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Input on northern route itinerary please!

Kansas City...
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Input on northern route itinerary please!

Our road trip is this June. I have the general route we are going to take but wanted to make sure it was realistic. We are family of 4, kids are 9 and 12. We like lots of outdoor stuff, and like to get off the beaten path when we can although we aren't afraid of doing the touristy thing either. I don't really have a list of must sees as we are trying to keep it as open as possible (compromise between husband and I as I would like to wing it all but he likes to have a firm plan so we book lodging and save the rest to decide on the fly).

+Arrive Dublin in early morning, stay two nights.

+Portrush two nights

+Donegal three nights. Could use some input here on where in Donegal to make our home base. Letterkenney? Donegal town?

+Clifden one night

+Not sure where to make our last night either. We fly out of Shannon. Any suggestions?

Thank you so much for taking a look!

Jennifer

Western Ireland...
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1. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

This is a 10 day plan I did for someone last year http://goo.gl/maps/WsMPW no time in Dublin, straight to Belfast from the Airport and a combination of one and two night stays..

The couple this was for are young Australians no youngsters in tow. Pretty full on with the sights thrown in.. I am not saying you should follow the map but it gives an idea of the ground you aim to cover and some but not all by a long way things along the way between DUB and SNN..

You need to give some indication of what you want from Donegal which is a huge County to navigate and might call for more than 1 base.

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

It's an awful lot of mileage in a limited time. ok you've got long days on your side but are you sure the kids will be comfortable with so much time in the car? Imho Dublin to Shannon would work for a southern route for your timeframe but I personally feel you need about 14 days for it to work for the northern route. I think Dublin-Dublin northern route would be a better option so you cover the north and west.

Cavan
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3. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

I agree with ponaire, you need to do some research into locations. For instance witha young family interested in the outdoors I would forget Portrush and Donegal, suggest the Great Western Greenway in Mayo: www.greatwestern.ie

Cork, Ireland
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4. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

Tony2phones has some good options. There are so many great places to see, and lots for kids of that age to enjoy.

But it's a lot of driving to get to Clifden if you have no time to enjoy it. Irish roads are often pretty slow going.....

Guernsey, United...
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5. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

I have two children of similar age, and wouldn't consider covering such a large area in the timescale you have: too much time in the car, not enough time to explore and enjoy.

I like Cavan007's suggestion of Westport and the greenway. There's also Achill to explore for a day, or, if you really want to get off the tourist trail, consider taking the boat from Roonagh Quay to Clare Island :

http://www.achilltourism.com/

http://www.omalleyferries.com/

http://www.clareisland.info/

www.mayo-ireland.ie/Mayo/Towns/WestPort/

You could then head south through the Doo Lough valley to Connemara region; a scenic but short drive, which will give you time to explore this area:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolough_Tragedy

http://www.connemara.ie/

http://www.roundstone.ie/index.php

http://www.oughterardtourism.com/

http://www.connemaranationalpark.ie/

http://www.kylemoreabbey.com/

My children really enjoyed Glengowla mine, just outside Oughterard:

http://glengowla.goegi.com/

You could then head down to the Burren region in north Clare : great area for walking, cave visits, falconry at Burren Birds of Prey, where there is also the Wolf's Den where folk can learn outdoor skills :

http://www.burrenbeo.com/

tripadvisor.co.uk/GoListDetail-i19855-Burren…

flickr.com/photos/…

theburrencentre.ie/uploads/Burren-4-Ticket.p…

Consider staying in Ballyvaughan, which is a pretty village on the coast :

http://www.ballyvaughanireland.com/

http://www.ballyvaughanfarmersmarket.ie/

http://www.burrencrafts.net/home.html

I've stayed at both of the following and am happy to recommend; they lie a couple minutes drive from the village centre:

http://www.drumcreehyhouse.com/1,2,Home.html

http://www.thewaterscountryhouse.com/

Some great places to eat in the village, from simple pub suppers to tasty Italian :

logueslodge.ie/restaurant_bar_ballyvaughan_c…

http://www.burrenrestaurant.com/

http://www.tearoomsballyvaughan.com/

Ballyvaughan is about 75-minute drive from Shannon, so if you have an early departure, then maybe stay in Ennis, which is only 45-minute drive from the Burren, and 20-minute drive from Shannon Airport:

http://www.visitennis.ie/

Or, Bunratty village, which is 10-minute drive from Shannon, and would be a good place to stay your final night if you want to visit the Castle and Folk Park :

http://www.bunratty.ie/

www.bunrattycourtyard.com/asp/section.asp?s=1

shannonheritage.com/Attractions/…

-:)

Cavan
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6. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

Sorry I entered the wrong web address above. The Great Western Greenway is: www.greenway.ie

Kansas City...
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7. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

Tony2phones, I saw that route on another post and used it for making our plan. It was very helpful!

I have already booked the DUB to SNN flights so that is a done deal. That was when we were thinking of a southern route but the more I researched the more I became interested in the north.

How much time are talking about being on the road? I did some rough calculations but I also realize I really have no idea what kind of road/traffic conditions we will encounter. We do a lot of road trips across the US and our kids do really well with a lot of car time but I also don't want to spend too much time just observing Ireland from a car.

I will put together a list of our must sees and get back with you.

Thank you everyone!!! The effort you put in here to help travelers is amazing!!

Jennifer

Western Ireland...
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8. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

The list of sights would help,, you need to sort out the want's from the must's..

To my mind and this is personal,,, Dublin to Portrush is pushing it as a day. Donegal to Clifden again, then only one night for the Connemara area? Your last night wants to be within 45 minutes of the Airport..

Now if it were me with youngsters I would possibly aim for the Park Inn actually at the airport, checking in late and straight to bed with the driver returning the car? then you don't have the panic/stress of getting everyone ready then on the road for another drive at maybe 4am?

Kansas City...
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9. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

Thank you!! I am sitting down with the husband to get our list of wants and musts. I think staying right at the airport before flying out is the way to go.

Cavan007, you are killing me!! :-) I hadn't even looked at the Great Western Greenway yet. Thank you for all the great info.

Huntsville, Alabama
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10. Re: Input on northern route itinerary please!

For your approximate driving times, use this website and add about 20% to the times it tells you:

http://www.theaa.ie/routes/

Driving in Ireland is NOTHING like driving in the states. We are in our early 40s with no kids and we have both done many road trips in the states with drives of 10+ hours in a day (I grew up in KC)...you just can't do that in Ireland. To me, a total drive time of 4-5 hours is the max that can be done comfortably in a day...and such a day would only be done about two times or so during a 2 week visit. There is so much to see and do in Ireland that that 4-5 hours of driving will easily take a whole day with stops.

We have spent just over 30 nights total Ireland in 2 trips. Our last trip was to the northern bits for 16 nights and we missed so much and loved it so much our next trip in April 2015 will once again be for 16 nights in the northern half . Enjoy, in Ireland less (distance traveled and moving from place to place) is certainly more!