Please comment on my Ireland honeymoon!

Jan 26th, 2005, 06:29 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Please comment on my Ireland honeymoon!

Finally revised after so much research and your great advice, but before I start making reservations I just want to run it past "the experts".
Flying in to Cork from London and arriving at 11:30am.
1st day - Drive to Kenmare via Beara Peninsula. Stay at Sallyport House
2nd day - Killarney Nat'l Park, Muckross House then drive to Dingle and stay at Cill Bhreac
3rd day - Dingle peninsula tour, possible 9 holes of golf
4th day - Take ferry to Doolin, ferry to Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher at sunset, looking for B&B suggestions (Seaview?)
5th day - Burren exploration on drive to Ballynahinch, Kylemore Abbey
6th day - Explore Clifden, drive back to Bunratty for dinner and tour, looking for B&B suggestions
7th day - Flight out of Shannon at 12:30pm

Thanks in advance for any advice and suggestions you may have! You guys have been so much help!!
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Hi 88:

This looks a bit more doable than the last one. I would caution that the Beara Peninsula is pretty slow moving and you might want to take a short cut over Healy Pass which is a spectacular drive. Again, I'm assuming that you will have been in London for a couple of days and not adjusting to jet lag.

The Seaview is a great choice, but call them soon for reservations. They book up quickly, especially on a weekend.

There are loads of B&Bs in Bunratty and most of them are nice. Popular choices are, Bunratty Lodge, Headly Court, Park House and the Ashgrove House. Any of these four will be excellent choices.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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I just stumbled across Ballinalacken Castle near Doolin. Would it be worth it to stay here instead of at SeaView? Don't want to be too far away from the pubs.
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 10:07 AM
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I've never really seen the allure of Ballinalacken Castle. The castle itself is a ruin on the property and the hotel in no way resembles a castle. I'm sure the accommodations are lovely, but it is more than walking distance from town and it's more expensive. There are quite a few B&Bs and Guesthouses in Doolin that are easier to get to and from the pubs.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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I went ahead and made a reservation at Seaview. Just read a terrible review of Cill Bhreac which scares me a little. I guess every place has to have one, right? Now, if given the choice between Kenmare and Killarney which would you choose? I would like beautiful scenery, but we are also very interested in the pub scene and don't want to stray too far. I've been reading that Killarney is much more lively - any thoughts? IF I could squeeze any more out of the pocketbook, is staying at Dromoland worthwhile our last night? We were planning on doing the Bunratty tour and possibly the dinner so I wondered if it was worth it. Thanks!
88shannon88 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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In answer to your last question-I would stay in Kenmare vs. Killarney. Kenmare is just more of a charming small town as opposed to the very touristy Killarney. Plenty of pubs in Kenmare as well
joolleeb is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 01:06 PM
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Dromoland is a beautiful place to visit and you will love the lavish attention they give you. A great way to end your honeymoon! We stayed there our first night, going out to Bunratty that evening. It was a very short drive; 10 min.? In fact, I would take Dromoland over the Bunratty tour. Bunratty was nice, but it really is very touristy and the dinner (I thought) was only so-so. Add to that you are crammed at tables with every other American tourist within a 10km radius... well, get the picture. It wasn't bad, but I remember reading reviews of more authentic and less touristy places in the area you might want to consider. But if not, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Congratulations!
sjbisanz1 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 01:33 PM
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A few words about Cill Bhreac: we stayed there for 2 nights in October without any problem whatsoever. (Okay, the pillow was a little flat...) Angela runs an extremely busy B&B, so the worst I could say was that it might have seemed a little worn from so much use. But our linens were nice and clean, and the room freshly made the next morning. (We stayed in another B&B on this trip for 3 nights and I was the one who made the bed. I think they thought they were giving us privacy by not coming into the room. They had given us many towels in advance.) The dining room was very clean and nicely set, and Angela and her helper Helen were happy to accomodate guests' requests for breakfast variations. She has been in business for 16 years, I think, so can't be too bad! Certainly in Dingle you can stay in much more elegant places, but you will pay a lot more. I guess a lot depends on your expectations!
allisonm is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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For something more upscale in Dingle I highly recommend Emlagh House and Heaton's. Emlagh House has a understated country house elegance, more on par with Sallyport. Heaton's is more modern with sleek, contemporary rooms. Both have fantastic breakfasts. Loved the baked eggs at Emlagh House and the omelet at Heaton's.

In Doolin I always enjoy Cullinan's. Even if you don't stay there try to have dinner. Delish! O'Connor's has some rooms in the new wing with huge bedrooms and baths. Very nice. The Doolin Ferry does not run all year, only during the season so check on that.

Will second Bill's recommendation for Bunratty Lodge and Headley Court. You can't go wrong with either.
IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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A few thoughts on Dromoland. It is a lovely castle, but as a last night choice, particularly if you have to leave early the next day, I'm not sure the money would be well spent. It's the sort of place that you want to linger a bit, and getting up at the crack of dawn to return your car and catch an international flight could remove that piece of it. If you want to stay there, do it when you don't have to leave early. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the atmosphere at such places as I don't handle stuffy very well. I've stayed at Ashford and it just isn't my kind of place, but I can see it would be VERY romantic on a honeymoon. Oh, and you'll learn where the term honeymoon came from if you go to one of the banquets.

