We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

12 day self drive itinerary

massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 posts
14 reviews
Save Topic
12 day self drive itinerary

My family is heading to Ireland for a first overseas trip in just over a week to celebrate the college graduation of my son and high school graduation of my daughter. This is a synopsis of our plans. I have been pouring over the forums to make my plans and sure would appreciate some feedback. I know many people will think it's too much driving but each destination is around 3 hours and for us that is not unbearable.

Day 1 Arrive in Dublin at 5:25 am from Boston. Transportation by taxi to The Shelbourne where we will stay for 2 nights. We will drop off our luggage and spend the day in Dublin. Does the HoHo bus sound like a good idea for that first day? We can get a good feeling for Dublin with a definite hop off at Guiness for my son.

Day 2 Walking tour of Dublin. We would like some restaurant suggestions. A friend recommended Gogarty's.

Day 3 Train to Cork to pick up rental car from Dan Dooley.

Transportation to get rental car?

Walking tour of University of Cork for my soon to be college student. She's thinking of studying in Ireland.

Then a stop at Blarney Castle before heading to the Carrig Country House near Killorgin for three nights.

Day 4 Killarney National Park for an easy hike. Gap of Dunloe by Jarvey. Horseback riding on beach in Glenbeigh.

Day 5 The Dingle Pennisula will follow suggestions on forums for route and stops.

Day 6 To Doolin via ferry in Tarbert. Perhaps a stop in Kilkee to do the cliff walk. Cliffs of Moher. Night at Ballinalacken Castle. O'Connor's Pub sounds like the best choice of travelers for my music lovers.

Day 7 Spend several hours exploring the Burren. Perhaps a guided walk. Suggestions? Drive later in day to Markree Castle near Sligo for 3 nights.

Day 8 and Day 9 explore Sligo area - Glencar Waterfall, Parke's Castle, Strandhill, Carowmore or Carrowkeel, Marble Arch Caves.

Day 10 Drive to Giants Causeway via Derry with a walk around the city wall. Overnight at Bengore House.

Day 11 Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge (may do on day 10) Drive to Dublin via the Glens of Antrim. Overnight at Ashbourne Marriott .

Day 12 flight out from Dublin at 2 pm. We need a little something to do this last morning. We could stay somewhere farther north Friday night if anyone has any ideas.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for County Galway
Level Contributor
1,991 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

Can't fault days 7 through to 10 - our favourite hotel in our favourite county ;-)

Well, actually, we'd insist that with three days in the area you should visit both Carrowmore AND Carrowkeel and in that order too as the Visitors Centre at Carrowmore will give a good background to the megalithic history of the whole area and set you up nicely for Carrowkeel where you are very much left to your own devices. Also Marble Arch Caves would best be visited on the way to Derry so, taking these into account and thinking about the locations of your other must sees, we'd suggest that you consider this breakdown:

Day 7 - late arrival @ Markree

Day 8 - Carrowmore (am) and Strandhill (lunch and pm)

Day 9 - Carrowkeel (am) lunch at nearby Cromleach Lodge Hotel or in Sligo town then Glencar Waterfall and Parkes Castle (pm)

Day 10 - Marble Arch Caves (am) and onwards...

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for County Galway
Level Contributor
1,991 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

For lunch in Strandhill we'd recommend the pizza/pasta deals at Bella Vista, a pub meets restaurant/bistro at the heart of the surfing community that is both lots of fun and very tasty too - spend some time in the Voya Seaweed Baths afterwards to burn off the calories:

http://www.bellavista.ie/

http://www.voya.ie/

:-)

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
6,589 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

You'll find tons of information about Dublin in the Top Questions about Dublin section on the right hand side of the Dublin Forum, including what to see and do, how to get around, the best restaurants, traditional pubs, shopping etc, walking tours, maps etc. Have a read of this and then just post again if you need any more help with the Dublin leg of your trip.

