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Considering Family Trip

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Houston, Texas
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Considering Family Trip

I am considering taking a family vacation in June or July for a week, flying into Shannon from the states. I would be bringing my 9yr old son, 5yr old daughter, wife, and in--laws (still young in their 50's). None of us have been to Ireland, however I would like to get my children exposed to something new. We ideally would rent a home somewhere in the Cork area. Ideally we would look for a mix of outdoor activities and sightseeing. I am simply looking for general advice. Is this a good group to bring where we would all enjoy the trip? If you had one trip to Ireland in your life to the southwest, what would you make sure to see? What other locations would you suggest as a base besides Cork? The idea of renting a home with a great deal of views and place for the children to play is attractive, any suggestions?

Thank you.

Central New Jersey
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1. Re: Considering Family Trip

Hopefully you are planning on renting a car. I recently got back from Ireland and was glad I took the advice of car rental verses trying to get around everywhere by public transportation. Even without a GPS, I found it an easy country to navigate. Just be careful with the whole driving on the opposite side of the car and road!!

In terms of sightseeing, if you will be around the Cork area, I would definitely take a trip to the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone. Ok, so it's probably the most touristy thing to do in Ireland, but I still found it worth a visit. Both the grounds and the castle are beautiful and fun to explore. Your kids will probably get a kick out of hanging upside down to kiss the stone and cralwing through an ancient dungeon.

The Cliffs of Moher are a must see in my book! Just be sure to go on a clear day if possible. Heavy fog will definitely inhibit your view. My friend and I spent a couple hours walking along the edges of the Cliffs. The best part has to be the sign warning you not to go any further, but everyone jumps the stone wall to walk freely along Cliffs. It is a little intimidating and scary though since there are no fences and absolutely NOTHING is stopping you from jumping/falling off the edge. Truly beautiful natural scenery though. Plus there is a little tower at one end that you can climb up in for an elevated view and picture taking.

Another highly recommended attraction would be a trip to the Aran Islands. There are a couple different ferries you can take from different ports. I took the ferry from Ros a Mhil port outside of Galway. This ferry took you to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mor. It's easy to spend several hours there. Along the islands port are several pubs, B&B's and little shops. To tour the island you can either rent a bicycle or take a horse n' buggy or bus tour. If bicycle rental is out of the question than the horse n' buffy would probably be your next best. There are ruins scattered across the island and there is even an area where you can view sea lions sun bathing. The most sensational attraction on the island is an ancient fort overlooking a stone cliff. It is worth the climb to the top! Out of all the days I spent in Ireland, I definitely felt the most carefree on Inis Mor.

Best of luck in planning your trip and happy travels!

Ireland
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for Dingle
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2. Re: Considering Family Trip

Not sure if I'd suggest the Cliffs of Moher when you have young children.

Do you know what part of Cork you would like to base in?

Houston, Texas
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3. Re: Considering Family Trip

I appreciate the suggestions and do plan on renting a car. I have driven through Scotland and in the Virgin Islands, so I'm at leas a little familiar with driving on that side of the road.

As to where in Cork? Likely outside of the City in a home. Having not been there, I am pretty wide open to any suggestions. Looking for 3BR at 1000-1500 euros.

Ireland
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4. Re: Considering Family Trip

West Cork is the place that gets most tourists, but east Cork has its charms. Staying in one east/west would still let you explore the other.

Pro-East: You would be near to Fota Wildlife park, lots of lovely safe beaches, the world famous Ballymaloe cookery school/restaurant, Blarney castle is an easy drive-just take your time climbing the castle itself with the children. (Personally, I don't see the attraction of the place, but tourists love it.)

Pro-west:

More dramatic scenery, foodie places like Kinsale, Clonakilty area would make a good base ,Inchadoney beach.

What about Dingle as a base?

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Considering Family Trip

Open to Dingle as well, what are the advantages? We would come to get to experience the culture, get outside and enjoy some amazing sights. Excluding myself, the rest of the family probably isn't real interested in cuisine, but easy hikes, fishing, beaches, nature's sights in general. I do have concern for my 5yr old daughter, as she probably has as much interest in making sure her toys arrive as anything else.

Ventry, Ireland
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for Dingle Peninsula
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6. Re: Considering Family Trip

Dingle will deliver all you need for your mixed age group. I'd suggest June over July if you have the choice - a lot less crowded and daylight until 10.30pm.

Attractions include: boat trips to see Fungi the wild dolphin, kayaking, boat tours around the Blasket islands, horse riding on beach and mountain; surfing school; make your own pottery; pet farm with rare breeds; seal sanctuary; plus beautiful deserted

beaches and hiking trails. If golf is your thing you can play on Europe's most westerly links course on stunning Ceann Sibeal.

