Suggestions for driving tour of Ireland

Old Jul 2nd, 2005, 06:15 AM
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Thanks for sharing your incredible pictures! I am still working on the itenerary and hope to have it mapped out this weekend, as we are feeling pressure to book the places to stay.

So far, the towns to stay are Tipperary 1 or 2 nights(neat house in the country where we can go horseback riding and good base for Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle),Kinsale maybe 2 nights, Kenmare, Killarney, Dingle (somewhere on the penninsula near the beach). Am I on the right track?

I am trying to work Connemara into the plan. Guess it makes best sense to do that at the beginning or end of the trip as we are flying in and out of Shanon. Any suggestions on specific towns to get to? Had wanted to work Doolin in, maybe that could be a base?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2005, 04:22 AM
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"Hubby is leaning toward manual. We both know how to drive a manual, but haven't in a long time. I'm thinking it's hard enough to drive onthe left, much less shift on the right. Does everyone else agree?"

I disagree. Shifting a manual is not that that hard, even left handed - although it helps if you are left handed. Driving on the left is not that much of a problem between towns, because the roads are mostly 2 lane, so you just stay in your lane.

In cities, howevber, it becomes a nightmare. You become disoriented and unsure where to look for the dangerous oncoming traffic when making turns (especially if looking at direction signs) or going through traffic circles. You will inevitably make errors and end up in the wrong lane some of the time. Whether you have an accident is in the hands of fate.

But these difficulties pale in comparison with rthe real problem - the fact that the two lane roads are only 1 and a half car widths wide. Every time you pass an oncoming car you have to move over as far left as you can and hold your breath that you won't scrape the right side of your car against the oncoming one or the left side of your car against the stone wall on the your side. I couldn't understand why people kept talking about tire damage there. Now I understand. You spend a lot of time going up on the stones on the left side of the road to avoid the oncoming cars.

If you've never driven in Ireland, you have no idea what you have waiting. I am always amazed how little discussion of it there is, when it is the bioggest single issue in a trip to Ireland.

But if it's any consolation, no, the standard shift is not really a problem.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Ok, here is where we are on the itenerary.

Day 1 -- drive from Shanon to Tipperary (maybe with a side trip to Adare). See rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle. Stay at B&B in Tipperary that has horseback riding (Bansha house recommended in travel guide)

Day 2 -- horseback riding in am then drive to Kinsale stay in Kinsale on water if possible.

Day 3 -- stay second night in Kinsale.

Day 4&5 -- stay in Kenmare, perhaps with trip to Killarney Nat'l Park for hiking and a car ride across Gap of Dunloe. Maybe a ride to Mitzen Head on the way there.

Day 6 & 7 -- Stay somewhere on Dingle Penninsula. Preferrably with beach view or near beach? Drive the Connor Pass at some point here.

Day 8 -- Drive from Dingle up through Tralee, take Tarbert Ferry, see Cliffs of Moher and stay the night in Ennis or Doolin for a memorable last night of music in the pubs. Then a short drive to Shanon in the morning to catch an 11am flight home.

How does that sound? In this plan, we don't make it Connemara, though. In your expert opinions, should we forgo the Tipperary night and go to Connemara the first night and reverse the rest of the circuit? There are plenty of options for horseback riding in other places. I guess Days 6 & 7 could be in Kinsale if we reversed the circuit (are you following me?) and do Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle the last day, then drive to Adare or Bunratty for the last night. What do you all think? If we do stay the first night in Connemara, does anyone have suggestions for a specific town to shoot for?

We have the Town & Country B&B guide and next step is to book the accomodations. I kind of hate to lock any but the first and last nights, but we are planners and don't want to spend an hour every day deciding where to stay and calling for reservations. Any thoughts on that? You all are so wonderful. I can't tell you how much we appreciate your thoughtful responses.

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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 03:17 AM
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This sounds like a wonderful trip--will be watching for more info to help with our Oct. 19th trip...

But I have a question about "driving in Ireland"--we've driven on very narrow roads in the middle and north of England and around Scotland...and even in northern Poland, so I just wonder how "different" the Irish roads will be for us. We've had to back up to let people pass, and have had sheer drops on the sides. So I can't wait to compare. Are the roads really so horrid??

Can anyone comment on the comparison of roads, or are the roads just difficult for 1st time Euro drivers???
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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 04:25 AM
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With your 11:00am flight, Doolin may be a bit far. You'll probably want to get to the airport no later than 9:00am to turn in the rental car and check in, last minute shopping, and you have to clear immigration and process any tax free forms you have. All this could take a some extra time.

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Old Jul 9th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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My thought would be to save Connemara for another trip. Squeezing in one day up there doesn't really do the area justice.

Definitely stay in Ennis instead of Doolin for your last night. Ennis is a great town with lots to do (shops, music, pubs, restaurants) and it will put you much closer to the airport. Be sure to ask you hosts about drive times to the airport...there can be some congestion at peak times outside of Ennis.

Don't worry if you miss've got fantastic destinations in store, and although Adare is lovely, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you miss it.

When you get to Tipperary town, you might consider heading to Cashel first and stopping at Athassel Priory in's a big old ruin that you can wander around...the stop takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on how much time you want to spend. It's definitely off the tourist trail, but it's quite a significant site. In Cahir the walk between the castle and the Swiss Cottage is very nice.
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