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1st trip to Ireland-please critique

Philadelphia...
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1st trip to Ireland-please critique

This is my first time posting...and I would appreciate feedback. I have read the forums for months, and tried my best to put this trip together. My husband and I are planning a trip, leaving Philadelphia May 30, 2014 and arriving in Shannon May 31. We plan on renting a car ( my husband is a professional driver and has no issues with this) Need to decide on a rental company still-but that's another topic. First stop, Bunratty Castle, for walking around, viewing, maybe eating, but no medieval feast. Plan to drive on to Galway on this first day. Unsure if 2 or 3 days needed in Galway-want to see Connemara National Park, Cliffs of Moher, and possibly Iran Islands and Ashford Castle if time permits. Next stop-Killarney-2 nights-want to see Killarney National Park, Muckross House/gardens, Torc Waterfall, Ring of Kerry, and Dingle Peninsula if time permits.(should I add a day here and just do 2 in Galway?) Next stop-Cork-want to see the markets, Rock of Cashel and Waterford. Do I need a closer night, maybe in Kilkenny to see these too-or should we do 2 nights in Cork? Onto Dublin for 2 nights-want to see Trinity College-Book of Kells, the Guinness Tour and Jameson Estate. We will be returning the car in Dublin. We then plan on taking the ferry from Dublin to London, and the train to Paris for 3 days before we fly home, but that again is another forum. Is this plan doable-I know it may be a little rushed, but we only have 2 weeks vacation to do it all! It is a birthday present to us both, my husband celecrating his 50th, and me celebrating my 60th. Oh, and of course as inexpensively as possible.

North Coast, N...
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1. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

Not going to comment too much on the itinerary as there are great experts on this forum - but I don't understand the ferry to get you from Dublin to London? That's expensive and time-consuming. Why would you not just fly?

Westchester County...
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2. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

M&D,

I think in a very first posting your hard work should serve as a model to others who could learn from your own excellent personal and prior involvement in the effort. I'd like to address a portion of your posting and leave the rest to others.

To my mind, a Kerry stay is better served outside of busy bus and large group tourist depot Killarney proper in a site such as the number one recommendation (Loch Lein) under that town's name in TA accommodations. A second option is Kenmare/Killorglin, either one or even both towns using two separate nights. Finally, if you want something rugged but a bit away, look to coastal Kells in Kerry which boasts a lovely farmhouse seaside B&B with great hosts in Taobh Coille B&B. That can be negotiated over two days in the area with but one longer ride of approximately forty minutes if properly fit in driving strategies.

The Ring of Kerry needs a whole leisurely day. Killarney National Park wants the longer part of a whole (first or maybe better second (decide which day depending on weather for the ROK) day followed by b&b for a second night or a comfortable enough ride up to the Dingle Peninsula for ideally three nights, but two would do fine enough for a good sampling.

I'm going to suggest the Pax House in Dingle or, as an excellent alternative, a number of nearby less busy seaside possibilities to be seen on dingle-peninsula.com.

For the whole Cliffs/Burren/Doolin three trad pubs and nearby excellent local villages, I recommend three days, but suppose once again two can do. For myself I would pick coastal Fanore's Orchid House as a base for 45 minutes access to all I just mentioned. Another fine option inland would involve one of those (three or easily more) excellent villages for further daytime activity. Info on all that is easily available on TA. and the broader internet.

My final thoughts have to do with the Galway/Salthill possibly at night?) area. A day could do just there, with either a second day and back for a longer good weather excursion up to Westport (alternative a B&B night up there) and then return on the Atlantic side on a more southeasterly route involving Cong sites for a latter stop back.

Use distancesfrom.com or AAA's Irish site for maps, distances and times involving anything Irish. Use Youtube for up close villages and sites related video clips, and Rick Steves (free in two separate Google searches) excellent for sites in km by km stops for both the Dingle Peninsula and Ring of Kerry.

Hope this helps and have a great one. Just wish there'd be more starting INDEPENDENTLY EMPOWERED as did you.

