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Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Madison, Wisconsin
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Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Hello,

This is our 2nd trip to Ireland and we tried to cover too much ground last time, so this trip we are focused only on the southwest area. We will be in the Cork area for one week and then are spending 2 nights either in Killarney or Dingle. I currently have a room booked at the Dingle Skellig Hotel, but am thinking about switching that. We plan to leave Cork on a Friday morning, and then we have the next 2 days to drive the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. We are travelling with a small child so need to take frequent breaks. Logistically, it makes sense to get a Killarney hotel: leave Cork Friday morning and drive around the ROK, ending the day at our Killarney hotel. Saturday we would drive around the Dingle Peninsula and sleep again in Killarney, before heading back to Cork for one night to fly out on Monday morning. The reason I wanted to stay in Dingle was for the ocean scenery, and also to have time to goto the Aquarium there. But is it a really dumb idea to come from Cork, drive the ROK, and then have to drive the Dingle Peninsula in order to get to our hotel? I can't figure out the details and am losing sleep over this. And would it make sense to do the DP the first day the the ROK the second day? After we check out of our hotel on Sunday, we have all day to meander back to Cork. If anyone can advise me on the order of our drives, and where to stay, I would be so appreciative! We have all day Friday, then Saturday and Sunday to get from Cork over to ROK and DP. But I need to stay overnight in the place that makes the most sense for us. IOur Dingle hotel has good places for kids to play, which is a factor. The Killarney hotel I am looking at it is the Plaza Hotel. (Our only reason to go to Killarney is for the Nat'l Park.) *thank you!

Cork, Ireland
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1. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Two days for both the ROK and the DP is a marathon.

Could you do this?

Day 1 ROK

Day 2 "rest" day taking in the sights near Killarney and then a leisurely afternoon drive to Dingle (90minutes)

Day 3 - Dingle Peninsula OR do a subset of the Pen with the Slea Head drive, a much shorter summary trip, but no less spectacular one. Doing the Slea Head drive would also give you time to explore Dingle town itself and the Aquarium.

If you cannot take a rest day in between then what you want to do is doable - but I wouldn't do it, it's just too busy and I'm not sure how enjoyable it will be for you.

Be aware that it has been reported previously that the ROK can take 8 hours to circumnavigate - with stops. Add your 90 minute drive from Cork and your ROK day could turn out to me a marathon and a half !!

From Cork, the peninsulas should be done in this order to maximise your travel time: ROK then Dingle.

Madison, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Thank you. So you have us sleeping in Killarney then? That does sound pretty busy. The previous 7 nights, we will be having low key time in a self catering rental, in West Cork area. What about using one of those days to drive over to ROK? During that week we plan to go to Fota animal park, Cobh, Kinsale, Blarney Castle. Nothing major. Lots of rest. But then jamming in major drives our last two days sounds overwhelming. But it isn't like we could drive over there earlier in the week to tackle the ROK, because isn't it mainly a loop that you can't just do part of? I am open to all advice. On our last trip to Ireland we had to hustle from Kinsale to Galway in the same day and we were forced to skip ROK and DP. We can always just do one or the other but would hate to be so close to something beautiful and miss out.

P.S. Because we are travelling with a small child, we prefer to stay in the same hotel both nights rather than moving. She does not adapt to change well and we already have two nights in Dublin, 7 near Cork, two either DP or Killarney, and then the final night in Cork. We really want to stay put these two nights. Which makes things tough. I am hoping it will work to do ROK from a day trip from west cork earlier in week.

Edited: 14 September 2013, 08:15
Scottsdale, Arizona
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3. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

We've done that area with a 2-yr-old in tow. We stayed at the Brehon in Killarney - not as good as some of the other hotels we stayed in, but the room was quite comfortable if not particularly family-oriented. We had a great time in Dingle, but an even better time at the Muckross Traditional Farms - it was actually one of the highlights of the trip for our daughter. She also enjoyed the jaunty car ride in the National Park.

As for the logistics, we left Killarney around 10 in the morning after visiting a few shops in the city center and were in Dingle in time to have lunch and seen the Clarke stained glass windows and track down a shop where we could get a low whistle. We didn't do the Slea Head drive, but did go to the Blasket Centre and on to the medieval sites before driving back to Killarney, getting back to the hotel around 9 PM.

