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Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

san jose
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Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

Whew! Am I confused about this island! My boyfriend and I have travelled pretty extensivley over the past 6 years through Europe, most recently returning from a 40 day trip in October. We had such a wonderful time that since we returned the travel bug bit me again! The rule is we go every other year, however, its never too early to begin planning! We are planning for a April/May timeframe. I have been conducting some research and here is what I have come up with, as well as some of what we are looking for from this trip:

1. Ireland isnt that big; I was looking up train travel in between cities and from Cork to Belfast it's only 6 hours, which isn't too bad

2. There are a ton of little towns and they are so hard to choose from!

3. Is it better to stay North or South?

4. Castles, Castles, Castles!! Which one to go to?

5.A little about us: We love to eat, take photos, enjoy interesting/different museums, all of our travel is done by train, we aren't boat people ( I know there are ferries and such), we are adventerous, really really love to eat (I know I put that twice but its a big one), are very excited to see the castles, very much enjoy Guiness (VERY cliche I know, but it IS delicious)

We most likely will be there for 5-7 days, any ideas of an itenirary or suggestions for us are very welcome. Thank you in advance :)

Scottsdale, Arizona
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1. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

If you love to eat, Ireland is a very dangerous place...I've never had a disappointing meal.

Cork is, by most accounts, the foodie capital of Ireland. It also happens to be right next to Middleton, which has one of the premier distillers (producing both Jameson and Middleton labels).

I personally love Galway's fish and chips. McDonagh's is the place for that, and it's right by the Spanish Arch and a little place called Ard Bia and a little spot called Cupan Tae. It's a great place to spend a sunny afternoon relaxing with a little retail/food therapy. If you're adventurous, and in Galway, make your way over to Bunowen (a little village on the north side of the bay) to the Connemara Smokehouse on Bunowen Pier, for *the best* smoked fish you will ever eat in your life. Their honey tuna is heaven...beyond that, words do not suffice.

Don't go to Dublin unless you're going to make a stop at Gallagher's Boxty House. It's just down from Temple Bar, which can be a little touristy, but you know what they say, "Boxty in the skillet, Boxty in the pan, if you can't make Boxty, you'll never get a man." There's also an Avoca Cafe not far from Grafton Street - their duck fat chips and a cup of tea are perfect for a quick bit on a cool afternoon.

Of course there are other perfectly lovely places. For instance, I love having breakfast at the Galway Bay Hotel with the entire dining room looking over the bay. There are too many places to mention them all...but these are the highlights as I've seen them.

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2. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

travelling by train will limit ye if you want to see the smaller towns at in general they don't stop that often but if you're willing to hop on the bus then you'll have a lot more options.

down here in cork there is a lot to do and eat (as mentioned above!). the english market is a very popular spot for tourists and locals alike. kinsale is another place to check out if you are into your grub. you can get the bus from cork to nearby by blarney castle which is always a popular haunt. and the distillery out in midelton is well worth checking out.

a trip to west cork or kerry is well worth it too but you'd be travelling by bus. i've always enjoyed heading down to dingle for the weekend and the choice of restaurants there are excellent.

and lastly you might be able to get a local GAA match in. a trip to a gaelic football or hurling match (usually on at the weekends) is a real experience!

Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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3. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

Those of us who don't live in Cork just have Tatties, Stew and Mc Donalds to eat..

With only a week or less consider landing Dublin and getting straight on the Belfast Bus, do the Black Cab & Titanic bits or a coach trip to the Causeway and Antrim Coast

Thats your first couple of days, then Dublin for 2 days and with 2 or three days left to see the other 3/4 of the island decide on Galway or Killarney which are big Tour centres or Cork which has a lot going for it apart from food.

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for Limerick, Killarney
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4. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

If you like food markets then the Milk Market in Limerick is well worth investigating

http://www.milkmarketlimerick.ie/markets.html if you scroll down on the middle section you will come to the Saturday Market (the website isn't the best in terms of design).

Also in Limerick you can see the Hunt Museum www.huntmuseum.com

King John's Castle www.shannonheritage.com/KingJohnsCastle/

and are only a short trip from Bunratty Castle shannonheritage.com/BunrattyCastleAndFolkPark

Lots of other things to do in the area as well.

san jose
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5. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

Thank you to everyone for their reponses! I will use these as the starting point for our planning, this is all so helpful!

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6. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

RobertK: I think I gained 5 lbs. just reading your post! I printed it out for my April trip and thank you so much for all your suggestions.

7. Re: Avid European travlers' first trip to Ireland!!

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