Planning first trip to Irleand

Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 01:18 PM
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Planning first trip to Irleand

Hi all,

Planning for a future trip to Ireland. We want to see castles, ruins, anything historic, such as the “beehive huts”, Rock of Cashel, Book of Kells, Newgrange, Leap Castle. Dingle peninsula is a must. Giants Causeway?

Prefer staying in the countryside if possible. B&B style places. In Austria we are used to staying in Pensions and Gasthofs.

Want to include a castle hotel stay. This is another must for us.

This will be when it’s safe to travel again. We’ll have a rental car. An automatic. Time of year is flexible. As long as it’s not crazy hot. We’ll have between 11 and 13 nights.

Thank you!
Paul
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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 01:47 PM
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Inishmore is worth a visit.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inishmore
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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 03:47 PM
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Not quite sure what you are asking. I only see one '?' . . . "Giants Causeway?" So it seems asking if the Giants Causeway is worthwhile. Yes, it is IF you are in Northern Ireland.

Otherwise they are all declarative sentences so we have no idea which ones you are asking about and which ones are already decided. Do understand 11 - 13 nights (which gives you 10-12 days free for seeing/doing) is not all that generous to see two countries especially with the very slow driving in most of the rural/scenic areas. From Dublin through central Ireland to the far SW coast and up the west coast to NI and back to Dublin could easily easily fill 3 full. If you confine yourselves to the Dublin/Newgrange > RoC > Dingle > Galway > Dublin 'triangle' that could be done in 11-13 nights/10/-12-ish days.

Something like 1 day for jet lag recovery, 3 days seeing Dublin, 5-6 days for bits of the west coast, 1 night near DUB before flying out - that is 11-13 nights



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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 08:12 PM
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Thank you! We’re just getting started researching and thought I’d post here. Thank you.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2020, 10:19 PM
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oops - that should have said " . . . could easily easily fill 3 full weeks."
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 12:49 PM
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For your castle request, I submit https://www.dromoland.ie/

Easy access to Shannon airport on your way home
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 01:13 PM
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I loved going to Newgrange but we hit it right and got in after about an hour wait. The museum was ok and we waited in cafe till our bus was ready to take us out. https://www.newgrangetours.com/ You can be sure of getting in with a Mary Gibbons tour. I love NI and would go even for an overnight to see Giant's causeway, the coastline and Belfast. You can take the train from Connolly Station and catch the Mccombs tour at 10 am by the Europa hotel. They do a good Game of Thrones tour.

You can drive to Dingle easy enough after that. You are east coast so not that bad of a flight. You can bus in and out of Dublin with a leap card.
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 01:17 PM
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I was in Ireland in late May/early June 2019. In Dingle I stayed at the The Greenmount House B&B and would highly recommend: Greenmount House B&B Luxury Accommodation in Dingle, Ireland
Also, if you like seafood, while in Dingle I recommend eating at Out of the Blue: Home | OOTB Dingle (outoftheblue.ie).

Have fun planning!
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 03:32 PM
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Dingle Gin Distillery is well worth a visit. We are airbnb three night minimum stays anymore. I love Galway, Clifton or Westport and do day trips. Dingle town is very nice. I think because we do public transportation we gravitate towards city stays where we can go to pubs at night. Doolin is very scenic and more in the country but several pubs and the cliffs nearby. Also the ferry to the Aran Islands and the Burren. Trip before the last one we spent five nights in Ballycotton and I loved it there. A great seaside town with some of the best seafood, pubs, lighthouses, cliff walks, Ballymaloe cookery school, gardens, and beach. We went to Cork, Midleton for the brewery tour, and Cobh but could have stayed in Ballycotton the whole time.

I am cooking, drinking, and on the computer tonight. Our last trip of 2020 was Dublin for New Years, Depressing but so happy my dear travel friend is getting the vaccine Monday. We are hopeful.
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Old Dec 24th, 2020, 10:08 PM
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Thanks for giving me an excuse to get out our travel album from our own trip to Ireland!

You say that “We want to see castles, ruins, anything historic, such as the ‘beehive huts’, Rock of Cashel, Book of Kells, Newgrange, Leap Castle. Dingle peninsula is a must. Giants Causeway? . . . . Want to include a castle hotel stay. This is another must for us.”

Gosh, we have similar tastes! So, I’ll take advantage of the fact that everyone else in my family is “snug asleep in their beds” on this night before Christmas, and see what I have that may help you. Note that this trip was nearly two decades ago, but the sights are the sights.

janisj is right that although Ireland seems like a small country (or two, counting northern Ireland) 10-12 days of actual traveling time isn’t as much as you might think. When we went, we had 8 full days and maybe a third of another. We decided to largely concentrate on western Ireland, in light of that, and to save Dublin and the areas north and south of that for some future visit. We saw a lot and covered a reasonable amount of ground, but we didn’t even try and do Dublin and the east and north of the country.

