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Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Stuart, Florida
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Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Hi! Family of 3 (60s, 50s and teenage daughter) - Our 1st trip to Ireland from May 27th to June 7th.

Could someone pls. give us suggestions so we can plan our self-drive tour of Northwestern, Western - Southwestern Ireland? Possibly Dublin too.

Day 1- arriving Shannon, pick up car rental and drive to Knock. We wish to make church services there at 3 pm; arriving Shannon at 8 am -- will we make it on time? If we plan a lunch stop enroute, any suggestions where? Would you suggest overnight stay in Knock or somewhere else along our itinerary?

Day 2 - Plan to head to Donegal (by way of Sligo or any other suggested picturesque, interesting place/drive)

Day 3 - Still Donegal area. Any suggestions pls?

Day 4 & 5 - Would like to see Connemara area. Use Clifden or Westport as base? Open to suggestions.

Day 6 - Galway area, Aran Islands, etc. Where to stay overnight, enroute to Killarney?

Day 7, 8,9 - 3 nights at Killarney as base, to explore Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Bunrutty Castle, etc -- "must see' touristy stuff. Can we do a day trip to the Blarney Stone from here?

Day 10 & 11 - Transfer to Dublin and back to Shannon late evening. Can we turn in rental car and take train from Killarney instead?

Day 12 - Depart Shannon for US

Are our plans too ambitious? My husband has never driven on left hand side of rode on any stick shift European car, so I am quite concerned about plan to drive to Knock after a long transatlantic flight. We can skip Dublin if pressed for time. We actually prefer the countryside to cities.

We are open to staying in B&Bs as that is perhaps more economical. We are very open to a slow pace, outdoors, local experience.

Any help/feedback is very much appreciated!

england
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1. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

People will help you pick bits off this itinerary, my input is that you cant do the cliffs of Moher from Killarney, it would be backtracking almost to Galway,

stay near Galway on day 6 and see the cliffs on day 7 on the way to Killarney.

County Clare...
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for County Clare, Aran Islands, Bunratty, The Burren
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2. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Take a look at:

http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

I would find your itinerary difficult.

After you drive to Knock, why not continue onto Westport?

It's less than an hour away...and you can start your holiday with those two days in Connemara.

Visit Donegal...then break up the trip to Killarney with a stop in Galway City.

Skip Dublin, head to Dingle from Killarney...then onto County Clare.

Visit Bunratty and the Cliffs of Moher before taking the plane home from Shannon (SNN, the cliffs, Bunratty etc are all in Clare...and a short drive away from each other (don't forget the Burren)...you could even drop back the car early?)

www.burrenbeo.com/burren/image-galleries

Just another way to tackle it:)

I have not eaten there in a while...but this might work for that lunch break:

http://www.paddyburkesgalway.com/

Don't forget that you'll travel during the busy June bank holiday weekend in Ireland...so do try to book ahead.

Edited: 05 April 2012, 14:03
Dublin
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3. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

On Donegal options:

1. Travelling via Sligo to Donegal, if you have an interest in literature, you can visit the burial place of W B Yeats at Drumcliffe, under the shadow of Benbulbin. There are a few places to eat locally, so it's a handy location at which to break the northward journey.

2. I'd suggest looking at Ardara as a base for your 2 or 3 nights in Donegal. it's a small town in west Donegal, north of Donegal Town. From there, you can visit the Slieve League cliffs, Glencolmcille and the Glengesh Pass to the west and separately head north and east towards Errigal Mountain, the nearby Poisoned Glen (very scenic) and onwards to Glenveagh National Park in central Donegal.

3. If time and energies allow, you could venture a bit further north to the areas on the north coast around Downings and Fanad Head where you will find some nice scenery.

Stuart, Florida
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4. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Thank you. Could you please tell me when the bank holiday is? Much appreciated.

