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First trip to Ireland questions

San Jose...
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First trip to Ireland questions

We are heading off on August 22 to Ireland for 9 days. We will land in Shannon and are planning a driving trip with no particular itinarary. What we want to see is ancient sites like monoliths and standing stones. Maybe a graveyard or two. We plan to drive until we are tired and stay at bed and breakfasts. We will fly out of Shannon. Now for the questions.

Can we just pull up to a B and B and rent a room? Or do we need to make reservations? Do they ever have two beds in a room?

My bucket list item is to sleep in a castle. Authentic. Stone walls etc. not a manor house a castle and I really do not want to spend a thousand dollars for a night as that is crazy! I dont mind a few hundred but not a lot more.

I would love to know of any must see ancient sites in that area. Or the general area as we don't mind driving. My best friend and I dont mind getting dirty. In fact we are kind of looking forward to crawling around, over and under things.

Also any tips for two first time international women travelers?

Thanks!

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1. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

Welcome to Ireland!! - let's see if I can help with anything.

'Can we just pull up to a B and B and rent a room?' - well, yes, if they have one free, if not, you will have to keep driving round until you find someone with an empty room, August is the busy season and you may have to drive a bit, but I've never been left without a room.

'Do they ever have two beds in a room?' - yes, we ( a couple) book a double room, it is quite usual to find that , in our room, there is a double bed and a single bed , we put the suitcase on the single bed!

I would say definitely book your first night within 50 miles of Shannon so that you are not driving around aimlessly.

You should also look into booking the castle stay, I cant see you just rolling up at a castle in August and getting a room.

'I would love to know of any must see ancient sites in that area' - difficult to help because if you dont have even a basic itinerary we dont know what area we/you are talking about!!

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2. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

The last week of August tends to be a bit less busy than the first 2 weeks, kids getting ready to go back to school so you should be fine for accommodation. You should put together a rough itinerary pin pointing areas you'd like to visit. I would pick one area to explore such as the southwest or northwest but don't try to see the whole west coast.

After you pick your general area there's lots of people here that can point you towards the sites! Enjoy your trip (and the planning!)

Edited: 25 April 2013, 08:06
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3. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

You can just pull up to a b&b but would be advisable to book ahead. Stay in limerick first night. Lough gur outside the city is anicent site chair castle and the rock of cashel are worth a look. There are two castle that you can stay in. In county clare the names are on failte ireland web site. The oldest tombs are in newgrange meath. Trim castle is close by. Kilkenny is the best medievil city ireland has to offer

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4. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

Suggest you head to the Burren on arrival for a 2-night stay; only 75-minutes drive from the airport, so not too far your first day. The area is covered with megalithic tombs, ring forts, ancient churches and abbeys:

http://www.burrenbeo.com/

tripadvisor.co.uk/GoListDetail-i19855-Burren…

flickr.com/photos/…

Consider Ballyvaughan village or Fanore for 2 nights (Fanore being much smaller/quieter than Ballyvaughan, but lovely location on west coast:

http://www.ballyvaughanireland.com/

burrenconnect.ie/town_and_places/fanore.html

co. Mayo has some interesting sites:

tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g186627-d1…

http://www.clewbaytrail.com/index.php

http://www.omalleyferries.com/

http://www.clareisland.info/

and don't ignore Roscommon, especially if you don't mind crawling through the mud ;-)) :

http://www.cruachanai.com/

http://www.rathcroghan.ie/history/

I think minimum 2 days in co. Meath will be a "must" for you:

heritageireland.ie/en/…

http://www.knowth.com/knowth.htm

heritageireland.ie/en/…

www.mythicalireland.com/ancientsites/tara/

This is a fabulous site: one of my favourites in Ireland:

http://www.knowth.com/loughcrew.htm

http://www.loughcrew.com/cairns.html

flickr.com/photos/…

and nearby you'll find:

http://www.megalithicireland.com/Fore.htm

this would be an ideal opportunity to stay in a Castle that hasn't been renovated to the 'nth degree:

http://www.ross-castle.com/

do read the reviews here on Tripadvisor to see if it's what you really have in mind, though!

Alternatively head down from the Burren to west Cork which is rich in megalithic sites and ruined churches:

http://www.westcork.ie/

You'll need a day each just to scratch the surface on Beara and Sheep's Head:

www.bearatourism.com/archaelogical.html

http://sheepsheadplaces.net/

Pictures from my recent 3-night visit to the area:

flickr.com/photos/…

I'd happily spend a week in west Cork; there's so much to discover!

