Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Which area to explore 2nd visit to Ireland?

Notices

Which area to explore 2nd visit to Ireland?

Old Jul 1st, 2002, 06:54 AM
  #1  
marylouise
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Which area to explore 2nd visit to Ireland?

My family of four are thinking of planning a 10-12 day trip for June 2003. Our first wonderful experience was June 2000. We favorably rented a week in Castegregory,Dingle Peninsula and loved seeing that region's natural beauty,ancient ruins and Dingletown.We saw Cliffs of Moher (in the fog),the Burren,family in Loughrea,Co Galway. We stayed at B&B's: 1 night Salthill,one night Cahir,Tipperary and 2 nights outside Dublin. (Our location and time prevented us from seeing as much of Dublin as we wished.)
We like seaside areas, scenery and the like. We do drop in on the museums, castles and points of historic interest. We're not big shoppers.
Places we're thinking of are Beara/Kinsale;
Galway/Connemara;some island area? and Donegal. We would probably self-cater again with a couple B&B nights added in.
Do any of you have any thoughts/advice on any of these places?
Your help is much appreciated!
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 08:07 AM
  #2  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've spent time in both Donegal and Connemara. I loved both, but if someone put a gun to my head and made me choose, it would be Donegal. Both areas are somewhat remote (ie, long drive from nearest airport--if you can, fly to Derry for Donegal, although the drive from Belfast is doable). Connemara is more wild, but the landscape of Donegal is somewhat more accessible.

You really can't go wrong with either one.
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 11:12 AM
  #3  
Laoghaire
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Mary Louise...Husband and I did 3weeks in Ireland last year in May. This was our 5th trip to my favorite place in the world. Do spend at least 3 days in Donegal area. So many places of interest within a day's journey. We stayed near Letterkenny and did the following: Northern Ireland(Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Glens of Antrim, Dunluce Castle, Mussendem Temple, walled city of Londonderry) Donegal( Malin Head on Inishowen Peninsula-farthest point north in Ireland, Glenveigh National Park, Mt. Errigal, The Rosses, Ardara, Glencolumbkille-6th century St. Colmcille lived here, Slieve League Mts, Killybegs---I could go on forever!
Do the Beara Peninsula, wonderful and undeveloped: Healy Pass, Ogham Stone at Ballycrovane, Dunboy Castle, Dursey Island, down to Mizen Head Signal Station suspension bridge- farthest point south in Ireland, SOOO many things to see, e-mail me if you want any other info...Helen
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 11:57 AM
  #4  
marylouise
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks Ann and Helen
Your input is so appreciated!
Helen, would the Donegal area be a good spot to self-cater for a week? Enough to see and do in easy daytrips? That's what we did on the Dingle Peninsula. It was a great way to see things with 2 children who are good travellers. We then broke it up with the other 3 locations in B&B's.
I would probably have to choose between the North-Northwest and Beara area as they are so far apart. We would want to stay in one place self catering most of the stay.
What would be the best airport to fly into in order to get to Donegal? If we flew into Shannon we could see Connemara and more of Galway. If we flew into Dublin we could approach from there. Is there any trouble going from one part of Ireland to the other with rental plates? (I'm talking politics now.)
Thanks for your interest and help!
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 12:09 PM
  #5  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I usually rent in the north, but often travel down south with the car, and haven't had any trouble. And on occasion, I've rented in the south and driven it north. Again, no problems. My husband is leery of driving in certain areas of Belfast with a Republic plate, but those are not areas we'd want to spend much time in anyway.

The best thing to do is ask the rental agency if they allow you to take the car across the border. Make sure you do this, because if you don't and you get into an accident on the other side of the border, you might discover you're not covered. Most of the big agencies allow it (Avis, Hertz, National, etc.).

For Donegal, you can fly to Belfast. But if you're connecting through London, see if you can get a flight straight to Derry (FYI: Catholics typically call the city Derry, Protestants typically call it Londonderry. If you stop there, you can learn the very interesting history on that. I like how the locals call it "Stroke City", as many newspapers and gov't agencies will call it "Londonderry/Derry". Instead of saying "slash" over there, they say "stroke".)

If you fly to Belfast, take an extra day to make the drive, heading north from Belfast up the Antrim Coast Road, hitting all of the sites that Helen mentioned: Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle, plus Bushmill's Distillery. There are some nice coastal towns, like Portrush. You may even want to stay at the Bushmill's hotel or B&B. Haven't stayed there, but heard good things about it.

If you want to be more centrally located in Donegal, you could stay near Letterkenny or Donegal Town. Neither town is a favorite of mine, as I prefer to stick close to the water. The Malin Head/Inishown Penisula area is heaven on earth. You should be able to find a self-catering cottage somewhere in that area. But this is a bit more remote than Letterkenny or Donegal Town.