I'm glad we stayed in Killarney - I feel like it gave us more options than staying in Dingle would have. For instance, it enabled us to go to the National Park and Muckross the day after Dingle. (We went the opposite way you're traveling.) A day that gave us several hours running around in the open after so much time in the car going around Dingle was very helpful.

england
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4. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Do ypu know what I would do? On Friday I would drive from Cork to Killarney via the Beara peninsula (I prefer it to the ROK), Saturday I would stay in Killarney, see the lakes, Muckross, Torc etc etc, Sunday I would go out to Dingle for the day, Monday back to Cork, This gives you two nights in Killarney, two dyasi with longish drives with a rest day in the middle. Depending on the weather forecast you could sway Saturday and Sunday round.

Madison, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Thanks for your tip on the farms. Our week in Cork is actually in a rural area with animals and running around space. That is why we don't mind the "touristy" aspect of Killarney- we basically want a hotel with a pool and good amenities since it is pretty basic the previous week, out in the country. Speaking of pools though, that is why we booked the Dingle Skellig, but now I see that kids are only allowed to swim until 7 pm. We really need a pool open in the evenings, if that is possible.

Madison, Wisconsin
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6. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

I like the idea but we really want to sleep right in Cork Sunday night for our Monday flight out. We got the hotel adjacent to the airport, for ease. We are leaving West Cork Friday morning and returning to Cork city Sunday evening. I'm open to all travel plans! Just would like to figure out if I should cancel the Dingle hotel and book a new one somewhere, preferably with a pool. That is good to know about the Beara. I really know nothing about the ROK other than everyone saying to do it. Also, what are your thoughts on leaving our place in west cork for a day trip to the national park in Killarney? Yikes, it scares me to think of all these days with no nap for the two year old!

Also, any tips on Garnish Island? Is the ferry ride easy?

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Hi Sharon

Just a comment about the swimming pool curfew for kids, this is quite common in Ireland and has on occasion, led to huge disappointments for our gang. :-( It tends to be common where the hotel pool and leisure centre are open to membership by locals . It's good that the Dingle Skelligs are so upfront about it as a lot of hotels don't have it on their websites. I would just say check with the hotels in advance if you are looking forward to using the pool in the evenings.

Madison, Wisconsin
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8. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Good to know. I actually only know because I emailed them to ask about the pool. It changes our plans significantly if we never can swim in the evenings. Then why even pay for a hotel with a pool? I will try to find out specifics about Killarney hotels.

Edited: 14 September 2013, 16:59
Scottsdale, Arizona
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9. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

We, too, were uncertain about how the 2-year-old would handle the trip. Most everyone was very accommodating. There were a few things that were a bit of comfort that you might want to look into further. We booked our hotels through CIE and they included breakfast (it makes breakfast way easier because of the choices), and one of the restaurants early on turned us on to a thing called a "baby bowl" (which is various veggies cooked and mashed and unlike a lot of the commercially-available stuff in jars in the US was quite tasty - I'll admit I had a nibble to see if it was good).

Be prepared for your little one to not adjust to the time - ours was up till her US bedtime every night, so we weren't really able to do early mornings, starting out around 9 most days. That was OK - except pubs don't allow children after 9 PM, so if you have a little one on US time it might prove a challenge to eating schedules.

As for the possibility of skipping the ROK - we actually thought about doing the ROK, but decided against it because of the need to give way to the tour buses and the road. We decided that we could see more things that our daughter would like in the 8 hours it would take. She loves animals, which is why we went with the farms, and it paid off in a big way. Her mom and I will always remember how we talked about sheep before going and while we were there, and how the she was not interested in seeing the sheep at all, but screamed "PIGS!" when she saw the babies in an incubator.

Madison, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Should we stay in Dingle or Killarney?

Which farms, specifically? You have a good point. But we skipped ROK on our honeymoon trip so my husband hoped to see it. Is it one way driving all the way around or can we just start to drive a small portion and then turn around? Maybe we will skip most of it. Why drive all day? As for eating, we have a picky eater. We just plan to bring snacks for her and won't waste restaurant money. Oh and as for her schedule! Oh my. Her typical US bedtime is 11 pm or midnight and she wakes at 9 am here. That would mean going to bed at 6 am there so I hope she adjusts quickly!