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Exploring Ireland

Owls Head, Maine
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17 posts
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Exploring Ireland

I am interested in exploring Ireland and maybe London. We are coming from the US and stay between 7-10 days. The party will be 1-2 adults, one 21 year, 17 year, 14 year old. We have very little expericence traveling outside of the US . We are from a small town in the northeast and want to really get a feel for the culture not the tourist areas. Travel plans would be in the end of May. I have researched areas in Ireland , they are all so beautiful it is hard to decide . Any suggestions?

Charlotte, NC
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1. Re: Exploring Ireland

First thing to do is read the "Top questions about Ireland" at the right. Lots and lots of info there. Then come back, give us your interests, and some more specific questions and you will get plenty of input.

Have a great time.

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Exploring Ireland

If you have researched areas in Ireland, now you need to get a good map of the country and plot a workable itinerary. We used the Rough Guide map of Ireland purchased from Amazon, but the OSI maps are oft-recommended here. Use the AA Route Planner for Ireland to help determine driving times (and add about 20 - 25% to the times they give you to be more realistic.) You need to use this tool and not just rely on a map because it takes much longer to drive a certain distance in Ireland that it would be to drive it in the U.S. http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

No matter which area you choose, you are going to find something fabulous there. We have done two 8-day self-drive tours in Ireland, covering different parts of the country. On our first trip, we did Belfast, Dublin (and lots of day trips from there) and Kilkenny. On our 2nd trip, we did County Kerry and County Clare.

Owls Head, Maine
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3. Re: Exploring Ireland

Thanks for the advice. I have researched more and spoke to some friends who have gone on Ireland trips. Right now plans are to fly into Shannon and rent a house on the west coast . Maybe a day trip to Dublin, but will see how much time we have. My question is does anyone have any advice on where to stay on the west coast? Galway? Thanks,

Dublin
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4. Re: Exploring Ireland

Visitors to the west coast generally focus on two areas - either Kerry (including Killarney, Dingle, Beara and Ring of Kerry) or North Clare/Galway (including Connemara, the Burren, Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands). Both locations are within easy reach of Shannon. Galway is closer to Dublin and is more convenient by either road or rail, if you want to include a trip to Dublin in your schedule.

You could also consider travelling to Dublin at the end of your visit and flying from there to London - there is a greater choice of flights and routes from Dublin to London (which has several airports) than flying from Shannon to London.

In all this, you need to recogise that most visitors want to avoid "tourist" areas and get to know the real culture. That is easier said than done as many areas which could be defined as have a strong Irish culture such as Kerry and Galway are quite "touristy" as a consequence. You would enjoy either but I'd give my vote to Galway.

Edited: 14 February 2012, 17:38
5. Re: Exploring Ireland

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