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Sights in southern Ireland, am I missing anything?

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Feb 25th, 2009, 08:49 AM
  #1
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Sights in southern Ireland, am I missing anything?

We will be taking a short jaunt throughout the southern half of Ireland mid March, after spending St. Patty's Day in Dublin.

Day 1 - driving to Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, then settling in for the night in Galway at the Spanish Arch Hotel. Does anyone know if O'Brien's Tower is open yet? On the Cliffs website, it says the viewing tower is set to open back up in 2009.

Day 2 - driving from Galway to Cork, on the way visiting: Blarney, Bunratty Castle, Adare Castle. Is it worth the drive to Killarney to visit Muckross House? We would drive Galway to Killarney then shoot over to Cork. Any suggestions for accommodation in/around Cork? We are hoping to spend $75 US or less for a room.

Day 3 - We have a lot going on today. Cobh (maybe), Barryscourt Castle, Jameson Distillery, Cahir Castle, Rock of Cashel and Kilkenney Castle before settling in around Kilkenney. (suggestions for accommodation? would it be better for us to push on and stay around Kildare instead?) If Day 2 ends early, we may check out some Day 3 sights on Day 2.

Day 4 - we fly out to Spain at 3:30 pm. We were hoping to have time to visit Powerscourt before we head to Dublin Airport.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! Is there anything off of my list that we must see...or something on the list that is just so-so and could be taken off? Thanks!!
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Feb 25th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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nrosebrock wrote: "Day 3 - We have a lot going on today."

Not so much on days 1 and 2? This is not a realistic programme.

We don't have a St. Patty's Day.
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Feb 25th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Hi; Wow. Good luck. Agree with Padraig. Look at map and reconfigure your route. Then decide your 'top' priorities and go with it. Everything on your list is a place to visit, but you canno't do it all. iris1745/dick
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Feb 25th, 2009, 09:47 AM
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I know I have a lot listed, that is why I am asking for suggestions of what I can cross off the list.

I am sorry to offend you!
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Feb 25th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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What would you recommend we skip? This is what I would like help with.

For instance, would you rather visit Cahir Castle or Kilkenney Castle? We don't want to visit so many castles they end up all looking the same. I think I have picked out the more spectacular ones, but I will have to narrow it down even more...I just don't know what to cut!!

Would you suggest on Day 2 we visit Bunratty Castle, then spend more time around Cork, maybe visiting Cobh and the Distillery, and skipping Barryscourt Castle?

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Feb 25th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Hi; I don't think it's a case of being offended. Myself, I love every place you have mentioned. Perhaps what you should do, is go on WWW.amazon.com and purchase either the Eyewitness guide or the Michelin green guide. Then you could decide what is best for YOU. You can also get a Michelin map at the same time, to figure out your route. Usually, you can get a discount for books on Amazon. Plus free shipping over a certain price. Everyone here would be happy to help with hotel's or B&B'S. Also, there is a post on ' using suggestions by Fodorites'. Good reading. That would be my recommendation. I think other people who have been to Ireland more frequently, might offer you beter suggestions. iris1745/dick
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Feb 25th, 2009, 10:27 AM
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nrose"

Within the time constraints, I suggest you drive straight across the midsectont from Dublin to Galway (by the way, driving in Ireland, you won't be "shootng over to" anything...some of the two-laners are not bult for that kind of "shooting"....by making Galway your first stop, and then heading south makes more sense than the backtracking you propose (Dublin to the Cliffs, north to Galway. and then south ..for example).
I know the country looks small on a map, but after several drives around the entire perimeter (including Northern Ireland), I found out differently, even though I'm a certified map freak. Just for example, Dublin to Galway is 140 miles, Galway to Cork is 130 (miles not kms.) Besides, you'll be taking away a lot of the slow-trav fun of realy seeing and drinking in the beauties of the Irish experience.

Attempting to do this in three days..yikes...is not a
"short jaunt"..please believe all of the above posters...most especially young Padraig, our resident native, and Iris.

Best of luck, nrose..

Stu T.
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Feb 25th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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We are discussing a three-day trip, starting and ending in Dublin. It will be March, with days that are not too long. Your mean speed will be about 45 mph on the main roads, 30-35 mph on most of the roads in your outline plan. Put in an average one-hour stop at each place you visit. It's just not practicable.

