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10 days in Ireland

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London
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10 days in Ireland

Hi, I'm planning on finishing off my 2 years in London with a trip to Ireland in early-mid October. I will probably have about 9-10days but can't decide where to go, what to do. I've been to Dublin and not too interested in going back, so was thinking of basing myself in Galway and touring out from there.

Problem is I have been advised public transport is terrible and that I should hire a car- I have only driven once in the past 2 years and haven't driven a manual in 6years! Most of the car rental places i've looked up only have compact cars in manual- not sure I'd be too confident with that.

So my questions are- If I was to base myself in Galway are there many day tours (Even overnight tours) from there? Is 10 days too much time on the West Coast? I definately want to go to Athenry and Clare Island other than that I have no idea what to do or how to get around to everything.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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1. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Hi soul79. Welcome to TA forum : )

It is possible to have a good time in Ireland without driving, if you're not confident in your driving skills. Public transportation is not really great, but you can manage, as long as you do not want to go to too remote places or are not in a hurry (well, even when driving a car, you could possibly not be in a hurry in Ireland : ) anyway!)

From Galway, the most obvious daytours are: to Connemara, to the Cliffs of Moher (sampling the Burren en route) and to Inis Mor (Aran). They are advertised just about everywhere in town. Count EUR 25 to 35 for the day.

If you are not in a mad rush, I would suggest an overnight stay on Inis Mor. 2 youth hostels and plenty of B&Bs in Kilronan, where you get off the ferry. You have the island to yourself when daytrippers all leave with the 5PM ferry. Gorgious. Upon your arrival, you may choose your mode of transportation: touring around in a local minibus (max 6 or 8 passengers), renting a bike (EUR10 for the day) or walk. Walking is brilliant over there.

Are you hostelling? The absolute cheapest way of seeing a bit of Connemara is going with the shuttle bus between the 2 ''SleepZone'' hostels: EUR 8 return, if you spend 1 night in one of their 2 hostels (one in Galway, one in Connemara). The cheapest way of seeing the Burren is to take the BusEireann regular bus from Galway to Doolin, overnight stay in Doolin [3 pubs with live music every night, 3 youth hostels and a gazillion B&Bs : not bad for a small village!!], hike to the Cliffs of Moher (2 hrs max) or take the bus - Cliffs are only 5 miles away from Doolin, and come back to Galway with BusEireann again.

You might consider busing Galway - Killarney, and from there take a daytour of the Ring of Kerry. Tours leave Killarney at 10:30ish, and come back for 5PM in K. Well worth it.

If you enjoy live trad music, I strongly suggest The Crane Bar, and Taaffes in Galway. See this useful link: http://www.galway.net/galwayguide/pub/all/

Enjoy Ireland!

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2. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Hi Eirelover,

Thank you so much, that information was great.

I will be doing the budget backpacker thing and staying in hostels (dont want to be in too much debt when i arrive home!) i wont be in any great hurry and plan on just chilling out and seeing what i can.

Your idea about Killarney sounds good, so I'll throw that and a night on Inis Mor on the list.

I love Traditional Irish music, hence my trip to Athenry so I will definately head somewhere to see some played live, i hate going to pubs on my own- but I will -just to see some great music.

Is there much to see in Athenry, if I stop there on my way from Dublin to Galway for a few hours, will that be enough?

Would I be best to see Connemara on my way to Westport, (stopping off somewhere for the night along the way).

Do i need more than 1 day in Westport/Clare Island?

So far I'm looking at:

Day1: Dublin to Galway via Athenry

Day 2: day trip to COM

Day 3: trip to Connemara, either staying the night or continuing onto Westport

Day 4: Westport and Clare Island (interested in the history of Clare O'Malley)

Day 5: head back to Galway

Day 6: trip to Killarney/Ring of Kerry and stay the night

Day 7: Back to Galway and wander around there

Day 8: Inis Mor (stay the night)

Day 9: Back to Galway/Dublin

That should take me up to between 9-11 days- dies that sound do-able? Should I change anything?

Sorry for all the questions! and thanks for the help!

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3. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Hi soul79

Your Athenry is a killer! If you want to do Dublin - Athenry - Galway in one day, you will need to rent a car. Dublin to Athenry takes 4 hours, there are departures at 7, 11 & 13:00. Now Athenry - Galway: departures at 11:05 & 16:15 from Mo to Sat, those take 35 minutes; there is a last departure at 16:05 on Mo - Wed, Sat, and this one takes 1h35m because there is a connection. So if your intention is to hear live trad music, on a weekday in Athenry... I could not say if there is much to see there, because I have never been. You would have more chances, IMHO, to hear good one in Galway, Doolin and Westport. The Citylink bus from Dublin reaches Galway in 4 hours. See www.citylink.ie/timetable-galw2dubl.htm

''Best to see Connemara on my way to Westport?'' To do that, you would need a car again: seeing Connemara properly requires a full day, with a car. No way you could see it on your way to Westport if using public transportation. Your best option would be a daytrip from Galway.

''Need more than 1 day in Westport/Clare Island'': well, I have stayed 4 nights in Westport this spring, because I could never get enough good music - this place is buzzing!! I imagine you have heard about Matt Molloy's pub? Live trad acoustic music every night, but it might not be great every single night, so being there for 2 evenings increase yourt chances of hearing good stuff. Gigs now start at 10PM. When Matt is in town, he enjoys joining the musicians at 11:30. There is one hostel in Westport, you would be well advised to book this one ahead. The Old Mill is totally loveable: http://www.oldmillhostel.com/ As for Clare Island, I cannot say: I have only been to Achill Island.

