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SW Ireland Itinerary - any hidden gems we shouldn't miss

SW Ireland Itinerary - any hidden gems we shouldn't miss

Jul 20th, 2004, 08:49 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
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SW Ireland Itinerary - any hidden gems we shouldn't miss

Thanks to all for your good suggestions so far. I think we have finally settled on an itinerary for our September trip to Ireland (mostly West and Southwest). Any suggestions you have for sites, dining, or other favorites would be appreciated.
Day 1-3: Arrive Shannon drive to Ballynahinch Castle, explore Connemara area.
Day 4: Drive to Doolin, explore Burren, overnight at Ballinalacken Castle in Doolin.
Day 5-7: Drive to Dingle Peninsula via Talbert Ferry (taking in Cliffs of Moher on the way). Three nights at Shores Country House. One day spent exploring Dingle Peninsula, one day at Muckross and Kenmare.
Day 8 & 9: Kinsale, probably including trip to Dromberg Circle.
Day 10 & 11: Drive to Clonmel, two nights at Glasha Farmhouse. Visit Cobh, Shanagarry Village on the way. Visit Cahir Castle and Rock of Cashel.
Day 12: Drive to Dublin (actually staying north of Dublin at Red Bank Lodge).
Day 13 - depart from Dublin.
POlson is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You'll love the Shores. If you decide to have dinner with them (I highly recommend it), the dessert with a touch of Bailey's in it is GREAT!!!

The one day to do Muckross and Kenmare may be a stretch. You might want to consider 2 nights at the Shores and one night in Kenmare. It will cut down on the backtracking.

On your way to Kinsale, I would highly recommend a stop off at Mizen Head if you can fit it into your schedule. The views alone are well worth it.

Have a great trip!!
Budman is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 06:10 AM
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It seems you've the makings for a splendid Irish holiday. When in and around Kinsale, do try to spend at least a half day touring West Cork. This part of the county is a real treat, chock full of attractive villages and highly scenic drives. Take a leisurely drive through such places as Timoleague, Glandore, Castletownshend (lunch at Mary Ann's is a must; described by Irish novelist Edna O' Brien as "the best pub in the world"), and on to Baltimore, where you can take a short ferry ride out to Sherkin Island. With good weather on your side, a day driving in West Cork will drive-away any and all worries that you might harbor and cause you to cast your itinerary into the nearby Celtic Sea.

Best of luck.
DavidD is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 06:17 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Don't miss the museum of Irish culture out towards the end of Dingle pennisula, it's relatively new and a great insight into the wonderful and disappearing language and traditions. Enjoy your trip!
laurie_ann is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 01:06 PM
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Budman: I think you may be right that we will regret doubling back. I had hoped to have a few places on the itinerary where we could settle in (not too much hopping about) due to travelling with a youngster. Do you think there is enough to do from Castlegregory that we would be content at The Shores three nights? Perhaps we could make a stop at Muckross on our way to Kinsale (or skip in favor of a scenic route). We probably won't do Gap of Dunloe (I accept certain limitations exist when travelling with children, but I'd prefer to avoid that debate). Thanks for your help.

DavidD: Thank you for the West Cork suggestions. I have not given that part of my itinerary much attention yet. So your information should be very helpful.

LaurieAnn: Is the museum you mentioned relatively easy to find?
POlson is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 02:06 PM
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You can't miss it, a large contemporary building designed to fit beautifully in the surrounding landscape near the end of the Dingle pennisula. I looked for it on the internet and it is actually the Blasket Heritage Center (the Blaskets are one set of the small islands right off the coast there, although this museum is on the mainland)

I couldn't find a website for it, but did find a description and some details at www.heritageireland.ie which I copy here.

Telephone No:
Fax No:
Dún Chaoin, Trá Lí, Co. Chiarraí
+353 66 9156444/9156371
+353 66 9156446
Tip of Dingle Peninsula, 16km from Dingle (R559).

Opening Arrangements:
Date Day Time

Easter-June Daily 10:00-18:00
July-August Daily 10:00-19:00
September-October Daily 10:00-18:00
Last Admission 45 mins. before closing
(Open for bookings during the winter).

Average Length of Visit: 1 1/2 hours.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 05:41 PM
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With children, you are probably not going to be doing a lot of pub crawling.

I personally think 2 nights at the Shores would be more than plenty. Do not go to the Blasket Islands with children, especially if they are small. We drove past the Heritage center, but opted not to do it.

