Scotland and Ireland trip

Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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Scotland and Ireland trip

This forum has provided superb travel advice for me over the past few years so I cannot commit to a trip without ensuring it passes the Travel Talk muster. I've reviewed past advice on Scotland and Ireland and I believe I have a good itinerary, but to make sure, I'd welcome input on the following, especially the days where I remain undecided.

9/15 Fly Houston to Glasgow
9/16 Glasgow
9/17 Glasgow and train over to Edinburgh, remaining overnight in Glasgow.
9/18 Optional -- More Glasgow or more Edinburgh. Pick up rental car.
9/19 Relocate to Stirling. Driving up through A84 and A85, looping down via Loch Lomond to A811 back to Stirling.
9/20 Tour Stirling, leaving in afternoon for Prestwick, flying to Shannon via RyanAir. Pick up rental car at Shannon, overnight at Bunratty Lodge.
9/21 Drive to Dingle. Booked in Greenmount.
9/22 Dingle
9/23 Relocate to Kenmare. Booked in Hawthorn House
9/24 Kenmare
9/25 Drive to Doolin. Booked in Cullinan's.
9/26 Doolin
9/27 Relocate to (here I could use advice: Galway or Clifden? Our primary objective here is Connemara, but Galway environs have appeal, as well.)
9/28 Either Galway or Clifden.
9/29 Relocate back to Bunratty Lodge.
9/30 Fly back to States.

I lack a sense of distances in this trip. For example, am I booking these locations too close together, and could we do more? I am particularly unsure about the Scotland portion, because we could be biting off more in-car time that we'd like...

Final details: there will be two couples, in single rental cars, and we are looking at mid-sized autos with manual transmissions. Quotes on cars have not been half-bad, but Lord, the price of insurance about doubles it. Do we need personal accident insurance (50 euros) damage excess insurance (100 euros) and master cover gold (200 euros)??
We do have CDW through platinum MC.

Comments? Suggestions? All are welcomed, and much appreciated since this trip is special: 25-year anniversary!


JimF is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2004, 10:42 AM
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Sounds like you have a nice trip planned--but seems to me like you are not spending enough time in Scotland!>)
Of course that is a personal choice. We are taking your same flight in April...from Houston to Glasgow, so I guess we are both Texans, or Houstonians. We have been 4 times to Scotland and once to Ireland. Love them both! The time we went to Ireland we drove around 9 days and saw a LOT of the country, then flew over to England and drove 5 days around the Cotswolds. can get the car in Glasgow and head straight for the Sterling area, or once we just drove the 45 min to Loch Lomond (Luss) after flying all night. Then Edinburgh,,, we have twice driven right down into the center of Edinburgh and it was fine, but that is your own choice. Or you can stay at a place a little way out of town and take public transportation into the city for a day. (or really.,,, the way you have it planned is fine, but if a choice I would spend more time in Edinburgh than Glasgow.) You are really not seeing much of Scotland, but then a little is better than nothing.
Are you aware that Ireland is one of the few countries in the world that are real "sticklers' about car insurance...insisting on the CDW and other things. We were excempt of that by getting a LETTER from Mastercard saying you are covered. We never buy any other insurance and it has worked fine. Ireland is so beautiful, however the roads as a whole are in very bad shape. Dingle is wonderful, the Slea Head drive is gorgeous and we too stayed at the wonderful Greenmount. The breakfast is "exquisite". (Ring of Kerry drive is not necessary at all,I've heard). Kenmare is a wonderful town also. We just drove through Doolin, getting from Bunratty to Galway. Doolin is VERY small, one very short little street, 2 or 3 pubs etc....but a lovely area. We only went as far as Galway, so can't help you with Clifden, but I understand it is lovely also.
After we left Kenmare, we went down to Kinsale, up through Waterford, and on into Dublin for a day.
One can't do everything in two weeks, but it sounds like you have a nice trip planned. You COULD do Scotland on another trip,,,so many interesting places like St. Andrews, the Highlands around Inverness, Isle of Sky, Oban, etc....but you will get a taste of it on your trip and perhaps return sometime. The Irish also are wonderful, helpful people and truly have a beautiful country .
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Old Feb 20th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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Unless you have some compelling reason like family roots or something, personally I'd swap Glasgow for Edinburgh. I've been to and stayed at both, and find Edinburgh has more to offer, but maybe it's just personal preference. A day in Glasgow was more than enough for me, yet I've been back to Edinburgh twice.

As for your choice after Doolin, I'd say Galway, but it may be culture shock after staying in Stirling/Dingle/Doolin for the previous nights, so if you're looking for small town, Clifden is probably your better bet.
amyb is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Thanks, Mari3 and ambyb. We have done some of Scotland, resulting from oil patch biz in Aberdeen (correct, Mari3, Houstonians...) and did whiskey trail, several castles, and the Gampians. Not enough, but at least a start. This trip we wanted to focus on Ireland at the request of the other couple, but wanted another "taste" of Scotland while there.

Amyb, your reaction to Edinburgh over Glasgow is consistent with a number of others who have commented on our plans. I think we will stay with the same accommodations (using Glasgow as base) and plan to get over to Edinburgh more than just one day.

As for Galway vs. Clifden, I am leaning toward Clifden or Renvyle.

Thanks again.
JimF is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2004, 01:14 AM
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commenting only on the Scottish bitbr />
I think that Stilring is too close to Glasgow for this to work well for you. I agree with mari, that, were I you, I'd head up to Stirling (it's well under an hour and all motorway) and use that as a base from which to visit both Glasgow and Edinburgh. That way it gives you a chance to work out which is your preferred city for 2 days and which for 1.

Less movement. More cover

sheila is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2004, 05:22 AM
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I too would stay in Edinburgh (1st choice) or Stirling (close 2nd choice) before I would stay in Glasgow.

You can easily do a day trip into Glasgow from either one and both would be better places to base for your short time in Scotland.
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Old Feb 21st, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Concerning your Galway/Clifden dilemma, allow me to suggest two overnights in Galway City.

Galway has litle in the way of must-see historic sites, but it has an energy and buzz about it that's quite contagious. The pedestrian zone is colorful and good fun, featuring numerous pubs and fine eateries. It also contains the very best bookstore west of Dublin, Kenny's. Don't miss it. Galway, moreover, makes a great springboard for trips into Connemara, its national park and Kylemore Abbey, to name but a couple attractions.

Clifden, meanwhile, benefits from a striking location, and yet the town lacks personality, with little to offer (there are, however, some good accommodations).

Driving north from Doolin, you'd do well to settle yourself for two days in Galway City, dedicating one day to the city itself and one to an exploration of points west.

Best of luck.
DavidD is offline  
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