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Self Drive from Shannon to Dublin and back for 6nights/7days

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Mar 15th, 2012, 05:52 PM
  #1
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Self Drive from Shannon to Dublin and back for 6nights/7days

Hello Fodorites!

My husband and I (early 30's) are traveling from Boston to Shannon Saturday May 12 for a 6 night self drive vacation. We have preselected hotels for us staring in Co Clare May 13 then two nights in Dublin, following with 2 nights in Killarney, and ending with 1 night in Limerick.

So I'm a planner and have planned out a rough itinerary for our trip but also want to have free time to explore and not feel over whelmed with a must see list. I can overplan a vacation so I'm trying not to do this for this trip.

So far we land and I have us going to the cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle and then drive back to Co Clare through the Burren.

Then drive to Dublin via Galway and spend two days there.

Then drive to Killarney via Kilkenny for the first night there. Then the next day do the Ring of Kerry. Followed by exploring Limerick then leaving the next day.

What do you think? Anything along that route that is a must see. I would like to have time to get out and walk. I don't want to see Ireland just from the car. Anything suggested?

Thank you so much for your ideas and thoughts! Much appreciated!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Drop Dublin! either that or drop Killarney.

Seriously this is a lot for 6 nights. Where are you staying night 1? The Cliffs, Burren ,and Bunratty are all in County Clare. as are a lot of other places.

Driving to Dublin from Galway via Clonmacnoise is possible but having a car in Dublin is not wise.

If I were to Suggest the places on an Itinerary I would have Day 1 Clare. fine.

Then down to Killarney. Return the car to Shannon and get the Bus to Limerick and train to Dublin.

Train back to Galway then late bus to Shannon and stay at the Park Inn at the airport.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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Sorry possibly not clear, I would use the car in Killarney for touring round before returning it.

Just cuts Kilkenny but saves the hassle of a car in Dublin and a couple of days car hire.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:35 AM
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With an itinerary like this, I don't think you'll get much of a chance to get out and walk. We wanted to do a lot of walking on our 8-day trip to Ireland last May, so we restricted our itinerary pretty much to County Clare and County Kerry. It worked out great for us. We spent half of that time just around Killarney NP and around the Ring of Kerry. While you can "do" the Ring in a day, that doesn't give you much time to get out and walk or explore some of the scenic areas you will find. So, unless Dublin is a "must" for you, I'd consider dropping it from your itinerary to spend more time in the West.

Also, there are a lot of small towns with good accommodations within easy driving distance of Shannon Airport. You might want to choose a more scenic area for your last night in Ireland rather than Limerick.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 06:42 AM
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IMO, I'd stay strictly on the west coast for 6 nights. Dublin is just too far and too much time in the car seeing the motorway.

For Killarney, I'd stay in Kenmare--we liked it much better. Also, The Dingle Peninsula is absolutely fantastic. I wouldn't miss it. For us, it was far better than the ROK.

We liked the surrounging area of Kilkenny, but the town was nothing great, and you don't have the time to see much of that area.

We saw the west coast in 10 days and loved it so we returned to Ireland in 8 months time to kind of do the middle and mid-south landing in Dublin. For us, nothing compared to the Slea Head drive on the Dingle Peninsula. There are so many beautiful sights on the west coast from Shannon to Dingle you won't want to leave.

Good luck!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 08:33 AM
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I agree with the others. We had six nights in 2007 and spent them all in Killarney (I'd also stay in Kenmare), Dingle and Ennis (near Shannon). With what we wanted to see, adding Dublin or anywhere else would have been way too much, and we didn't even drive the Ring of Kerry - we hiked the Gap of Dunloe instead.

One thing to take into consideration is that your first day, flying (I assume) overnight from Boston, you'll be pretty jet lagged and have gotten little sleep. I wouldn't count on being ready to drive in another country, on the other side of the road, in a right-drive car, right off your flight. Driving in Ireland isn't bad at all, but you want some time to get your bearings. Whatever you do on your first day, make sure to take plenty of stops if you're driving so that both of you stay alert.

In case it's helpful, here's a link to my trip report. We went in June 2007 (scroll down - we went to England first!).

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...lus-philly.cfm
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Mar 16th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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I'm by no means a regular poster, but I have to weigh in on this. Driving in Ireland is extremely taxing --especially once you're off the main highways. Reading your plans, I think you should seriously amend your itinerary to concentrate in one part of the country as TPAYT suggested above. I stayed in Skibereen a couple years back (County Cork) and did day trips to Kerry, Kinsale, etc. Expect travel times to be at least twice what you'd expect them to be. And then expect them to be a bit harrowing (narrow roads; slow traffic). You'll have a great trip if you reduce your scope.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 02:44 PM
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Thank you so much for your responses!

The problem is that this is a package deal. I guess I did not make that clear in my original post. The deal was sent to us on Travelzoo and is from Aerlingus Vacations. We couldn't pass up the price and timing and we both have wanted to see Ireland.

So I guess it will be a fast look at Ireland but would still like to have the feel of it not flying by if that is possible.

The already made hotel reservations Co Clare for 1 night, Dublin 2nights, Killarney 2 nights, Limmerick 1 night.

This also means that we have a car with us at all times. Is there a place to park it out of Dublin for the 2 nights we are there?

I like all your thoughts on Dingle. It is important to know what people actually prefer and not just what I read in guidebooks.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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Are you locked into your hotels? Did you buy hotel vouchers? We personally prefer bed and breakfasts. I agree on skipping Dublin.

If you need some city, you could head up to Galway through Clare. Go through Lahinch and Ballyvaughn. Get out and walk in the small towns, have a cup of tea in a random hotel. Spend the afternoon walking around Galway.

