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Trip to Western Ireland...Change of Plans

Trip to Western Ireland...Change of Plans

Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:29 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 52
Trip to Western Ireland...Change of Plans

Well it looks like our original itinerary has changed. We are not renting a car and so flying into Shannon and making our way down to Kerry is just not going to be an option for us. We are flying into Shannon on morning of July 4th, flying back to NY on July 15th. July 9th thru July 14th we have our travel plans set but we are trying to figure out the plans from July 4 - July 9 and also the night of July 14th. Would really appreciate input on which of the following itinerary we should follow:

Land in Shannon around 9:30am July 4th. Catch connecting flight to Dublin and stay in Dublin the nights of July 4th & 5th. We would then take the train to Galway and spend the nights of July 6th, 7th & 8th with possible day trip to the Aran Islands on July 7th.

Our other option would be to take the bus from Shannon to Ennis for a night or two and then on to Doolin, making our way up to Galway by the 7th.

Would it be to much to try to do this first option in this time frame? Would greatly appreciate any input from those who have done similar trips...also, I know July is high season so will it be tough to find accomodations now? Thanks for your help!


Author: janisj
Date: 02/20/2006, 10:59 pm
You'll get more response if you re-post w/ a title that says what you want to know -- or a VERY least mentions Ireland.

"Change of plans..." doesn't tell anyone anything important. You could be talking about anywhere in Europe . . . . .


Author: francophile03
Date: 02/20/2006, 11:03 pm
I agree about your title. I checked it because, yes, I was curious as to what you were referring to. But it would be better to repost with a more detailed title.


Author: starrsville
Date: 02/20/2006, 11:04 pm
Why the change in plans? It would be a far better trip to get the rental car out of Shannon and tour around.


Date: 02/21/2006, 05:17 am
It depends on whether you want to do Dublin this trip.
Then, train Dublin-Galway is not your only option: BusEireann does the route as does CityLink (private) bus Company

You could conceivably make it to Kerry the day of your arrival: BusEireann Shannon to Limerick City; change buses and go to Tralee via Adare, Abbeyfeale etc. Tralee is in County Kerry! But you probably wanted to do the Ring of Kerry ...
Click on DayTours on the BusEireann website. It may push you down to Cork City: BusEireann has a lot of day tours from there (incl. Ring of Kerry)

Galway doesn't have Day Tours listed yet but as I recall, during Summer Bus Eireann runs a number of tours out of Galway. And you should try to be in Galway Sat., 8 July because several of the Pubs in the Pedestrian-only area have afternoon Trad Irish music sessions (Taaffes & one across the way)

Don't buy an Irish Fisherman's sweater that's made in Nepal!

I travel almost exclusively by bus in Ireland because I'm a Septuagenarian and Car rental companies either will not rent to me (over-74) or they tack on a huge insurance surcharge.

Talk to the people at the BusEireann desk at Shannon airport: it's at the end of the car-rental counters. The people there are friendly and will try to help you. They may even be able to sell you an Expressway Bus Timetable (book) that has most of the routes and schedules

norahe is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:36 PM
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sorry...I've amended the title on post.

We've decided not to rent a car because I do not drive and don't think it's fair for my husband to do all the driving while I take in the sights (or have my head stuck in a map book)! If we take buses/trains, he gets to enjoy the travel too.

Traveling to Kerry was our first choice but I couldn't get the time off from work to make that trip so we decided to do Galway. Originally we thought we could still do Kerry but it was just becoming to complicated with the travel to get there and then get from there up to Galway without a car (but thanks for the info NEDSIRELAND!) so we thought we'd do Dublin for a few days (maybe do a few history tours if anyone can recommend one!). We are trying to book B&B's now since July is high season. If anyone has recommendations for Dublin and which part is best to stay in, we would appreciate the help!
norahe is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2006, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Just as an opposite viewpoint, I've been to Ireland six times and driven virtually every mile. My wife has only briefly sat behind the wheel and I was more than happy to take it back. Unless your husband feels put out, I wouldn't worry about. BTW, adding another driver to the insurance is quite expensive in Ireland.

