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7 days in Ireland in July?

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Pittsburgh...
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7 days in Ireland in July?

HI all, We are exploring some possibilities for July 2009. Is it possible to have a good trip to Ireland in only 7 days, including travel time? We have never been to Europe before and heard Ireland is a nice place for our first visit. Is the weather nice in July? What would you suggest doing? We like scenery and unique cultural experiences, local crafts and food. Not much for nightlife and no need for luxury. We are a middle aged couple with a 16 year old daughter (who is an Irish step dancer). thanks so much!

Guernsey, United...
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1. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

PennWanderer

Well, from the Trip Reports I've read here on TA, yes, I think you "can" have a super time in Ireland in 7 days - as long as you don't try to fit too much into your schedule. (I guess you will have just 6 nights actually "in" Ireland?)

One of the first things you need to consider is whether you are willing to rent a car, or whether you'll rely on public transport. Renting a car will give you the freedom to visit rural scenic spots, but if you don't want to do so, then you could opt to take day-tours out of say, Dublin or Galway to many beautiful areas.

As for the weather, well, the weather in western Europe this summer was absolutely dreadful - dreadful rain storms, and not much sign of the sun! No knowing what it will be like next year. Just come prepared for wet weather (light mac or rain jacket, and rain-proof footwear).

As you've mentioned that your daughter enjoys Irish dance, I've had a look, and on certain dates in July Riverdance is on in Dublin at the Gaiety Theatre, and in Galway, there's "Trad on the Prom" which has received good reviews here on TA. I've seen Riverdance several times and love it!

www.riverdance.com/htm/theshow/index.htm

http://www.tradontheprom.com/show.html

Here are a couple of general sites on Ireland:

http://www.discoverireland.com/gb/

http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/

And here's Bryno's excellent post to help you think about different aspects of your trip:

http://tiny.cc/4s360

(I hope the above link works, as it's the first time I've tried a "tiny" url!!)

If you're looking for a "personal recommendation" for 6 nights in Ireland, then I'd recommend spending your time on the west coast (if you can fly in/out Shannon - ideal!) - fabulous scenery, lots to see and do:

http://www.shannonheritage.com/Attractions/

http://www.claretouristcouncil.ie/

http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/

http://www.burrenbeo.com

http://www.connemara.ie/

http://www.galwaytourism.ie/

And then, you could visit one of the Aran Islands for the day; I find the islands lying off the coast of Ireland fascinating and a wonderful experience to visit. I always recommend people try to fit in a visit to one of them:

http://www.aranislands.ie/

So, an awful lot to take in . . . . hope you don't feel "bombarded" with information!

The above sites are "general" information sites. If an area takes your fancy and you'd like to know more, just ask :-)

And I'm sure you'll get many more ideas from other posters.

:-)

Boston, MA
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2. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

Hello,

I used to live in Ireland and yes, it is possible to have a good 7 day trip! I had family flying over for 7 day periods all the time.

I'm guessing you'll fly from Philly? I'd recommend flying to Shannon instead of Dublin. Once you're in Shannon... rent a car and drive straight to Galway. Galway is GREAT for unique cultural experiences and is a great place to use as a starting point. It's only about an hour and a half from the Shannon Int'l Airport.

If you happen to hit Galway on a weekend, there is a great local farmer's market right in the city centre. The city itself isn't a city.. quite small and manageable. Talk a walk to the Spanish Arch and sign up for a tour (or drive yourself!) to the Cliffs of Moher and to the Kylemore Abbey. Another popular day trip would be to the Aran Islands (MUST!!!!!!!) ... all of these places are beautiful and totally doable for a week trip. Use Galway as your center and take day trips from there.

If you want to see Dublin, I'd recommend flying into the DUblin Airport, staying a day, and then heading to Galway. Galway would be quite fun for a 16 year old and there areplenty of GREAT restaurants and hotels right in town.

If you don't rent a car, you're limited to bus tours but they are not bad at all. The drivers are great, friendly and knowledgeable. Hope this helps!

Pittsburgh...
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3. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

Thank you! Those ideas are so helpful. It looks like the airfare to Shannon is about the same as Dublin so we will do that. Thanks!

Pittsburgh...
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4. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

Another question: Daughter said she would like to stay in a castle one night. Is that possible? Will it break the bank? It doesn't have to be too fancy.

Pittsburgh...
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5. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

PS. We will definitely rent a car. My hubby loves to drive in new places.

Little Sutton...
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6. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

A couple of words of warning,July in Galway can be very,very dear,we were there at the end of July this year & was quoted as much as 380EURO per night for a room during the planning stages,needless to say we gave that a miss(hopefully one of the regular Galway experts may be able to help with this),one thing to note is that the Summer Race festival is on at the end of July which obviously drives up prices & makes the area mega busy.

