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Rough itinerary for Ireland - will appreciate critiques!

Rough itinerary for Ireland - will appreciate critiques!

Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:28 AM
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Rough itinerary for Ireland - will appreciate critiques!

Have gotten much helpful info here and on Ireland Expert web site. Finally put together rough plans and will appreciate comments on practicality of this plan. Arriving on Saturdar May 31 and returining early AM Sunday June 8.

Day 1 � arrive Dublin at noon, get car and head to Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains area. Stay two nights to decompress and get adjusted and see Powerscourt Gardens etc.

Day 3 - head out after breakfast towards the west . Leisurely drive there through scenic route.
Arrive Dingle town with prior reservations and stay two nights to explore area.

Day 5 � head out early, get car ferry at Tarbert and make our way to Doolin area. Stay in Doolin or one of the nearby villages for two nights to explore the Burren and the Cliffs of Mooher.

Day 7 � start a leisurely drive back towards Dublin, taking scenic and rural route if possible.
Stay somewhere along the way.

Day 8 � arrive back at Dublin airport area. We have early AM flight on Sunday and have reservations at Great Southern airport hotel. Would like to arrive there by late morning to check in and return rental car, then get Airlink bus to Dublin for a bit of exploring and a nice dinner.

I realize this is hardly enough time for Dublin but I�ll save that for some other visit. Having seen so many overly ambitious itineraries, my goal is to keep ours relaxed and flexible. I realize that we�ll probably encounter scads of other tourists in some of these area and will appreciate suggestions on how to minimize that impact (e.g. touring certain areas in a particular direction or at a specific time of day).

My girlfriend loves horses � I�m thinking that a day or part of one spent at the Curragh and a tour of the National Stud would please her. She also loves gardens � any suggestions in addition to (or in place of) Powerscourt will be welcomed.

We have reservations for the first two nights and the last night and think perhaps we should reserve for Dingle Town as well to get a nice place. Assuming we can wing it when elsewhere.


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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:36 AM
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Looks like a good itinerary to me. Your girlfriend will LOVE the National Stud - and there is a garden there too (Japanese style).

As for other gardens, I think there's one at the home of Charles Stuart Parnell in Wicklow. It's called Avondale house.

Also, there is the botanical gardens in the north of Dublin, which she might enjoy.

One word of advice - don't underestimate the length of time it will take to drive what looks like a relatively short distance on your map. Wicklow - Dingle could take a good 5 hours, depending on your route and the condition of the roads. We tend to go for very winding roads here in Ireland!!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Owen,
You should be able to fit in Powerscourt on your way to Glendalough from Dublin. It is only about 12 miles from Dublin - just off the N11 - follow the exit for Enniskerry. Then on to Glendalough area is about 45 minutes - 1 hr ,depending on traffic. ( we Stayed at Pinewood lodge , just up the rd from St Kevin's church - between Laragh & Glendalough - very nice , but no tv's in the rooms.)

I really think you should spend 3 days in Dingle. and only 1 in Doolin. Your drive from Glendalough to Dingle will be VERY LONG. It took us 2 full hours to get to Kilkenny from Glendalough, and I have driven there before -AND we didn't get turned around at all. Dingle has got to be at least 3 -4 hrs from Kilkenny yet.

Either way - book Dingle ahead of time - you don't know what time you will be getting in, and Dingle books up pretty fast, so having a specific place to go to will be a welcome sight after such a long drive. Besides - B&B owners really do prefer you to check in by 6, and if it is after 6, want prior notice to when you will be there.

Is there any way you can change one of your flights to Shannon? Your trip would be much easier if you started in Shannon and ended in Dublin ( or the reverse)

We did a similar route to yours at the beginning of April, but over 2 full weeks, and it still seemed like a lot of driving.
(Shannon-Doolin-Cashel-Glendalough-Kilkenny-Kinsale-Killarney-Shannon)

Debbie
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:01 AM
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Thanks to both of you for the helpful comments. At the time I reserved the tix it was far cheaper to fly into Dublin than Shannon (by over $100 each) and I had though we'd want to spend a few days in Dublin. Have since decided that Dublin will be saved for some other time. Am allowing an entire day for trip from Wicklow to Dingle. I'm thinking that with a 9:30 - 10:100 AM start and a break for lunch we should be able to reach Dingle by 6 PM without rushing it?

