One week in Ireland in April - Where?

Dec 31st, 2007, 08:20 PM
  #1  
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One week in Ireland in April - Where?

My husband and I have decided to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in Ireland in mid April. This will be attached to the end of a business trip to England and Scotland. We will have one week and have never travelled to Ireland before. We are thinking probably of having two locations (about 3 days each) from which we will explore from. Will have a small car, and as we come from Australia are not worried about driving on the left side of the road. Probably stay self catering, although B&Bs are also an option. Generally we enjoy the countryside over the city - like to explore, take photos of great scenery and any places of historical interest. Where are your favourite places that you would recommend? We know little of Ireland and our schedules leave us with little time to plan. Thanks.
PRLCH is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 04:24 AM
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PRLCH:

If you took the time to post this question....you have the time to read some of the Ireland travel reports that this great group of travelers has written!

My picks for locals:
Western Ireland and Dingle area should fit your enjoyment for a first timer.
bmw732002 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 05:04 AM
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Hi PRLCH,

You should certainly hit for Kerry - the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula are a must. 3 days there and then head up the west coast through the Burren (Clare) and head for Connemara and if time allows head right up to Donegal.

Depending on your arrival and departure you might wish to reverse the schedule.

Not sure about self catering but B&Bs might be the way to go moving each night if that's not a problem.

You could do a search on Flickr.com to preview the areas you wish to see.
Pat49 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 07:05 AM
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I second what Pat49 said; I think the Dingle peninsula is perfect (and you can drive the Ring of Kerry from there). You could stop for a night in the Burren on your way to Connemara, so you'd have three nights in one place, then a one-night stop, then two nights up in Connemara. As for self-catering April is off season and so you may have more "shorr break" options, but B&Bs will also be plentiful and relatively easy to book at that time of year.

(If you really want to go the self-catering route I am sure you could find enough scenery within striking distance of Dingle to simply spend your time there.)

Let us know what you decide, and happy anniversary!
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 07:05 AM
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I second what Pat49 said; I think the Dingle peninsula is perfect (and you can drive the Ring of Kerry from there). You could stop for a night in the Burren on your way to Connemara, so you'd have three nights in one place, then a one-night stop, then two nights up in Connemara. As for self-catering April is off season and so you may have more "short break" options, but B&Bs will also be plentiful and relatively easy to book at that time of year.

(If you really want to go the self-catering route I am sure you could find enough scenery within striking distance of Dingle to simply spend your time there.)

Let us know what you decide, and happy anniversary!
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 12:40 PM
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Thanks everyone, your comments confirm the area I was leaning toward after reading some travel literature and Fodors posts.(This narrows down the 700+ pages of the travel guide significantly!) Thanks for the website link, pat49 - so easy to use and a great way to see some fantastic photos! I am looking at perhaps following what my guidebook calls a "classic route", from Ceide Fields in Mayo down the coast (perhaps via the Twelve Bens)and ending up in Cork. The literature suggests one could do it in two days but a week is more suitable, which is why we came to think perhaps 2 locations of 3 days. However, after further reading, I am perhaps leaning towards B&Bs and moving every day or two. Looking at the mapbook, it would seem we could perhaps fly into Knock International Airport and perhaps out of Cork - will do some research on this. Thanks again - I may be back with more specific questions.
PRLCH is offline  
Jan 1st, 2008, 01:13 PM
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Doing the coast from Mayo to Cork in TWO DAYS??? What guidebook is that? This website may give you a reality check as to driving in Ireland: http://www.aaroadwatch.ie/routes/

Add to the estimated times on that site since you are a tourist and not a local.

If you are moving every day or two self catering will not be an option. Look into B&Bs instead: www.townandcountry.ie & http://www.familyhomes.ie/

IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 5th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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Thanks for all the help and great websites - they have been most useful! We think the following itinerary will serve us well:
Night 1 - Bunratty in a B&B - as we expect to be flying in from Glasgow to Shannon at about 7:30pm, we don't plan to go far.
Night 2 - 4 - Castlewood House Hotel in Dingle.
Night 5 - Aran View House Hotel in Doolin
Night 6 & 7 - Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara.
Day 8 - we need to get back to Shannon Airport for a flight at 12:50pm.

While we have an idea of what we think we would like to see each day, we have decided not to overplan this, but simply to explore and go with the weather etc. I am sure we won't see it all, but perhaps that will leave something to come back for in the future!

Any additional comments? Especially in relation to the trip back to Shannon on the last day. It seems looking at the AA planner that this should be easily feasible, but I would appreciate any advice if there is a possible problem with this. Thanks once again, everyone.
PRLCH is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 02:04 AM
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Ballynahinch to Shannon: I would allow three hours.

