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More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

Atlanta, GA, USA
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More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

Hi all! My parents and I are spending 7 days in Ireland at the beginning of August. Our bare-bones itinerary is solidified at this point (as far as overnight accommodations go), but I'm trying to get an idea of how we want to actually spend the days.

Our first day there, we're getting our rental car at the Dublin airport early in the morning and are planning to overnight in Kilkenny. Then the next day we're driving to Kenmare and staying there two nights (to see Beara & Dingle peninsulas). There were a couple different routes I was thinking of taking on the first day, however. One way is to go to Rock of Cashel first, then drive to Kilkenny to explore a little, then the next day drive down either along the southern coast road on our way to overnighting in Kenmare (which I realize is out of the way, but beautiful) or possibly the land road from Cork over. Another thought I just had was to do Kilkenny, Inistioge, and maybe Jerpoint Abbey, time permitting, that first day (driving down from Dublin) and then the next day go to Rock of Cashel and take the direct road down to Kenmare. Our only "must do" the second day is getting to Kenmare by the evening. Does anyone have recommendations on which itinerary is better? Would we regret missing the scenery of the southern coast road? Are Inistioge and Jerpoint Abbey too awesome to miss?

Thoughts and recommendations appreciated. Thanks!

Grayslake, Illinois
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1. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

The second one is better. Your first option involves backtracking from Cashel to Kilkenny - with only 7 days in Ireland, you should be doing no backtracking.

I can't comment on Inistioge, but Jerpoint Abbey is def too awesome to miss :)

Ireland
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2. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

I don't really understand the use of the word 'awesome' in this context. In an irish context awesome would mean something breathtakingly stupendous - the Grand Canyon is awesome and, possibly, the Cliffs of Moher. However, I think in the US the word is used differently.

I certainly would not describe Jerpoint Abbey or Inistioge as awesome. Jerpoint is a very interesting, and historically significant ruin. Compared with the Rock of Cashel it would not be so impressive, but, if you are in the area it is worth taking a detour to look at, depending how interested you are in the religious history of Europe (as Jerpoint was one of the most prestigious abbeys in Europe in its day).

Inistioge is a very pretty, charming, unspoilt village on the River Nore. There is a wonderful restored estate and forest park just on its outskirts, which would take at least an hour, preferably three, to enjoy properly.

Kilkenny, to my mind, is a 'must-see' in Ireland. It has a beautiful, fairly intact, mediaeval centre, which perfectly represents a classic Irish small town, as well as the wonderful castle, and some interesting shops, pubs, restaurants. Kilkenny is presenting itself as a very good tourist centre, without too much tack and trash.

The coast from Waterford to Kenmare is very beautiful and varied. There are some lovely little towns along the way and gorgeous beaches. Too many to mention, but Ardmore and Youghal are favourites of mine.

On the other hand, the inland route from Cashel to Kenmare is not without great scenery and interesting places to see as well.

So, as always, when limited for time, you have to make choices and the best plan is always not to try to see too much but to enjoy whatever route you decide to take.

County Meath...
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3. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

A lovely coastal village in the Waterford area is Dunmore East www.waterford-dunmore.com

Western Ireland...
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4. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

Instead of Inistioge, pretty as it is, I'd go for Kells in Kilkenny, the ruins of Kells priory are well worth seeing.

Atlanta, GA, USA
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5. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

Thanks, all! By "awesome", I just mean gorgeous views and such. Our biggest priority is just seeing scenery, my dad and I are photographers so it's always the first thing we look for. The rest of our trip will be spent on Beara, Dingle, and Loop Head, so would we be better off spending some extra time inland and forgetting the southern coast road? Or does it have to be an either/or? If we spend the whole first day in Kilkenny & surroundings, then go to Cashel on the second day first thing, is it unreasonable to spend the rest of the day driving along the southern coast on our way to Kenmare? It does look like the land road goes through Killarney National Park, which could be cool, but I always gravitate towards the ocean when I can. I'm originally from Kansas, so the ocean never gets old to me :)

Ireland
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6. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

Driving from Kilkenny to Kenmare via Cashel. Yes it can be done. There are a number of routes you can take. My suggestion is arriving at Cashel for 10.00 a.m. and leaving at 12.00. Then take a direct route to Cork (which is mostly by motorway). From Cork head to Kinsale and follow the coast road round to Kenmare via Clonakilty, Skibbbereen and Bantry.

I would disagree with HarveyIreland (sorry!) about choosing to visit Kells over Inistioge, but, in fact, on a day out from Kilkenny you could, in fact easily visit both, along with Jerpoint Abbey. Please leave plenty of time to enjoy Kilkenny itself, though.

7. Re: More time exploring Kilkenny area or southern coast?

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