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Dublin + Road Trip

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Dublin + Road Trip


My husband and I are planning on heading to Ireland in May of 2014; we would like to spend a few days in Dublin and then perhaps take a road trip (opinions welcome on driving versus other transportation welcome!)

We are looking for a possible 10 day itinerary: we enjoy all things old, rustic, and quaint; we would love to see stunning landscape and check out great pubs. I do enjoy making pit-stops in small villages, so any you can recommend would be fabulous! We are on a bit of a budget and don't want to spend more than $150 for a hotel each night, preferably less, so please keep that in mind if you recommend hotels.

Thanks in advance!


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Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

Since you have so much time to plan this trip, I suggest you start by looking at some good guidebooks (probably available at your library) and a good map of Ireland. You'll get lots of ideas of things and places that interest you by reading the guidebook. Use the map and a site like the AA Route Planner for Ireland to plan a workable route. Once you have an itinerary in mind, you can come back for suggestions on how to tweak it.

BTW, if you stay in B&Bs (which is a great thing to do in Ireland), you shouldn't have to worry about exceeding your $150 limit for hotels. Good B&Bs charge 30 - 40 euros per person per night, so you'd be spending no more than 80 euros ($110) per night for a room and a great Irish breakfast.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

With such a limited amount of time, it is sometimes recommended to draw a line between Dublin and Galway and go either north or south.

I agree with the suggestion of getting a guidebook from the library to select what most interests you.

We spent 34 days in Ireland recently, and only splurged in one location by spending $150 on a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment with a great view. We stayed in a combination of apartments (our preference), hotels, and B&Bs (we don't love B&Bs, but they're so common in Ireland that we decided to try a few), and the rest of the time spent less than $120/night.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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3. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

You might try looking at the CiE website to see what their tours generally cover if you're looking for a place to start. Augment that with the guidebook by Rick Steves for further info.

I have had excellent experiences with CIE and have used them to book hotels and reserve cars and paid around 99 euro a night for 4-star hotels, with breakfast vouchers for 2 adults. I have not used CIE tours, only the self-drive trips, so I can't speak to how those go. I have heard from family members who have been on their tours and were very satisfied.

I've always driven when I've gone to Ireland and never had a substantial problem except when discovering that some brands of satnav are better than others.

You have plenty of time to plan, so you should be able to plan a very pleasant trip.

Guernsey, United...
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4. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

For help with general planning and car rental:



May is a super time to visit, as the wildflowers will be in bloom and in the west/south-west you'll see hedges of fuchsia and monbretia : really pretty!

With 10 days - and 2-3 of those in Dublin, recommend you choose two, maximum 3 other locations as bases from which to explore the surrounding countryside - and if you can fly out of Shannon, that could well save you a day travelling back to Dublin (bear in mind that most flights depart for the US in the morning, so you need to spend your final night near Dublin or Shannon, as there's a 3-hr check-in required).

Consider combining cos Galway (for Connemara, Galway city and the Aran Islands) and Clare (for the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Loop Head, east Clare):














The wildflowers will be at their best in May in the Burren and the whole month is "Burren in Bloom" where there are guided walks, talks and other activities going on:


Alternatively, head down to Cork and Kerry for equally beautiful scenery, pretty villages and a wealth of historical sites and outdoor activities (thinking walking, horse-riding etc):


















You could of course combine any of these areas with another, but bear in mind that travelling from Galway down to Kerry will take 5+hrs - and in Ireland, that's a long time in the car! There are so many different combinations you could do, but for a first visit to Ireland, I think the above will give you a "flavour" of this beautiful country :-)

Please don't discount staying in guest houses or b+bs; every single 1 that I've stayed in has offered excellent, clean accommodation and a very tasty breakfast in the morning - usually cooked to order, rather than one of those hot "buffet-style" hotel breakfasts where everything seems to be dried up before it gets on your plate!

This is one of my favourite sources if I'm looking for inspiration:


and these have some very interesting places too:



Expect to pay around €80-€100 per night for a good quality guest house - that's for 2 people and would include breakfast.

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5. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

Thank you so much for the wealth of knowledge, I appreciate your input!

6. Re: Dublin + Road Trip

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