Also appreciate the thought of spending 3 days Dingle and only 1 in Doolin. Noty enough to see in that area? I assume the Cliffs and the Burren are less than a day (we like scenic beauty but are not science or geology buffs). I had thought of going to one of the islands for a day trip but if extra time in Dingle is better spent, we're okay with that.

Any rcommednations for a good guesthouse or B&B in Dingle with ensuite rooms in the $50 to $79 Euro range?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:03 AM
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Hi Owen:

I agree with Debbie. You will have a long drive to Dingle and will only really have one day there because of the long drive. It is a shame that you are flying in and out of Dublin. Your itinerary would be much easier as an open jaw.

If you want a nice place in Dingle town, you should reserve in advance.

Bill
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:18 AM
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Owen
You can do the Cliffs on the way to Doolin - Get a early start in the morning - take the tarbert ferry, and then see the cliffs on your way in. Check into your B&B ( may want to book this ahead too, if you know the date you will be there) and then depending on the weather , head out to see part of the Burren.

You can see part of it as well on your drive out of Doolin - towards Dublin.

Debbie
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 09:49 AM
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Owen

Just got back and stayed at Miltown House in Dingle. It was 90 Euro for the two of us in April but it was well worth it. Book ahead if you want this place as it's very well known and fills up fast. Huge rooms, lovely views, strong showers, georgeous breakfasts.

I loved the Japanese Garden at the National Stud - I'm betting your girlfriend will, too. Very relaxing there and meditative; nice cafe on site as well.

If you can get a tour guide to take you out to the Burren to point out the flora then it's as good if not better than a garden. I think Rick Steve's has a name or two for suggestions for this. Early June (I think) is the perfect time to do this. I think you could easily spend several days in and around Doolin. the town itself is small but there are many places neaby, some already mentioned, that you could do day trips to including Galway, Dunguaire Castle and Aillwee Cave - even Bunratty for a day trip would work.
I think your itinerary is doable and not overambitious though lots of driving for some days.
Have a great time!
Wendy
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 12:38 PM
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Owen,
I'd take a look at Clonmara B&B in Dingle. (www.familyhomes.ie) It's in a beautiful location on the harbor, about a 10 minute walk into town, and has en suite rooms for 29 Euro per person per night.
If you do choose to go with the two nights in Doolin, you'll find plenty of things to do and places to see. I don't think you can go too far wrong with either choice.
You really have the makings of a pretty neat trip!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 01:33 PM
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I'll second the Japanese Garden comments. My husband and children loved it! And we had a lovely lunch there.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 05:00 PM
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Owen,

You've got the makings for a fabulous trip, although the prospect of heading back to Dublin, rather than flying out of the west, is a drawback. Still, you're destined to have a grand time.

Just a few thoughts: I agree with some other postings concerning Dingle. Given your rather lengthy drive from the Wicklow area to Dingle, you'll want to have a minimum of two full days on the peninsula. Three overnights in Dingle town is a better choice.

Also, concerning Charles Stewart Parnell's place in Rathdrum, I visited this stately 18th century home a few years back, but I don't recall touring any gardens. There are some rare tree species on the estate, however. If you're interested in the life of Parnell, the estate is worth a visit, but I wouldn't recommend it otherwise.

Should you visit Rathdrum and Parnell's home, you might consider driving further south for something more pop-culture oriented, a visit to nearby Avoca, the quaint backdrop for the TV series Ballykissangel. Avoca's hand-weaving mill is worth a stop, especially for its fine cafeteria.

