Southern Ireland

Old Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:10 PM
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Southern Ireland

Flying from USA into Dublin this summer and will pick up rental car morning of arrival. Plan to leave Dublin airport immediately and drive to Galway for first night, to Limerick for second night, to Killarney for two nights, to Waterford for one night and back to Dublin for remainder of vacation. Should I cancel Galway? Lots of one night stays so doesn't seem as if we will have a lot of sightseeing time. We definitely want to go to Killarney. Grandson plans to golf there. Any suggestions on place to golf around Killarney? We have hotel reservations in the places mentioned but we can change/cancel. I am a grandmother in early 70's who will be traveling with grandson. Thx for any advice.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:26 PM
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Please reconsider driving your first day -- or at least any more than a few miles. You will be jet lagged and adapting to driving on the left. Could be a recipe for a total disaster. Why not front load Dublin? You won't need a car in the city, so stay a day or two and then collect your car when leaving Dublin for your loop tour.

Also - is there a particular reason you included Waterford? Not really much worth seeing there and it takes up too much of your limited time.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Thanks so much for your suggestion. I do have a hotel reservation at an airport hotel the first night of arrival (also have one in Galway for same night). Plan to cancel one of them so will keep the Dublin one and try to add extra nights. Are Galway and Limerick worth going to? I'll try to move my reservations back to front load Dublin.

No particular reason to go to Waterford either so will cancel this one too. I think the factory might be closed anyway. Don't plan to go to Cork as it's so large and a lot of traffic.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 08:58 AM
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IMHO Galway is great. It's known for great music, there are some unique geographical areas nearby, and the food and history of the area stands out somewhat from other places in Ireland.

Limerick is a grey commercial town. I really enjoyed myself there but would have a hard time recommending it to others.

I didn't particularly enjoy Waterford and I believe the Crystal factory tours aren't open now.

I was pleasantly surprised by Killarney and I don't think anyone is wasting time by going to either Blarney or Cashiel.

The Ring of Kerry or Dingle Penninsula are scenic. It's good you have a car. There are ancient sites on either loop that make the trip worthwhile that the buses never stop at.

Other things you should include is a day trip to the Boyne Valley North of Dublin, see the Hill of Tara and Newgrange. You should also try to see a monastic Settlement. Either Glendalough, South of Dublin, or Clonmacnoise (I think right on the way between Dublin and Galway?).

The best part of Ireland is the people. Unfortunately, Dublin is a city and cities are similar (crowded and impersonal). Spend as many nights as possible out in smaller towns to experience the people. Take in as many traditional sessions in local pubs as you can find (children are welcome till about 9pm, more or less, depending on where you are). Eat pub food and don't be shy about talking to locals. A simple question will probably start a long conversation.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 09:41 AM
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Thx for your suggestions. Hopefully we will be able to rearrange our hotel reservations. In Dublin we will stay at airport and ride bus back and forth to city.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 09:43 AM
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Oh - I'd stay in/near Dublin the first night, but not at the airport. There is no need since you can easily get to any city center hotel. You arrive in the morning, so I'd stay in Dublin proper, not out at the airport.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:43 AM
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What bdj said.

Also check out www.irelandyes.com - Michele has a great forum and has been to Ireland about 40 times.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 10:53 AM
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janisj - We were planning to stay at airport because that's where we pick up rent car. Can you suggest an airport in city center hotel?
GreenDragon - checked out the website - thx for this info.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 12:23 PM
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I'd personally not stay at the airport just because that's where I'll pick up my car. But that is just me. IMO Airport hotels are for when one has a REALLY early flight out or lands really late at night. Neither of which applies in your case. A soulless, business-class hotel outside of the city just would not be my choice.

I meant that you might consider doing the Dublin part of your itinerary first and then pick up a car and do the county bits. But I agree - Dublin is not one of my all time favorite cities. On such a short trip I might not spend any time there. However, that still leaves the problem of driving in a jet lagged stupor. And riding a train for 2 or 3 hours and then driving is not any better. I'm not exaggerating the issue. If one has an accident driving after an overnight flight, it is considered impaired driving and the penalties can be severe.

So take the train somewhere you want to see anyway - but just stay there until at least the next morning before collecting a car. (If it had been me, I would have flown in/out of Shannon and avoided Dublin altogether)
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 01:26 PM
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jsnisj - Can you suggest a hotel in Dublin city? I made an error in my previous message and said "can you suggest an airport in city center hotel."
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 01:50 PM
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Great advice, as always, from GreenDragon. I assume you already have your airline tickets, so cannot convert from Dublin to Shannon? (Much easier in and out)

An alternative to staying at the Dublin airport is picking up the car and heading to a village like Malahide, which is convenient to the airport, and a also a short ride into the city by public transportation (you do not want to drive in Dublin). It's a fairly long drive to Galway, but certainly worth it when you are rested and have gotten used to driving on the left..unless you have done so before?