I like your itinerary.
Padraig is offline  
Jan 6th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Hi PRLCH,

Your itinerary is good.

If you arrive in Shannon you should be in your B&B within 15mins of leaving Shannon - I take it you're hiring a car there. If you like seafood there is a lovely restuarnt in Bunratty (http://www.gallaghersofbunratty.com), I've no problem ion recommending it but you may need to book in advance.

The following day you intend to head to Dingle - you take in Adare village on the way if interested (lovley village with tatched cottages in county Limerick) but this may delay you by at least an hour.

Bunratty to Dingle could take 3 hours (depending on traffic as you pass through Limerick city - if it's a week-day avoid 08:00 to 09:30).

Try to tour some of the Dingle pennensula (http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie)on your 1st day there (maybe head west towards Ballyferriter), on the 2nd day head for the Ring of Kerry (usually driven in an anti-clockwise direction)http://www.dochara.com/tour/ring-of-kerry.php.

On Day 3 - head over the Conor Pass, tour the west and then back to Tralee and begin your journey to Doolin. You might consider the ferry (Tarbert to Killimer - http://www.shannonferries.com) to Co. Clare, head up along the West Coast to Doolin. Try to see the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren (you could include some of the burren on your way to Connemara). This would give a day and half to see Connemara.

As advised by Padraig you should give yourself 3 hours to get back to Shannon.

Enjoy your trip. If you have any other queries then just add them here and someone will help you out.
Pat49 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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PRLCH please post how you like Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, we are thinking of staying there in October. It would be greatly appreciated!

And Happy Anniversary! We spent our 25th in Switzerland last year with some family, and our vacations in September always span our Anniversary. No better way!
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 12th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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Oops, I'm looking at staying at Ballinalacken Castle Hotel, not Ballynahinch Castle Hotel ~ so many "Ballys" in Ireland!
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 13th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Wrenwood, it seems I may yet be able to report on Ballinalacken Castle Hotel to you. We have been advised that the Aran View House Hotel is closed until May this year, so we are considering Ballinalacken Castle Hotel as an alternative. (Will certainly post a report on my return)! I am currently trying to finalise the trip, but looks like we will have to reverse the direction of the trip as we cannot get good connections from Shannon to Heathrow. I think we will end up flying into Shannon and out of Cork. So we are considering cutting one night from Dingle and having the last night in Kenmare (ie. leave Dingle, spend a day on the Ring of Kerry and overnight in Kenmare). That should make it an easy run to Cork airport the next day.
PRLCH is offline  
Jan 14th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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PRLCH ~ Do let me know. I booked at Ballinalacken Castle Hotel for 2 nights in October for room 16 which is supposed to have the best view. It is a little pricey but looks wonderful and gets great reviews on TA.They did give a slightly better rate for 2 nights B&B and 1 dinner.

Have fun, I envy you being able to go in April!
Unfortunately spring is not a time that my husband and I can take long vacations.
wrenwood is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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PRLCH, what time would you need to be in Cork Airport? Kenmare could be a 2.5 hour trip to the airport.
Pat49 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Pat49,
We have a flight out of Cork at 2:40pm, which gets us into Heathrow at 3:55pm. We then connect with our flight to Singapore at 6:30pm. So a 2.5 hour trip should be doable. I expect we will head off early and find somewhere pretty to pass the time closer to Cork.
PRLCH is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 06:11 PM
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Wrenwood,
Have just found that Ballinalacken Castle Hotel doesn't open for the season until 5 days after we were planning on staying there, so I won't be able to report on that one. So, once again I am hunting around for somewhere to stay. The management of Ballinalacken Castle Hotel suggested we try Sheedy's. Will post once we have been.
PRLCH is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 07:59 PM
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It's not a castle stay, but we stayed at Zetland Country House Hotel in Connemara and loved it there. Just thought I would toss that out if you're looking for an upscale place to stay. It was great in a sort of faded elegance sort of way, the rooms were plush, the staff was super friendly and the food was good.

p.s. we got up extra early from Zetland to do the skyline drive that morning - it was clear and beautiful, and we were early enough to not compete with any tour buses.
jumper22 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2008, 10:05 PM
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PRLCH,

2005 I stayed at Sheedy's Country House Hotel in Lisdoonvarna and we were very comfortable and the food is great. They are a lovely family and took great care of us.

Enjoy your trip, Joan
chatham is offline  
Mar 6th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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We stayed at Ballynahinch last spring,Our room was tiny ,Our Sons room was huge ,the staff were very happy to change that for Us and were very helpful during Our stay .We loved the area took lots of walks,the food was OK ,found some good restaurants in Clifdon,good salmon fishing at the hotel.enjoy.
crewe is offline  
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