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jhg Mar 30th, 2006 05:53 PM

What do you think of this Ireland itinerary?
We have a plan!!! I think it's pretty good, thanks to all of you. please let me know what you think! (my only thought is that i should stay in kenmare on the night of the 20th instead of dingle. what do you think?) thank you thank you so much for all of your help!!!! (and if there are any restaurant suggestions, i'll take those too!!!!) We are really excited!!!! (My sister and I are in our 20's and will be driving around a foreign country by ourselves for the first time, in case you missed my other post :0)
(we're renting an automatic economy car from europcar and a gps too just to be safe)

7/7 depart us

7/8 arrive Shannon airport, drive to ennis, see ennis stay at grey gables

7/9 to the burren, cliffs of moher (see rick steves drive) stay at grey gables

7/10 drive to galway. See galway. Stay at adare house

7/11 connemara drive (rick steves) stay at adare house

7/12 aran islands stay at adare house

7/13 drive to Dublin. See athlone on the way. Stop first at newgrange. Stay in clontarf castle.

7/14 see Dublin. Stay at clontarf castle.

7/15 drive down to to kilkenny. See kilkenny. Stay at butler court.

7/16 Visit cashel and cahir. Return to kilkenny. Stay at butler court.

7/17 drive down to Waterford, then onto cork. Stay at garnish house. See cork

7/18, see cork more, drive to cobh and then to kinsale. Stay at old presbytery. see kinsale.

7/19 drive south along the shore, pass glengarriff to kenmare. Stay at hawthorn house.

7/20 drive the ring of kerry, drive to dingle. Stay at kirrary house (or should we stay in kenmare again this night???)

7/21 see dingle. Stay at kirrary house.

7/22 drive to limerick? Adare? Drive to bunratty. Go to the banquet or traditional irish night?.

7/23 bunratty castle and folk park. Return home.

rshersnow Apr 1st, 2006 06:24 AM

There is way too much in your itinerary. Particularly when you stay in the Aran Islands and drive to Dublin stopping at Athlone and Newgrange along the way. Slow down and enjoy yourself.

molly52 Apr 1st, 2006 09:24 AM

Yea i agree. Roads in Ireland are not generally of motorway standard, especially around Connemara and traffic going into dublin can be horrific, with sign-posting not always very clear and you will be driving on the opposite side of the road to the US, - bound to be stressful.(By the way I'm Irish and know what I'm talking about"!) Slow down . You will see nothing of the place at that rate and spend all your time driving and swallowing Paracetamol.Bunratty is a touristy begorrah kind of place shunned by locals. You can drop that.Waterford isnt much of a city, - i would continue on to Cork from Cashel the day you are there.Forget Athlone.You wont see Dublin in a day!When are you going to stroll at your leisure out along the cliffs and picnic on a beach and drink far too much guinness and maybe nurse a hangover, and just soak it all in? Co. Wicklow and the lovely lake of Glendalough near Dublin is beautiful, - you can walk in the mountains all around the lake (sign-posted) and it takes about 4 hours. I'd stay there a night. So many Americans go home after that Tourist- bunratty- shamrock-trail and havent seen Ireland at all.

halsar Apr 1st, 2006 09:35 AM

Makes me jealous....Have fun!!!!

chip Apr 1st, 2006 11:39 AM

suggestions...from traveler who can never pack too much in!

day 1-not much to see in Ennis, I would check out a walking tour of burren, I wasn't that awed by it, having an expert guide may help...talked to other tourist who enjoyed the walking tour.

I would only spend one night in Ennis
I was not impressed with galway...other than good night life...if you are in your 20's, we are not... and a good jumping off point to other sights.

so, I would spend 2nd day seein cliffs of moher and exploring sights between there and galway, and get into galway in the late afternoon/early evening

the connemara is beautiful (could always use extra time here also)

I would tack on the extra day saved, by spending only one night in ennis, later on in dingle.

from galway to may want to check out clonmacnoise rather than athlone...or spend more time in boyne valley (newgrange/knowth, hill of tara)

on way to kilkenny you may enjoy a stop at powerscourt and/or glendalough

jerpoint abbey, just outside of kilkenny is very interesting

Kilkenny to Waterford to cork? maybe think of spending more time exploring coast and end up in cobh,youghal, or another night in kinsale (can see cork from kinsale...what did you want to see in cork? already have enough, at least for me, city time with galway/dublin.

could also skip waterford and see cashel/cahir on way to night in kinsale

kinsale could merit 2 nights (if skip night in cork)

drive ROK, I would loop around to Kenmare

next day enjoy Killarney park/sights on way to dingle, 2 nights in dingle

last day/night-bunratty castle/folk park/banquet.