Day 2, take a drive through Connemara. Stay Galway.

Day 3, drive to Killarney via Tarbert Ferry and base in Kerry for 3 nights. (We also love Kenmare.)

Days 4 and 5 stay Kerry.

Day 6 Back to Clare near the airport. Spend the afternoon in Bunratty, since that is on your list.
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Mar 16th, 2012, 02:53 PM
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Oops, I was typing while you posted!
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Mar 16th, 2012, 04:12 PM
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I love plans put together by travel agents who think they know about Ireland!

OK all is not lost. Which Hotel have they booked for you in Clare? No point putting lots of miles in after a Red eye. Plus the Clare location will determine if you should go north or south of Lough Derg on the way over to Dublin.

It is possible that the hotel in Dublin has a car park or is close to a rail link. (I use station car parks)

2 nights Killarney is fine, gives you chance to see a reasonable amount of the area.

Last night Limerick? Is this the usual Adare Manor deal or City Centre and what time do you have to be at Shannon for your return flight?

You can see Dingle on the way from Killarney to Limerick. I am not a big fan. Yes it is nice enough but for me it punches way above its weight as the Pretty Picture Tourist Magnet made famous by Rick Steves (who is not well regarded in Ireland) and a lonely Dolphin.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 05:11 AM
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Thank you Tony2phones for assuring me all is not lost on this vacation! Our reservation in Co Clare is made for Clare Inn Golf & Leisure Hotel. I think it is near Newmarket on Fergus.

Our last night is in Limerick at the Absolute Hotel & Spa where it mentions it is in Medieval Quarter. Our flight leaves the next day at 12:40pm so I would assume being at the airport around 9:40am.

Is it really true that I should double my driving times that Google Maps is giving me because of the slow roads? I'm really battling with needing to stay in our already booked hotel rooms so traveling quite a bit but also wanting a laid back real Ireland experience and not just driving through the country.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 06:38 AM
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It's St Pats and the Final day of the 6Nations Rugby. The BBC have the highlights of the Australian GP running along side the Wales v France match which is the title decider. at 5 we take on the English over there.

I will be back in 6 hours to offer more guidance on your itinerary ;-}
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Mar 17th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Google times assume driving at the permitted speed limit (even I don't always manage that) without slowing or stopping for towns or junctions. 10 or 15% extra on most routes will be fine.

Day 1 I will assume an early landing. The Clare Inn is indeed off the 1st exit of the M18 north 10 minutes from Shannon and It might be worth contacting them to see if you can drop your Baggage and perhaps get some Breakfast.

with the location it might be better to head to Dublin under Lough Derg so some of the Burren and perhaps the Cliffs can be done on this first day?

An alternative might be to Head up the main road to Galway for lunch and back down the coast past the cliffs for the evening.

There are a couple of pubs in NoF just down the road if you want to have a drink with the locals but after a long flight it may be an early night.

Bunratty Castle is also handy if you fancy the folk park, medieval banquet or both. You could also save this for the last evening.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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Day 2. A couple of options, Down to Limerick and the M7 straight to Dublin. Or a more scenic route, Cross country and over the Shannon at Killaloe/Ballina past Nenagh and up to Birr before Clonmacnoise and join the M6 at Moate to Dublin. This would be 4 hours plus stops,

Day 3. Dublin Hop on off bus tour Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse and other sights possible evening at the Brazen Head or in Temple Bar (if not weekend)

Day 4. Target Killarney. You can if you wish go via Kilkenny and or Cashel and Cahir (both on the more direct M8 route) for the Inland route. Or via Waterford and the south coastal road. Either way you would be on the road about 5 or 6 hours. so with stops a very full day.
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Mar 17th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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Awesome Awesome! This Fodor community is a lifesaver! I'll have to map all this out and get back with probably more questions!

Thanks!
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Mar 19th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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A note to Tony2phones - You say Rick Steves is not well regarded in Ireland. Should I take what he says in his guide book as a a lot less than accurate, or is there some other issue?
JohnOB
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Mar 19th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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An unfortunate trait of Mr Steves is that places He likes are the best places on the planet, places he doesn't are to be avoided like the plague. Combine this with a few illegal bits of advice like turning in the mirrors and fitting Learner plates to rental cars and simple inaccuracies of detail pail into insignificance.

For more views good and not so good have a look through
http://www.tripadvisor.ie/SearchForu...eturnTo=__2F__
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Mar 19th, 2012, 10:22 AM
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Day 5. You will have chance to do the ring of Kerry or Mucross, Torc Waterfall or possibly get off track slightly and do the Skellig drive on the north of the peninsula. Take 5 minutes for St Mary's church whilst in Town. The Danny Mann bar in the Eviston will have typical Oirish pub songs and tourists clapping away. I tend to aim for O'Connors or Tattler Jack's.

Day 6. you will have time to head round to Dingle and drive the Slea Head back to the town. Then over Connor Pass and to Tralee. I would go via Listowel which is in my list of best Heritage towns although the guide books will tell you to visit Adare. night in Limerick.

Day 7. Return the car and be at Airport security by 10.00 should be fine.

Any fine details just ask. and remember the above are suggestions. It's not my trip it's yours.
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Mar 19th, 2012, 11:09 AM
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I think Rick Steves writes in a very easy, accessible style that gives readers an easy to digest, initial orientation to a new country.

As with any guidebook, I definitely wouldn't recommend relying on him (or anyone else) as the sole source of information. Being on the Fodor's forums is a good sign you aren't doing that, though.

I always use a Rick Steves book, along with several others, when planning to visit a new country for the first time. He can be overly persuasive about certain things, but a second guidebook with contrary information is a great way to temper that.
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