First Draft for 9-day Ireland Itinerary
The wife and I will be our first trip to Ireland in July. I've been researching like crazy and have put together my first draft of a 9-day itinerary (not counting flight days) and would be interested in feedback. We're both 30 years old, no kids. We're interested as much (more, really) in absorbing the local culture, countryside, food, pubs, etc as we are in checking off the big tourist spots. We want to get lost in the beautiful backroads and not spend too much time moving luggage.
That said, I have included a few tourist spots on there that seem like must-sees.
Day 1: Arrive in Dublin early AM. Hang out around Dublin (Hop-on/hop-off bus).
Day 2: Dublin -> Galway. Rest of the day we can spend either taking our time exploring on the way to Galway, or spending some more time in Dublin and not leaving until the afternoon. Stay in Galway until Day 6.
Alternate Day 2: Attend Irish football game if one is scheduled (when does the July schedule come out?)
Day 3: Galway Arts Festival
Day 4: Aran Islands
Day 5: Hike Croagh Patrick or ride bikes on The Great Western Greenway out of Westport.
Day 6: Long day. Drive through the Burren, visit Cliffs of Moher and drive Loop Head on the way to Ennis. Spend the night in Ennis taking in the local music flavor.
Day 7: Ennis -> Dingle via Connor Pass. Explore Dingle area.
Day 8: Explore Dingle area.
Day 9: Explore Dingle area.
Day 10: Drive back to Dublin and fly out at ~5pm.
What are your thoughts on the itinerary? Will we get a good mix of the real Ireland along with a few of the can't miss sights?
One of my concerns is that everything seems to be coast-oriented, especially since after Ireland we'll likely be headed to more coastline (Amalfi or Santorini). Is there anything that I'm really missing inland in the area that I should take something out for? Maybe do Connemara instead of Aran Islands? Or cut out Aran Islands and spend a night in westport, doing both the Croagh Patrick and The Great Northwestern Greenway cycling on two different days rather than just choosing one of them as a day trip from Galway?
Is Ennis worth a stop for the music or will we find good music everywhere and should just head on down to Dingle that day?