wojazz3 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 102
I would not recommend the cross-country trip to Dublin, but if you must, take the bus, not the train. Ireland's bus system is better than its train system. Dublin is a busy city and the people are not the friendliest. It didn't settle into my soul the way that Western Ireland did. I would, instead, recommend that you take the bus from Shannon to Ennis as you mentioned. Ennis is a very nice town that would provide a gentle beginning to your trip. You can walk everywhere within it and there are several small shops that sell Irish crafts. County Clare is renowned for its music and Ennis has a wonderful music centre, Glor, which has small concerts nightly that seek to teach the audience about Irish music and dance, not just provide performances. Glor's website is www.glor.ie. Ennis has the ruins of a 13th/14th century friary and a friendly little river, the Fergus. I loved eating at The Poet's Corner in the Old Ground Hotel (I ate there twice and met several nice Irish families.) The Old Ground Hotel would be a nice, but more expensive, place to stay. I stayed at the Rose Cottage, a few blocks from the center of town. It was attractive and comfortable, with a great breakfast. The owner, Carmel, couldn't be kinder. Their website is www.clare-rosecottage.com. My husband flew into Shannon, rented a car and met me at the Rose Cottage (I had taken the bus from Dublin). Having a car gave us a lot of freedom to travel, but I must admit that driving on the "wrong" side of the road and navigating the many roundabouts they have in Ireland caused some, ahem, tense domestic moments for us. I did notice that Rose Cottage had the cards of several driver/guides and I met other Americans who had come on their own and were basing all of their travel out of Ennis, using drivers to take them to the places they wanted to visit. You could do the same thing. I hope you will not miss a trip to the Burren and to the Connemara. I regret not having traveled to the Aryan Islands. Have a wonderful time!
brewlew is offline  
Feb 24th, 2006, 05:55 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 27
Depend on your budget, but I would reccommend the Mespil Hotel in Dublin. It's a great 3* Hotel, about a 10min walk from Gratfton Street - the main shopping area in Dublin. There are of course top class 5* options, but I think the Mespil is a great deal. A nice safe area, still in the city but just far enough away from all the major hussel and bussel. It's located just off Baggot street.
punto is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 07:12 AM
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Like brewlew, we also stayed at Rose Cottage in Ennis: When we arrived at the Bus Station, I called. and as Carmel Daniels had promised, her husband came to pick us up. Someone posted a negative review of Rose Cottage on this forum last year. My guess is that tey were in a room over the PUB. We had requested a ground floor room away from the Pub and we got a 'Family' room at the other end of the building. Everything worked out fine. We stayed 4-nights, visiting Galway, Lahinch & Ennistymon on Day Trips and walking down to Cruise's Pub in the evenings.

You could conceivably do a Kerry-Cork loop Listowel-Tralee-Killarney & Cork in 5-days. Then Cork-Limerick-Galway, all on Bus Eireann.

NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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So if we are NOT renting a car and our biking trip includes days/nights in Ballynahinch Castle/Connemara/Letterfrack/Leenane/Lough Mask/Ashford Castle would you recommend that the time we have before hand (July 4th through July 8th, we spend:

A) taking connecting flight from Shannon to Dublin to spend 2 nights in Mespil Hotel(Ballsbridge section of Dublin), taking in the sites of Dublin city for two days and then head to Galway either by bus or train and spend July 7th & 8th checking out Galway City (staying at St. Martin's B&B) with possible day trip to Aran Islands or

B) Taking bus from Shannon Airport to Limerick City for two nights ( I stayed in the Railroad Hotel about 15yrs ago and thought it was fine then), heading up to Galway (again to St. Martin's B&B) or

C) Taking Bus from Shannon Airport to Ennis (would have to do research on places to stay in Clare!) and possibly doing trip to Doolin or the Burren) making it 3 nights instead of 2 and heading up to Galway on July 7th for 2 night stay before our biking trip, or

D) Head straight up to Galway on July 4th and spend the few days in Galway with trip to Aran Islands (my fear with this option is that we will feel like we've spend too much time in Galway and feel like we are seeing the same sites even though the biking group will meet in Galway airport and immediately shuttle northwest to Ballynahinch Castle)

We will not have a car so would be relying on public transportation and do not want to feel like we are constantly traveling rather than enjoying Ireland. Would choosing option A be too much travel in a short period or time? Would anyone recommend seeing Limerick City over Dublin? Or seeing parts of Clare over Limerick and Dublin? Need help in making this decision so that I can start the process of booking accomodations. I know it's only February but July is also peak vacation time and I don't want to wait too long before booking B&B's/Hotels and then be limited due to availability. Thanks again for all your responses and recommendations! All of the help is appreciated and can definitely make the difference between an enjoyable vacation or one that leaves us feeling overly traveled!
norahe is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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oops! sorry, I typed Railroad instead of Railway Hotel in Limerick
norahe is offline  
Feb 25th, 2006, 07:57 PM
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Definitely NOT Limerick.
brewlew is offline  
Feb 26th, 2006, 01:59 AM
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I've stayed at the Railway Hotel on Parnell St. in Limerick several times. Each time I was departing on a morning flight from Shannon; the owner would make me an early (full Irish)breakfast at about 7:00 AM so I could catch the 7:45 AM Bus (with mostly Shannon Industrial Park workers and students).

The Pub at the Railway Hotel has the cheapest 'pint' you'll find in Limerick City & their midday Carvery lunch is excellent and inexpensive. I have some friends in Limerick City, so when I am coming from the Southwest, I make a point to take an early BusEireann so I can make it there for lunch (until 3:00 PM).

I would go for Option C, keeping in mind that there's a bus Ennis-Doolin and there's a boat from Doolin to Inishmore (Aran Is.). You don't have to go from Ross a'Veal (Galway).

If you want a tour from Ennis, contact Tony Woods (he runs a taxi service). His father, James Woods (likes to call himself Shéamus) took us on a wonderful tour to Lahinch, Doolin & the Burren while playing Irish music on his tape deck. I'm sure he's retired now (age around 80) but he's a real character. He retired for the second time around 2002; I was quite surprised to see him waiting with is taxi at the Ennis Bus Station when we arrived there in 2004. He also insists that he was in 'the Quiet Man' movie with John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara - he looks very much like Barry Fitzgerald and I think he just loves to 'play the part' for tourists.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
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