Tell your mom where to Ireland!

Dec 28th, 2010, 04:17 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 84
Tell your mom where to Ireland!

I'm planning a trip to Ireland next May and would love some advice! I'm a 60ish woman who prefers towns and villages to cities; likes to walk and explore; and enjoys beautiful scenery, good food, and traditional music. My husband and I did a thorough swing around Ireland in the early 1980s: We hit the typical tourist spots but didn't spend much time in any one place.

This time I'm landing in Shannon, visiting friends in Dingle for five days, and then striking out on my own for a week--using public transportation. I'd love to see the Aran Islands, so I'm thinking about taking a bus from Tralee to Galway, spending a day or two there, and then visiting Inishmor for two or three days--but I'm having second thoughts after reading Fodor's description of Galway, which includes phrases like the "liveliest place in the republic" and "jam-packed with pedestrians." Is that the case? Should I explore bus connections to someplace like Clifden or Westport instead of Galway? How easy would that be?

Any ideas for a week that includes the Aran Islands, employing public transportation from Tralee and eventually back to Shannon would be gratefully accepted. Pretend that I'm your mom, and you want me to have a good time--but be safe!
Kathyngs is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 05:13 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
You could be my younger sister.

Galway has the best connections to the Aran Islands if you are using public transportation. It is a "young" city, but it does have connections via bus or day tours to the Burren, Connemara, etc. The Burren would, I think, be the easiest by day tour, but the others could be done by public bus.

You will love the Aran Islands if you like to walk and explore. You can rent a bike and ride around Inishmore or take a tour in one of the minivans at the pier. By all means stay a night or two. The place is wonderful after the daytrippers leave on the last boat.
irishface is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Google "Galway bus tours" and you will get lots of choices. I didn't have time to check out all the websites, but a couple listed below looked interesting. had a walking trip to the Burren. gives timetables for public bus transportation.

I have heard of a company which uses an antique bus to take people around the Connemara region and has a humorous and knowledgeable driver/guide, but can't recall the name.
irishface is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 07:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 3,567
There is an excellent Ireland bus Journey Planner at:

See if you can get to Kenmare. Two (2) bus changes from Galway (at Limerick and Killarney) but well worth the effort. It has EVERYTHING you described as likes in your post.
Viajero2 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 01:02 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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I wouldn't worry too much about Galway being the "liveliest place". Some people tend to blow things a bit out of proportion. There are lots of young folks due to the uni, but after all it's not Daytona Beach or Ibiza during spring break. Especially not during the shoulder season you plan to travel. The town has a nice 1/2 mile pedestrian zone main street with several nice stores and many pubs. But it still is a small town with less than 100K inhabitants.

When traveling from Tralee to Galway via Limerick check out the Bus Eireann website mentioned before, and especially the new X51 express bus service from Limerick to Galway.

There are cheaper alternatives to Bus Eireann like, but they do not serve all the legs of your itinerary.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 84
Thanks for the help! I've decided to base myself in Galway, after all, and take day trips (by bus) from there. I liked hearing about the "small town" feel, and I've had a few recommendations for pubs from friends who have been there, so I'm all set!
Kathyngs is offline  
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