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Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

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Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

We've had two wonderful trips and we've already seen and experienced a lot of this wonderful country. I'm beginning to plan our next trip and I need some advice.

We have two-three weeks available to us, in late May/early June, in addition to a one week conference in Derry the second week of June. We're like to try a one week self-catering, but we're not sure where. We want to be in or near a small town/village where we can walk in/out for pubs and maybe dinner in the evening (don't want to deal with drink driving). During the day, we'd like to do some touring to historic sites and scenery. We like history and cultural events, but we're not much into doing long hikes and mountain treks (bad knees!).

Also, can we easily rent a car in one location (e.g., Sligo or Letterkenny) and return in another (e.g., Shannon)? We don't want to rent a car for the entire time and can rely on public transport the week we're in Derry. I don't want to have to return to Dublin to rent a car, but I guess we can if necessary. I do know it's very expensive to rent in the North and return a car across the border so I don't want to do that.

We've previously flown in/out of Dublin and know our way around there, but we're not opposed to flying in/out of Shannon. If we go to Derry first, it would be easier to get there via Dublin but we could also travel first and close out with Derry. Any advice or suggestions?

Kilmainham Gaol
Historic Sites, Speciality Museums
Dun Aonghasa
Historic Sites, Ancient Ruins
Blarney Castle & Gardens
Castles, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Walking Areas
Skellig Michael
Islands, Historic Sites
North Coast, N...
Destination Expert
for Northern Ireland
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1. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

Hi Cardinal's lady

Where have you already been in Ireland? That might help with ideas. 2-3 weeks is a really good amount of time - especially if you have already covered some of the main areas.

Also, I would try to find out if you will get any day trips with the conference e.g. Giant's Causeway. Belfast. The Titanic centenary is on next year and I would suggest you include it. One of my favourite places is the Ulster-American Folk Park outside Omagh which is a really interesting day out (half day minimum) for anyone interested in American connections.

If you don't have trips included in your conference itinerary and don't want to hire a car within northern ireland, then I would suggest you go by public transport (bus is quickest) from Derry to Belfast and spend a few days there to see the city and include an organised day trip to the Giants' Causeway as a minimum requirement.

It is only 2 hours from Belfast to Dublin if you are flying out from there.

Here is the link for car hire from the Donegal Direct tourism website. I know Enterprise have a facility in Letterkenny but I'm not sure who else has.


As you are going to be based in the north-west, I would definitely spend time in this area. Donegal is a lovely county - even for non-hikers. Beautiful scenery. It is quite remote in places though!. Especially as you don't like hiking, I would maybe spend a couple of nights in northern part to explore the Inishowen peninsula, Glenveagh area and then another 3 in the south/south west. Maybe Ardara (for quieter village feel) or Donegal Town if you want a livelier location. (I'd go for Adara).

Some nice folk parks - e.g. Famine Village on the Inishowen peninsula, Glencolumbcille Folk Park (after you have driven the stunning Glengesh pass from Ardara to Glencolumbcille) which are good ways to spend a couple of hours. Combine that with the amazing scenery such as Slieve League cliffs and you have a county well worth visiting.

Given you don't like walking, I think Donegal might not be the best for a full week self-catering in one place for you but I would definitely give it a few days of your trip time!

Edited: 23 October 2011, 11:37
Destination Expert
for County Cavan
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2. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

As above, if I were you, I would rent a car in NI (cheaper) and use public transport to and from airport. There is plenty to see in NI & Donegal and you certainly will need a car to get around.

Sleive League by the way is best visited by boat, also Rathlin Island is worth a visit.

Edited: 23 October 2011, 14:25
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3. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

Ponaire - I've previously spent about five weeks in Belfast by myself, and my husband joined me on one trip. I really love the North, and the North Antrim coast is amazing. We've not spent time in Donegal so your advice was very helpful. We've traveled through (and that's the key word - through) most of Ireland, but never staying more than 2-3 days in any one location (save Belfast, Galway, and Dublin). On this trip, we'd like to stay at least one week in a self-catering cottage, but we're just not sure where to settle for home base. Maybe Mayo or Sligo?

Cavan - thanks for the tips about seeing Sleive League and Rathlin Island by boat. Great idea. I'll look into that.

Sometimes I think it would be less expensive to simply buy a car rather than rent...

Belfast, United...
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4. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

Like Ponaire, I love Donegal and the Ardara area in particular. It is a great base for exploring the whole of County Donegal. The town itself has loads of bars, a good selection of eateries, and is as typical an Irish town as you'll get. Traditional music in the bars and loads of festivals throughout the year. If you want somewhere central to visit further afield in the west/northwest, then I'd go with the Sligo area. Sligo town itself has good amenities. It is a 2 hour drive to Slieve League, very doable, 2.30 to Clifden, 2.45 to Achill, an hour to Enniskillen in Northern Ireland with all the attractions of the lakes.

I'm a fan of Tripadvisor rentals as the properties have been reviewed by people who have stayed in them. This gives you a feel for the property before you go. I had a look at the rentals in County Sligo and there are some lovely ones on there.

PS I haven't visited Slieve League by boat yet but even from the car park it's pretty spectacular!

Nova Scotia Canada
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5. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

In September we drove a rental around Ireland-3200 kms from Shannon-Shannon and really enjoyed the north coast-less traffic, roads seemed a bit wider thus less stressful, The Giant's Causeway was scenically very beautiful and we stayed at Giant's Causeway Holiday Cottages one half mile away so an easy walk-just stopped after noticing a sign by the roadside advertising nightly rentals. We stayed 4 nights in a 3 bedroom bungalow and thoroughly enjoyed the experience-total cost 190 pounds-included heat, water & lights-a bargain after 9 nights at 70-80 Euros down south. It was such a nice break from the B&Bs to have our own house and we then did our own cooking and felt a lot freer and did miss the great B&B breakfasts of course.

6. Re: Looking for Suggestions for Third Trip

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