The other thing is that driving in Ireland can be a painfully slow business so it is important to not try to cram in too much.

As for the weather,Ireland isn't that green for no reason,we had 18 nights there this summer & saw only 4 dry days in that time,but the last two years have been exceptionally wet in this part of the world,it can only be better next year(sure I said that last year!),we still thoroughly enjoyed it though,it's a wonderful place.

Guernsey, United...
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7. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

PennWanderer

Sound advice from snaefell re driving, weather etc.

If you've decided on flying into Shannon (nice easy airport to travel through), then consider splitting your time between co. Clare and co. Galway where there is so much to see and enjoy without having to spend hours each day in the car.

there are a couple of really well-known castle hotels in the area - but they are top end of the market:

http://www.dromoland.ie/

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

Here are a couple of web-sites for "special" places to stay:

http://www.hiddenireland.com/index.htm

www.sawdays.co.uk/accommodation/ireland/

And here are links to guest houses and bed 'n breakfast accommodation. They are good value for money (imo), usually offering spacious, comfortable accommodation (en-suite facilities) and a filling and delicious breakfast each day:

http://www.bedandbreakfastireland.net/

http://www.townandcountry.ie/

Do check the reviews here on TA too; they're usually reliable.

You might like to think about spending your last night in Bunratty village and attending the feast at the Castle. It's only a 15-minute drive from Bunratty back to Shannon airport, so, if you have an early(ish) morning departure, you can still enjoy your breakfast at leisure:

shannonheritage.com/Entertainment/…

:-)

Detroit, Michigan
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8. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

Penn,

I've been for 9, 7, 5 days. All trips were absolutely filled with what I wanted to see and more without breaking the bank or leaving me physically wiped out. I suggest staying at B&B's. I've been in June and August and had great weather. Yes, rain happens though.

Galway, Ireland
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9. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

PennWanderer I agree with the other posters - if you are interested in culture and scenery, the west of Ireland would really suit you.

Galway is a great base, whether you are going to drive or use public transport. Obviously you will have more freedom driving, but there are many good organised day trips and you will be able to get to places like the Aran Islands on the public transport.

Although Galway is technically a city, it is tiny and does not feel like a city at all. It has a great atmosphere, there are many nice shops and bars, traditional music, its right by the sea for some nice views and walks. I think it has a very "Irish" feel to it (but I am Irish, so I can only guess what visitors expect from Ireland!). SarniaGirl has given you some great links for trips you can do from Galway (e.g. the Aran Islands, Connemara, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher), or just to get some ideas for your trip.

However as snaefell says, July and August are high season and will be more expensive (this is the case all over Ireland). What dates are you looking at coming? An estimated quarter on a million people come to Galway for Race Week so it is by far the busiest and most expensive time of year to come and I would definitely not recommend it - most accommodation prices are hugely inflated as snaefell experienced, and the city is just too packed for comfort. The pedestrianised areas turn into a huge open-air drinking area and its just messy. Race week next year is July 27 - Aug 2 so avoid these dates in Galway! The Arts Festival is usually the 2 weeks prior to Race Week and can inflate prices also. But there is always great buzz around the streets in July because of the festivals. If you do decide to stay in Galway, I would advise you to look around and book early as prices will not come down.

If you wish to see Dublin you could try to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon. I'd suggest 2 days in Dublin if you were going to do this - one day for the city itself (get the hop on hop off tour) and one for a day trip to get a feel of the east coast. Wicklow is a good choice, Glendalough is an old monastic site with beautiful scenery, and the Sally Gap in the Wicklow Mountains has an amazing landscape. Or Newgrange in Meath is an interesting trip, its a stoneage tomb, and there are other ancient historical sites in the area also (Knowth, Dowth, Hill of Tara).

As for the weather - a crystal ball is as useful as forecasts these days! It really is impossible to tell. The past 2 summers have been cool and wet even by Irelands standards, but there were some nice weeks with plenty of sunshine.

Little Sutton...
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10. Re: 7 days in Ireland in July?

Some very good advice from MsJelly,bit of a catch 22 though,as she has said Galway becomes crazy during race week but even though we are not race fans when we found out that it was on we thought we would give it a try & thoroughly enjoyed it,the place has a wonderful atmosphere,it also helps that the day we booked was one of our 4 dry days(weather wise),there are so many bars there that you are more likely to see pink elephants than horses!

In view of your short stay I have been trying to avoid this but I heartily recomend Killarney,we've found prices there to be pretty good,it's a great base for seeing the Ring Of Kerry & Dingle by coach tours,if you visit WWW.LAKEHOTEL.COM & have a look at webcam 1 that will show(weather permitting) the view you get from their Lake View rooms,it is a beautiful hotel with many great walks around it,enjoy!