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Two weeks in Ireland without a plan

Old Nov 14th, 2019, 03:48 PM
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Two weeks in Ireland without a plan

My wife and I are planning to travel to Ireland in late August of this year, partly to attend a one day event in Dublin. At this point, we have absolutely no plans other than we do want to visit as much of the island that is practical in two weeks. My family roots are from Roscommon County so if practical, I would like to visit there, but beyond that, we are an open book. While I have been told driving in Ireland is somewhat challenging, if needed, I am open to renting a car. Suggestions on what cities/towns to visit and the routing we should consider? All and any input is very appreciated

Thanks, JohnS.
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Old Nov 14th, 2019, 08:23 PM
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Hi, we just returned from Ireland last month.
Driving in Ireland just takes a little time to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road and opposite side of the car. Roads are narrow in many areas, but this is the best way to get around Ireland and really see it. Renting a car is expensive, so plan on paying for all the insurances, rent the GPS, it is a life saver, and definitely get an automatic. My husband drives a shift, but was happy to not have to shift. Too many differences made an automatic much easier. We did a lot of driving, but really enjoyed the adventure of it all.

We landed in Dublin and drove straight to Kilkenny, a nice small medieval town. It is about an hour and a half drive on mostly highways, a great way to get used to the car. From there we slept in Killarney (my favorite town), the onto Ennis and back into Dublin for the last few nights with no driving. Inbetween, we visited the Ring of Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula, the Rock of Cashel, the Swiss Cottage and a few smaller towns inbetween all of this.
With two weeks you can get a great overview of Ireland and see different areas. I wish we had seen Glendalough area in Wicklow. We did not see the Cork area and I know there is a lot to see and do there. We did not overdo and try to see everything and we were a lot happier and had fun. I would not change hotels every other day, as this is exhausting and not fun. We did 1 night, 4 nights, 1 night and 4 nights and this was pretty relaxing. You will have more nights so you can stay in other places for a few nights. A lot of people say don't stay too long in Dublin and we had 4 nights there. I enjoyed Dublin and felt 4 nights was good to see things we wanted to see and enjoy ourselves.

Favorite things about Ireland, number 1, the people. Everyone was very friendly and engaging and nosy and helpful and just nice. The small towns are nice and a great place to just talk to people who live there. Our one night in Ennis was filled with meeting local people and we had such a good time.
Driving off the highway on small town roads or mountains, you will encounter sheep, lots of sheep and an occasional cow that is out of the fenced area. Bring a good waterproof coat and shoes. It rains a lot but not for long and not too hard. We had a lot of sprinkles in October. Food was good pretty much everywhere we went to eat from expensive restaurants to local cafes.

I liked Killarney because we stayed in a beautiful hotel that was like a country inn (Killarney Park Hotel) with all the nice amenities. We had a fireplace in the room. The hotel is owned by a family, not a big chain hotel and it showed in how everyone was happy in their jobs. We could walk to town and the National Park. I loved the National Park and visiting Muckross House and the Torc waterfall, beautiful area. The town had lots of shops and restaurants and every night there was Traditional music to be heard which was fun. You can stay in Killarney and drive the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula.
Air conditioning. Not all places have a/c. I like and need a/c and it does get hot in Ireland and rooms can be stuffy and it can be too noisy to leave windows open. So, when booking hotels, make sure you get hotels with a/c in August. I used a/c in October only because the rooms got warm. It was cool outside.
We did not visit Northern Ireland but next time I will. I don't always say I would like to return to this place, but Ireland, I definitely plan to return to. Next trip, I would like to spend a couple of more days on the west coast. We had one night and two days out there and not enough.
You will enjoy your trip. Read some trip reports here. I will stress not to plan too much for each day and area, and also do not try to cover too much land. The south and the west is an itinerary in itself.
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Old Nov 19th, 2019, 04:16 AM
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If you want to see Roscommon, I might suggest you divide your time between Roscommon and Galway, and maybe even a bit of Mayo. That way there is plenty to see (Connemara National Park), and you arent driving all over the island wasting precious time in the car.

I went to Ireland for the first time in April 2019. I flew in and out of Dublin. From there I drove to Galway and spent the night in Kinvara. Visited relatives in Mayo one day and then back to Kinvara that night. Then spent 4 nights in County Clare before driving back to Dublin for the last night.

I loved it so much I am going back in July 2020 and this time we are flying into Shannon and out of Dublin. I'll spend 9 nights in Galway & Mayo area, and then my last 3 nights in Dublin.

From what I've read, alot of people try to see too much and in the process dont see very much at all since they are driving long distances every day to get to their next overnight stay. less is more in Ireland. Also try to spend more than 1 night in each place. Maybe 3 nights at least so you really get to experience the towns you are visiting.
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Old Nov 20th, 2019, 04:34 AM
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We love public transportation and have no problem getting where we want to go. I also base myself for at least two to five nights in one area and do day trips from that base. It is more relaxing. Galway, Westport, for example, are great bases. I would book accommodations for August though and not wing that.
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Old Nov 30th, 2019, 07:21 PM
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Driving distances arenít great in Ireland but unless your on the motorways you will likely average 30 mph going from place to place.
having been to Ireland 3 times we have enjoyed being in Kilkenny, Kinsale, Kenmare and Dingle. On the west coast Galway, the Connemara, and Westport area. We have also enjoyed driving from Belfast to Derry along the coast.
Definitely consider staying two nights in most places.
finally, look into Connís car rental. They rent thru Hertz and only rent with super (full) insurance. They were great to deal with and had the best prices.
I would also consider flying out of Shannon so you donít have to backtrack to Dublin.
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