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Self Drive Ireland

Caloundra, Australia
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Self Drive Ireland

Planning a self drive tour of Ireland and want too see the best of the scenery and cities.

Can anyone recommend a tried and true itinerary or make suggestions of b & b to stay in and a couple of special castles to visit or stay in

Appreciate any assistance.

Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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21. Re: Self Drive Ireland

I assume as Australian visitors you will be coming in via UK so no jet lag.

Arrive Dublin Airport and head North. 1st night Belfast, 2nd night Antrim Coast.

You could then head back to Dublin but I would aim for either Sligo or Ballina.. This is a great part of Ireland and could justify a two night stay for a breather and a bit of exploring including Achill Island?

I am a big fan of the Connemara, you could stay in Clifden or just drive through. Take the coastal road from Westport through Louisburg rejoining the N59 at Leenane, Kylemore Abbey is an option if it's a good day then Clifden, Or just down to Maam Cross and to Galway.

Galway is around mid point. From there down the Clare coast past Doolin and Moher to Limerick. Next night Killarney after driving Dingle Peninsular,

Skellig trip back to Killarney.

Last leg from Killarney to Kilkenny via Cashel. Kilkenny and back to Dublin over the Wicklow mountains.

You could save a day cutting from the airport to Portrush at the start, cutting the Clifden night or some juggling elsewhere.

The suggestions are just suggestions. It is a lot of driving and a road trip but trying to fit all your list into 13 days is going to be a bit rushed. If there is anything you can cut it might give more time.

Caloundra, Australia
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22. Re: Self Drive Ireland

Hi yes will be over the jet lag by the time we collect hire Car.

I can drop Skellig.

Also really wanted to see Seive League cliffs. Not sure where to stay killybegs,teelin ..?.

Stay overnight in Doolin. As well

Caloundra, Australia
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23. Re: Self Drive Ireland

Hi Tony Just wondering why you don't rate Exploring Ireland they just put together an itinerary and pre book the accommodation can't be all that bad???

Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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24. Re: Self Drive Ireland

I have over the years seen some pretty horrific itineraries put together by a number of tour companies. Some tour companies just move people about between accommodation that they make the most money on. Some move people along tour routes used by the bus's (which have a pair of experienced drivers). You can get the accommodation on voucher or pre booked plans up to 50% cheaper and have a wider choice than the 20% that participate in these schemes.

But my gripe with Exploring Ireland at the moment is their current blatant abuse of these forums including a couple of snide comments aimed directly at myself. (wonderful way of getting regular contributors on side)

Anyway. There would not be that much gained by dropping Skelligs apart from perhaps using the time differently. After Dingle you could overnight Kenmare and cover Beara, You could then keep the 2 night break using Kenmare or move on to the Cork area, Kinsale/Blarney.

Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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25. Re: Self Drive Ireland

What month are you over?

Mokena, Illinois
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26. Re: Self Drive Ireland

I just posted on a "Driving in Ireland" forum. In short I drove a 2 week trip as a first time driver in Ireland May 30- June 11, 2012. 3 biggest things I learned that made it a trouble free drive:

1. Get a GPS 2. Force yourself to drive towards the center line. Avoid drifting to the left as you'll start rubbing tires on curbs or worse, scrap parked cars in towns, and 3. Must keep 100 % attention on the road. Focus on the road.

Best part of trip was the Dingle area. Slea Head Drive was prettier than Cliffs of Moher. Dingle Skellig Hotel we liked. In Killarney do Loch Lein Country House. Visit Ross Castle on the lakes. Galway has a nice pedestrian shopping area. Then drive into the Connemara region. The Atlantic views on the way to the Cliffs are quite stunning. Enjoy your trip

Guernsey, United...
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27. Re: Self Drive Ireland

@ Danasus

Many regular contributors to the Ireland forum (me included) are fed up with the recent recommendations for Exploring Ireland by first-time posters, who never made any enquiry on the forum before their trip, but turn up here afterwards with glowing reports. Apart from a couple of posts, there have been few helpful details in the posts only comments about the "wonderful service, great itinerary" "would recommend".

Now, the "nice" side of me considers this scenario at the end of an Exploring Ireland holiday:

Tourist to EI Rep: "Oh, we've had such a super holiday; we can't thank you enough!