Do not miss a trip into Derry city. It's a fascinating town with a very sad history. Stop by the tourist office and ask about the "Walking the Walls" tour. It's excellent.
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 12:41 PM
  #6  
Jane
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
We are heading to Ireland for the first time in August. After the first two nights in Ballyvaugn to rest up, we have a cottage rented for one week in the Connemara area and then another cottage for a week in Kenmare (between Beara and Kerry peninsula). I thought about staying in Donegal rather than Connemara but decided to stay in Connemara because of the wealth of hikes and the ability to get to our next destination (Kenmare) in one day. It looks like we'll have to schedule another visit to see Donegal.

After reading the replies to your email, it looks like we picked good spots. Sounds as if you like the same things we do - natural beauty, the ocean, the mountains, quaint towns, not so interested in shopping. Although, we tend to hike a bit more than sightsee. I will post a report when we get back and let you know how the trip went.

 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 01:09 PM
  #7  
marylouise
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jane
I will look forward to hearing about your trip. Be sure to see the Dingle Peninsula if you have time. There are many beautiful areas to hike. The northern portion is more remote with beautiful Brandon Mtn and Brandon Bay.
You could get info locally about hiking there. Conor Pass,Slea Head drive offer beautiful seaside vistas. Tour busses don't seem to go to the northern area and they could never navigate the narrow Conor Pass road.
Let me know if your two cottages seemed too far apart. Wish I was going!
Thanks for your thoughts and interest.
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 01:39 PM
  #8  
Laoghaire
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Marylouise..so much to see, so little time! there are so many places to see in both areas. If you choose Donegal, there are even more interesting places to see in Sligo and Mayo, which would be in striking distance of a Donegal homebase. Am thinking of several megalithic sites,such as: Creevykeel court tomb (alongside of main road), Carrowmore megalithic cemetary. Also of interest in that area is Lough Gill, in which lies W.B.Yeats "Isle of Innisfree", also Parke's Castle and a very interesting "holy well"(Tobbernalt) from the 1800's. If you are traveling with children-young adults, it can also be an educational experience. Before you get to Sligo town, at Drumcliffe is the Grave of W.B.Yeats in the cemetary off highway a few feet. In Mayo, NW of Ballina is Ce'ide Fields, where they are excavating neolithic fields and houses from 3000BC. As you can probably tell, I am fascinated with the archeology of Ireland, I can get carried away with it all!! Wherever you go in Eire, you will be "hooked". I sure am, and my scandanavian husband is also! Hope this helps...Helen
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 02:00 PM
  #9  
kodi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Donegal!!!! I loved Donegal, and especially agree with all Ann has suggested.
I spent two weeks there a couple of years ago and it was beautiful. I stayed for a couple of days at Killybegs, then on to Letterkenny and up to Dunfanaghy and did day trip from these places, including Horn Head, Bloody Foreland, Glencolumbkille and Slieve League. IT was truly an amazing trip.
good luck.
 
Old Jul 1st, 2002, 02:02 PM
  #10  
Laoghaire
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
HI Ann. You caught me with the "Londonderry" term!! Must therefore set the record straight..it is DERRY, and me- an Irish Catholic, oh my! .When looking at a plain old map of the area, it will usually call it by the English version, but my heart is certainly in DERRY. Marylouise: I think I would fly into Belfast, you could get to Donegal by driving south of Lough Erne, and see different territory in the north, which you will be seeing later. Go by Armagh, which is the burial place of Brian Boru, who was High King of Ireland in the 11th century. We had no trouble in the North with our rental car from Dublin. Only place we were stopped was(in 1998)in Armagh, because there had been a bombing there the day before (that was the time of the 1998 elections). Last year it was the Hoof and Mouth disease- so we were disinfected (the car!) every time we crossed the border, and it was the Republic that did it, so we got it about 10 times. Maybe we will see you in Ireland in 2003--we are going again in May of that year for about 3 weeks. Time can't pass fast enough! Helen
 
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 06:40 AM
  #11  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Jane, spent a few days in Connemara in April, and just loved it. It's the second time I've been there. One word of advice on the hiking: make sure you have a very good map, and be very careful if any of the trails take you through any bogs. Bogs can be very difficult to navigate, even with a marked trail.

 
Old Jul 2nd, 2002, 06:44 AM
  #12  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
One more thing: in Sligo, there's the relatively new National Famine Museum. Was really looking forward to it, and was completely dissapointed. Now, I wasn't expecting anything on the scale of the Holocaust Museum here in DC, but I expected a bit more than what we found. It's not worth the trouble to visit. You can learn more about the famine (and find it more interesting) from a good book.
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jtmiller95
Europe
21
Oct 18th, 2009 09:47 PM
MontanaFireman
Europe
4
May 20th, 2006 06:34 PM
kraines
Europe
16
Mar 26th, 2005 06:01 AM
Holldoll
Europe
7
Oct 27th, 2003 12:57 PM
where
Europe
9
Jul 31st, 2002 06:40 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO