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wsz Jan 2nd, 2007 02:25 PM

suggestions for Ireland itinerary
After reading many of the posts on this board, we decided to go to Ireland for 2 weeks instead of a week in Ireland and a week in Scottland. I have made a tentative itinerary and would appreciate your comments and suggestions. ( this board has helped us tremendously with trips in the past)

Days 1 and 2 Dublin
Day 3 Kilkenny, wiklow mountains, gardens of powerscourt, Rock of Cashel
Day 4- Waterford, Wexford
Days 5 and 6 Kinsale- Fort, Cobh, Cork, Blarney
Days 7,8,&9 Dingle, Ring of Kerry
Day 10 Galway, Clffs of Moher, Burren
Day 11 Aran Islands

We have about 2 more days and would love some suggestions. Also, let me know if i have included too many sites on a particular day or suggestions for other sites to visit.


IrishEyes Jan 2nd, 2007 03:02 PM

I think the order of your itinerary could be improved. Take a look at a map and you will see what I mean. For instance on Day 3 you are zigzagging all over the place. Too much planned for that day. BTW, when are you going? Are you departing from Shannon or Dublin?

lazuliangel Jan 2nd, 2007 03:46 PM

If you want to see the real Ireland, shave one day off that two-day commitment to Dublin. Dublin is about as far from 'real' Ireland as you'll get, so it's worth only overnighting and catching the biggies: Trinity, Temple Bar, Merrion Square and Stephen's Green. Take the rest of your time in the city and stroll around leisurely.

As Irisheyes said, you'll need to reorganise. Are you self-driving? If so, don't pick up your car in Dublin if you can help it. Then, plan to travel the circumference of the island. The Wicklow Mountains are quite nice and Glendalough is worth a visit. That's about half a day's tour there, depending on traffic and time of year. The Rock of Cashel is spectacular, but will only take you around two hours or so. Skip Wexford: do Waterford and then come west on the main Cork-Dublin road. Take your time near Youghal; park somewhere and go see the clock tower. It's a short stop, so it shouldn't take too much time.

It takes about 70 minutes to drive from Cork to Kinsale, but Kinsale town and the fort/harbour are worth their own day trip. Treat yourselves to one of the fabulous seafood restaurants in town. Cobh doesn't have much to see; instead, spend your extra time in Cork and Blarney. Come see Cork's English Market, Fin barre's Cathedral, University College, Huguenot Quarter and O'Conaill's chocolatiers. And stop at the French patisserie Petits Fours on Washington Street.

Head west towards Co. Kerry, but take the Ring of Kerry from Kenmare, not from Killarney. It's a roundabout way to go, but you'll avoid most of the other tourists, the buses and heaps of traffic woes. Stop in Kenmare if you can--it's worth the trip.

Two things to note: the Ring of Kerry has more towns, the Dingle Peninsula more incredibly scenery. So if you're looking to do a lot of little stops in villages (such as Waterville, where Charlie Chaplin stayed, or Valencia Island just off the Ring), you're better off spending the bulk of your time on the Ring of Kerry. If, though, you prefer nature to towns, you will not go wrong with the Dingle Peninsula, which will take you at least a day and a half to appreciate fully. The Connor Pass, Brandon Point, Dingle town, Inch beach... It will steal your breath away.

Spend a while in Galway if you can. I would suggest you plan to overnight there. Don't miss Kylemore Abbey as you head north.

You have two days beyond what you have listed? I highly recommend you do one of two things, again depending upon whether you prefer nature or cities. If you prefer nature, you would be wrong not to drive the N56 in and around Co. Donegal, heading towards Glencolumbkille, Slieve League and the Derryveagh mountains. You will experience some of the most jawdropping ocean views you will ever encounter. Then, if you have the time, continue to the Inishowen peninsula, all the way up to Malin Head, the northernmost point in Ireland. The drive up to the point alone is amazing: cresting the hill just before reaching it is awe-inspiring.

Additionally, you might follow this road till it joins up with the A2, which skirts the beautiful north Antrim coastline. There, you will find the delight that is Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the east coast. Stick to the coastal route, though, and don't be tempted to go inland: you will be handsomely rewarded by the scenery.

If outdoors-y things aren't in the plan, consider spending a day or two in Belfast. The city is fascinating, and has been experiencing a renaissance over the last few years. Take a black cab tour, visit Queen's University, see the shipyards where the Titanic was built and visit one of the many outstanding new restaurants and cafes.