I'm used to Irish roads, and know my way around. You would find it hard to persuade me to fit in your programme in a week. I don't want to suggest what you do instead, because I have no idea what would interest you most. I rather think that you don't, either. For example, you don't seem to know that Cahir Castle and Kilkenny Castle are quite different.

So I don't know what to suggest, except lots of cutting.
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Feb 25th, 2009, 10:58 AM
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Thank you tower and iris.

iris - I do have some guides already, specifically the eye witness which is wonderful...but it is also makes it harder to cross something off of the list! I made the 'offended' statement because I think I offended Padraig by calling it "St. Patty's Day".

tower - Going to the Cliffs first is out of the way, but in my mind I thought we could then spend the rest of the day in Galway after seeing the Cliffs. It would probably be better to go to Galway and spend the day there, then visit the cliffs.
I planned it the way I did because I've been looking at the google drive times, and it says 3 hrs from Dublin to Galway. So I was thinking we could leave Dublin at 8 am and get to the Cliffs by noon, spend a couple of hours in the area and be back to Galway by late afternoon. But you all have experienced more of Ireland than myself, so if you say it is too much then I will listen!

The hard part is that I know I will be coming back to Ireland at some point, my husband and I LOVE what little we have seen so far. But...we are bringing my mom along on this trip, and she wants to see everything! My dad doesn't like to travel, so when she goes with us, she wants to maximize the time!
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Feb 25th, 2009, 12:49 PM
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nrosebrock wrote: " I made the 'offended' statement because I think I offended Padraig by calling it "St. Patty's Day"."

You didn't. It took the whole American nation to create that execrable appelation, so I can't, and don't, blame you for it. I'm just trying to improve your understanding of Ireland.
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Feb 25th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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Isn't "Paddy" the nickname for Patrick/Padraig, rather than "Patty" (which I think of as a girl's name)?
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Feb 25th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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With only 3 days, I would skip most of that list and focus on the Southeast.

Dublin - Wicklow Mountains/ Glendalough/ Powerscourt - Kilkenny (stay for the night) - Cashel/ Cahir/ Swiss Cottage (also Blarney if you must) - Cork (stay for 2 nights) - daytrip along the coast as far as you want to go, return to Cork for 2nd night - drive along coast (or faster via N8/M8) back to Dublin to fly to Spain.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 05:17 AM
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If you get in to the Dublin airport fairly early in the morning, I would suggest you stop on your drive to Galway in Roscommon at the Strokestown House Famine Museum. This stop would give you a real feel for what happened in the mid 19th Century which sent so many of the Irish people to North America and Australia. I don't know what you focus of interest is, but That is one stop we made, and were very pleased with the museum and the house tour. That would give you plenty of time in Galway City and the nightlife in a pub.

The trip south from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher the following day would make sense. Padraig's assessment of the travel speeds are pretty well on target. The roads along the coast are pretty slow going, and there are many little towns which are great fun to see, but slow down the travel.

It would be great to find a good loop route with little backtracking, but given your interests, that may not be totally possible.

I would make every effort to see the Rock of Cashel. We found it very interesting and well worth the time to visit. I have a preference for the small towns of Ireland over the cities. Cork, Galway and Dublin are not my favorite places, but that's me, not you. We spent an entire week visiting small towns along the Shannon River, and had great fun meeting the residents in the pubs and very few fellow tourists. Maybe you'll get a chance to see the real Ireland on another trip.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 06:00 AM
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nrose: I think all of the posters above in reply to your schedule, seem to agree on one major point that your current sched does't take into account.....if there ia a country in the world that is most deserving of "slow travel", it's Ireland. I hope you can adjust accordingly. Your mom would sure appreciate that, too.

Stu T.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 07:43 AM
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We too plan to be in Cork county in May. We are from California and have no right hand drive experience, although we are good drivers here. Should we even contemplate a car rental. Our less ambitious itinerary will be Dublin to Cork then on to the Skibbereen area and back to Shannon airport.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 07:51 AM
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danri92131, you have no good alternative to hiring a car for such an itinerary. Dublin to Cork is mostly motorway or dual carriageway. The rest will involve mostly single carriageway, including a good deal of hilly and winding road, but scenic.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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nrosebrock, please listen to the above advice. I average about 35mph on Irish roads, as they are windy, narrow, and have the occasional sheep or tractor on them

With only a few days I would explore one area, such as around Dublin, or around Shannon, if you can change your flights to go in and out of that airport.

Dublin itself has some wonderful sights, and there are many daytrips that would be great.

