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Trip List by Sarnia G

Ireland Itinerary: 7+ Nts Dub-Snn, visiting Dublin, Kilkenny, Kerry and Clare.

14 Feb 2010  by SarniaG : I
4.0 of 5 stars based on 3 votes

A 7+ Night Fly-Drive Itinerary flying into Dublin, departing from Shannon, visiting Dublin, Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel, Killarney, Dingle, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.

All distances and drive times are taken from the aa routeplanner web-site. Please note that drive times are the Minimum it will take to drive a given route. Please factor in time for traffic delays: roadworks, diversions, sheep on the road . . .

Please also factor in time to stop at sites along the route, lunch break, rest stop etc.

This itinerary could easily be extended into 8-10 night itinerary by spending extra nights in Dublin, Kenmare (or Killarney) or Clare, where you will find a wealth of places to see and experience:

Dublin: Newgrange, co. Meath, or Glendalough, co. Wicklow. Both are full-day excursions from Dublin.

Kenmare/Killarney: Muckross House and Gardens; Killarney National Park; Gap of Dunloe; Ross Castle

Clare: Aran Islands (full day required); Bunratty Castle and Folk Park; Craggaunowen Prehistoric Park; Lough Derg. Galway city is also within striking distance for a day-trip.

  • 1. Dublin

    Day 1.

    Arrive Dublin Airport and transfer to city centre, either by taxi or aircoach, which offers a frequent and reasonably priced service.

    Drop bags at hotel and explore city, either on foot, or using the HoHo bus.

    Please read the Top Questions section on the Dublin Forum for a wealth of information on airport transfers, hotel accommodation, sites to see, best pubs to visit.

    Overnight Dublin.

  • 2. Kilkenny

    Day 2

    Dublin - Kilkenny : approx. 125km, 2hrs drive.

    Collect rental car (either from city centre or Dublin airport) and head for Kilkenny, which has an attractive medieval centre. Buildings to look out for: St Canice's Cathedral; the Black Abbey; Shee Alms House; Rothe House; the Tholsel; Kilkenny Castle (check opening times on web-site) and Kilkenny Design Centre (for shopping).

    You might want to pop into Kyteler's Inn for a drink and/or supper: a building with an interesting history!

    Overnight Kilkenny.

  • 3. Kenmare

    Day 3

    Kilkenny - Rock of Cashel - Kenmare : approx. 240km, 4hrs drive.

    Immediately after breakfast drive to Cashel to visit the Rock of Cashel early, before the tour buses arrive.
    The Rock is a very impressive site when seen from afar, and has very fine examples of early-Christian buildings on the summit. There is a carpark at the base of the Rock; it is then a short, but fairly steep walk to the entrance.

    Allow approx. 1.5-2hrs for your visit. Guided tours are available and are worth taking if you wish to learn about the various buildings.

    On to Kenmare; you should arrive in time to spend an hour or so exploring this pretty little town, before heading out to one of the excellent restaurants for dinner.

    Overnight Kenmare.

  • 4. Ring of Kerry
    Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

    Day 4

    Option 1:

    Get an early start before the tour buses, and spend the day travelling around the Ring of Kerry (anti-clockwise recommended), where you will discover beautiful seascapes and pretty villages. Look out for Derrynane House; Skellig Chocolates in St Finan's Bay; Staigue Fort (prehistoric stone fort).

    Overnight Kenmare.

  • 5. Beara

    Day 4

    Option 2:

    If you want to get off the beaten track, rather than drive around the Ring of Kerry, opt for a day on Beara Peninsula, which lies south of Kenmare: a ruggedly attractive landscape scattered with pretty villages, prehistoric sites, gardens, waterfalls, and rocky bays. A great opportunity for hiking/walking; there are many loop walks on the Peninsula. Also, a chance to take a ride in a very small cable cars across the sea channel to Dursey Island: a head for heights recommended!

    If the weather is nice, then pop into "Jam" on Henry Street in Kenmare and pick up some goodies for a picnic.

    Overnight Kenmare.

  • 6. Killarney

    Day 4

    Option 3: A Day in Killarney

    Drive over Moll's Gap, past the Lakes, and through the National Park to Killarney town where there are several sites and sights you may wish to visit:

    Muckross House and Gardens, and a walk past the Lake to Torc Waterfall (allow 3hrs)

    Gap of Dunloe lies beyond Killarney, off the N72 at Beaufort. You can park your car near Kate Kearney's Cottage and walk/hike through the Gap, or take the leisurely option of a horse and carriage ride.

    As Dingle town is only 1hr's drive from Killarney you may opt to continue to Dingle for the night, rather than return to Kenmare.

