Ten days in Western Ireland

Old Jan 9th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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Ten days in Western Ireland

My fiance and I will be honeymooning in Ireland on June 14-24, and we plan to fly into Shannon. We want to spend time in Clifden, Galway, and Dingle and their surrounding areas (Aran Islands, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, etc.). The airport appears to be right in the middle, though, and we don't know how to best go about travelling from place to place.
Could you suggest a good plan? Should we go to Dingle first and then up to Clifden, or vice versa?
jennylyn is offline  
Old Jan 9th, 2005, 10:37 PM
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Jennylyn - suggest a rental car, a good driving map of Ireland, list of B&B's in those areas, and do as we did, just go where your heart tells you go, don't have a plan, start at Shannon, and make sure to visit the little villages off the beaten track, like Kilfenora.
We stayed at Irish farm B&B's and just loved it, no need to stay right in town. At Dingle our farm house had the most breathtaking sea views, one could ask for, and when we felt like dinner & pint of Guiness, we just drove into Dingle, which was only a few miles away.
However, in the morning, it was heaven to wake up to the farm sounds. The owners dog used to run alongside of us, trying to eat our tyres. We could see him sitting on a stone wall each afternoon waiting for us. Luckily we left Dingle for 4 good tyres.
The cliffs of Moher, is really only a short visit. The ring of Kerry is the road which circles around that peninsula, and only a portion of this road would be considered "Scenic". You will understand, once you driven this route. One place which we really loved, was Killarney National Park, great walking tracks. There is a nice lookout, I think was called Molls Gap from memory.
Don't always stick to the main roads in Ireland, it does pay to take the less travelled minor roads, less tourists, interesting places to see, it just takes longer, so don't rush Ireland.
tropo is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2005, 03:29 AM
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There are some very elegant B&B's, but I think Castles are more appropriate for a honeymoon trip than B&B's. It's a once-in-a-lifetime trip: you'll want to do once-in-a-ifetime stuff and take photos so you can treasure them among your fond memories.

Dromoland Castle, where G.W. Bush stayed last June, is close to Shannon airport (Newmarket on Fergus?). You might consider it for your first or last night in Ireland. Or, you could use it as a base for exploring west Clare.
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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Jennlyn - I agree with Ned, a little more upscale for a honeymoon would be good. In Clifden we have stayed at Quay House which is a converted convent, which is cool...right across from the bay. In Galway I would recommend the Ardilaun (our relatives own it), b/c it's close to pubs, shopping, etc. If you want to do Aran Islands, make sure it's not windy the day you want to go. The Cliffs are something not to be missed, make sure you go to Doolin closeby for some pints and great music. If you are flying out of Shannon, I would head north first, then track back, you could stay in Adare at Dunraven Arms the night before your flight, not across the street at Adare...too pricey for what you get, we've stayed both and would go back to Dunraven instead. Hope this helps!
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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I don't think the order that you travel makes a huge difference, whether you go north or south first.

My first suggestion would be to book rooms before you go. Since this is a honeymoon, you might lean towrads the nicer places and those tend to book up fast. Would you be able to find rooms? Yes. Will they be the best ones (but not necessarily the most expensive)? Probably not. You also don't want to spend valuable sightseeing time looking for a place to stay.

My favorite B&B in Ireland is on the north Dingle coast. The Shores is in Castle Gregory and looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. A fantastic place, beautifully decorated, showers that could drown you (a bit unusual in Ireland) and the food is terrific.

The suggestions of Dromoland for an upscale place is good and Ashford north of Galway is another choice. Various presidents have stayed at Ashford if we are mane dropping and I believe that Peirce Brosnan was married there. If you have an early flight, I don't think I would choose Dromoland as a last night because part of the charm is waking up late and enjoying the grounds which you obviously wouldn't get to do.

For slightly lesser priced castle accommodation, you could try Cregg Castle just north of Galway also. This place is much lower key (doesn't require jackets for the men at dinner ... by any means) and the owners are musicians and do a concert in the great room most nights. It's a fun place to stay.

If you can spend a night on the Arans, it would be nice as the bulk of the crowds arrive mid morning and leave by mid to late afternoon so you would have much of the island to yourself when you were there. You can consider the option of boats from Doolin and Galway, or a flight from Rossaveel, which is only about 10 minutes and not much more money.

Hope this helps.

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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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I do not know where you are flying from. But we also went to Ireland(from WashingtonDC) for our honeymoon last end of may early june for two weeks. We flew into Shannon and went straight to the Cliffs of Moher and part of the Burren our first day before crashing in Ballyvaughn. This worked out nicely for us because we were exhausted from the flight. The next day we headed to Clifden-we took our time an really explored as we drove-we didn't take the most direct route but the most scenic. We also stayed at the Quays House in Clifden-great place-great owners! I think we stayed 2 full nights there- wished it were three-Conemare is just breathtaking-we took trips to Kylemore Abbey and explored the grounds and gardens and ofcourse Had a beautiful day to do Sky drive! A must! One day we traveled to Roseveal(spelling probaby wrong) and took the ferry to the Aran islands-it was only 45 min ride verses the 1.5 hour it will take it you take it from Galway. After Clifden we headed toward Galway -again probably not the most direct way -but we wanted to stop to see Ashford castle and the grounds. We liked Galway but it wasn't our favorite-just our own opinions(not as romantic)
We loved Dingle we stayed at the Emlagh Lodged and loved it-Dingle is such a great town-Make reservations at Out of Blue for the best seafood dinner you've ever had. We explored the Dingle Pen,Beara Pen, Mizen head and Sheeps head-the later two were amazing especialy since they aren't as frequented by tourists and they are very remote. While we would have loved to stay one of the luxury castles like Ashford or Dromoland-we just couldn't justify the price after having just spent so much on a wedding. It was going to cost us almost $1000 US to stay the night and eat in the restaurant at Ashford. Its much cheaper to stay at these places if you are going with a tour group than planning on your own. We were able to do hit all areas of Ireland except for the north by just staying in moderate to nice B&B's
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Old Jan 11th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Ballynahinch Castle (it is actually a manor house) was exceptional and not near the price of Ashford or Dromoland (Euro 240 + 10% service, I think). We stayed there for a night last May and wish we could have stayed longer. Dinner in the restaurant there (not the pub) was exceptional as well.
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