Glendalough Abbey in the south, combined with Powercourt Gardens and Falls, makes a wonderful day.

North, there is Malahide (for a manor house experience), Trim Castle, Newgrange, Hill of Tara, and Slane. Come back along the coast and hang out at the beach

Even heading west you could easily spend a good day in Kildare area, with the National Stud Farm, Japanese Gardens, St. Brigid's Well, and the like.

Dublin itself holds many wonders, including the Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Book of Kells, the Gaol, etc.

Please don't make your first glimpse of this magical isle the 'green blur' tour - it won't do it justice

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Feb 26th, 2009, 08:31 AM
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Would it be possible for you to reverse your itinerary? For instance, this might be more doable:

Day one: Drive from Dublin towards Cork/Cobh, stopping along the way to visit the
Rock of Cashel (where the high kings of Ireland were crowned - this area is very beautiful and mystical),
Cahir Castle (far more interesting than Kilkenny Castle, which is really just a big manor house where the focus is just on the Butler family. Kilkenny is also very crowded, and it's really hard to find parking. Cahir Castle is the fortress type of castle, and the tours there are very good.), and then settling in to Cobh.

If you still have time on this day, you could visit Blarney Castle, and if you don't have time, you could do it first thing the next day. The thing about Blarney Castle is that there is so much more than just kissing the Blarney Stone. You'll want to give yourself enough time (at least two hours) to explore the castle and maybe the caves underneath, walk around the grounds, visit the Rock Close (on the grounds) and maybe even have a picnic there in the beautiful setting.

Day 2: If you're interested in the Killarney area, focus on the Gap of Dunloe (take a horse-pulled jaunting cart halfway through - it's very beautiful scenery), Ross Castle, Muckross House and gardens (if you like the big manor houses), and Muckross Abbey (where Cromwell slaughtered all the monks and nuns when he came through). If Killarney isn't that interesting to you, skip it. I don't think the trip is worth it just for Muckross House alone. If you want to include Killarney, you might want to plan a night here.

Continue up to Adare and eventually to the Cliffs of Moher. If it were me, I'd plan to stay the night near Bunratty (backtracking a little after the Cliffs of Moher) so as to attend the Medievel Banquet at Bunratty Castle. It's really a lot of fun. There are several B&Bs right nearby, and it would be a nice stop and a fun activity for your last night. Also, right next to Bunratty Castle is the Bunratty Folk Park, which is a recreated Irish village, and that's a great place to visit to learn about the Irish way of life before the Famine.

Did you have a particular reason to stay in Galway? If not, you could make Bunratty your third night, then head back to Dublin via Limerick.

(FYI, King John's Castle in Limerick is also worth a visit, and if you're interested in Angela's Ashes, Limerick is where the story took place. I don't want to add more to your already booked schedule, but it might be something else to consider.)

Keep in mind that with the exception of the roads just outside of Dublin and Limerick, you probably won't average more than 40 miles per hour. It's also highly likely that you will get lost (which is not a bad thing!), but you'll want to budget time for it.

Also, I would budget at least two hours for most of the places you want to visit. Some places you can manage in an hour, but other places, you can't always predict how long you'll have to wait before going in (Kilkenny Castle and Muckross House especially).

One last thought: Since most of the sights you want to see are in and around the southwest, would it be possible for you to fly in and out of Shannon? That would cut off so much driving time for you.

Have fun!
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Feb 26th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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We are going to Ireland that week also for six nights and tried to pare down the sights in order to give each place the time it deserves. Dublin 2 nights,sightseeing: Book of Kells, the Gaol, Guiness, St Patricks and Merrion square for St. Patricks festivities. Kilkenny One night sightseeing: Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle. Dingle Town, One night, St Patricks festivities, Dingle Peninsula drive. Two nights Shannon Sightseeing: Cliffs of Moher,and other sights around Shannon, not sure of Bunratty Castle. We are flying into Dublin, and driving to each location and flying out from Shannon.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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Also remember that a chunk of each day will be taken up with packing, checking out, driving to new destination (you will want to make stops along the way!), finding the new place to stay, checking in, unpacking, etc. You would be surprised at how much time this can take each day - which is why I've foresworn one-night stands except for occasional stops. My last trip to Ireland was four nights in each spot (16 day trip), Ennis, Killarney, Kilkenny and then Dublin. It was a great way to get and actually enjoy the spot, rather than arriving at 3pm and having 2 hours before everything closes
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