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Help...starting to plan

Ohio
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423 posts
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Help...starting to plan

We are three sixtyish-young sisters starting to plan 14 full days in Ireland in September ’09. We are trying to decide which is more preferable…..the 2nd and 3rd week or the 3rd and 4th week of September as it relates for better weather, less tourist crowds, and possibly less expensive lodging? We plan to rent a car and explore areas in the southeast, southwest, and western areas of Ireland with only a day or two in Dublin, if at all. We hope to travel leisurely, staying in B&B’s and hostals. Would it be necessary to reserve rooms in advance at that time of year? We would prefer to have a flexible itinerary if possible. Would this also give us enough time to visit Donegal County in the north or would this further excursion be far too much for the time allotted and be worth taking the time from our southern leisurely exploration? Also, which airport, Dublin or Shannon, would be the airport of choice for ease of use and accessibilty? We may need further advice as well from trip advisor as we continue to make our plans over the coming months. Thanks!

Merced, California
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for Killarney
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1. Re: Help...starting to plan

Weather wise 2nd 3rd or 3rd 4th will not make much of a difference - it is too difficult to predict Irish weather and the climate does not change that dramatically over a 3 week period.

It would not be necessary to reserve rooms at such a time and you should do fine finding places as you go. It might be good to have a short list for the areas you wish expect to be in and email ahead for tentative availability. The only thing I can think of would be a festival of sorts coinciding with you visit to a particular area thus making availability an issue. For example, the Listowel (Horse) Races are in in September and this makes walk-ins difficult. http://www.listowelraces.ie/index.asp

Since you don't seem to wish to spend time in Dublin I think you can easily see the SE, SW, W and NW making each one a base for 2 to 3 days each.

Shannon seems to be much easier to get in and out of by car but a complete circuit of the country may best be achieved by beginning and ending in Dublin (even though you don't necessarily want to spend time there!)

Flying into and or out of Shannon is not making sense in my head right now for seeing SE, SW, W and NW even though it is kinda in the middle of it? I guess Shannon would work for going S or N from it and ending in Dublin or going S, then E then NW to Kilkenny to Galway and then S again but ...

Ohio
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2. Re: Help...starting to plan

Thank you for your advice. My original thought had been to fly into Dublin and then make our circle. What concerns me is that I do not want to drive in Dublin. Flying into Dublin while being sleep deprived is not the time for me to pick up a car and learn to drive on the left side of the road. I need to be fully awake for that. This would mean getting to lodging in Dublin via bus with all our luggage or taking an expensive cab. Not an impossibility, though. However, would you suggest at least one full day in Dublin as a must see? This would then mean making our way back to the airport in a day or two to pick up a car as this is where I would want to return it as we left Ireland unless there are other suggestions?

Also, is it possible to actually ask at the door of a B&B in the smaller towns if they have rooms available or is emailing, phoning or using the TI a must? We will have a cell phone and possibly a PSP or small laptop with us for internet usage providing we are in a wifi area.

Georgetown...
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3. Re: Help...starting to plan

Starting and ending in Dublin vs. Shannon? Eventually, you will need to drive through/around Dublin no matter becuase you are planning a circle. The ring road, M50, is very close to the city centre and can be a traffic nightmare anytime during the day. That said, Shannon is certainly better for ease of use and accessibilty.

You could get the Airlink into Dublin and pick up your car in the city centre the next day and still drop off at the airport in 2 weeks. Also, have you considered booking a room at a cheap airport hotel for the night BEFORE you arrive, so you can check in at 7 am, get a good nap, and then head out? Being north of the Dublin - head straight for Donegal via an overnight in Monaghan or Cavan.

My experience these days is that B&B's like a phone call before arriving, no matter if you've pre-arranged, so stopping at the TI and phoning a few houses should be a good plan, instead of just showing up.

Georgetown...
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4. Re: Help...starting to plan

Oh and ...

Cab for 3 vs. Aircoach. Aircoach in Dublin is 6EUR. A taxi will be from 24-30EUR and will drop you and your luggage at your door. Not bad for an extra 2-3EUR apiece!

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
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5. Re: Help...starting to plan

"Also, is it possible to actually ask at the door of a B&B in the smaller towns if they have rooms available or is emailing, phoning or using the TI a must?"

My experience is that B&B's do not mind you knocking at the door (at reasonable hours of the day of course) and that phoning ahead or stopping into the TI is not a must. Most B&Bs that have rooms available and that want your business will have a Vacancy sign hanging from the main sign in front of their premises.

But as mentioned earlier using TA to make a short list for the areas you expect to visit is probably a good idea and since you will have a phone, calling ahead is more practical than driving around trying to find the place. You could call on the morning of your departure from one to plan for that night and you should do fine. If none on your short list has availability they will most likely do their best to recommend someone who has.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: Help...starting to plan

I'm planning something similar and flying in and out of Dublin. We got around the Dublin car question by scheduling ourselves to land at Dublin airport, then take the Nestor bus straight to Galway. It leaves from the airport and lands you in central galway 3 hours later for 15 euro a person. There is a train option, but you have to take a 45 min bus ride to the train. Then we're renting a car in Galway to begin our west/southwest tour, driving to Dublin airport, dropping off the car and going home.

7. Re: Help...starting to plan

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