I can understand not doing the Gap with children, but Killarney/Kenmare and Muckross would be nice, and even the drives around the Beara and Mizen Peninsulas, you would have enough to occupy your time.

Build in some flexibility.
Budman is offline  
Jul 21st, 2004, 07:46 PM
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Just a few thoughts...

On the question on doing the gap. Not sure how old your children are, but it might be possible to just do the boat portion of the trip and return to Ross Castle by boat as well. Beautiful views and that way, not an all day affair. Check with one of the operators in Killarney if that suits you. They're open boats but roomy and fairly easy in and out. Maybe go check them out (they're docked by the castle) before you decide.

An alternative might be a jaunting cart ride through the park.

You might want to go from Cobh to Clonmel by way of the Vee drive for scenic views. Also not sure what you're dining habits are with the whole family along, but if you're in the mood for a little upscale-casual, the Jacob's Ladder restaurant in the Waters Edge hotel in Cobh is quite good. They have their menu out front if you're in the mood. I've seen families with children there.

A little scrambling over the karst rocks on the Burren would be fun. Also, the Poulnabrone Dolmen in that area is interesting if you get a bit of history on it.
Clifton is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 02:22 AM
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Last year I enjoyed a boat trip from Dingle pier along the coast to the Blaskets.On the way we saw Fungi the dolphin,who apparently no longer performs as regularly as he used to.We did not go ashore on the Blaskets but I hope to do so some day.Another interesting boat trip I have done is to the Skellig Rock-see www.skelligexperience.com for details.The boats leave from Portmagee every fine morning right across the bridge from the Skellig Experience center-make sure the boat you book gets you on to the 500 foot rock and is not simply a boat trip around it.
Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 318
I second visiting the Blasket Heritage Center. We didn't visit the islands themselves, but found the Center to be one of the best sites we visited during our two week trip to Ireland. The center's presentations are very well done and tell the story of life on the Blasket Islands and the eventual move to the mainland. In my view, well worth going out of the way for this one.
MileKing is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 06:58 AM
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As much as I love The Shores, I agree with Budman that spending an intermediate night in Kenmare between Dingle and Kinsale would be a good idea. That way, you could get Mizen Head in and then follow the coast along and see Drombeg outside of Glandore. As David says, there is much to see along that route.

Clifton's idea for the Vee Drive is good. You can pass through Lismore, which is a pretty little town and then follow the Vee Drive north.

A shorter jaunting car ride around the Muckross area would probably be great fun for the kids. I believe that there is also a model railroad museum in Killarney.

All in all, it looks like a very nice plan.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 12:35 PM
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I followed the boards and budmans advice and did go to mizen head- well worth it if the kids dont mind the drive detour (about one hour out of bantry) What people are not including on their SW trips is many of the leisurely walks around killaney natl park- (all near muckross) Torc waterfall and meeting of the waters were splendid, free ( unless you take the jaunting cars) and the best day we had. Spend a night in Kenmare at the Lodge, and have dinner at the limetree.
khepps is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2004, 07:07 PM
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Based on the excellent suggestions we've received so far, we've decided to trade our third night at The Shores for a night at The Lodge in Kenmare (fortunately they had an available room). This allows us a recommended stop in Glengarriff, a trip to Bantry house (which I wanted to do) and a more scenic drive to Kinsale. We will probably play Mizen Head by ear but the itinerary change leaves us more options. Torc Waterfall was on my list (as are most scenic walks) and we plan to drive Vee gap so its nice to hear good things. Thanks all for your suggestions. Oh, wojazz - do I need a reservation at Lime Tree?
POlson is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 10:03 PM
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we made a reservation at the lime tree to get a desirable 8op time-slot, to slide over for music at 9;30-10:00. We email-ed the Lodge and they made the reservation for us.
khepps is offline  
Jul 28th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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If you are into gardening you might like to visit Garinish Island which is only a few hundred yards off the coast at Glengariff in west County Cork.It costs around 11 Euro for the boat trip plus admission to the island.Allow about one and a half to two hours to see the entire island and the beautiful classical Italian style buildings there. See www.bluepoolferry.com for some photographs.
Jul 29th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 561
Ardfert: Thanks for the Garinish Island recommendation. I had read a little about the gardens in the guidebooks. It looks lovely on the website. On our new itinerary we will be passing through the area, so, if weather and timing favor a trip, I think we'll go for a stroll through the gardens.

khepps: Thanks for the tip on the Lime Tree.
POlson is offline  

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