74days 7hours 22min. until we leave for Ireland!

mayfly_1 Apr 3rd, 2006 06:06 AM

Hi JGH, I've been catching up with your posts and thought I'd throw in a few suggestions. I'm a local and know a few spots along your route which I think are unmissable. For clarity though, what is the focus of your trip? What do you want to see? What would be a highlight, food?, scenery?, good hiking? music? etc. give me a few pointers and your route and I can refine my 'top ten' for the areas. J.

jhg Apr 3rd, 2006 10:51 AM

thanks so much j that would be great!!!!
we are definitely interested in the scenery and we do like to eat :0) we would love to do a few hikes, sightsee, churches, castles, etc. we just like to wander around basically.

and to everyone else, you should have seen the itinerary that included derry and belfast if you think this is too much!!! we tried to cut back what we could, but we want to see everything! we have decided not to stay in bunratty, but spend an extra day in dingle. thanks for the suggestions.
:0) joanna

mayfly_1 Apr 4th, 2006 12:32 AM

I'm not sure how settled you are on your itinerary or how many reservations you have made but I will offer some things I think could make your trip more enjoyable. I hope it helps and does not add to the confusion! The start of the trip sounds great Clare, the cliffs and the burren are all worth the trip as is the Clare coast. If you are into catching some live music in the evening Doolin is quite famous for it but is a small town. I'm not sure of Adare House as I have never stayed there but perhaps the few days you are spending in Galway are a bit tight. For example The Aran Islands are lovely but (I'm 99% sure abut this) you can't take your car there and on a tight schedule this side trip maybe more troube than it is worth. Rather than return to Galway city (if this is what you are doing)I would strongly recommend continuing night by night through Connemara at least as far as Westport. In my estimation a few days spent in this area would come before Kilkenny, Waterford, Cashel as you have planned for the latter part of your trip. Here is a quick run down of highlights in this area: Leave Galway heading towards Spiddal, within an hour you will be deep in the Irish speaking part of Galway County, the scenery here is amazing, head to Recess and then towards Roundstone, eat the seafood at O Dowds bar( out Ballynahinch Castle for lunch beside the river or stay here (expensive) and take in one of the walks around the grouds.

Try to get to Roundstone taking the
back road through Ballyconneely. There are lovely white sand beaches which are rarely used. Last time I was there there were dolphins jumping out at sea. From Clifden north towards Leenane is nice too with the scenery becoming more lush. Leenane is small but special. It sits at the top of the Killary harbour which is Ireland's only fjord. There is great walking here as it is surrounded by mountain ranges. Stay at the basic Leenane Hotel, eat fresh seafood at Rory's, or go a little further and stay at Delphi which is more upmarket and secluded. The road in between Leenane and Louisburgh is possibly my favourite in Ireland. It has a close connection to our famine history... everytime I come down this road (by bike preferably) I get shivers from the beauty of the place. Westport is one of the nicest towns on the west coast. Stay at the Wyatt and eat at La Bella Vita (book ahead). In between Louisburgh and Westport is Croagh Patrick- it takes about 4 hours return to climb and gives amazing views over Clew Bay. If you have time you could go further north to Achill- nice beaches and the Atlantic drive is beautiful. From Westport, Dublin is a direct 4 hour drive on a(mostly)4 lane road.

Clontarf is nice. If you can even, if it is in the evening, take a drive out to Howth (20 minutes and direct). As it does not get dark in July until 11 pm or so, you could buy a '99' (local ice cream) and take a walk along the pier in this fishing village - if you are more adventurous you could take the cliff walk from Redrock / Martello tower to the lighthouse - and the village. Ask any local and they can give you directions- great views of Dublin bay.

A long day could get you back on route to Cork stopping off at Cashel - Personally I'd forget Waterford and Kilkenny in order to pack more in in the Galway/ Mayo and Kerry/ Cork area, but thats just me.

A word on your earlier query about safety - as every country Ireland has its crime but you have nothing to worry about. In general it is very safe... particularly in rural areas. Most people would be more than happy to help out if you get a flat tire etc. And finally go slow, take your time you can't go wrong.


jhg Apr 4th, 2006 02:15 PM

thanks so much for your help j.
i have to tell you though, im a little concerned because my sister hates hates hates fish! she wont even touch a fork that has touched fish. wierd, i know.
but all of your suggestions were for seafood places. is the girl going to starve? i should say, she also doesnt eat lamb, beef or pork! really only chicken, but only if its boneless.
so, will she be able survive in ireland on vegetables and side dishes?
:0) joanna

IrishEyes Apr 4th, 2006 02:44 PM

Every restaurant I have been in has chicken on the menu in Ireland. How about turkey? That is on quite a few menus too along with vegetarian offerings.

jhg Apr 4th, 2006 03:51 PM

im sure she will be fine.
it just sounds like she'll miss out on many irish specialities.