If you STILL have time left (and at that stage, I doubt you would), consider a visit to Newgrange and Clonmacnoise (especially if you're into history). Newgrange is on par with Stonehenge and is located in the beautiful Boyne valley. Clonmacnoise's whispering door will fascinate.

wsz Jan 2nd, 2007 03:51 PM

we are planning to go in June and probably fly in and out of Dublin. We haven't made our flight reservations yet. In terms of the itinerary, my husband prefers to stay in one place for at least 2 nights and do day trips from there.. Hence- the zigzaging.

lazuliangel Jan 2nd, 2007 04:01 PM

In that case, you would be better off staying in strategically placed locations. In other words, instead of staying in Cork, find a B&B (they're everywhere: we prefer them here to hotels) halfway between Cork and Killarney; it'll cut your driving time down. Stay in Sligo if you want to do the northern sections. Stay in Galway for being within arms' reach of the Burren and Kylemore. But you would still be better served going around the country instead of back and forth, particularly if you're going to rely on public transport. It can be really tricky linking up train/bus schedules. As well in June, as you probably know, the tourist volume here is at its peak, so public transport is already strained. Roads, particularly ones you would need to travel, will be clogged (the Ring of Kerry will be the worst).

nbujic Jan 2nd, 2007 04:07 PM

you can take a small plane from Galway to Aran Islands , it is only 10-15 min. ride and worth the money.
I would spend a bit more time in Dublin;yes, it is not the "real Ireland" from movies, but it is a vibrant place with a lot of history.
Also, DART ( rapid transit) will take you to Sandy Cove (10-15 minutes )
and some other places on the Dublin
Bay worth seeing.

wsz Jan 2nd, 2007 04:09 PM

Lazuliagel- thanks for the great speciifics. It sounds like a good plan. I have a few questions though. If we follow your plan, where would you suggest we pick up the car and return it. Also which towns would be the best to stay for a couple of nights and see all of the places you mentioned?

CowboyCraic Jan 3rd, 2007 01:37 PM

With 14 days in Ireland, I would suggest an itinerary such as this:

Day 1 arrive Dublin, takin public transportation to your lodgings (most will stow you luggage), catch a hop on-hop off open top bus tour to catch all the major sites in Dublin
Day two - take a bus tour to New Grange
Day three- pick up rental car at airport head for Kilkenny lodge here for 3 nights and use it as your first base
day four- day trip to waterford & and down south to Hookshead Lighthouse.
Day five explore Kilkenny, a wonderful medieval city
Day 6 head to Tralee via Rock of Cashel, lodge here 3 nights, use Tralee as you second base
Day 7- day trip - Dingle Peninsula
Day 8- Day trip - Ring of Kerry
Day 9 head to Galway shave 85 miles off the trip by taking the Killimer/Tarbert Ferry,, take the coastal route to Galway, which will take you to the Cliff of Moher, lunch in Doolin and through the Burren; lodge in Galway 4 nights, use this as your third base
Day 10 - Catch a ferry from Rossaveal to Inis Mor, hire a ponycart or van to tour the island for the day
Day 11, explore Galway, take the hop-on-hop-off open top bus tour, make sure you eat at McDonagh's Fish & Chips in Eyre Square
Day 12 Catch a Bus Tour and see the Connemaras,
Day 13 (if you aren't already committed to departing from Dublin)head to Shannon and stay at the Great Southern Shannon Hotel for the night. The departure terminal is across its parking lot.

Use this site,, as a tool for planning your routes.

Enjoy your adventure!

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
Cowboy Craic

wsz Jan 10th, 2007 04:50 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions. We took a combination of your replies and came up with the following itinerary: I
June 5 : arrive in Dublin for 2 nights ( see sites)
June 6: bus tour New Grange
June 7: Drive to Kilkenny ( stay 2 nights)
( wicklow mts, Glendalough)
June 8 garden of powerscourt, Rock of Cashel
June 9 Drive to Kinsale ( stay 2 nights)
(visit Waterford, Charles Fort, )
June 10 Cork, Youghal)
June 11: Drive to Kenmare ( 1 night)
(Mucrosshouse, Kilarny)
June 12: Drive the Ring of Kerry
June 13: Dingle ( 2 nights)
June 14: Dingle
June 15:head to Galway ( take ferry) ( 2 nights)
( Cliffs of Mohr, Doolin, Burren)
June 16: Connemaras
June 17; head back to Shannon ( 1 night)(stop at Aaran Islands)
June 18: Depart for Chicago

We would love to stay at B&Bs and perhaps a castle. Any suggestions there?

wojazz3 Jan 11th, 2007 10:07 AM

Hi wsz:

It looks like your itinerary is starting to take shape pretty well. Here are some thoughts.

Contrary to some peoples beliefs, Dublin is very much the real Ireland and so much of Irish history has centered around the city. I like Dublin more every time I visit and i will say my first impression was not the best. With all due respect, if Tempble Bar is considered one of the "biggies" by someone, I can see why they didn't think much of the city. Visit Christchurch Cathedral. I stopped in one afternoon and the "childrens" choir was rehearsing. It was magical. You must go to Kilmainham Gaol. This is very moving. Ireland has a vibrant theater scene and that can be well worth it. Go to the north side of the Liffey for some fabulous trad at the Cobblestone Pub.

Yes, I too prefer small villages and scenery as you might guess from photos I take. But to suggest to someone that Dublin is not the real Ireland or as someone in another post said, not really Irish is absurd. It's a big city with big city problems but it really is interesting. There are alos other beers than Guinness (which is fine stuff, just not the only beer in town). The good news is that you will be arriving on a week day and so the city won't be quite so frenetic. I understand people not liking Dublin, I don't agree with them, but really, with 40% of the population of the republic in the greater Dublin area, it really is Irish.