Edited: 31 August 2013, 16:53
Westchester County...
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3. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

Sorry, from Galway for a long day or better (overnight) trip, I meant to type up the westerly Atlantic side to around Westport and down the easterly Cong side in returning. There's lots on TA and the broader internet related to this classically beautiful and varied excursion.

Ireland
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4. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

Ashford "castle" is an expensive hotel, I presume you know it's not a castle open to tours?

england
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5. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

The ferry from 'Dublin to London' is actually a ferry to Wales, followed by a train journey to London. Fine if you have a spare day. I'm not sure you do .

England, United...
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6. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

Hi , I think your itinerary is good, and you are wise to start in Shannon and depart from Dublin - it saves backtracking. I'm sure you have your reasons for the ferry, but the others are right, it's a long old journey, flying would give you much more sightseeing time.

Re the specifics, I'd be inclined to stay in Killarney itself for that part of your trip, so that you can enjoy the restaurants and pubs in the evenings without having to rely on the car. Great access to the National Park, obviously, but also to the Ring of Kerry and the Dngle Peninsula. RoK is at least a day, National Park another day, and Dingle peninsula another. Maybe choose between RoK and Dingle - fabulous coastal scenery and historical sights in both areas. With only a day I think I'd choose Dingle but that's just me... Only you can decide whether to spend more time in the South West at the expense of a day in Galway. I'm sure someone local can advise on this part of your trip. All of the sights you mention are worth seeing - a trip to one of the Aran Islands would take best part of a day but is a bit weather dependant, without this trip 2 days in the Galway area might be enough.

You can see the Rock of Cashel on your way up from Cork to Dublin , not sure how Waterford would fit in though. With only 2 weeks I think you have rightly prioritised your trip. The trouble with the great advice you will get here is that everyone urges you to visit their own favourites ( am guilty of this myself !) but you will know your own travel style... If you are looking at B and B accommodation you will find plenty of options in the 35-50 euro pp price range, with plenty of recommendations on the forums for each area.

Hope this helps!

Dublin
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7. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

I'm unclear if you intend spending a few days in London, but if you are not visiting London, it might be better to consider a flight from Dublin to Paris direct. I have no idea of the cost of the ferry/train, A flight might not be much more expensive than the ferry/train, but it will be a hell of a lot quicker (just under 2 hrs for the flight) and overall more comfortable. Check flights on www.arelingus.com - I have just gone into their site now and for two basic seats, one way on Tues 10 June 2014, it's costing €124 at the moment. You would have to check in bags, so that will cost extra - €20 per 20kg bag, with excess charges applying over that weight - aerlingus.com/i18n/…baggageinformation.html

