twice and it is a magical place - be sure to wander around the grounds. Give yourself a few hours there at least. Obviously hit the Ring of Kerry. Drive counter-clockwise, it'll keep you off of the edge of the cliffs! Stop at Valencia Island if you can. Don't forget Kenmare! Also, if you don't want to hit Shannon, take the ferry over the Shannon river and head up to Doolin - don't miss this town, its the music capital of Ireland. Very tiny, but every pub has musicians playing!
Don't be deterred from seeing what you can, the people are phenomenal and will make you feel relaxed no matter what! Enjoy.
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Old Dec 30th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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Edmundus quotes from Patricia Schulz's book: <<... Irish entries ... include the following: Dromoland Castle, Blarney and Bunratty castles, Cork Jazz Festival, Kinsale, Glenveagh National Park, Ballymaloe House, Bloomsday, The Book of Kells, Pubs and St. Patrick`s Festival, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, Aran Islands, Galway, Dingle, The Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, Adare Manor, Ashford Castle, Connemara, Wexford Opera Festival, Giants Causeway. Ballybunion and Royal Portrush Golf Clubs and the Mountains of Mourne. I myself would like to add the Rock of Cashel and the Wicklow Mountains to the list ... >>

I think several of the sites mentioned are either overrated or aren't very practical destinations for a short winter trip: Royal Portrush isn't among the top-5 links Courses in Ireland although Royal County Down IS, along with Ballybunion (on the Dingle Peninsula) and Carne Golf Links near Belmullet, County Mayo. Doonberg is close to Dromoland Castle (where G.W. Bush stayed last June when he went to observe an E.U. meeting).

I would suggest a counter-clockwise loop from Dublin west to Westport or Galway, south thru County Clare to the Killimer-Tarbert ferry (across to Co. Kerry, near Glin Castle) then west thru Tralee to Dingle. In Clare you may visit Doolin & the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch, even see Dromoland Castle (but it costs many Euro to stay at the Castle). Go back toward Dublin thru Cork & Tipperary and if you see time running short, switch to a direct route. You should probably overnite in Dublin the night before your flight home.
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