Consider a trip to Clear Island from Baltimore:

http://www.baltimore.ie/

http://www.capeclearisland.com/

then possibly travel up to Tipperary/Kilkenny for a couple of nights before returning to Shannon area:

http://www.tipp.ie/placesofinterest.htm

http://www.cahirinfo.ie/tourist.htm

kilkennytourism.ie/eng/…

You'll probably need to spend your final night near Shannon; have a look at Oakwood Arms hotel which is only 5-minute drive away; the bar serves simple but tasty pub food:

http://www.oakwoodarms.com/

Do have a look at the Heritage Ireland web-site for details of sites around the country, plus opening times and average amount of time you need to allow for each site:

http://www.heritageireland.ie/

www.heritageireland.ie/en/Info/HeritageCards/

You'll be in Ireland for the end of Heritage Week:

http://www.heritageweek.ie/

Lots of sites listed here:

http://www.megalithicireland.com/

www.stonepages/com/ireland/ireland.html

Accommodation: I agree that you should be fine, but I recommend you book first 1-2 nights and final night. Have a browse through regions that interest you and make a list of accommodation that appeals so that you can take a list with you. Some lovely places here:

www.sawdays.co.uk/accommodation/…

http://www.hiddenireland.com/

Driving tips: don't underestimate how long it's going to take to travel around the country; if you want to search out megalithic sites etc, it takes time . . . you'll get lost along the way (I still do!), but just stop and ask someone; you'll never be lost for long.

Get a copy of the OS Official Road Atas Ireland:

www.irishmaps.ie/product/display.cfm…

and if you're heading to the Burren and/or West Cork, these maps are invaluable: OS Discovery Series # 51 (Burren) and # 84-85 (Beara); # 88 (Mizen and Sheep's Head).

:-)

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5. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

Hi Jody

Carrowmore in Sligo is the largest Megalithic cemetery in Ireland and amongst the oldest in Europe

http://www.megalithicireland.com/

heritageireland.ie/en/…

You could stay in this castle nearby

http://www.markreecastle.ie/

Also amongst the very many other things with seeing in the area is Knocknarea mountain with its cairn at the top where it is said that Queen Maeve is buried.

gostrandhill.com/explore/history/knocknarea/

Newgrange and Knowth in Co Meath should also be on your list of must sees.

http://www.newgrange.com/

heritageireland.ie/en/…

As others have said, you are arriving in August which is the peak holiday month, however, you are arriving at the end of the month just before the children return to school, and a lot of the local holiday makers may have returned home at that stage. It would be better to have an itinerary planned and some accommodation booked though, otherwise you could spend a bit of time driving around looking for places to stay which will eat into your holiday time.

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6. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

Couple of afterthoughts:

Definitely a pair of sturdy and waterproof hiking boots as you'll be crossing potentially wet and often uneven ground to some of these sites.

A compass can be useful to orientate yourselves, particularly when visiting stone circles.

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7. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

As you need a twin bedded room it may be advisable to book ahead as many small bed and breakfasts usually only have one room with twin beds and the rest would be doubles.Or an alernative would be to have a short list of accommodation in an area you are heading for and call ahead in the morning as it saves all the traipsing around and knocking on doors.

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8. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

tripadvisor.com/…49131330

Jody,

I hate to add another piece of information you may find useful. Just yesterday I posted a report of my first trip to Ireland. If you like, take a look at it (link above).

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9. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

Hi Jody,

I see you've gotten loads of answers & that's great! Do consider coming to Kilkenny; as well as it being a beautiful medieval City, it is also friendly, lots of fun, and full of great food. In addition to Kilkenny Castle in the city, in the surrounding countyside there are the ruins of Jerpoint Abbey heritageireland.ie/en/… & the lost town at Jerpoint Park where Santa Claus ( St Nicholas) is buried http://jerpointpark.com/ and the (free!) and the (not at all busy-- a hidden gem) large ruins of the 11c Kells Priory. vibrantireland.com/2012/02/where-to-go-in-ir… Plus, as Kilkenny is in the sunny southeast, you're more likely to get the best weather.

Enjoy Ireland where ever you go! Susan

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10. Re: First trip to Ireland questions

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