oopsy Apr 5th, 2006 11:58 AM

I don't eat meat (to me, that includes seafood, beef, pork, chicken...), but I do eat dairy and egg products. I had no problem at all eating in Ireland. Produce was wonderfully fresh, dairy was fantastic, and we never skipped a restaurant for lack of a veggie option for me. She should have no problem.


wojazz3 Apr 5th, 2006 12:08 PM


My wife hates fish and we've been 7 times and she has survived. There's plenty more to eat. Also, many places serve vegetarian options. Your itinerary is very full, but many like to travel that way. Also, if you don't get to do something, it's ok. Here are a few thoughts:

I think the first five days are fine with Ennis and Galway. There is some fine trad music to be had in Ennis, try Cruise's. Personally I would stay somewhere outside of Galway and make a trip into town. There are lots of choices like Oughterard, Cregg Castle maybe Oranmore or Spiddal. You can certainly find things to do in the area. If you want to see a castle that's easy to get to and nicely restored (though rather simple) Athenry is just outside of Galway. With such a full schedule, consider catching the plane from Inverin. It's a 10 minute flight and not much more than the boat ride. The drive along the coast is beautiful and you will end up with more time on the island.

I'm not familiar with the Rick Steves tour routes other than the Dingle one and it is pretty good. That said, there are lots of cool places that people tend to miss in Connemara and Co. Clare so be willing to take some side trips. Consider Loophead in Clare or a drive out to Slyne Head in Connemara.

Athlone is probably not worth the trouble, but stopping at Clonmacnoise is. Since you'll be leaving from Galway, the drive won't be too bad but too many stops will make the trip long. Get an early start. You really won't get to see a lot of Dublin in a Day and small change, but visit Kilmainham Gaol if you have any interest at all in Irish history. Very moving.

Kilkenny is fine. You can possibly fit Glendalough in on the way if you like. There is a lot to see in the area so you may or may not get it all in. No worry though.

Unless you have some deep desire to visit the Waterford factory, the trip to Waterford may not be worth the trouble. The coast south of there is beautiful but you won't have much time to see it.

Cork/Kinsale: Pick one of the two and spend both nights there, I suggest Kinsale. Cork is becoming more tourist friendly but it's hard to drive in. To be fair, I've never stayed there but I've been lost a few times. There is plenty to do in Kinsale in the evening and it will probably be pretty busy at that time of year.

I love the area around Kenmare and Dingle is spectacular. What I'm trying to figure out is if you are planning to drive from Dingle to catch you plane. That could be an adventure. I would stay closer and Bunratty ain't so bad. By the way, some of the most frequent visitors to the castle banquets are Irish. They are VERY touristy, but can be fun.

Just some thoughts. Hope it helps.


GreenDragon Apr 5th, 2006 12:28 PM

Yeah, what Bill and Mayfly said :)

chip Apr 5th, 2006 06:40 PM

just a note...saw on another site that cregg castle was up for sale and not taking reservations.
too bad...we enjoyed our stay there a, contrary to what has been posted lately on here about the place.

jhg Apr 6th, 2006 11:28 AM

the plan for the last night changed from bunratty to one more night in dingle because we just thought it would be a nicer way to end our trip.
we were hoping to leave dingle early (maybe 8?) and drive to adare for lunch, then to the airport. our flight isnt until 5:15 pm. do you think that would work?

mayfly_1 Apr 7th, 2006 12:15 AM


That is very do-able. This might help for the trip and others in the country.

I did a search for Dingle to Shannon via Adare and seems to be about 3:10 mins.

molly52 Apr 8th, 2006 03:53 AM

Mayfly - you should set up a business giving advice to potential tourists cos you obviously know a thing or two about the place! You have given me the urge to head off again towards the west and lose myself there for a few days. Definitely the best parts of Ireland are the out-of- the-way undiscovered little gems. Something tells me you are a fisherman, - sorry fisherperson.They always know the best places!

jhg Apr 9th, 2006 07:50 AM

hi everyone-
i think we have decided to change our itinerary yet again.
this is the new plan:
we arrive in shannon at 9am. drive to ennis, see ennis.
the next day we will drive to the cliffs of moher and the burren and onto galway. walk around galway and stay at the adare house.
next day go to the aran islands and stay at the adare house.
this is the new part:
next day drive to westport, drop off our stuff at a hotel and then drive to achill island. then head back to westport.
next day drive from westport back to galway, see things along the way, see a bit more of galway, stay at the adare house again.
and then the next day drive to dublin.

anyway, i was reading about achill island and decided i really wanted to go there, and this is the only way it fit. does this make sense? does anyone have any suggestions on a place to stay in westport?


JOHNOD Apr 9th, 2006 01:37 PM

Galway, Westport and Dublin are going to give you very little feel for Ireland but if your happy have fun.

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