So here’s what we did:

Day 1: Arrived Shannon and picked up our rental car. Toured Limerick (King John’s Castle); visited the neolithic site of Lough Gur; continued on to Cashel. We stayed at the Bishop’s Palace Hotel in Cashel, a bit of a splurge by Irish standards, but worth it, both because it’s an 18th century archbishop’s palace, and because it has a private path that leads from the back of its garden up to the Rock of Cashel. Good breakfast, too.

Day 2: Toured the Rock of Cashel. Then drove to Waterford on the southeast coast and did the factory tour of Waterfront Crystal and bought some glass! After that, we immediately headed back west. Stopped to see some 8th century Celtic crosses at Ahenny. Then, at Cahir stopped to see the extensive and well-preserved castle there, the seat of the Butler family, which sits on an island in the Svir. A must for castle lovers. We also had time to do a short hike along the Svir to a place called Swiss Cottage, a “rural”- style retreat constructed for the 13th Lord Butler in 1810. The river was lovely. Continued on to Killarney, the center of Ireland’s Lake District and the anchor of the Ring of Kerry Drive, where we spent the next three nights in the Redwood B&B.

Day Three: Today was reserved for the excursion by boat from Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry to the offshore Dark Ages monastery of Skellig Michael (subsequently immortalized as the ultimate hideway of Luke Skywalker in the most recent trilogy of the Star Wars movies). Well worth it, if (1) the seas aren’t too rough and (2) you’re physically able to handle climbing the 544 steps up to the beehive stone huts (check!) that comprised the monastery. Otherwise, what you’re left with is the chance to see a lot of bird life, including puffins on Skellig Michael itself and the thousands of gannets on Little Skellig. Got some Irish whiskey to warm ourselves up when we landed again and then finished the Ring of Kerry drive that day. There’s an impressive circular Iron Age fort at Staigue.

Day Four: Touring in the lakes district around Killarney itself: the well-preserved 14th century Ross Castle (check!); the Victorian era Muckross house; the late medieval Muckross Abbey nearby; the trail to Torc Falls, and a circuit on foot of the Middle Lake, with views of the Upper Lake as well. Took in the perspective from Ladies’ View. Visited Killarney Cathedral at some point – there are mass graves of potato famine victims on its grounds – and walked the trail along the Deenagh River.

Day Five: Set out for Dingle. Took in the view from Aghadoe Heights of the lakes of Killarney en route. Then did the driving circuit along Dingle’s south coast, out to the end, and then back along the north side (which is not a coastal drive). Slea Head; Denmore Head. David Lean’s 1970 movie “Ryan’s Daughter” was largely filmed along this route. Enjoyed touring the Blasket Island Center museum in Dunquin, dedicated to the way of life of the (now disappearing) Blasket Islanders. Visited the ruins of Kilmalkedaar Church and the Gallarus Oratory (more drystone construction!). Then I think we drove through Tralee and made our way north across County Clare to Doolin, where we stayed outside of town at the Ballinalacken Castle hotel (so named because it has a ruined tower castle as part of the site). On a clear day, they say you can see the Aran Islands from there. Went out to one of the pubs that night which is a center for Irish music (there are several in Doolin).

I would’ve loved to visit the Aran Islands, but that’s a full day trip. We also didn’t have time to visit Galway or any of the sites associated with T.S. Eliot nearby.

Day 6: Visited the Cliffs of Moher, which are jaw-dropping (next stop: Boston? Or maybe Newfoundland). Went to see the high crosses at Kilfenora and took a little time to drive around the limestone desert known as the Burren (lots of rock; no trees). Toured the Burren Perfumery, which turns the local vegetation into fragrances. Also visited the ruins of the extensive medieval monastic complex of Kilmacduagh, which its famous leaning 12th century round tower – Ireland’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then drove north to Cong and the Asford (Guinness) Castle), stopping to see the well-preserved 14th-16th century Ross Errilly Friary on route. Stayed the next two nights at the Ashford Castle (castle hotel: check!) Was able to catch a boat tour around Lough Corrib late that afternoon (gotta love those long summer days).

Day 7: We toured Cong Abbey. The river was beautiful. Oscar Wilde grew up near here. Visited a nearby stone circle. My wife relaxed in the afternoon. I took another boat tour out to Ichagoill Island in Lough Corrib, which has monastic ruins dating back to the 5th and 12th centuries. Supposedly. St. Patrick’s nephew (who followed him in his missionary vocation) is buried there.