The HoHo is a good option on the first day after a long flight. The most popular HoHo on the Dublin Forum (and the one that we'd recommend) is the Dublin Bus HoHo (the green one), operated by the company responsible for running all of Dublin's bus services. Tickets are usually cheaper online. There's a stop at St. Stephen's Green close to your hotel.

www.dublinsightseeing.ie/bookTour.aspx…

We think you can do an awful lot better than Gogarty's as a dining option. It's probably the biggest tourist trap of a pub in the biggest tourist trap area of Dublin (Temple Bar). The food is likely to be indifferent at best and, along with the drinks, overpriced and you'll only have fellow tourists for company. The locals give Temple Bar a wide berth, particularly at weekends when various gangs of visitors on a variety of drinking trips make for pretty revolting scenes, both in the pubs and in the streets. Certainly not where we'd like to bring kids of high school graduation age. Temple Bar itself is an interesting and attractive area, and pleasant to stroll through during the day but we'd suggest heading elsewhere in the evenings, especially weekend evenings.

Dublin has no shortgage of great restaurants and traditional pubs - take a look at the Top Questions section and post again if you need any more help. The Shelbourne is in the middle of the biggest concentration of great restaurants and trad pubs in Dublin. The South William Street area (just across Dame Street from Temple Bar) could probably be described as the locals' version of Temple Bar but with out the gross-out! It's a vibrant area full of great restaurants, traditional pubs, bars and cafes and is bustling day and and late into the night. It also has a number of outdoor dining and drinking options (as long as the weather allows!). It may also help people here to make specific recommendations for you if you give us an idea of your preferred types of food, preferred dining style (e.g. informal, fine dining, fast food, etc.).

Trains for Cork depart from Heuston Station on the edge of the south city centre of Dublin. Your best option for transport from the Shelbourne to Heuston is by taxi (it should only take you around 15 minutes or so, depending on traffic. There's only one rail operator in the Republic of Ireland, the State-owned Irish Rail and you'll find details of fares, tickets and timetables here:

www.irishrail.ie

Tickets are usually a good deal cheaper when purchased online and you can pick them up on your way to the train from a person or a machine at Heuston Station. Booking online also allows you to select specific seats on the train for free. This isn't essential on quieter services but it's a good idea on busier trains and if you are travelling in a larger party who want to sit together. Otherwise you can sit in any unreserved seat (which on a lot of trains would be the majority of seats).

It's about four hours' drive (not including rest breaks) from Carrick a Rede to Dublin. There are nine Glens of Antrim in all so may want to focus your this bit of your itinerary a little as your time will be limited. We're actually spending a whole week soon exploring the Glens of Antrim so you won't get to see them all in a day!

www.causewaycoastalroute.com/index.php…

Not wanting to pack out your itinerary even more but there's a wealth of important heritage sites and monuments on the journey south to Dublin, including Bru na Boinne/Newgrange, a UNESCO World Heritage site of megalithic burial tombs older than the pyramids in Egypt in County Meath, Ireland's 'Valley of the Kings'. This thread from a couple of days ago has details of what can be seen between Belfast and Dublin.

tripadvisor.ie/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k374450…

Do you have a particular reason for choosing the Marriott at Ashbourne? It's just that Ashbourne is not exactly on the tourist trail and is in the main a commuter town for Dublin so has little to offer the visitor. Plus the Marriott isn't even in the town but stuck out on a bypass. The hotel is pretty soulless and a bit depressing, and it's not the ideal location for ending your trip on a high note.

Rather than staying farther north, we'd suggest heading closer to Dublin and staying somewhere like Malahide, an attractive and upscale north County Dublin suburb which is only about 20 minutes' drive from Dublin Airport. It has a castle, a marina, a coastal walk and superb beach in adjacent Portmarnock, lots of great restaurants, pubs, cafes, shops in a compact and charming central area. It also has a DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) station - 30 mins to the centre of Dublin. You won't have any problems finding parking there either. The thread linked above has some links to information about Malahide which is popular with visitors looking for somewhere other than a bland airport hotel in which to spend their last night in Ireland.