Here is a link to your proposed route, as I understand it - https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Shannon,+Ireland&daddr=Bunratty+Castle+%26+Folk+Park,+Bunratty,+Ireland+to:Cliffs+of+Moher,+Liscannor,+Ireland+to:Galway,+Galway+City,+Ireland+to:Clifden,+Ireland+to:Westport,+Ireland+to:Cong,+Ireland+to:Galway,+Galway+City,+Ireland+to:Killarney,+Ireland+to:Cahersiveen,+Ireland+to:Waterville,+Ireland+to:Kenmare,+Ireland+to:Killarney,+Ireland+to:Dingle,+Ireland+to:Dunquin,+Ireland+to:Ballyferriter,+Ireland+to:Dingle,+Ireland+to:Killarney,+Ireland+to:Cork+City,+Ireland+to:Cashel,+Ireland+to:Waterford+City,+Ireland+to:Dublin,+Ireland&hl=en&ll=51.798424,-9.481201&spn=1.902451,5.72937&sll=52.122528,-10.242004&sspn=0.236087,0.716171&geocode=FRdUJAMdlJt4_ylFNVuM1EFbSDGgeTGXqccACg%3BFeMWJAMda4p5_yEVtB6G29SrGSkF1QH9IUJbSDEVtB6G29SrGQ%3BFfAmKAMd5eZv_ynzgbgLrwFbSDHmwLhIkEY6KA%3BFR_YLAMdZM51_yn_Wy1alZNbSDGBUkkKRBsrAw%3BFVotMAMdeyNn_ynpYu9KsyRaSDFwljGXqccACg%3BFZP0NAMdldJu_ymvCf0_VmNZSDGA6jGXqccACg%3BFbj3MAMdBlFy_yl3AMzlLsNbSDGQ9DGXqccACg%3BFR_YLAMdZM51_yn_Wy1alZNbSDGBUkkKRBsrAw%3BFcJWGgMdogBv_ynZbpe0DDxFSDHAdDGXqccACg%3BFRepGAMdlwpk_yklv3KLHPNPSDHg5jGXqccACg%3BFdnaFgMdsL9k_ymzvwXOnY5PSDGAyzGXqccACg%3BFUiYFwMdJ8Rt_ykZnfwIq2xFSDHwFzKXqccACg%3BFcJWGgMdogBv_ynZbpe0DDxFSDHAdDGXqccACg%3BFQmTGwMduEhj_ymRSZwkx_tPSDEAzDGXqccACg%3BFRpxGwMdlIpg_ylXxcXwPeRPSDHi4roZqMcAJg%3BFbjxGwMdmPVg_ynnc4BzYeNPSDHgr983qccAGA%3BFQmTGwMduEhj_ymRSZwkx_tPSDEAzDGXqccACg%3BFcJWGgMdogBv_ynZbpe0DDxFSDHAdDGXqccACg%3BFTziFwMdVIJ-_ylhub6RCJBESDHQxTGXqccACg%3BFZVXIQMdxaSH_yln5SMM6MtcSDHA6TGXqccACg%3BFW5OHQMdWj-T_ylN5NljnMZCSDH7uWeLiIG7xQ%3BFa0NLgMdqnmg_ykvrCfqgA5nSDGgcTGXqccACg&oq=killar&mra=ls&t=m&z=8

It's a lot of driving, with some backtracking from Galway back to Killarney, although if you want to see both, this is unavoidable. On Day 1, I would visit the Cliffs of Moher, and leave Bunratty until the day you are going from Galway to Killarney. Connemara and Connemara National Park will require a whole day. The Aran Islands will require a whole. Unless you specifically want to visit Westport, I think I would leave that for another trip, otherwise I would be allocating another day for that trip. Ashford Castle, as mentioned by HarveyIreland is a very expensive hotel and as far as I know, unless you are a guest, you cannot go inside the building, however for a small fee, they will allow you walk the grounds.

Now to Killarney. Give yourself the best part of a day for travelling to there from Galway, to include Bunratty and other stops that may take your fancy. The Ring of Kerry needs a day, Dingle Penninsula needs a day - you may need to choose between one of these, around Killarney itself requires a day, and to your list I would add Ross Castle that is worth visiting and taking the guided tour.

Unless there is something specific that you want to go to Waterford for, then Cork-Rock of Cashel-Waterford-Dublin is a bit of a roundabout route. I would leave out Waterford, but if you wanted to visit kilkenny, then that is about an hour's drive from Cashel. There is a very good castle to see in Cahir, which is about 20 minutes before Cashel on the raod from Cork.

Whitney, Texas
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8. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

with your wish list i'd say take a day from Dublin, you can see what you have listed in a single day....then i'd add that to the killarney/dingle area.....otherwise something will have to go and that would be a shame since you'll be there anyway.....I wouldn't cut anything from galway because with 3 days you can fill your list......

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

I want to thank everyone for their input-I did talk hubby out of the ferry and train, and to fly-thanks for your help...I do want to see the Waterford crystal so I am still working on that spot-and I may just take a day from Dublin to see extra spots along the way...again thanks so much

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10. Re: 1st trip to Ireland-please critique

There's no Jameson Estate in Dublin. There's the Jameson Experience which is a mock-up tour designed for tourism, it's no longer a working brewery. You could visit the Midleton Distillery while in Cork, this is the working brewery were Jameson, among other things, is brewed. I prefer the Midleton one but the one in Dublin isn't all that bad!