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14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Fresno, California
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14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Greetings!

My husband and I are visiting Ireland this Winter. After spending the past 6 months planning, we've finally put together an itinerary. Now I'd very much like to put our itinerary forward to the community and see if there were suggestions... especially food-related suggestions. We've hired a car for self-driving and have accommodations arranged. Backpacks are filled with appropriate clothing to layer (water/wind proof stuff). Thank you for your time & energy!

Overall Plan (subject to change):

2 nights in Dublin. 2 nights in Kilkenny. 2 Nights in Dingle (NYE) 2 nights in Galway. 1 night on Inishmore. 1 night in Galway. 1 night in Sligo. 1 night in Portrush. 2 nights in Dublin.

Breakdown:

Day 1: learn to drive properly, walk around Dublin, and sleep. Day 2: more driving practice and exploring Dublin. Day 3: driving to Kilkenny. Between Dublin and Kilkenny we are planning on spending a half day at Glendalough. Day 4: explore Kilkenny city and visit a few nearby places -- time/weather permitting. Day 5: drive to Dingle. Day 6: explore Dingle city. May walk a portion of Cosan na Naomh if showers and wind are mild. Day 7: drive to Galway. May walk a portion of the hike to Cliffs of M. en route to Galway if weather is mild. Days 8: explore Galway city. Day 9: Take the ferry to Inishmore. Day 10: Explore a few sites on Inishmore in the morning, return to Galway in the evening. Day 11: drive to Sligo and explore Gil Lough area. Day 12: Drive along the Antrim Coast (Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, Giant's Causeway) and continue back to Dublin. Day 13: Dublin, visit Trinity's Old Library/Book of Kells. Day 14: saying goodbye.

Big thanks to http://heritageireland.ie/en/ http://www.megalithicireland.com/ http://www.theaa.ie/aa/aa-roadwatch.aspx and http://www.irishtrails.ie/. And, of course, thanks to you for reading all this!

Thoughts and suggestions are very much appreciated.

Cheers!

Huntsville, Alabama
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11. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Oh Ponaire, I am looking forward to your reviews/thoughts of the restaurants! We loved the Distillers Arms so much we ate there two nights out of three when we stayed in Ballintoy! :-) We may have to pop in again on our next trip, but there are SO many great places to eat and not enough time!

Merry Christmas to all.

Cavan
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12. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

My thoughts Sakhaiva ~ are that you are trying to do to much for a winter tour of Ireland. At best you will find some days to be okay between daylight hours of 9am to 4pm and on other days wet and windy (like today) gusting up to 100kph, not the sort of day to be on the west coast of Ireland. If I were you I would rule out a winter trip to Inishmore in case the ferry is not sailing or worse still not getting back again. Sometimes when touring Ireland less is far more in real terms.

Fresno, California
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13. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Thanks Cavan007 for your sound advice. 60mph gusts are devilish. We will snip where necessary.

Dublin
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14. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

As regards your first day driving in Dublin, I think you would be doing exceptionally well to get from the airport to Rathmines in the time frame that you have estimated - I would allow 45/60 minutes when you are not familiar with the route. One of the difficulties for visitors driving in Dublin, is not the actual driving per se, but trying to find you way around, which can be frustrating - even for those of us who live here. Dublin is not construsted in blocks like most US cities - the road/street structure originates from many centuries ago and can wind this way and that way, and so the visitor can get lost quite easily. Directional signs are not always great either. I used to live in the Rathmines area many years ago and hadn't been to it in along time, but I was there very recently and found it hugely frustrating to negotiate my way around it - a place that I once knew very well - because road lay-outs have been changed, can't turn this way, can't turn that way, and so on. So be prepared for that.

While I do not know precisely where you are staying in Rathmines, I have nonetheless plotted a suggested route, that I think would be the easiest for you to negotiate from the airport to Rathmines (I've just selected the main road in Rathmines as the end point for convenience, you can amend it to your B&B location) - http://goo.gl/maps/NJ2Mc . Some would suggest going through the Port Tunnel, but I think it would be more difficult for you to then find your way from the tunnel exit to Rathmines.

Whitney, Texas
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15. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

how about cutting a day at the beginning and at the end from Dublin....2 days is plenty of time, IMHO...also, do you have a backup plan for the aran islands night in case the weather has the ferries not making the trip over?......

Fresno, California
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16. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

fenlaDublin, thank you for the great advice. The driving directions/map you provided seem very clear; we appreciate the heads up re: driving around Dublin and Rathmines.

Oma 14, if Aran Islands fall through (those poor souls on the west coast have taken a pounding this week!) we'll remain in Galway. I think we're going to play most of the holiday by ear and see what makes sense.

Weather forecast for the next few weeks shows snow, rain, wind, sun and I kid you not, I saw something about a tornado warning too. We're due to arrive after Emily leaves. I hope she takes the tornado warning with her ;)

Fresno, California
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17. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Trip Report: Ireland was amazing, on every level. We met lovely people, made some new friends, and are completely in love with this place. So much history... simply stunning. Between me and my husband, we took well over 5000 pictures.

Our 14 day itinerary was much more ambitious than we thought, but went smoothly for the most part. We did wind up nixing the trip to the Aran Islands due to 65' swells, opting for an extra day in Sligo. All of the advice given on this thread (ie, don't drive in Dublin, leave more time between destinations, less is more, etc) was spot on.

Irish breakfasts are extremely hearty and portions are very, very generous. I will never be satisfied with scrawny American bacon again ;) As for driving, my husband described driving on Irish country roads as "trying to thread a needle going 100 kph". At night it's like "trying to thread a needle going 100 kph in the dark". Please don't get me wrong, driving between destinations was beautiful .... there is no countryside prettier as far as we're concerned. But it was exhausting. Make sure to check AA for road conditions as they change quickly. We allowed for one sightseeing diversion on "driving days", which was plenty. Ideally our trip would have been improved by allowing 3 nights in both Dingle and Sligo, and even that is not enough time. Some places need to be savored.

For anyone looking for B&B recommendations, I throw my weight behind the Old Pier near the town of Dingle. The views were stunning, the food delicious and the hosts (Padraig & Jacquie O'Connor) were a true delight. The location was also very convenient for sightseeing. Make sure to have at least one dinner at the B&B as their cooking is amazing -- but order less than you think as the portions are massive. I'm convinced the seafood chowder contained an entire salmon.

The Rosquil House in Kilkenny was also quite lovely. Friendly, helpful staff with wonderful breakfasts plus it was easy to walk into town. In Portrush we stayed at the Port Hotel -- less costly than some of the other places, but the friendly staff, excellent pub and hearty meals made it a very good place to stay in my opinion.

Again, many thanks for all of the wonderful advise.

Dublin
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18. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Sakhaiva, thanks for letting us know how your trip went. Glad you enjoyed it - perhaps you might make a return visit, and get afew more photos!!

Guernsey, United...
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19. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

Wow : 5000 photos!! And I thought I took alot!!

Lovely trip report - thanks so much for sharing. You'll have to return in springtime one year - very photogenic time to explore this beautiful Island further :-)

20. Re: 14 day Itinerary: thoughts?

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