Please help with itinerary!

Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Please help with itinerary!

I am the newest member of Fodor's Forums but have already read lots of the postings and have seen how helpful they can be.

My husband and I will be traveling (driving) in Ireland in September for 12 days. We love leisurely, spontaneous trips, with lots of contact with local people, seeing important historical sites, hearing traditional music, and doing some hiking. Any advice on the following plans?

From Shannon airport we are going to Adare (we have reservations at a B&B for one night). We have made no further reservations except for the end of the trip -- we will be spending five nights in Spiddal, Galway, before departing from Shannon.

What we're thinking of is going from Adare to Blarney and using that as a base for the Southwest for a few days, seeing Cork City and Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry, then heading toward Galway via Cahir, Cashel, and Clonmacnoise.

My main concerns are: 1) does this ininerary seem too ambitious for 12 days; and 2) would we miss too much by not seeing the Burren?

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:44 AM
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Are the 12 days all in Ireland, or is one a travel day? If all in Ireland, after the first day you'd have 11 days, 5 in Galway, leaving six to tour a bit of the south. I don't think that's too bad, depending whether you are lingering-type of people or on the go all the time. My husband and I are the former, but you'll have the five days at the end of your trip to relax a bit.

We weren't that fond of Adare, too cutesy for us. But already had reservations for the night - hopefully your B&B isn't Adare Cottage. Very noisy, particularly the owners' kids, who were left on their own in the evening and played very loud music until midnight, then ran about the house slamming doors until 1:30. Some new arrivals came in the middle of the night which woke everyone up again - would definitely not recommend the place.

There is a good pub on the corner of the High Street tho', called Collins (name in front also in Gaelic and I can't remember the spelling). Nice people, a few well-behaved families, comfy seating and great beer and food (Smithicks).

Personally, I wouldn't make my base Blarney when you're so close to the beautiful coast. I'd push on a bit further to Kinsale. There are lots of recommendations for B&Bs and restaurants there, our favourite pubs were The White House, the Mad Monk and the Spaniard. Lots to see in the area.

We also enjoyed Ardmore, lovely little village with great beach and cliff walks and Youghal for a day visit. Also Cobh for the Interpretive Centre. Between Cork City and Kinsale is a town called Carrigaline where you can buy great pottery.

Personally, I don't think missing the Burren is a big deal, although I'm not quite sure why you couldn't get there easily from Spiddal. The Cliffs of Moher are quite breathtaking, but so are the cliffs in many places in Ireland.

We stayed for a week a bit further west of you at Costelloe in a self catering cottage. Is a great country pub there called O'Flaherty's if you're in the area. Their soda bread is wonderful. Enjoyed ourselves but found the area a bit austere for our liking. I'm not a fan of Galway (city). A small part of the downtown area is interesting, but the rest is just a big city with lots of people and traffic.

If you're planning to travel once you get to Galway, Roundstone is a good drive and has a beautiful beach called Dog's Bay Beach. As nice as anything you'd see in the Caribbean.

On our last trip we spent a week further north in Co. Mayo, around Newport. Would definitely return there again. All the best of Ireland with a lot fewer people.

Hope you have a great time.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 10:27 AM
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I'm new to the forum and hope I'm not posting this message twice. I just wanted to answer rickmav and tell her how much I appreciate her response to my appeal for help with itinerary.

Thank you, rickmav. Wonderful suggestions.

Yes, we essentially have 12 full days in Ireland; the first day is an arrival day, though, at Shannon in the morning. On our 13th day we leave Galway in the morning to drive to Shannon.

Your B&B experience in Adare does sound awful! We're staying at Berkeley Lodge, on a Sunday night. Thanks for the tip about the Collins pub; hopefully it will be open on Sundays. It would be a great way to officially launch our trip.

I suspected that Blarney would not be the best base for the southwest -- from what I'm reading about Kinsale, it is arguably the prettiest town in Ireland.

We're using Spiddal as a base, and probably going into Galway only once. Like you, we're not big fans of cities either. By the way, do you like Cork, and do you have any favorite places there?

You're right that we could take a day-trip from Spiddal to the Burren. Hadn't thought of that!

The tips on side trips are much appreciated. Thanks for all the care you put into your reply; it will help my husband and me have the best possible trip to Ireland.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 10:31 AM
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I second the thought that Adare is a mistake. I might stop there for lunch or tea but keep going and get to Dingle. I have done Dingle to Shannon both ways several times and it is not a hard drive. I would also skip Blarney unless long lines and tours buses thrill you. The ROK is ok (Others will say its a must) but I much prefer the other three Peninsulas, Beara, Mizen and Sheepshead for unspoiled scenery, Lovely small villages and real Irish people. Spend one night in Kinsale before you head up to Galway and if you plan your route right you can pass thru the Burren or take a day trip out of Galway. If you do the Rok stay on the N 71 out of Killarney thru the park and mountains for some of the best scenery in Ireland. Day trips out of Galway to the Connemara and even the Arran Island are worth condsidering.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Welcome to the board! I hope you don't mind a little posting tip, since you mentioned you are brand new...

If you put the country name in the title your post, you will catch the eye of the Ireland fans (i.e., Please help w/ Ireland itinerary) - since all the postings end up together on the one large "europe" board this help get noticed.

And as you see, you're doing just right by answering your own post - to be able to thank those who reply or give more details about your trip or add on other questions.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 12:27 PM
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We actually stayed in Adare our last night -before our flight from Shannon back to the States. It is only 30-45min at most to the airport. I wouldn't bother staying there your first night. Go to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren(if you want to see that) We did this our first day straight from the airport and we were fine. We stayed in Ballyvaughn that night at the Bally vaughn Lodge. And ate lunch at MONKS pub on the bay. Its a great little village. DO NOt make Blarney your base. Go to Kinsale, or even Kenmare-Kenmare and Kinsale have some of the best restaurants in all of ireland. From Kinsale you can visit Cobh and also hit the less populated penunsulas Mizen head and SHeeps Head. Sheeps head is about a 40 min hike out to from the parking area-Tour buses are not there because they cannot fit on the roads out to it! We had a beautiful day to hike it and were in awe but I've heard the weather can change fast out there so be prepared. From Kenmare you can hit the Berra Penisula and also go into Killarney National Park-research the gap of Dunloe-we really enjoyed that.
From Spidal(by the way many people speak Irish there and most of the road signs are in Irish) do get to Conemare-Its a breathtaking region. Just up from Spidal is Rossveal where a ferry departs for the Aran Islands(the ferry is only about 30-40 min)-def spend a day out there-and rent bikes and explore!
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Old Mar 24th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Many thanks to all for the thoughtful and helpful responses. You've given me lots of new ideas for the Ireland trip -- and definitely changed many of the ideas I already had. Fortunately, the trip isn't until September, so I'll have time to do plenty of learning, and I'll be posting more questions as time goes along. And thanks for your tip, suze! I'll be sure to put "Ireland" in the title so the queries won't go astray.
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Old Mar 26th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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We spent two nights in Spiddal in Sept. '03. Highly recommend Vera Feeney's Ardmor Country House as your B&B. Her breakfast was fabulous. The rooms were nice and her yard is beautiful.

We went to Roundstone and enjoyed it for a brief stop. Drove to Rossaveal and spent the day on Inishmor. Definitely worth the day!
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