Newgrange and Knowth is a nice tour from the city if you need to get out.

Do Powerscourt on the same day you do Glendalough. Powerscourt is actually substantially closer to Dublin than it is to Kilkenny and infact (depending on your route) is on the way to Glendalough.

Kilkenny is a great town to visit. A regular poster here (yesiree100) has assembled a great walking tour. Give it a look at You can easily spend a day tourin this interesting city.

If you have a big love of Waterford Crystal, then Waterford is a good choice. I don't know a lot about it, but the Irish tend to consider Waterford not the best. Kinsale, Tipperary, Dingle and Galway get pretty good reviews. Otherwise, Waterford as a city never did much for me.

Kinsale is a cute town and consider Cobh (Cove) instead of Youghal (Yawl) or Cork. Cork is gaining in popularity but is still considered difficult to drive in. I'm going to visit in Feb. Remind me and I'll let you know if it's changed much as far as ease of driving.

I can't tell fro your itinerary where you are spending the night of June 12. I would suggest Kenmare. One thing to consider on the RoK is to go through the interior. The road north off of the road from Molls Gap to Sneem is wonderful once it gets into the mountains. It's very narrow but well worth it. I like the south side of the RoK, but not the north as much.

Dingle is great. My favorite B&B in Ireland is The Shores which is on the north side of the peninsula.

The drive to Galway is fine and at that time of year, the ferry at Tarbert runs every 30 minutes. Doolin is not much to look at midday. It's attraction are the music pubs at night which are pretty crowded in June.

A small note, Connemara is a region (not preceded by "the") and isn't plural.

You won't be able to "stop" at the Aran islands. It's a full day trip. With your current itinerary, you'll need to either do Connemara or one of the Aran islands. You won't be able to do both.

B&Bs: In Kilkenny, I stayed at Laragh House. Very nice

In Kinsale I've stayed at Cephas House which I liked. A bit outside the village, but walkable. The views are fabulous.

I don't have a favorite that I've stayed at in Kenmare. On the road between Kenmare and Sneem, I stayed at Tahilla Cove Guest House. More expensive and not near town, but many of the rooms have balocies that look out on their own little cove.

Dingle: The Shores

Castle Options: Take out a second Mortgage ... Ashford Castle north of Galway and Dromoland near Shannon. I wouldn't make you castle stay your last day, because you want to relax and enjoy it and not have to ruch to the airport. Kilkea Castle is between Dublin and Kilkenny which would be another possibility.

OK, back to work. I've been coming back to this for a number of hours.


wsz Jan 12th, 2007 02:10 PM

Thanks Bill for the many tips and suggestions. I am guessing that staying in a castle is very expensive, so we'll probably strike that from the itinerary. Do you have any suggestions for what we can see on the way from Galway to Shannon? Also we were thinking about staying in Dingle on the 12th, after seeing the ROK. Is that a bad idea? Two more things- where is the best place to stay in Dublin. We want something centrally located, but not noisy, and where should we pick up the car outside of Dublin.
We won't pick it up until our 3rd day.

Thanks again,

wojazz3 Jan 15th, 2007 07:03 AM

Hi Wendy:

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Busy weekend.

It works fine to do the RoK and end up in Dingle. From Kenmare, I would do it clockwise and just past Waterville, venture out to the "Skellig Ring" and then on to Valentia island. You can drive onto Valentia at Portmagee and then take the ferry at other end. It think the views from Velentia are really beautiful.

If the weather is good, take the trip from Portmagee to the Skellig Islands. It is one of the most memorable things you can do. You would need an early start from Kenmare (8:15 would be best). I reserved a spot on the boat with Joe Roddy the day before and will stand as a highlight of all of my trips over there. Here's a link to my page where I talk about it.

I really like staying in Balsbridge which is just a bit south of the city center. It's about a 15-20 minute walk in or you can catch a very quick bus. I actually like the walk and it's a good way to shake out the cobwebs after a few pints. We stayed at the Pembroke Townhouse and it was affordable and comfortable. Again, in a very quiet neighborhood. The Aircoach drops you about 1.5 blocks from the hotel and it's an easy walk from there.

If you've never driven in Ireland, it's usually not a good idea to pick the car up in the city center. The easiest thing to do is catch the bus back to the airport. It depends on who you rent from as to where other rental places are. You do pay an extra fee for the airport pickup, but it may be well worth it for the ease of getting it. I got a great deal from Kemwel this year ( which is a consolidator. They tend to use Avis or Europcar. The price I had was cheaper in dollars than their competitors were in Euros.

As far as a castle hotel, I just took a quick look at Ashford and they were at E435 for a room that time of year. You may be able to get it a bit cheaper, but probably not a lot. That's a high time of year. The 16th showed no vancancies. Kilkea may also be a bit less.

In Cahir, there is a different kind of "castle" option. I've stayed at Carrigeen Castle which is actually an old jail. It's a neat old building. The owner is a bit fussy but the prices are similar to B&B stays. I enjoyed my stay there.
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