I am planning a two week trip to Ireland with my boyfriend in July (he is a teacher, so summer is our only time to travel. I realize it will be high season, so more crowded in the touristy spots). We are primarily interested in beautiful views and scenery, places with interesting stories, Irish culture, meeting people. There are so many castles to see, but I decided to just pick two (Cahir and Kilkenny) as I assume we will become castled out if we see too many (after reading the forums, decided to take the suggestions and skip the touristy Blarney castle).
Here is my first try at an itinerary.
Day 1(Sat): Arrive early Dublin (red eye flight), explore
Day 2(Sun): More touring Dublin
Day 3(Mon): Pick up rental car in morning, drive to Kilkenny. Explore. Kilkenny Castle.
Day 4(Tues): Drive to Rock of Cashel, spend 2 hours, drive to Cahir, spend 2 hours, Drive to Kinsale.
Day 5(Wed): Explore Kinsale. Would like to do a cooking class to learn local cooking.
Day 6(Thurs): Drive to Kenmare (suggestions to make this day more interesting??)
Day 7(Fri): Drive Ring of Kerry (clockwise, against busses), stopping overnight in Waterville.
Day 8(Sat): Continue driving ROK, stay in Killarney.
Day 9(Sun): Day trip to Gap of Dunloe. Return to Killarney.
Day 10(Mon): Drive to Dingle peninsula, do Slea head drive. Stay in Dingle.
Day 11(Tues): Weather permitting, day trip to hike on Blasket island, return to Dingle
Day 12(Wed): Leave Dingle and drive to Tarbert, take ferry across to Killimer. Drive to Doolin to stay overnight.
Day 13(Thurs): Do Cliffs of Moher first thing in the morning (doing the longer walk, to try to leave the crowds a bit), then head to Galway.
Day 14(Fri): Hang around Galway a bit in the morning, then drive back to Dublin to stay for the night. Return car.
Day 15(Sat): Taxi to airport for 9:30am.
1. Anything you would suggest changing in the above, things to skip or things I missed? Is it doable? Or too much driving? Suggestions for better towns to stay in that what I listed?
2. Is Day 4 too long? Should I cut a day from somewhere else and stay maybe in Cahir, and do the castle on the second day first thing?
3. For Ring of Kerry, is it better to do it in one day and get to Killarney sooner, have three nights in one place for a break, rather than 1 and 2 nights separately? Or if it's better to break it in half so can dawdle more off the beaten track, is there a better place to stay than Waterville? I don't know the towns on the ring much, just picked it because it looks about halfway.
4. How best to see Gap of Dunloe?? Drive through it? (seems the locals frown on that). Drive there and park, then walk through and back? Hire the horse & trap?? So far I am thinking walk.
5. Are Blasket islands worth hiking??
6. Is it too many 1-nighters??
7. For last two days, should i instead keep the car and drive it to Dublin airport in the morning? I was worried about driving too much in Dublin (and also parking), which is why I was thinking to drop it off early and take a taxi.
Thanks for any help you can provide!