We just got back from an amazing 12 days in Ireland. It was a wonderful experience, and we'll definitely be back. My husband and I went with our 3 boys (ages 14, 12, 10), and my husband's sister came with us.
Day 1: We arrived at Shannon airport at 6:30 in the morning where we picked up the Ford Galaxy from Europcar that we reserved through autoeurope. From getting off the plane to driving away in the car, it took us 45 minutes. We had expected it to take a lot longer, so we were too early for Bunratty. We drove into Limerick and stopped at Dunnes Jetland to stock up on snacks and water to have in the car. We drove around Limerick, familiarizing ourselves with the town and driving on the left side. Back to Bunratty where we explored the castle and folk park for about 2 hours. The boys, ages 14, 12, 10, loved the castle with the winding stairs. It was a beautiful, sunny day and we took a lot of pictures. Drove back to Limerick where we stopped at Ivans to pick up our Banoffi Pie. We took it to a park and shared it. I got some great pictures of all these hands reaching in with their forks for another bite. It was devoured in minutes. Thank you, Bean, for you help with that! We had dinner at Eddie Rockets in the Crescent Shopping Centre (the boys' choice). The service was great, but the food quality wasn't. Checked into our B&B, the Dooneen Lodge in Mungret. Noreen and Tom are wonderful hosts and we greatly enjoyed our week with them. After a brief nap, we drove into Adare to walk around and have an early dinner. On the way back to our B&B, we stopped at Punches Bar in Patrickswell. It was very busy with locals, a lot of laughing and some singing. Some women, but mostly men in sports jerseys (maybe hurling?) and we enjoyed Guinness and sodas.
Day 2: We had a great nights sleep in very comfortable beds. We have all 3 rooms at the B&B. They are all quite spacious. The room with one bed has a smaller bathroom, but the room with the 2 twin beds had a huge bathroom (across the hall). The room my husband and I slept in had a twin bed for our youngest son. Our bathroom was big enough for all of us, but I liked the shower in the large bathroom the best, so I used that one. Noreen made a nice breakfeast for us. Fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, toast, eggs, bacon and sausage. Drove to Tipperary County where we visited the Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle. We spent about 1 1/2 to 2 hours at each place. Both had great tours, and I highly recommend both places. We bought lunch at Heritage Sandwich Shop and ate at the park by the castle. We had delicious sandwiches and panini's, and the boys enjoyed Taytos and Hunky Dory crisps. We drove to the Glen of Aherlowe. Another sunny day, perfect for great pictures at the scenic stops. The drive reminded me of the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The windying roads are similar to rural Virginia, and I loved how the trees formed canopies over the road. Spent about 2 hours exploring the Glen of Aherlowe. Thank you, Clauds, for that suggestion! We were done by 4:00, so decided to drive to Kilkenny (we are crazy!). Walked around the castle, did a little shopping before the stores closed at 6:00. We had a nice dinner at Morrissey's Bar. Would have liked to spend more time there, but we didn't even have Kilkenny in our itinerary, so it was nice to spend even a couple hours there.
My husband did all the driving and adapted quickly to driving and shifting on the left. We had to remind him, "left, left, left" when we would get back in the car after a long break, but that was about it.