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Belfast to Cork in 4 days

London, United...
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Belfast to Cork in 4 days

I have some family members coming over to mid June this year and we are doing a mega Europe trip for 6 weeks. Unfortunately this means we are on a strict timeline which leaves us only 4 days in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Unfortunately the two 'must see's' as identified by the group are Giants Causeway up near Belfast and the Blarney Stone down near Cork at the opposite ends of the island!

I'm trying to convince the crew not to go all the way down to Cork. But should I fail, I was hoping the forum could help me choose some stops to make along the way. I know my family would love to go to some towns with pubs with great character, they have this idea that they'll walk in and be best mates with the locals in minutes ;) So if these sorts of places really do exist in our modern world, i'd love to take my family there!

About us: we like good food, seeing cool natural sites or man made ones.

I really only have a half day on the 4th day as i'm restricted with flights because we need to meet an international long haul flight in London. The flight out of Cork is at 14:00. The flight out of Shannon is 17:20.

Any help with an itinerary would be much appreciated! Thank you!

North Coast, N...
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1. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Sorry, but you've got to talk them out of it! It honestly would take almost a day (I'd allow 5.5 hours from Belfast to Cork) - from the Causeway add on another 1.5 so you are talking a good 7 hours driving between the two, not allowing for breaks - in 3.5 days....

Either they do one or the other in my opinion.... I've never been to Blarney (have been elsewhere in Cork though). So my suggestion would be either do the Causeway and go across the border to County Donegal for local pubs. I can give a few ideas on this if you decide on this option. Donegal is off the beaten track to an extent and has great scenery - does need half-decent weather though. Personally it's my favourite.

Or do what a lot of tourists do in their first trip and go to Cork and explore the Dingle/Killarney/Cork area.

I would also suggest you post in the Ireland forum but be warned - they have great ideas but will shoot down the suggestion of that length of a drive in what is in effect a long weekend! They will be able to give you good ideas if you go for the Cork/Shannon otion though.

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2. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Thanks a lot for your quick reply, have now posted this in the Ireland forum as well... i'm getting ready for a beating!

I had a quick look to see what it would cost to fly down to Cork from Belfast (our flights into Belfast are already booked), and was surprised to find that it's 1) really expensive (150GBP and above) and 2) there's nothing direct, most flights go via Heathrow, meaning with the stopover you waste the most part of a day, so you might as well take a bus.

My (crazy) itinerary so far, just to get from point A to B in time, would have to be:

Late Friday (10pm) arrive in Belfast.

Sat: early rise in Belfast and check this out for the day, leave Belfast by about 4:30pm to get to Giants Causeway by 6. Check this out for an hour. Then drive 2hrs to Donegal! At least in mid June the days will be long... try to get there by 9pm. Would this be too late for a meal somewhere?

Sun: Do something in the Donegal area, late lunch, leave at 4 or 5pm to start driving to the next place (get advice from Ireland forum). Dinner there.

Mon: Make our way down to Shannon with stops along the way.

Tues: stick to Shannon area, fly out of there at 5:20pm.

Sounds tough! Depends on what there is to see along the way....

Belfast, United...
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3. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

I haven't commented on this because I don't drive so I don't really know what's realistic etc on road trips, although it does sound a bit manic to me. However just wanted to mention that whilst the causeway walk and the stones themselves are open until "dusk" in mid-June (sunset seems to be sometime around 10pm), the visitors centre closes at 6pm. Not sure if this would impact your plans there much but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Oh also when you say you plan to rise early on the Saturday in Belfast, know that most of the city centre (shops, etc) won't be open until at least 9-9.30am anyway. If you only want an overview of the city though that should still leave you sufficient time to cover all the main tourist sites if you go on some kind of organised tour. I like the HOHO buses, but there are also taxi tours, walking tours, bike tours, boat tours, etc. The gotobelfast.com website is good for checking out your various options there.

Good luck with your trip!

Belfast, United...
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4. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Blarney is just that - a load of Blarney. If you do want to visit Co Cork, then take time to visit beautiful West Cork and skip Blarney and Cork city. But you obviously can't do that and the Causeway Coast in 4 days.

North Coast, N...
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5. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

It's a pity there is no longer a belfast-cork flight as it would have been ideal:(

Cork, Ireland
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6. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

I'm from Cork and wouldn't advise the long drive from The Causeway down for the Blarney Stone! Honestly, spend your days up in NI taking in the sights there. The best part of Cork is West Cork really, the Blarney stone would be a total disappointment after such a long drive.

London, United...
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7. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Thanks guys,

I'm hearing a consistent message about the Blarney stone, so will take this back to the group and see if they're still really keen to go. Once I can be sure to rule that out, i'll come back to you guys to talk about an NI round trip coming back into Belfast (so I can fly direct to Heathrow)....

Wish me luck!

North Coast, N...
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8. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Good luck Sam:) Trust me - there are loads of other great options which will make them forget all about the Blarney stone. I see there have been some excellent suggestions in the Ireland forum so there are still some "biggies" like Newgrange (older than the pyramids) which are do-able. Anyway, just tell them not to worry, they will want to return and this give them a great reason to come back ;)

London, United...
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9. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Ok it's been a long time since I posted this last message, the Northern Ireland planning fell off the radar as it's the last destination in a 6 week trip!

I managed to convince my family that we should only stick to Northern Ireland for the trip. So wondering if you guys can help me plan an itinerary for the 4 days we'll have.

We fly into Belfast International late on Friday night (21:15) and we're heading straight to a B&B in Belfast. Will probably just hire a car at the airport and take it into Beflast. On Sat, I was thinking a black cabs tour and a hop on hop off bus.

As the days will be long mid June, I think we'll leave late in the afternoon (say 5pm) to go the Giants Causeway. I know the visitors centre will be closed, but a friend said it was a great place to be around sunset. I think we should probably call it a day there and try to find a place to eat and sleep.

Then I have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to go somewhere. I'd like to take us to Carrick-a-rede ropebridge and Bushmills distillery, and definitely drive along the Antrim coast. If there are any good short walks (say 1-2hrs round trip) along the way maybe along the coast, that's something we'd be interested in. As for towns, i'm really not sure, I've heard of Derry of course, but not sure what other towns would be good to visit and how best to fill out the days while we pass through them.

On Tuesday, we have to be back at Belfast International airport by 3:30-4pm.

So my questions are:

1. After visiting the Giants Causeway, where would be a good place to have dinner and sleep?

2. Where would we be best to sleep on Sunday and Monday night?

3. Do you have any suggestions for extra things to do and what order we might tackle them in?

Thanks again for all your help so far, can't wait to arrive!

Belfast, United...
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10. Re: Belfast to Cork in 4 days

Again I'm not great at stuff outside of Belfast so I'll leave those better in the know to answer your questions, but I just had one small comment, which you should feel free to disregard if you like :-) It's just that I don't really think there's any need to do both a black taxi tour and a hop on hop off bus tour in Belfast - they'll both show you much the same things so it's a bit of a waste of your limited time in the city (and your money) to do both in my humble opinion. Plus there are so many other things to do here that it would be a shame to spend your day stuck in traffic instead. St George's Market is lovely on a Saturday morning for example, or there's the new Titanic Experience currently very popular with visitors and locals alike. Just a couple of additional ideas that could supplement a city tour but there are plenty of other things to see and do if those don't appeal.