If the weather is bad indoor pursuits include a fantastic aquarium, rock wall climbing, the Blasket Heritage centre

(teach yourself to speak Irish); swimming and bowling

And finally some of the most stunning scenery you will find anywhere

There are lots of 3 & 4 bed houses for rent in the area

www.dodingle.com for more info

Edited: 27 October 2010, 00:34
San Diego
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7. Re: Considering Family Trip

Re: the advice from Stephanie on the Cliffs of Moher. They are a long way from Cork, nearer to Dingle, but if you consider going, I have to agree with HarveyIreland and take issue with Stephanie's advice. I am 5' 4" tall, weigh 130 lbs, and the day we visited the cliffs last month, the gusts of wind were so strong and unpredictable that I nearly got blown over backward while walking up the few steps up to the southern platform. After that, I had no thought of going past the barrier, so do not believe that "everyone jumps the stone wall to walk freely along the Cliffs", especially with young children. They are a must see if you are anywhere near there, but you can see it all staying within the approved boundaries.

I do agree with her suggestion to visit Blarney Castle if that fits with your plans. You need to climb winding stone stairs to get to the top, but along the way there are rooms to explore, The castle itself is a ruin, however, so you need to keep an eye on the children. I did not kiss the Blarney Stone, but the castle is fun to climb up and the grounds are extensive and beautiful, and would be great for a picnic.

If you end up in Dingle, there is Inch Beach, east of Dingle town on the peninsula. Being from southern California, I am no stranger to beaches, but I have never seen such a huge beach. It was low tide while we were there, so besides being miles long, it was also about 3 times as wide as at low tide. And soonas gave you lots of other good Dingle suggestions.

Cork, Ireland
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8. Re: Considering Family Trip

In answer to your questions:

Is this a good group to bring where we would all enjoy the trip?

#### Yes absolutely, a mixed group like that would all love west Cork.

If you had one trip to Ireland in your life to the southwest, what would you make sure to see?

#### In West Cork, my absolute favourite spots to visit would be the islands off the coast of Baltimore near Skibbereen (in fact Baltimore would be a really nice central spot to base yourself at).

There are three really nice peninsulas in the West Cork area, any of which would offer you a spectacular location for your holiday next year. The first is the Mizen Head peninsula westcorktravel.com/Drives/…MizenHead.htm The second is the smallest peninsula but probably my favourite of all three Sheeps Head Peninsula http://www.cork-guide.ie/sheepshead/ and finally the most well known of all three Beara Peninsula http://www.bearatourism.com/ The great thing about these peninsulas is that no matter which one you base yourself at the other two are no more than an hour or two away.

There are a wide variety and good quantity of holiday homes available all around West Cork ranging from downright basic to top class, so make sure you investigate well before choosing a holiday home. Location, Location Location should be your mantra !! Do be aware that because June and July are peak summer months here the holiday rentals will be at their most expensive. In general holiday rentals are rented from Saturday to Saturday.

When you are choosing a rental try and choose one that is within a reasonable walking distance of the nearest town/village so that you can partake of any local entertainment without feeling too isolated and better still without having to use a car. You will find in June or July that every town and village has something going on in the evenings to keep locals and visitors alike entertained. 10 minutes walk is acceptable, anything more than that and you may find that you will want to jump into the car.

Additionally a rental somewhere within walking distance of the nearest pier or beach always enhances any holiday for lots of reasons. You may have to compromise on this but to be honest there is such a large selection of rentals available, you should be able to find one that ticks all the right boxes.

What other locations would you suggest as a base besides Cork? To find holiday rentals, just type google the area you think you would like to base yourself at and then click the appropriate accommodation links. Alternatively a company called daft.ie has a section for holiday home rental, here is a link http://www.daft.ie/searchshortterm.daft?s[pt_id]=4&search=1&fr=default

Come back here when you have a better idea of where you might like to base yourself.

#### Right beside beautiful West Cork is equally as beautiful County Kerry. There would be no problem doing day trips from Cork to Kerry if you wanted to. For Example the Beara Peninsula (already mentioned above) borders both West Cork and County Kerry and is the perfect base for a Cork and Kerry themed holiday.

The idea of renting a home with a great deal of views and place for the children to play is attractive, any suggestions?

#### I cannot give you suggestions on this until I know where you would really like to stay. What you need to do next is to choose a base for your holiday. Have a look a map particularly focussing on the Peninsulas on the south west of the country. Try and choose an area that is fairly central to them all and then come back with some ideas of where you might like to base yourself and we can help further. One thing I can assure you of is that you will have no problem filling a one week itinerary in West Cork and all of you will be well catered for.

Cork, Ireland
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for Ireland
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9. Re: Considering Family Trip

Here is a link to holiday rentals on Daft.ie that are specific to west cork.

This will help you get an idea of locations and rental prices, but remember prices may be different in June and July. There are some very nice properties there in excellent West Cork locations.

http://tinyurl.com/2fzb34g

Houston, Texas
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10. Re: Considering Family Trip

Thank you for the help and websites. Instead of Cork I am consdiering Kenmare as a base; still w/in driving distance to Cork but close to Killarney forest. In addition I am still considering staying near Skibbereen as well. Beaufort House is one other location I am considering. Any suggestions on homes are appreciated.

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