  • 7. Dingle
    Dingle, Dingle Peninsula

    Day 5

    Kenmare - Dingle : 100km, approx. 1hr, 45 min-2hrs

    Drive over Moll's Gap and past the Lakes, through Killarney National Park and Killarney town, to the beautiful Dingle Peninsula.

    You might be tempted to stop at Inch Strand and take a stroll along this fabulous beach: a popular spot for surfers and walkers.

    Dingle town has a superb choice of accommodation, restaurants, pubs and shops. This is an ideal opportunity to buy quality, locally designed and crafted souvenirs: Dingle Crystal; ceramics from Louis Mulcahy; woollens from Commodum; scarves, throws and linen from Lisbeth Mulcahy; books of Irish interest from the Dingle Bookshop; silk paintings from Dingle Artworks; jewellery from Nu Goldsmith, Brian de Staic and John Weldon.

  • 8. Dingle Town and the Slea Head Drive

    Day 5 Continued . . .

    Beyond Dingle town, head west on the Slea Head drive which will take you out around the Peninsula where you will discover beautiful sea vistas, sandy beaches and many interesting historic sites dating back over the centuries to prehistory. Well worth visiting: Dunbeg Promontory Fort and Gallarus Oratory.
    Expect to spend 2-3hrs on the Slea Head Drive (if you have 8 nights in your itinerary, recommend 2 nights in Dingle in order to spend a full day enjoying the Drive).

    See Above link for details of the route.

    Overnight Dingle.

  • 9. Dingle to West Clare

    Day 6

    This is a very pleasant route from Dingle to West Clare, driving over the Connor Pass (subject to weather conditions), and through Tralee and Listowel. Onwards using Shannon Ferries across the Shannon, and visiting Loop Head (if time permits) and the Cliffs of Moher.

    Full details of this route on above link. Minimum drive time: 3.5hrs, approx. 5.5hrs if including Loop Head.

    Overnight West Clare; popular locations include:

    Lahinch - popular seaside town a few minutes drive south of the Cliffs of Moher. Gorgeous sandy beach popular with surfers.

    Doolin - a few minutes drive north of the Cliffs of Moher: a small village comprising mainly guest accommodation, 4 pubs and a couple of shops. Very popular with overseas tourists.

    Ballyvaughan - on the north coast of Clare, approx. 30 minutes drive from the Cliffs of Moher. A pretty village with good choice of accommodation, a few pubs, shops and restaurants.

    Fanore - a very small village on the coast north of Doolin; ideal for those who want a quiet location. Gorgeous sandy beach and sea views across to the Aran Islands.

    Kilfenora - location of the Burren Centre and Kilfenora Cathedral and High Crosses. This small village lies approx. 20 minutes drive inland from the Cliffs of Moher. Another location ideal for those looking to get away from the crowds.

    Overnight West Clare.

  • 10. The Burren

    Day 7

    Option 1 : The Burren

    Spend a day exploring the fascinating Burren: a unique limestone landscape where alpine and mediterranean flowers grow side by side from Spring through Summer.
    This area has been inhabited by man for 1,000s of years and you will find traces all over the Burren: prehistoric tombs and forts, medieval churches and abbeys, and pre-famine farmsteads.

    An ideal area for walking/hiking, horse-riding:



    Click on the above" GO List" link (highlighted in blue) to read details of my favourite places in the Burren.

    Overnight West Clare.

  • 11. Aran Islands
    Aran Islands

    Day 7

    Option 2 : Aran Islands

    From Easter to end of October you can take a ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands, subject to weather conditions.
    Some ferry companies combine a visit to one of the Islands with a cruise below the Cliffs of Moher, which is to be recommended.

  • 12. Shannon

    Day 8 - West Clare to Shannon Airport

    If you are staying in West Clare, allow 90 minutes for the drive to Shannon airport, and remember that you need to refuel the car before returning it to the depot at Shannon airport. There is a petrol station in Shannon town, next to Oakwood Arms Hotel. From the rental drop-off, onwards by shuttle bus to departures (2-minute journey).

    Most airlines require 3hr check-in for transatlantic flights; 2hrs for European flights; 1hr for Ryanair if travelling with hand baggage only, having checked-in online prior to arrival at airport (mandatory for Ryanair).

    Note: if you have an early morning departure from Shannon, you may prefer to spend your final night in Ireland near Shannon airport. The Oakwood Arms Hotel is closest: approximately 5-minutes drive from the airport - and with the added convenience of the petrol station adjacent for refuelling your rental car.

    Alternatively, you may like to overnight in Bunratty Village, where there is a choice of hotels, guest houses and b&bs, together with restaurants and pubs: about 10 minutes from Shannon.

    If you opt to stay in Bunratty and wish to visit the Castle and Folk Park, bear in mind that last admission to the Castle is 4.15pm.