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Seeing my own country

Cork, Ireland
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Seeing my own country

After the excitement of planning a 5 week trip to the States this year, next year's plan is a lot tamer. I'm planning a 10 day tour of the west of Ireland. I spent a weekend in Dingle earlier this year, and realised I hadn't been further north on that side of the country than Killarney, so I'm going to rectify that. I've got a few other things planned for next year, so I'm limited to just 10 days, but I think that should do to see the highlights anyway. Here's my plan.

d1 Cork to Killarney: I live in Cork, so will leave early enough in the morning to get down and do the NP and a few sights along the Ring (I'm not planning on doing the whole Ring this time)

d2 Killarney to Dingle: I've got family in the Dingle area, so if it ever gets out I spent time in Killarney and didn't come to see them, my a** will be gra**. I'll do Slea Head and the peninsula and stay the night in Dingle.

d3 Dingle to Ennis: Via the cliffs of Moher, amongst others

d4 Ennis to Galway: Via the Burren, amongst others

d5 Galway Loop: Roundstone, Connemara NP, Maam Cross, etc

d6 Galway to Aran Islands to Westport: A day on the island, and then drive to Westport

d7 Westport to Sligo: Via Achill Island

d8 Sligo to Athlone: Probably not the most interesting drive, but I'm now heading back home, and don't want to retrace steps. Open to alternatives here. Thought driving along the Shannon might be nice.

d9 Athlone to Limerick: Have friends in Limerick, which despite being less than 100km up the road, I've never visited

d10 Limerick to Cork: Home again, home again.

Time of year isn't set yet, but probably late April, at this point.

I'm open to critiques. I'm planning on using this trip much the same way as I used my US trip - to find some places I'd like to visit again and for longer.

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Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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1. Re: Seeing my own country

If you're travelling at the end of April, start of May, try to get to Limerick for the Riverfest. This is a brilliant festival focussing on the river. Some great gigs in Dolans and other places www.dolans.ie

To be honest, Limerick is only down the road from you and 90 minutes timewise. And there is some great value in hotels here - I think we are one of the most cost effective areas in Ireland - so think about maybe doing a recce beforehand :o)

Limerick, Ireland
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2. Re: Seeing my own country

Oh, and if you're "doing" the Ring of Kerry, you need to divert to St. Finian's Bay and visit this place skelligschocolate.com then drive over to Ballinskelligs Bay - heaven. Then down to Derrynane House which is also worth a visit heritageireland.ie/en/…DerrynaneHouse

Cork, Ireland
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3. Re: Seeing my own country

Tks Bean A, I wasn't planning on going that far south on the Ring, maybe just as far as Kenmare to be honest, but I'm leaving it open. My brother in law got distracted on his last trip down there, and ended up doing the whole thing :D so who knows.

Tks for the tip on Riverfest and Dolans - I assume Riverfest is always on the Bank Holiday weekend?

Limerick, Ireland
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4. Re: Seeing my own country

Yes, Psycho. This is the 2013 page http://www.riverfest.ie/ It is a brilliant weekend in the city. Oops - thought that had something on 2013 - it only had a picture. But you get the jist anyhow.

Edited: 07 October 2012, 22:15
Dublin
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5. Re: Seeing my own country

Some thoughs for you -

d1 'not planning to do the whole ROK' - will that not mean that you are backtracking? For me the ROK only became interesting after Glenbeigh and I also side tracked to Valentia Island which I enjoyed. If you do go as far as Valentia/Portmagee, can I suggest that you follow the Skellig Ring Road in the direstion of Waterville - it's a beautiful journey.

d3. I'm not sure if you are backtracking again - going to Ennis first, then the COM and back to Ennis, and as you are visiting Limerick on d9, have you considered getting the ferry across the Shannon to Killimer, to Kilrush, Milltown Malbay, Lahinch and the cliffs, and then going back to Ennis. Unless you particularly want to stay in Ennis, maybe stay in Doolin and continue on from there to Galway, via Black Head and Ballyvaughan, which is another very scenic drive.

d5 & d6 - consider on d5 starting your Connemara loop, but go to the Aran Islands on that day from Rossaveel, and when you return stay in that locality and on d6 continue on with your Connemara loop, from where you could continue on up to Westport via Leenane

d7 - Make sure you do the Atlantic Drive on Achill Island - watch for the signs to your left after you cross over Achill Sound

Fredericksburg, Va
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6. Re: Seeing my own country

Hello. Instead of spending the night in Athlone, consider Birr, about an extra hour down the road. You could visit Clonmacnoise then head to Shannonbridge for lunch at Killeens. Birr Castle and gardens are very nice to visit, and in the spring something should be in bloom. Hope this helps, and enjoy.

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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7. Re: Seeing my own country

Don't rule out south Sligo and Roscommon en route to Athlone. If you happen to be in Sligo for the May Bank Holiday weekend, then the South Sligo Walking Festival might be a good way to see the countryside:

http://www.southsligowalkingfestival.com

Double check the dates in case there's any change on account of The Gathering Ireland, 2013, for example.

Have a look at Roscommon's newly-revamped web site.

Depending on your interests, you could look at Arigna Miner's Museum (a short diversion into Leitrim) Lough Key Forest Park, various walks of a historic nature in Boyle, for example. More history at Strokestown House.

http://visitroscommon.com/IntoNature.aspx

Near the small village of Tulsk, you can visit Rathcroghan, an 'Irish Celtic Royal Site'

http://www.rathcroghan.ie

And, the Cruachan Ai Interpretative Centre for Rathcroghan:

http://cruachanai.blogspot.com

Tulsk itself is a medieval site with archaeological digs of recent vintage:

http://www.rathcroghan.ie/medieval-village/

If you want to look at the small little villages along the River Shannon from Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim to Shannonbridge on the Offaly Galwy border, with some eating recommendations, have a look here:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k43305…

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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8. Re: Seeing my own country

A good idea to head down via east Clare. You could take in Portumna in Co Galway and south from there:

http://www.portumna.net/tourism/

http://www.galway-ireland.ie

http://www.visitclare.net

Cork, Ireland
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9. Re: Seeing my own country

Wow, tks for all the responses.

fenla, d1: I want to see as much of KNP as possible, so I'm just going to drive the Ring as far as I can before it gets too late in the day, but tks for the suggestions, I'll stick them in my 'options' list.

On d3, I'm going from Dingle to Cliffs of Moher via the ferry, and then onto somewhere for the night. I figured Ennis would have a better range of hotels than Doolin, but I'll check it out.

d5 & d6: any particular reason to split up the loop. I'm guessing the suggestion is to avoid retreading old ground? Any suggestions for where to stay in the locality?

nursedude, Birr sounds a bit better than Athlone, although it does kind of take Limerick off the agenda then. Once in Birr, I may aswell just go straight to Cork - I've not told my friends yet, and as Bean A says, I can go to Limerick any old time.

Thanks a million for all those links, Uasal - that particular portion of the trip was a little lacking, so I've loads to look at now.

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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10. Re: Seeing my own country

This web site has some truly off-the-beaten path places, arranged by county and by theme:

http://www.irelandtravelkit.com

For example, close to Athone on the Roscommon side, lies the small village of Lecarrow with its megalithic structures and the Lost town of Rindoon with its 'royal' connections and looped woodland walk:

irelandtravelkit.com/category/…

There is a very active development, historical, heritage group in Lecarrow, called St John's Parish Heritage Group:

https:/…about

Looped Walk:

everytrail.com/guide/…map