Rep: "Well, if you'd like to recommend us, please post a few comments on Tripadvisor. Here's a few notes I've made for you to save you the trouble. . ."

For those of us who are on the forum day in, day out, these first-time posts are mostly written in such a formulaic way that they don't appear to come from "real" travellers.

And the cynical side of me . . . . well, I don't want to go there on this forum!

Now, back to your itinerary; how about something like this, assuming you're already in Dublin and will be meeting your friend in the city or at the airport:

23 July : Dublin - Portrush (3.5-4.5hrs drive for airport/city departure)

Visit Giant's Causeway in the afternoon, overnight Portrush.


24 July : Portrush - Donegal town (2.5-3hrs)

If you haven't had time for all sites previous day, spend more time on Antrim coast, and possibly stop in Derry for a couple of hours, then drive to Donegal town for overnight.

25 July : Slieve League Cliffs, Malin Beg, Glencolumbkille, Glengesh Pass, Portnoo, Narin

Spend a day visiting Slieve League, the beautiful beach at Malin Beg, and places mentioned above: history, gorgeous scenery, beautiful beaches, slightly off the main tourist trail.

Thinking something like this:


Overnight Donegal town

26 July : Donegal - Galway (3.5hrs)

Your route will take you through co. Sligo, past magnificent Benbulbin:


If you're interested in such sites, stop here for a break on the outskirts of Sligo town:



There's a nice pub in Milltown if you fancy lunch: Sheridan's

Overnight Galway city:


27 July : Galway - Doolin via Burren and Cliffs of Moher (full days drive)

This is a nice route that takes you past some interesting sites and through beautiful scenery:


28 July : Doolin - Dingle via Ballysimon (4.5-5hrs)

Head from Doolin towards Limerick and Ballysimon, then on to Dingle for the night. I think I've driven through Ballysimon, but I'm afraid I can't remember if there's much to "see". Maybe a bit of research before you visit?

29 July : Dingle

Chance to spend a couple of nights in 1 place after few days on the move! You might want to go hiking or take to the water: surfing or kayaking?? Or drive out around Slea Head:





30 July-01 August : Killarney (for Ring of Kerry and Skellig Michael)

Move to Killarney as base from which to explore Ring of Kerry, and opportunity to visit Skellig Michael. Be aware that a visit to Skellig Michael is very much weather dependent:




Ring of Kerry (full day to drive around):


Lots more to see in/around Killarney:





02 August : Killarney - Rock of Cashel (2.5hrs)

Your route will take you past the town of Cahir, where there is a very fine ruined castle, if you're interested in such places:



You might like to travel on to the medieval city of Kilkenny for the night: about 70 minutes drive from Cashel:



03 August : Kilkenny to Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough (2.5hrs)

Gorgeous scenery in the Wicklow Mountains : a great area for hiking and of course, visiting Glendalough:



You could overnight in the area if you don't have to be back in Dublin until 4th August:



Note that all driving times are taken from the aa routeplanner, but I've added a further 20% to the quoted times to give a fairly accurate figure to work with:


I think this covers all those places you mentioned, and it's fairly relaxed, though some days do have quite a bit of driving, hence I've tried to fit a couple of 2-night stays and a 3-night in Killarney.


Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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28. Re: Self Drive Ireland

It is funny that this conversation is going on here about "Exploring Ireland" and first time/one-post-wonders recommending them.

The very same discussion is happening over on the TA-Alaska forums regarding a rash of sudden OPW's recommending a travel planning group out of Anchorage:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k55112… .

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k55159… .

As I stated over in that thread, I think that this is as much about TripAdvisor's pushing for reviews, resulting in these company's seeking reviews from their clients. The end effect, however, is more often than not negative and not beneficial for the company being recommended and/or reviewed . . . which I find to be unfortunate.

Caloundra, Australia
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29. Re: Self Drive Ireland

Hi thanks for your suggestions I do have a GPS and can purchase Maps for uk and Ieland.

Caloundra, Australia
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30. Re: Self Drive Ireland

That is excellent

it fits in everything I wanted to see and some I had not thought off. Will there be time to see the new Titantic exhibition in Belfast?

Edited: 20 June 2012, 01:51