Day 8: Drove back across Clare towards Shannon. Visited Quin friary at Ennis: an abbey built atop a ruined Norman castle. Visited the Craggaunowen Living History museum, which has a recreation of an ancient Celtic village. Stayed that night at a B&B just up the road from Bunratty Castle and did the classic, touristy dinner there that night.

Day 9: Before leaving, I had time to drive back up towards Ennis to see the 12th century monastery of Dysert O’Dea.

So, this passes on Dublin, Trinity College, the Book of Kells, Tara, the Giant’s Causeway, etc. But perhaps portions of this will be useful to you. What it underlines is that there’s plenty to see all over Ireland, even if you essentially restrict yourself to roughly a third of the island, as we did.

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Old Dec 25th, 2020, 12:05 AM
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Do not worry about it being to hot. I doubt it ever will be in Ireland. I would go in Summer if at all possible, certainly not until late Spring, not until May at earliest, and by September at latest.
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Old Dec 25th, 2020, 06:19 AM
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Edit is not working for me. Sorry about the misspelling, should be too, not to in the above post.
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Old Dec 25th, 2020, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Do not worry about it being to hot. I doubt it ever will be in Ireland. I would go in Summer if at all possible, certainly not until late Spring, not until May at earliest, and by September at latest.

Oh, my gosh! I totally missed the 'not crazy hot' bit

You should be so lucky -- just hope it isn't raining sideways and 55° F - yes, even in summer. May through Sept the average highs are low to mid 60's meaning lots of days are below 60. Rainfall during the summer is around 4 inches per month. . . . But the days are looooong and if you get some of those clear/70-ish/sunny days its glorious.
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Old Dec 25th, 2020, 02:27 PM
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Jeffergray... fantastic info! Thank you for taking the time to share your trip!
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Old Dec 26th, 2020, 03:38 PM
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We went in early October and the weather was cool and rainy at times but very pleasant for sightseeing. I prefer hotels because I like having the option of having a/c in my room. Everyone says you don't need it but the rooms get stuffy and warm even when it is cold outside and sleeping with the windows open, you are up at first light or listening to people come home late! So we stayed in hotels and loved our stays. We flew into Dublin and rented an automatic car and drove directly to Kilkenny for the night.
On the car, an automatic is really much easier because you are driving on the opposite side of the road and car. Get the gps navigational system! And whoever is on the left side of the car watches for trees, ditches, walls. The side roads are narrow and sometimes, we were on a dirt road hoping not to hit a sheep. I recommend only driving during the daylight.
We then drove to Killarney, my favorite hotel and town and stayed for 4 nights. We used Killarney as our base to sleep each night and drove part of the Ring of Kerry and to Dingle and back and spent time in town and at the national park in Killarney.
Then we headed to the west coast and spent the day at the Cliffs of Mohr and stayed in Ennis for the night. Spent the next day in Galway for the day and drove to Dublin airport and dropped the car. We took a taxi back into Dublin and spent 4 nights in Dublin.
Here is my trip report for more details
Ireland October Trip Report
Ireland was probably my favorite trip we have taken in a long time. The people were fun and friendly and helpful. The towns all had their own character and I enjoyed being there. Since we were never in Ireland before, I am glad we stayed the 4 nights in Dublin, but if I went back, I would only spend 2 nights tops there and see more of the countryside.
Enjoy!
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Old Dec 27th, 2020, 05:03 PM
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I have been many times in Spring, love the long days. June, Sept, Oct and Chrsitmas. I can always find stuff to do if raining or cold. We always follow the weather to pick which day for outdoor adventurers. Westport was a great base. So many day trips. Claire Island was wonderful and we actually climbed Crough Patrick. I love the pub music there.

We once landed in Dublin and took the first bus to Belfast. Came back after several nights and went to Galway. We enjoy landing and hitting the road as you can't check in anywhere that early. Buswell's lets you store luggage and if staying there then we go into Dublin.

Jeffergray, were those standing stones just in a field near Cong? Not really public? We went there several years ago.
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Old Dec 27th, 2020, 05:40 PM
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ThNk you girlonthego.
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Old Dec 28th, 2020, 07:51 AM
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a little long in the tooth but dig out the Eric Newby
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Old Jan 2nd, 2021, 08:51 AM
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Yes, Macross. The standing stones we saw near Cong were just in a field right off the road, as I recall. I had some guide or something that led us to them, but I think you're right, that there was no real site interpretation.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2021, 01:16 PM
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Our favourite day was in Innishmore. Our favourite town was Galway. Our favourite bay drive was Dingle. Muckross House was a highlight as well.

Northern Ireland's highlights for me include Belfast, Giant's Causeway and Derry. The latter led to me to watch Derry Girls, a two-season series that is comedy gold speckled set during the Troubles.
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