How old is your grandson and what kind of golfer? That will make a difference in which course he would most enjoy. The golf course in Killarney itself is a parkland course, not a links course. The links courses are tough and pricey (for the most part), but the Ireland experience that most visiting golfers strive for.

Finally, agree with others -- ditch Waterford and Limerick (IMO Blarney too, if you were considering that). There are many other locations much more worth visiting.

By the way, how many nights in total? I am sure there are several posters who can help you with an itinerary.

How nice of you to take your grandson on this adventure!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 07:04 PM
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colbeck - grandson will be 23 and is not an excellent golfer (85 to low 90's). I just talked w/him and he said for him the parkland course would probably be best.

We will have 7 nights in Ireland so not much time. We are ditching Waterford and Limerick. We have reservations in Killarney for the 3rd & 4th nights and would like to work around these. We definitely want to go through Cahir either to or from Killarney. Will spend 1st night in Dublin city center hopefully - don't have a reservation there yet. Could also do 2nd night there but it would be a long drive to Killarney to get there 3rd night so maybe spend 1st night in Dublin and 2nd night on way to Killarney (any suggestion on where to stay?). This also leaves 5th & 6th nights as we will stay in Dublin night before departure. We wanted to do most of our shopping in Dublin right before we leave for home.

Our air reservations are into Dublin airport and these can't be changed. Possibly we could get a commuter flight from Dublin to and from Shannon if it's not too expensive and pick up rent car in Shannon?
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Old Apr 3rd, 2009, 07:43 PM
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I'd suggest Kilkenny for 2nd night? You could drive there via Powerscourt and Glendalough. See Castle/possible side trip to Jerpoint Abbey if you have the energy? Stopping at Cahir en route, drive to Killarney for 3rd and 4th nights. Then perhaps Dingle for 1 night? Then take Tarbert ferry over to Co. Clare with for Cliffs of Moher and drive through the Burrens, with 6th night in Doolin? Ennis? or even Bunratty? Usually there are no big one-way dropoff charges on rental cars, so next morning FLY from Shannon to Dublin (cheap airfares on Ryan if you book in advance) then shop til you drop. 7th night in city or near airport depending on what time your homeward flight departs.

Key might be to figure out where you want to spend nights #1 and #7 -- if you fly into Dublin, do you want to spend time getting into/out of city (with your luggage) for a 1-night stay...or stay in outskirts and use public transport (like Colbeck suggests) for shopping/sightseeing.
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Old Apr 4th, 2009, 04:46 AM
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That's a good suggestion - Kilkenny is not too far away from Dublin for a day's drive, there is time to visit Powerscourt and Glendalough (highly recommended!) on the way, and Kilkenny itself is a wonderful medieval city. It's got a castle, two cathedrals (yes, I know, two - one is Church of Ireland, one is Catholic), and lots of little byways and slipways. Check out Kytler's Inn for some trad music, depending on the night. We had fantastic sandwiches at the Marble City Inn.

Rock of Cashel (allow several hours!), Cahir and the Swiss Cottage are great stops from Kilkenny to Killarney.
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Old Apr 4th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Suggestions excellent. I found the Tarbert Ferry on my map and found directions to get to Cliffs of Moher and drive through the Burrens. It's 60.5 miles from Dingle to the ferry and takes 1-1/2 hours.

We have to be at Dublin airport early morning for our flight home so will probably spend 7th night at airport.
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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Can someone tell me if there are tolls and where you pay them when driving from Dublin airport to Kilkenny, from Kilkenny to Cahir, from Ennis to Dublin? I have driving directions and the cost of tolls. I guess what I mainly need to know is will there be signs indicating toll booths so I will know when to stop and pay tolls. Thanks.
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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To drive through The Burrens from when you get off Tarbert ferry, do you head to Doolin? Thx
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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I don't remember any toll booths on the first two roads, haven't taken that third one. In fact, I don't think I've seen a toll booth in Ireland yet

PS, it's The Burren, not plural. It means 'rocky place' I think.

And yes, you can take the road to Doolin, and then north to the Burren from there, or drive inland to Ennis and up from there. It all depends on whether you want to drive the coastal drive first or second The Burren drive is like one big circle, if you like.
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Old Apr 6th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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GreenDragon: Thanks for your help - I'll remember it is the "Burren".

Might fly from Shannon to Dublin but so far only airline I have found is Aer Lingus and it departs at 7 a.m. Does anyone know of other airlines flying between Shannon & Dublin? Ryan doesn't fly this route.
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Old Apr 11th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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Comments on whether we will be able to drive from Tarbert ferry through Cliffs of Moher and The Burren, then make it to Bunratty for the night? We would like to get to Bunratty before dark.
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