The castle banquet at Bunratty can be a lot of fun and yes, it id filled with lots of other tourists, but I've heard Irish folk saying that they've done it and enjoyed it. I personally enjoyed Dunguaire more because it is more intimate and the lighting is a little more tasteful too. The entertainment at both was good by most people's standards. The food is marginal, but that is not why you go. The entertainment at Bunratty is musical with a mainly mideival flare though that is not really the era of most of the music. Dunguaire is more poetic and speaks to great Irish writers. Another option is Knappogue which I believe uses the theme of women in Irish history.

I'm not a fan of all things touristy, but the castle banquets can be fun. Dunguaire is certainly the less crowded of the two.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Here's another plug for Kenmare. There's practically a pub every other doorway on the couple of streets that comprise *downtown*

And joolleeb has described Kenmare nicely IMHO
beach_dweller is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 05:57 PM
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Bunratty is worth the trip, be cautioned, as already posted, it is a bit touristy.

Dromoland Castle is fantastic & magical - stayed there for two nights in 2003 - it is #1 on my list of best hotel experiences.

I don't know why Killarney is getting such a bad rap on the postings - I didn't find it to be that touristy - just a charming little Irish town, like all the rest.

Have fun

twodanes is offline  
Jan 27th, 2005, 10:16 PM
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twodanes, Rick Steves has slammed Killarney in his Ireland book calling it "plastic Killarney town" and saying "If you have the misfortune to spend the night in Killarney, you'll understand what I mean. The town is a sprawling line of green Holiday Inns littered with pushy shoppers looking for three-leaf clovers."

Since he is an AUTHOR many people take what he says as gospel, when it is in fact just one person's opinion. Personally, I wouldn't want to visit Killarney (or lots of other places in Ireland over an August Bank Holiday). However, at other times of year Killarney is just fine.

There has to be a reason why Killarney has been a major tourist attraction for over 250 years. When Rick Steves (along with his books and opinions) and all of us are long gone Killarney will still be a major tourist attraction in Ireland.

Take ANY opinion with a grain of salt.

IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 04:27 AM
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We really liked Killarney and the surrounding areas. We were there both times in May. Here's a link I found on all the wonderful things to do and see in the area:
Budman is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 05:11 AM
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I haven't been yet, so I'll be curious to see Killarney and Kenmare. We did opt to stay in Kenmare, but not just because of Rick Steves. Frommer's also criticizes Killarney in its guidebook, although not as strongly. Frommers makes the point that it is the gorgeous areas surrounding Killarney that make it the tourist attraction that it is, not the town itself.

Since we are going in late June, I chose Kenmare. It's hard to judge when you've never been, and everyone has different tolerances for "touristy" spots. I'm sure either place will be fine, especially since the countryside all around is so special.
bucky is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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I hope people do not think I'm giving Killarney a bad rap. We did visit and we DID ENJOY the National park and other areas-My personal opinion from visiting both towns was that Kenmare seemed more charming, warm, and inviting-I'm sure others have their own opinions. And Yes, Kenmare also had its share of tourists. I've never bought or read a Rick Steeves book. I've been told most things(places restaurants etc) he writes about can become overcrowded with tourists. We prefer the road less traveled.
joolleeb is offline  
Jan 28th, 2005, 08:30 PM
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I actually like Kenmare better than Killarney. Kenmare is a village and Killarney is a larger town. It is like comparing apples with oranges. There is really nothing wrong with Killarney (like Rick Steves indicates). Sure, there are tourists there as well as shops, churches, pubs, restaurants and hotels. There are tourists and all of the above in Kenmare too and people don't call it touristy.

We are all tourists and wherever we go in Ireland or anywhere else we are the ones that make a place touristy. I can never understand people who say they will not go to "touristy" places. The second they arrive it becomes touristy because they ARE tourists whether they choose to believe it or not.

On occasion I have suggested that someone visit a certain place and they recoil in horror because it is "touristy". When persuaded to give it a try they come back and can't believe they have almost missed one of the highlights of their trip because they mistakenly thought it was "touristy".

So keep an open mind.

IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Of course we're all tourists. The difference is some places (usually for good reason) are more crowded, often with tour groups or buses. I wouldn't skip a place because of that, but if there is a comparable alternative, we usually go for that. Such as in the Caribbean. There are many beautiful islands and ports. We prefer to stay in the ports that are too small for cruise ships to dock.
bucky is offline  
Jan 29th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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I was in Ireland in mid-October. We stayed at the Cill Bhreac and it was by far the worst B&B experience we had in our two week trip. I wouldn't recommend it at all.

Dingle was wonderful. It takes a while to get there. We stayed two days If I was to do it again, I would stay longer. It is the most incredible area.

We stayed at Dunaree in Bunratty and it was great. Very nice and very convenient to the airport.

We stayed at Cullinan's in Doolin. Again, very nice. But I have heard nothing but good about Seaview---it was booked when we went.
adamsparks is offline  

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