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itinerary advice

new york
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itinerary advice

So we are planning to go to Ireland at the end of the summer, and have the usual questions. I am thinking about the following itinerary:

Day 1 Arrive Dublin and overnight

2 get car and drive to Kilkenny

3, 4 Kinsale

5, 6 County Kerry, Killarney or Kenmare

6, 7 County Clare

8, 9 County Galway/Mayo

Day 10 Flight out of Shannon

My wife wants to stay in some castles while we are there, I was thinking maybe Dromoland and Ballynahinch. We will be traveling with our 12 year old daughter, she has been a pretty game traveler the last couple of years. Did really well on our trip to Greece last summer, but then we did only Athens and 2 islands. So I am a little concerned that we will be doing too much driving, especially if we try and do both the ROK and Dingle Peninsula while we are in County Kerry. Also a lot of checking in and out of hotels. As people have said, I do not want to see Ireland through my car windshield, and I would like to have time to do some hikes around all the beautiful countryside we will be visiting.

How long would it take us to drive from Ballynahinch to Shannon Airport on Day 10?

Going from the airport into Dublin and back out to the airport the next day to pick up the car also seems like high stress.

Any suggestions on how modify the trip? The route is fairly standard I understand, short of skipping the Connemara (which I would rather not do), I am not sure how to make the trip more relaxed. The only other idea I had was to add a second day in Dublin at the beginning to make the arrival more low key. Also, should I spend a third day in County Kerry, instead of elsewhere?

Edited: 23 February 2010, 03:20
Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: itinerary advice

I'll take advantage of time zones right now and jump on this with my for-what-it's-worth opinion before the rest of them wake up. :-)

As your arrival is now, figuring in jet lag, partnered with too many things to see/do and not enough time to do them for just one day in Dublin isn't sitting well with me. I'm tempted to suggest not even going into Dublin (just get the car right away and stay somewhere on the outskirts the first night) if you're not going to be able to add another night in Dublin itself.

Unless there is something very specific you want to see in Kinsale, if it were me, I'd skip Kinsale and add one extra day/night to Dublin and the other day/night to somewhere near Shannon airport the night before departure.

Also re: Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, I wouldn't advise driving them both one day after the other. It would add to the packing/unpacking, but perhaps you would/could consider spending 1 night in Dingle and 1 in Clare on the way up to Galway.

It is a nice itinerary, though. You could stick with what you have and not go wrong.

Manchester, United...
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for County Galway
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2. Re: itinerary advice

Ballynahinch Castle Hotel is beautiful and one of our favourite places to stay anywhere in the world - we used to live in it's immediate locale and the whole area is stunning. Like a lot of 'castle hotels' in Ireland it's worth noting, however, that it's not actually a castle but a 19th.c hunting lodge within the grounds of a (much ruined and very small) castle...

http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/

Have a look at their multiple night deals (eg. 2BB1D) and make sure that you get to eat supper, as well as their huge breakfasts, at the restaurant as the food is lovely and the ambience wonderful :-)

You're right to not to want to skimp on Connemara - it's amazingly beautiful and unlike a lot of other Irish scenery. Our only thought would be to maybe move it to earlier in the trip (in fact why not fly into and out of Shannon as most of your itinerary is on the west coast?) as it's not really that convenient for your flight home. The Ballynahinch estate is tucked away about 10 minutes off the N59 which will then take you down to Galway and on to Shannon for the airport - we haven't done the entire route but would hazard a guess at about a 2-3 hours drive. Beanalainn the DE for Limerick was on holiday in Clifden (also on the N59) last year and would be able to give you a more accurate driving time for her homeward journey from that trip...

new york
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3. Re: itinerary advice

Thanks for your suggestions. This Dublin thing is an thing to think about. Personally I would be willing to skip Dublin, but my wife saw the Samantha Brown episode on Dublin and thinks we must go there. Now if we flew in and out of Shannon there would be less driving overall but I guess we wouldn't go any further east than County Cork.

The point that Ballyaninch and the Connemara are far from Shannon is well taken, it would be better to overnight in County Clare right before heading to the airport. But if I am coming from Kerry/Dingle, wouldn't it be kind of a long drive to go up through Galway, only to circle back to County Clare at the end of the trip? In other words, would it make sense to do Dublin-Kilkenny-Kinsale-Kerry-Galway-Clare-Shannon, instead of my original path?

The other issue is whether Killarney can be a reasonable base to explore both the ROK and Dingle, or whether I should overnight in Dingle? Again the desire to minimize driving conflicts with the goal of minimizing the hotel check in/out hassle.

Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: itinerary advice

I'm trying to remember the Samantha Brown Dublin episode...I'm wondering if she was actually in Dublin or if she did what lots of those Travel Channel people do and visit the outskirts (thinking inparticular of Anthony Bourdain promoting Dublin, but visiting Howth)?

RE: Killarney/Dingle. Since you want to see both ROK and Dingle Pen, even though it would require another check in/check out, I would still try to spend the second night in Dingle, rather than head back to Killarney. You're going to have a lot of windshield time no matter what, especially coming from Kinsale to Killarney, then getting up the next day and driving the ROK, and then also wanting to drive the Dingle Peninsula the following day. Could we convince you to not drive the ROK and just spend the day enjoying Killarney, take a break from driving and head to Dingle the following day?

Again, I go back to possibly dropping Kinsale to make the most of your time up in Clare/Galway/Mayo, but I am partial to that region.

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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5. Re: itinerary advice

I personally would be inclined to spend more nights in less places. Because of the diverse location of some of the places on your list, there will be a lot of driving.

Yes, Killarney is a good location for doing both the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Loop - we did both over a couple of days at the end of October last and didn't find it hugely taxing.

My suggestion would be to skip Kinsale and drive straight to Killarney from Kilkenny.

Use one of those nights to stay in the Shannon-Bunratty area the night before your flight (the Oakwood Arms in Shannon is a nice place to stay www.oakwoodarms.com and I would use the other night to stay in either the Connemara or Kerry area. Either location would be good.

When travelling from Kerry to Clare, use the Shannon Ferry www.shannonferry.com It will save you a lot of driving and time and is great fun. They say you can sometimes see dolphins but we haven't.

Edited: 24 February 2010, 00:28
new york
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6. Re: itinerary advice

According to aaireland.ie, its about 3 hours from Kilkenny to Killarney via Cashel. So I guess a lot of driving that day, but it would make the later part of the trip more relaxed. I thought everybody liked the coastal trip from Kinsale west? Oh well, I guess I will have to decide what to keep and what to skip.

So this alternative would look like:

Dublin 2 nights

Kilkenny 1 night

Killarney 3 nights or Killarney 2/Dingle 1

Clare 2 nights

Galway/Connemara 2 nights

overnight near Shannon and home

new york
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7. Re: itinerary advice

Looking at what I posted above, it does seem it would be key to decide if Dublin is a "must".To fly into the East of Ireland, then to drive due west for most of the trip seems silly. And in the context of a 10 day trip I am not sure if it is possible to make an enjoyable go of both the East and the West.

If we flew in and out of Shannon, I guess the most East one would possibly want to go is Cashel?

8. Re: itinerary advice

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