A final note about gardens: Peak viewing dates have always been elusive to this tourist, but allow me to recommend the following:

Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, County Wicklow: Considered a romantic garden; rhododendrons a specialty. Also on offer is a tea and gift shop.

Muckross House, Killarney National Park: Get a very early start on the day that you'll be traveling from Wicklow to Dingle, and you might consider stopping here. The house itself has little to see on the inside, but the estate is quite beautiful, featuring glorious grounds, attractive gardens, and a terrific place to have lunch. Bring plenty of film.

Best of luck.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 05:21 PM
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Since you are planning a second trip to Ireland sometime, and you are flying in and out of Dublin THIS time, would you consider an easterm ireland trip this time? There is PLENTY to do!
Wicklow gardens festival includes many smaller gardens open during periods from May thru July, see www.wicklow.ie
In addition to Powerscourt personal favorite gardens include Mount Usher, Kilruddy, and National Exhibit Gardens in Kilcoole in Wicklow. Don't miss Glendalough monastic site - its a fantastic place to take a walk. If you spend time at the National stud, there is a second garden there, St Fiacre's garden (he's the patron saint of gardeners)- very peaceful and beautiful!
Day 1 and 2- If I were you I'd spend a couple days in dublin,
Day 3- head north (maybe stopping for a while at the National botanic Gardens in glasnevin, then head up to Newgrange and see those fantastic sites older than the pyramids and the ancient Hill of Tara; then head over to Trim to check out the castle there (used for the filming of braveheart) or maybe squeeze in a visit to Butterstream Gardens if you have the energy and time left.
Day4- Heading back south stopping at Rossborough House to see the manor house and artworks, on in Kildare for the National Stud and gardens;
Day 5- Kilkenny town and castle...maybe even drive down to Waterford if it interests you
Day 6 - Avoca (town where the PBS show, Ballykissangel is filmed) and there's a nice Woolen Mills there. The scenic drive, Vale of Avoca is lovely; maybe check out some of the other gardens in the area; spend night in any town in County Wicklow;
Day 7- Glendalough, Mount Usher Gardens, Powerscourt. Drive up to Dublin airport area for early flight in morning.
Even just staying in the limited geographic area of this route, there is so very much to see and do, I've just touched the surface...but my point is - YOU ARE ARRIVING IN THE EAST AND PLAN TO RETURN SOMETIME...WHY NOT ENJOY THE ONE WEEK YOU HAVE SEEING THE SITES CLOSEST TO WHERE YOU ARE, RATHER THAN SPEND ALL YOUR TIME IN A CAR.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 06:31 PM
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I think you are making the right decission about Dublin. I spent way to much time there and regret it.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2003, 07:22 PM
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I've seen alot of people's posts saying they didn't like Dublin. While different people can expersience the same thing and have different levels of appreciation, I think it helps if you say WHAT you disliked so someone else can determine wheither they they agree.
I loved Dublin...not as much as some other areas in Ireland (my heart REALLY loves Donegal!) but I'm glad I spent time getting to know the urban area that is the capitol of Ireland.
If nothing else you can't miss the Book of Kells, the old library at Trinity College; the National museum is terrific...check out the ancient solid gold torcs (necklaces)!!!; have you ANY interest in Irish history??? Have you seen the bullets holes in the old post office...and experience the Kilmainham jail? The Dublin City Tour bus is a great way to get around and see what catches your interest; St Patrick's cathedral? the organ Handel first performed his "Messiah"
One can EASILY spend a day or two in dublin. No, its not the lovely scenic views of other areas...I'm not saying it would be the ONE place I'd visit if I could only choose 1. But if I were flying in and out of Dublin, and had just 1 week on this trip but plans for another sometime, I'd stay on the east coast, and save Dingle and Dooling for a trip that starts at Shannon!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 09:02 AM
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If you like cities, you'll like Dublin. It's very different from the Irish countryside, which is what many people come to Ireland for. It's a modern city with all the conveniences and problems of any city.

kathcoll--I agree with you completely. And I can't wait to get back to Donegal this summer.
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