El Segundo...
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5. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

I am 64 and have made a similar trip three times in the last six years. My route is this: www.communitywalk.com/ireland_2007/map/34512 My time in horse country may not be of interest. After the first long drive to Donegal it is all reasonable and charming. I would be sure not to miss Cashel and its spectacularly restored Rock.

If your plane is on time you can certainly make the 3:00 service. I fear you may be let down by Knock, as I was (and by Lourdes, for that matter). Knock is such a popular pilgrimage that they have their own international airport for the charters!

If you've a GPS system, pony up for the UK maps and take it with you. It will greatly enhance your enjoyment, reducing stress and allowing much wider rambling without having to backtrack.

Best wishes.

Saginaw, Michigan
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6. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

The actual Bank Holiday is Monday, 4th June. However, the whole weekend - Friday through Monday - will be busy in terms of heavier road traffic, available accommodation, attendance at events and attractions and so on.

In addition to Ferdia's recommendation for a lunch break, you could consider Sheridan's of Milltown in North Co Galway; closer to Knock. Depends when you feel hungry!

http://www.sheridansmilltown.com/

As it happens, they also offer accommodation. However, ask about how quiet it would be on a Bank Holiday weekend before deciding. Overall, Westport is a much better suggestion.

Visit Knock Shrine if you want to attend Mass or spend a short time walking around, lighting a candle or saying a few prayers.

In all honesty, I think Ballintubber Abbey, also in Co Mayo is a more moving and spiritual experience.

http://www.ballintubberabbey.ie/

http://www.mayotowns.com/

Stuart, Florida
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7. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Uusal, Thank you so much. Ballintubber Abbey sounds so interesting. As I was reading through its website, history section, I was struck by the fact that it was founded by a King Cathal of the royal race of O'Connors. My husband happens to be an O'Connor, supposedly tracing their family roots to Rodrick (?) O'Connor, the last king of that line. Well, this is going to make a visit there more likely now!

I tried to plot a route on AA Route Planer from Knock to the village of Paltry where the Abbey is but didn't come up with any results. Same goes for Ballintubber or Claremorris. Would you know which town I should be selecting? Again, thanks for your inputs!

Stuart, Florida
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8. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

Thank you for your valuable information. The changeover to Westport sounds like a plan. Am also now considering visiting Ballintubber Abbey, based on Uasal's suggestion. Wondering if that would be on the way to Westport?

england
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9. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

'If you've a GPS system, pony up for the UK maps and take it with you. It will greatly enhance your enjoyment, reducing stress and allowing much wider rambling without having to backtrack.'

Just make sure you have the right maps, Ireland is not in the UK.

Our last GPS system was UK only, we ditched it and got a new one. It was old anyway.

Saginaw, Michigan
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10. Re: Self-drive 11days starting from Shannon

I was looking at a map of Co Mayo last night and intended including it in my answer.

Here it is now, showing such small towns and villages as Ballintubber, Knock, and Partry (note spelling!!), as well as bigger towns like Claremorris, Castlebar and Westport:

http://homepage.eircom.net/~mhambly/MayoMap.gif

mayo-ireland.ie/Mayo/…LcPartry.htm

A couple of small points: make sure you use Knock or Knock Church when searching, as Knock Airport is closer to Charlestown.

There is also a Ballintubber in neighboring Co Roscommon; make sure it's the one in Co Mayo that appears on the search line.

Have you any interest in The Quiet Man - the film? If so, you could travel via Headford, Co Galway to Cong, Co Mayo (Quiet Man country); then to Partry and Ballintuber. Westport is only down the road from there.

However, instead, you could head east to Knock and the shrine, and then north to Westport via Castlebar.

The alternative route would be via Tuam, Co Galway, thence to Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo and Knock is close by. The rest of the journey would involve heading west to Ballintubber and then a little south for Partry.

Take a look at the map; it will make things clearer than I can!

P.S. Paste the link for the map, as it doesn't seem to be clickable in the current format.

Edited: 06 April 2012, 14:07