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Lumberton, New...
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My husband and my 17 year daughter and I will be traveling to Ireland for the first time arriving early morning of March 29 and leaving early morning on April 5th. We fly into Dublin and fly out of Shannon. Here is my question. we are booked to stay in Dublin for 2 nights and then want to go do the rest of the normal sight seeking things Blarney Stone Cliffs etc and we will have a car to do the self tours. We also want to stay in a castle 1 night for sure. What places to we stay next?

kilkenny, Waterford, cork, killarney, clare, ??

We want to see as much as possible

Blarney Castle & Gardens
Castles, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Walking Areas
Kilkenny Castle
Historic Sites, Castles
Trim Castle
Castles, Historic Sites
Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Ireland

Having planned two self-drive trips for our family, I think the best way to do this is to get a few good guidebooks (generally available at your public library and, if not, at your local bookstore) and a good map of Ireland, such as the OSI series or the Rough Guide map (which is what I used). Use the guidebooks to decide what sights/destinations interest you the most and then use the map and the AA Route Planner (http://www.theaa.ie/routes/) to plan a workable route. You may discover, as did I while planning our first trip, that getting to some destinations was NOT feasible within our time frame and I had to drop some in favor of others. Unfortunately, it's just not possible to see "everything" in Ireland in 8 days.

Since you will require either a family room or two rooms for your family of 3, I would suggest that you book your accommodations (especially B&Bs) in advance. It's not yet the "high season", but we found on our first trip to Ireland (which was early in the month of April) that some B&Bs were actually booked out and others had only 1 family room which we were able to have because we'd booked in advance. Personally, I find having to look for accommodations on the road to be a waste of my valuable sightseeing time.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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2. Re: Ireland

With only 7 days (one will likely be taken by air travel back to the states), you will have to pick what sorts of things to see. For example, would you rather see Waterford Crystal's master craftsmen or one of the most important educational centers of ancient Munster? Or perhaps you'd rather see the place where the kings of Munster ruled for centuries before giving it to the church.

I'd suggest getting a few books and looking at the sites listed for tour companies - CIE has a good online brochure - and make a list of places an rank them as 'must see', 'want to see', and 'it might be interesting'. If you find that several of your sites are historical, check the OPW site - I believe they have average length of stay listed along with operating hours, which will also be important. Try to keep your 'Must see' list to no more than the number of days you're spending in Ireland, otherwise you're likely to be disappointed. The exception to this is if you have several places in a single city, like Dublin.

Once you have an idea about what sorts of places you want to visit, it will be easier to give more specific advice.

County Dublin...
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3. Re: Ireland

This one is nice and on your route. Not a castle though.


Guernsey, United...
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4. Re: Ireland

If you have 7 days, and are spending 2 of them in Dublin,then I recommend you choose 2 other locations and share the remainder of your time between them.

Connemara region north of Galway is around 3-3.5hrs drive from Dublin and may satisfy your wish for a "castle" stay. This area has fabulous scenery, gorgeous beaches, pretty villages and great opportunities for walking/hiking, horse-riding, boat trips:








These are self-styled "castle hotels" - more in the style of "country house mansion" :




You could then head south to co. Clare, stopping en-route in Galway city for a day of sight-seeing, shopping etc


Then stay somewhere in co. Clare for 2-3 nights; there's so much to see in this county, and you'd be within reasonable driving distance of Shannon airport. First area of interest after Galway is the Burren; it would take a couple of days to see all the main sights in this area:




Apart from Gregan's - which looks lovely, have a look at :


which lies a short distance from Ballyvaughan village; gorgeous guest house, immaculately furnished.

At the southern edge of the Burren lie the Ciffs of Moher:


Farther south in co. Clare, you have the county town of Ennis, which is good for shopping :


And a short drive from Shannon airport :


If you want to get off the beaten track, away from the main tourist sights, you could head to east Clare :


Or drive right down to the southern tip of Clare to see Loop Head : fabulous coastal scenery where you might see dolphins swimming off-shore and a good variety of sea birds :




This is a great spot for lunch in nearby Kilrush :


Alternatively, if you're really keen to visit Blarney, you could head down to Cork for a couple of nights (bear in mind it will take you 3+hrs to drive down to Cork). Apart from visiting Blarney Castle, you might like to spend a day exploring Cork city, or head down to the coast, which has gorgeous scenery :






From Cork you could head to Killarney for a couple of nights. Lots to see and do in this area. It will take a full day to drive around the Ring of Kerry :


There's the National Park to explore if you enjoy walking/hiking; the Gap of Dunloe, which has fabulous scenery; Muckross House & Gardens :





You wouldn't be able to fit all these into a 2-night stay, but as you can see, there's plenty to enjoy around Killarney.

From here you could drive to the Cliffs of Moher if they're an absolute "must see". The drive will take around 3-3.5hrs and you'll probably spend a couple of hours there. If the weather's misty/inclement it's really not worth the drive as you could end up driving all that way and not be able to see more than a few feet in front of you.

In which case, you could head from Killarney via Adare village to Bunratty Castle (see above), then to Dromoland Castle, which lies a short drive away :


I think either of the above would work for you, but to attempt to do any more will just mean that you spend hours each day in the car driving between places, with very little time spent actually seeing and enjoying anything.


Lumberton, New...
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5. Re: Ireland

thank you everyone for your advise. i will look through the details and ask any addtional questions if needed. couldnt ask for a better support group

County Dublin...
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6. Re: Ireland

You're welcome.

Come and enjoy.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: Ireland

If your traveling south from Dublin as you will be if your heading to cork or Kerry there is a lovely castle enroute which would probably be less expensive than dromoland to stay overnight ,it's www.castledurrow.com also you could look up lots of Luxury country /manorhouse hotels on www.irelands-blue-book?ie/

8. Re: Ireland

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