tour operator and itinerary help

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Oct 2nd, 2006, 03:25 PM
  #1
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tour operator and itinerary help

We are going to Ireland in May -- the 16th until June 1. I am thinking of spending the first 4 days -- 16-19 in Galway and Mayo. Then goingtothe Southwest to take a walking tour with these people http://www.walking-tours-in-ireland....s_Walking.html
It looks interesting and I wondered if anyone had any experience with them. They are go ireland and the web site is www.govisitireland.com to get to the above. After this, I was thinking of driving to Donegal and the Giant's Causeway before finishing up in Dublin where we would fly home from. So the days look like this:

May 16-19 in Galway and Mayo -- bu the evening of the 19th we would need to be in Kerry for the tour. It ends the morning of the 26th we would drive to Donegal for 2 or 3 nights and then to the Giant's Causeway for 2 nights and then to Dublin for 1 night. The drive to Donegal will be a bit that day -- probably 7 hours or so. I also wondered about staying someplace like Sligo and doing both Donegal and the Giant's Causeway from there so we would not need to move.

Any information or feedback on this would be much appreciated.

Thanks
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Oct 2nd, 2006, 03:47 PM
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So you have to meet your tour guide in Killarny at 19:00 on 19 May. Assuming that you arrive on the morning of the 16th (Shannon or Dublin) it doesn't leave you much time for Galway & Mayo. Then, it's going to take a while to get from Galway to Killarney even if you take the Killimer-Tarbert ferry.

You could leave parts of Mayo for when you are driving to Donegal (i.e., Knock Shrine) and I would recommend a night in Balliná rather than Sligo.

That way you can hit Coastal Mayo and maybe Westport, Croagh Patrick, Cong and Connemara before heading south and save inland Mayo for the trip north. Crockett's on the Quay (Ballin&aacute has Trad Irish music Mondays.
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Oct 3rd, 2006, 05:25 AM
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Thanks. Where would you stay for the 3 nights -- is Clifden too far .. should we stop at Galway? Theoretically, we get in at 7 and I hope to be away from the airport by 9. I also hope to get some sleep as we will fly business class over so we hope to be able to do a bit the 16th.

I have not heard of Ballina -- what is there in that area?

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Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:56 AM
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I kindly suggest that you get a map and study it throughly. Some of your travel distances are quite long. Seven hours on Irish roads will seem interminable. Use one of the map sites (www.aaroadwatch.ie) to determine travel times ( you'll needd to add some time even to those indicated).

Ballina is in north Mayo, at the junction of the N26 & N59, on the river Moy.
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Oct 5th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Don't know if you have booked your flights yet, but here are some thoughts.

Your plan has you driving north a bit, then further south than your starting point and then further north than the first drive. That seems pretty inefficient. I wouldn't consider doing Donegal from Sligo and Giants Causeway from Sligo is not a good idea at all. History traveler made a great point in that 7 hours of driving in Ireland is much harder than seven hours of driving Interstates in the US. It really takes more focus and concentration so it's more tiring. Keep that in mind.

If it were me, I'd plan to get there no sooner than the 18th which would give you a day to recover from jet lag. A walking tour is the best way to get over the long flight so you could even get there as late as the 19th if the walk starts the next day. That sort of depends on how much jet lag bothers you. If you can extend your vacation on the end and start it a bit later you can save yourself some very long drives and essentially add a full day of enjoyment by eliminating a whole bunch of driving.

Bill
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Oct 5th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Thanks. Unfortunately, our flight dates are set since they are ff tickets. I have had a few other ideas. One is to get a flight to Dublin on the 16th and drive up to Antrim then. We would have two full days there and then we could go back to Dublin and fly to Kerry for the start of the tour. I believe it is only about a two hour drive. After we could rent a car and go to the West. We would not go to Donegal but we would have about 5 days in Galway etc.

The other possibility is a tour I found in Antrim and Donegal from www.walktalkireland.com. 2007 dates are not yet set. Then we could spend the first 3 days in the southwest and get to Belfast on day 4 for the tour. After we could do the west Galway etc. We would have less time in the Southwest but we would get up to Donegal.

Any feedback on these two ideas?

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Oct 6th, 2006, 03:07 PM
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Don't know where your getting your time estimates on driving, but it's more like 31/2 hours from Antrim to Dublin and that's with out any slow downs due to construction etc.

I suggest you do some more research into the places you're considering visiting. As to which areas are preferable, it is impossible to make that kind of decision for you. All of Ireland is worthy of a visit. Unfortunately it takes far longer than two weeks to see it all.

As to your second itinerary, 3 days in the southwest including drive time seems a bit ambitious to me.

I'm not familar with any of the tours you have mentioned, but they sound like a great way to see some of the best of Ireland.
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Oct 6th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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You really do need to re-think both how far you are driving throughout, and driving at all your first day.

Dublin to Antrim (I figure you mean the scenic areas along the coast and not just the town) is a LOT more than 2 hours. It is more than 3 hours just to Antrim and quite a bit farther to the coast between Larne and Ballycastle.

You are assuming you will be in condition to drive at all. The problem is you won't know until after you are there -- 1) if you manage any sleep on the flight and can safely drive, and 2) if the weather is decent or stormy. Driving on the "wrong" side of the road is certainly doable - and easy after you get acclimated. But it requires a very clear and rested head to do it. Driving impaired - even if it just means too tired - is a ticketable offense.

I would NOT plan any long distance driving your first day. In fact, staying in the city and not picking up the car until the 2nd day is the safest way to go.

And for the rest of your itinerary - plan on averaging 35 mph or less.
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Oct 6th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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Assume you will be flying into Shannon, Westport might be a good stop for your first few nights. It's in Mayo but not far from Galway City; and you'l find many posts about Matt Malloy's on this board. Westport should be less than 4-hours drive from Shannon.

Balliná is the most populous city in Mayo. It also has the distinction of more pubs per capita than anywhere else in Ireland: but I am told that many of the people holding Pub licenses just open one day a year to keep them current. The N-59 from Westport goes to Balliná in northeast Mayo, not far from Sligo.
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