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A 6-night Fly/Drive Itinerary Arriving and Departing Shannon airport, and visiting the Burren, Dingle, Kenmare and Bunratty.
This could easily be turned into a 7-8 night itinerary, by adding extra nights to Ballyvaughan, Dingle or Kenmare. There is more than enough to see\do in each location; in particular, each area is a walker's paradise, with marked walks and loop walks of varying length. There are also oportunities for horse-riding and golf. And boat trips: Aran Islands from Doolin, co. Clare; Great Blasket from Dunquin on the Dingle Peninsula; eco-tour from Kenmare.
All distances and drive times are taken from the aa routeplanner website.
Please note: drive times are the very minimum it will take you to complete each journey. Please factor in additional time to allow for any delays on the roads, plus adequate time to stop at sites/sights along the route, lunch break, rest stop, etc.
Day 1 - Shannon Airport to Cliffs of Moher (approx. 70km, min. 1hr, 15 minutes drive)
Collect rental car at Shannon and head for the Cliffs of Moher: best seen early morning or late afternoon/early evening, when there are fewer people. Please note: parking charge at the Cliffs. See web-site for details:
Cliffs of Moher - Kilfenora - Leamaneh Castle - Poulnabrone Megalithic Tomb - Ballyvaughan. (approx. 43km, min. drive: 1hr, 15 minutes)
From the Cliffs head to Kilfenora to visit the Burren Centre and Kilfenora Cathedral (ruin) with its famed High Crosses.
On via Leamaneh Castle (ruin) and Poulnabrone megalithic tomb to the village of Ballyvaughan, which lies on the north coast of county Clare.
Overnight Ballyvaughan, where there is a super choice of accommodation and restaurants.
Day 2 - Ballyvaughan - Dingle via Shannon Ferries and Connor Pass (approx. 180km, min. 4hrs drive).
Head down the west coast to Killimer where you can drive the car onto the ferry that will take you across the Shannon estuary, to Tarbert, co. Kerry.
Drive via Listowel and Tralee onto the Dingle Peninsula. Head towards Stradbally, on the northern side, and drive over the stunning Connor Pass and down into Dingle town.
Dingle town has a great choice of accommodation: some of the most highly rated guest houses in Ireland (Tripadvisor ratings). There are also restaurants and pubs to suit every budget.
For details of events in Dingle:
Spend the rest of the day exploring Dingle town, where you will find shops selling quality items designed and made on the Peninsula: crystal, woollens, leathergoods, art work and ceramics.
If you are staying in Dingle at weekends and during Peak Season, recommend making dinner reservations. Some restaurants offer "early dining" menus which are excellent value.
Day 3 - Slea Head Drive.
Spend the day enjoying the stunning scenery along the Slea Head Drive.
If it's a nice day, pack a picnic to enjoy on Great Blasket Island, or on a beach or grassy bank.
Details of places of interest on the Slea Head Drive can be found on the above link.
Day 4 - Dingle to Kenmare via Killarney and Moll's Gap (approx. 100km, min.: 2hrs drive)
Time to say "goodbye" to Dingle. Drive via glorious Inch Strand, where you may be tempted to stop and stroll along the sandy shore.
On towards Killarney. You might like to visit the fabulous Gap of Dunloe, or Muckross House and Gardens and Torc Waterfall before driving past the lakes and over Moll's Gap into Kenmare.
If you wish to visit both the Gap of Dunloe and Muckross House, aim to leave Dingle quite early.
Kenmare too has a super choice of accommodation, restaurants and pubs. You'll be spoilt for choice!
Day 5 - Beara Peninsula - Full Day's Exploration.
Spend the day exploring the rugged beauty of the Beara Peninsula: tiny rocky bays; prehistoric stone circles hidden in the hills; the brightly coloured villages ofAllihies and Eyeries; Dursey Sound, where you can take the tiny cable car across to Dursey Island (check times on the web-site); and drive back to Kenmare over the Healy Pass.
Day 6 - Kenmare - Bunratty (approx. 165km, min. 2.5hrs drive)
Drive back over Moll's Gap (stopping at the Avoca Shop for last-minute shopping), the lakes of Killarney and Killarney town to Bunratty village for your last night in Ireland.
Your route will take you via Adare and Limerick city:
Bunratty village is a popular last-night stop for many visitors to Ireland, as the village lies 10 minutes drive from Shannon airport.
The village has a good choice of accommodation, pubs and restaurants, and of course Bunratty Castle. You might like to attend the medieval banquet at the Castle (if available for your date of stay).