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Advice on First Trip??

Lincoln, NE
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Advice on First Trip??

My friend and I (both females in our early 30s) are traveling from the US to Ireland for the first time at the beginning of April and have come up with the itinerary below. I would really like suggestions as to what you would change, whether we are trying to do too much, where to eat and stay in the towns, etc. Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me! We are so excited for our trip!

Day 1 - arrive in Dublin at 5:45 AM and rent our car. Drive to Glendalough to see the monastic buildings on our way to Kilkenny. Overnight in Kilkenny.

Day 2 - Visit the rock of Cashel and the Holy Cross Abbey, then drive onto Cork to see the Blarney Castle. Drive to Killarney or Kenmare for the night. Which of these would you suggest???

Day 3 - either visit sights in Killarney, or drive the ROK. Which would you suggest? Overnight in Dingle.

Day 4 - do the Slea Head Drive and eventually make our way to Ennis via the Connor Pass. Overnight in Ennis.

Day 5 - see the Cliffs of Moher and the burren on our way to Galway. Overnight in Galway.

Day 6 - Drive Connemara. Overnight in Galway or Connemara somewhere.

Day 7 - see more of Connemara, and make our way back to Dublin. Overnight in Dublin.

Day 8 - see Dublin in the morning and get ready for our 3:45 flight out of Dublin.

Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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1. Re: Advice on First Trip??

For me that would be way too much driving, spending a lot of time going to/from places and not much time at all being IN places, if that makes sense .

If nothing else, I'd have a night in Dublin on arrival. It's no fun setting off in the middle of Dublin rush hour which it will be by the time you've cleared customs, bag claim, and got the rental car) and driving on the left (unless you're already used to doing that) and doing it all at what would normally be 2:00 in the morning for you with the time difference.

If your departing flight is back to the US you'll need to be on the way to the airport by Noon or a bit later anyway, so you won't see much of Dublin on your last day.

Western Ireland...
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for Dingle
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2. Re: Advice on First Trip??

Way too much car time and I suggest you don't even attempt Glendalough and on to Kilkenny straight off a plane.

San Francisco
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3. Re: Advice on First Trip??

Hi Alyssa P!

You and your friend are going to really enjoy Ireland. I'm not sure I have ever come across someone that hasn't enjoyed their experience. The culture is very accommodating, friendly and complex. I have spent a total of 3 months traveling all over Ireland and will be moving there for a year in June.

To reiterate what IrishFan and HarveyIreland said, your itinerary includes too much driving! Ireland is not small and aside from the main motorway, the condition of the roads can be quite sh$!. When you find yourselves off the main motorway you will need to take into account that they're old country roads and very difficult to drive. Also, it'll likely be raining, adding to the difficulty. I would have to recommend a navigation system too. I purchased one for 120 EUR at one of the local Harvey Norman stores in Dublin (you can always rent one from your car rental company). I lend my sat nav to friends who visit Ireland and they all say they couldn't have navigated without it. Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes there isn't proper signage on the roads and when there is it isn't guaranteed to be correct. For example, a sign in Cork City Centre has a sign for Macroom but it lists the wrong mileage. . . just thought I'd give you the heads up.

I would definitely stay your first night in Dublin. You need to take into account that you'll be jet lagged, although running on adrenaline the first few hours. Other than staying at friends homes, I have only stayed at 2 places: The Morgan (http://www.themorgan.com/) and Barnacles (http://barnacles.ie/). I would't even say they were the best places to stay but they accomplished what I needed them for. Temple Bar is filled with tourists and it smells of urine and puke in the morning... lovely, I know :) I stayed at the Morgan when I fell ill and they were beyond accommodating, so I'm partial to saying only positive things about this hotel. The Hop on, Hop off tours was a great way to explore quickly. Also, the Guinness factory is a really popular tourist destination. One must try Guinness in Ireland. It does taste differently!

On my first trip, I drove from Dublin to Kilkenny and it was a good distance to drive after a restful nights sleep in Dublin. I wouldn't stay any place other than The Pembroke - http://www.kilkennypembrokehotel.com/. Again, accommodating staff, free parking (!), centrally located and good Irish Breakfast. I had a few good times at Left Bank - http://www.leftbank.ie/.

I would HIGHLY recommend stopping and staying in Cork. It's the 2nd largest city in Ireland and it's got traditional charm. I have stayed at The Imperial (www.flynnhotels.com/Imperial_Hotel_Cork) and was very pleased with my choice. Keep in mind, the rooms can be quite small. If you and your friend like to throw back a few, go to any one of the Cork Heritage Pubs (http://www.corkheritagepubs.com/). One of my personal favorites is The Mutton Lane. Yes, yes it will look like you're walking down an alley. Before you take off for Killarney I would hit up Cork Coffee Roasters (http://www.corkcoffee.com/). Grab a latte, sit at the stools in front of the large window overlooking the street and just enjoy! I've spent many hours sitting there enjoying the chatter of the locals, usually trying to guess what county their accent comes from.

I would then drive onto Killarney to enjoy an evening, with good food and music. Killarney is a beautiful town. I have hung out at The Malton (http://www.themalton.com/) but never stayed. It truly is a beautiful hotel. I stayed a night at The Fairview (http://www.killarneyfairview.com/). It wasn't anything to write home about but the price was great and the breakfast was delicious. The Porterhouse was a great place too eat and then hop into any pub on the main street and you'll likely run into some Irish music. I don't think one would be disappointed for spending some time in Killarney. I would definitely do the ROK. It's beautiful and one of those "tourist must's".

I too stopped at the Cliffs of Moher along the way to Galway. I would definitely spend more than a night in Galway. I think that's something you should consider with every place you're staying...staying longer in one place. Your itinerary has a lot of moving around and doesn't allow for too much spontaneity. You'd be surprised how often one can get lost and end up on some country road, stuck behind cows that could care less about moving... I would take out Connemara from your plans.

I hope some of this information helps! Please feel free to message me if you have any questions!

Beaufort, Ireland
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for Galway
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4. Re: Advice on First Trip??

Excellent post!

5. Re: Advice on First Trip??

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