If your flight is back to the US, then you will need to check in for a 2pm flight at 11am (most US flights pre-clear US immigration at DUB so you will need this time). If you are dropping back a rental car, allow an extra 30 mins or so. Some of the rental return depots are in the airport precincts, not far from the terminal but the airport campus is pretty chaotic at present due to the construction of the new terminal (due to open in November) and you'll need to give yourself time to find your way through. Other rental return depots are outside the main airport campus on the other side of the main road which runs by the airport and you will need to take the free shuttle bus of whichever rental company you are with back to the terminal. It's only 5-10 mins but you will need to allow a bit of extra time. Taking all of that into account, you really don't have a lot of time to play with on the day of your flight. If you do decide to stay somewhere as close to DUB as Malahide, you'd be hitting the road around 10am - time for a leisurely breakfast and maybe a quick stroll along the shore before heading out on the long road home.

Hope this is some help - let us know if you need any more assistance on the bits of your journey we can help with!

massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

Thanks for the Dublin info. I am definitely not interested in starting off our vacation with rowdy drinkers so we will avoid Temple Bar at night. Staying at the Marriott at Ashbourne was just for convenience and price - Marriott points. But I like your suggestion for ending the trip on a high note so will consider some alternatives. I thought we would forgo Newgrange and go to Carrowmore and now with ragoora's advice Carrowkeel as well. I know that we wouldn't have time to go to Newgrange on departure day and am not sure we could see any of the Glens of Antrim if we tried to get down to Newgrange before closing.

massachusetts
Level Contributor
13 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

I had forgotten about the seaweed baths. My daughter and I will definitely want to experience them.

Manchester, United...
Destination Expert
for County Galway
Level Contributor
1,991 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

Voya is very popular so you should book yourselves a couple of rooms beforehand once you are in Ireland - the concierge service at The Shelbourne should do this for you no problems. Go on, pamper yourselves, you won't regret it ;-)

If the boys don't want to join you (the baths are very popular with both genders) the best options are maybe for them to join in a surf school for a short lesson or go for a long walk up and over the big sand dune at the end of the promenade and make your way across the dunes to Culleenamore Strand at the back where they can see a colony of seals basking on the distant sands - if you have some small travel binoculars then they would be handy to bring along for this as the seals are quite a distance away and look like ants on the horizon otherwise...

If you've not done so already then we'd recommend you have a quick glance at this thread from the Top Questions about Sligo:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186635-i1128-k341…

It includes some tips about Carrowmore and Carrowkeel as well as other places in the Sligo area...

Cherry Hill, NJ
Level Contributor
9 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

The Gap of Dunloe trip with the boat and Jarvey was really wonderful - probably the highlight of our trip. I really would do the boat part of it too. My kids rode their own horses in the Gap of Dunloe while we took the pony trap, and complained for two days about a backache. It's English riding, they have done Western many times, but had a hard time adjusting to the saddle. We ate at a great pub in Killorgin called Bianconi's. They had the most amazing "brown bread special" you could imagine, an open faced sandwich which I can't put into words. My teenagers also really enjoyed Waterville on the Ring of Kerry, which would be a great place to go for lunch and a few hours. Food can get really expensive travelling with kids, especially for dinner, so you'll need to get creative if you're working with a budget. In Dingle, we found that Murphy's had affordable food and it's right on the Marina. We all did the pubs at night with the music, and found no one looked twice at my well behaved 13 year old. My oldest turned 18 while we were there. If you stay in Dingle, either John Benny Moriarty's or the Small Bridge will have good music. John Benny Moriarty's was our favorite (we stayed in Dingle for a week). The local musicians in Dingle are fantastic, a few to look for are Eilis O Cinneide (my personal favorite), Pauline Scanlon (also a wonderful female vocalist), Aiofe Granville (amazing flute and fiddler), Seamus Begely (accordian, vocals, and priceless personality), and Donogh Hennessey (guitar), just to name a few. John Benny's has food, the Small Bridge does not (and feels more like a typical bar). Other pubs have music as well and they do a magazine called West Kerry Live that says who's playing where, which the music shops usually carry, or the place where you're staying will have one as well. Music starts about 9:30 and goes for about two hours. I'd really make a point of trying to hear music while you're in Dingle if you can. It sounds like you have a great trip planned! We had fantastic weather. Coming home to NJ yesterday was not pleasant and we all wished we were back in Ireland.

8. Re: 12 day self drive itinerary

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 02 January 2011, 06:18