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NEED HELP with 7-day trip to Ireland next month!

NEED HELP with 7-day trip to Ireland next month!

Old Oct 25th, 2007, 08:02 PM
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NEED HELP with 7-day trip to Ireland next month!

Hello everyone. Please forgive the long introduction, but I hope it helps you offer suggestions.

My wife, 16-year-old daughter and I will be flying to Dublin next month for a 7-day stay. We arrive November 21st, and we return to the U.S. on November 27th. This is our first trip to Ireland.

We have reservations at the Clontarf Castle hotel for the entire length of our stay. This is where my dilemma begins.

I plan to spend two or three days touring Dublin. Thereafter, I'm not really sure where to go, except that the South-Southwest coast sounds pretty good from what I've read here so far.

So, should I use Dublin as a home base and venture out for day trips, or should I stay fewer nights in Dublin and stay more nights elsewhere?

I'm concerned about giving up my hotel reservations in Dublin and venturing out to the countryside without having firm hotel plans. The thought of being stranded without a place to stay scares me.

As far as day trips go, I ran across a company called "railtours ireland" (http://www.railtours.ie/) that offer rail tours to the southwest coast. This option would allow me to venture out of Dublin, and return to my hotel for the evening.

Any suggestions you can give will be greatly appreciated!!

Juan_Carlos_Lopez is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2007, 12:01 AM
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Dear Juan,

I'm a Dubliner! Firstly, I have to say that 7 days in Dublin is probably a bit excessive if you want to see beyond Dublin. The main problem is traffic although you seem to be relying on public transport which is good in Dublin! To go south/west from Clontarf means a congested drive to the M50 and then, depending on the time of day, a frustrating drive across the Westlink bridge. However, for seeing Dublin itself by public transport, the CAstle is perfect and only minutes from the DART station. Don't forget to get the DART to Howth and Malahide as well as using it to travel to the city centre. My only suggestion would be to avoid using it between 0800-0915 since it gets extremely crowded. However, it is safe to use it at all other times of the day and night.

We haven't used Railtours (used to use the state transport company's excellent Railbreaks service but this has been discontinued) but I believe they are good. The train is a great way to see Ireland and you will meet other friendly train travellers en route!

I suggest you consider cutting your Dublin stay and finding somewhere in the south-southwest. If you're prepared to stay in a Bed and breakfast (very reasonable and always friendly), then you can drive (assuming you're renting a car) anywhere and find accommodation on the road. Alternatively, you can pre-book something.

Finally, assuming you are driving, I suggest two things:

Don't bother hiring your car until the day you intend to leave Dublin. You might find the Castle charges you a daily rate for parking (even though rooms will be expensive) and unless you're driving north and avoiding the city, I don't recommend the car for the Dublin area. Additionally, it is not a good idea to jump into a car following a transatlantic fight since you might be jet-lagged. Get a taxi from the airport - it shoudl be around 20-25 euros to Clontarf. Pick up your car from the airport on the day you intend to leave Dublin. Likewise, get a taxi to the car hire place at the airport.

Lastly, remember that it takes much longer than you expect to drive Irish roads due to congestion in the cities and the width/narrowness of the minor roads in the scenic areas. Don't let that put you off but simply allow lots of time to enjoy the beautful countryside. When you're off the main 'N' roads and armed with a good map, you will have the roads almost to yourself (especially in November!).

You might like to read my Dublin/Ireland independent guide - the link below takes you to the driving section. You (or anyone else, for that matter) are most welcome to contact me via the 'Contacts' section on my site; please feel free to click around the site!

Have a great trip,


pjdscott is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 06:28 AM
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7 days in Dublin is a lot. I know Clontarf Castle well and I am pretty sure they do not charge for parking a car there so don't worry. Take a few days outside Dublin its worth it and you can pre book a hotel. You could Try Kilkenny which pops to my mind and there are several other places that are favourites of people on the board that would more more info than I can give...I live in Dublin too but tend to go to the west more when I get away from it all but this may be too far with your short time visiting. Do see another place as it will be great to compare. Otherwose you can do lots of day trips from Dublin like New grange, Powerscourt etc as well as the Dublin Bus tour which stops all all the major sites. If you want any specific Dublin or Clontarf oinfo let me know. The hotel was recently renovated and I really like it...its still the castle feel but a funky modern twist in the furnishing. The bar food is fine but I don't think the main restaurant is really worth it. Enjoy!
SiobhanP is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 08:52 AM
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I agree that 7 days in Dublin is too long. For me, the real joy of Ireland is the countryside, the small towns, the small hotels or B&B's.

You will have no trouble finding hotels and/or B&B's in November. We were in Ireland in September and had no reservations except for our first and last nights . The only place we had difficulty finding accommodations was in Galway, and that was on a weekend.

I agree that you shouldn't have a car in town. After spending time in Dublin, take a taxi to the airport and pick up your car there. We did that and then drove south on the M-50.

If you do rent a car, be aware that most credit cards no longer cover the CDW in Ireland. The only exception is a World Master Card. I got mine from Citibank.

Have fun. Ireland is a wonderful place, and the people are lovely.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 09:25 AM
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I think it would be wonderful to have 7 days in Dublin. This way you will not be rushing around and you will get a feel for the place. You can get out in the country side with day trips. I feel you will enjoy those 7 days, I know I would. I've never had enough days in Dublin.

Good Luck, Joan
chatham is offline  
Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 09:27 AM
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Hi Juan,

In 2006, DH and I did the DH02 and DH06 with Railtours Ireland. Both trips were good, guides were knowledgable. The only thing you need to watch out for (unless you don't care) is the DCC that will occur if you book your tickets online.

Saithgrim is offline  
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