Now, about your plan so far: I would drop Athenry, since you are most likely not going to be able to hear live music played at daytime there. I would go to Doolin, and walk to, or local-BusEireann it to the Cliffs, and overnight stay in Doolin - you have to stay at the Aille River Hostel, simply the best you could possibly dream of - See http://www.esatclear.ie/~ailleriver/ and the reviews on TA). If you enjoy Irish music, you just can't afford missing Doolin. If you are to bus it from Galway, the fare is cheaper on weekdays.

And I would go to Inis Mor from Galway (much preferably on a weekday, since it tends to be flooded by hords on weekends), so when you would be finished with Westport in the end, you would just have to be concerned with the timetables to bus it back to Dublin. But I am not sure if the timetables would be ok though.

Galway - Westport takes between 2 to 3 hours, depending of the time of the day.

HOSTELS: http://www.hostels-ireland.com/index.php

Galway: I recommend Kinlay House Hostel, 5 minutes walk from bus/train station, in a quiet neighbourhood. Big or small dorms (small = 4 or 6 beds, ensuite). I strongly suggest NOT staying at the Galway City Hostel unless you are deaf, or have really no other choice : there is an extremely loud nightclub at street level, very popular from Thursday to Saturday (don’t know about Sunday) – the walls shake, so loud it is…

Killarney: I was suggested the Sugan Hostel but could not make it: http://www.killarneysuganhostel.com/ I have stayed at Killarney Railway Hostel - nothing to write home about, but convenient location. Also stayed at the HI hostel, far far far away from city centre. It takes a car and a GPS to find them ... If you ever intend to buy an Aran woolen sweater, there is a huge warehouse full of them in Killarney, all prices, sizes, and colors. More choice than on Inis Mor actually, and same prices.

Inis Mor: there are 2 medium-big hostels, one by the pier, the other one (‘’Mainistir’’) is 15-20 minutes walk uphill from the pier. There are also at least 2 other much smaller youth hostels. I could not recommend one in particular, since I have stayed in a B&B there.

Enjoy !

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4. Re: 10 days in Ireland

One last thing: The Crane Bar is in the old part of Galway, not on the busy pedestrian streets where the other ones are. You cross the river at the end of High St. turn right, and ask people around where it is: everybody knows. It has 1 bar on each of its 2 floors. At street level, any musicaincan just pop up and join whoever is playing (last night I was there, they were 13 of them...). On the 1st floor, there is topnotch music 3 nights a week - if my memory serves me well, it's Thursdays, Sat. and Sundays. Check before deciding which night you will spend in Galway, the bands are top notch in there. I have enjoyed playing with them : )

There is also Thigh Coili (sp?), almost across the street from Taaffes.

If you ever need access to Internet while in Galway: the cheapest of all in on Eyre Square. Spot where Budget-Rent-a-car is, the keep walking away from the train station, remaining on the same side of the street: it's a few yards from Budget.

London
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5. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Wow, you are a legend! So much knowledge!

I think I will sit down over the weekend, take into account everything you have said and sort myself out.

I might even try convince a friend here to let me have a go of their car and see how I go driving a manual again, sounds like I would be much better off hiring a car.

It sounds stupid but the reason for my trip to Athenry is just becuase "Fields of Athenry" is my favorite song, and i just want to see Athenry!

Anyway, thanks for the help- I'm sure i'll be back with more questions, but I'll have a look over the weekend to see what i can work out.

Cheers.

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6. Re: 10 days in Ireland

: )) Fields of Athenry is my favorite song too... So nice to be in an Irish pub, and everybody sings it loud : ) isn't it?

I wish somebody could say if there is actually s/thing worth seeing over there. Did you notice the song says: FIELDS of Athenry ;-?

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7. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Regarding the Fields of Athenry. When my son was working at a summer camp in the Catskills, each national group was asked to sing their national anthem for some reason. To their shame, the small Irish contingent did not know the words to Amhrán na bhFiann so they sang "The Fields of Athenry" instead. Apparently the Americans did not notice anything wrong!

Please don't get a romanticised image of Athenry. It is a fairly ordinary little town amongst fairly nondescript fields. Just a typical Irish small town. That is what the song is about. By all means go and see it but don't expect too much. The same applies to Tipperary town. The name is more evocative than the reality.

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8. Re: 10 days in Ireland

I can't believe they didn't realise "Fields of Athenry" wasn't the anthem! Thats crazy.

Don't worry I have no preconceived ideas of Athenry, I basically imagine it to be a small Irish town, not much to see and do. I'll basically just be happy to take a photo of something that says Athenry and a field! I dont plan on spending much time there, so maybe I'll catch the train straight from Dublin to Galway and go to Atnenry another time (if i hire a car!)

I'll get stuck into arranging some sort of proper itinerery on the weekend and let you know what I come up with.

Thanks for all the help.

London
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9. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Ok so this is what i have so far:

12th Oct: dep London 7am, arrive dublin 8.15, train from dublin to galway 11.20, arrive galway 14.00- explore galway

13th Oct: visit athenry, see more of Galway

14th Oct: day trip to Aran Islands

15th Oct: day trip to Cliffs of Moher

16th Oct: hire car and drive through Connemarra (stopping overnight

17th Oct: continue on to westport

18th Oct: Clare Island

19th October: Westport

20th October: train from Westport to Dublin and back to london.

Hopefully thats looking a bit better!

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10. Re: 10 days in Ireland

Hi,

after reading this thread there are a number of thoughts that come to mind.

Firstly, it is not clear that the song Fields of Athenry has anything to do with Athenry in Co. Galway. As far as I can establish the song is ficitional. Have a look at the wikipedia entry - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fields_of_Athenry.

Athenry is a nice walled town but not usually on the tourist routes, at least not that I know.

Secondly, when hiring a car, you usually get better rates on the internet. In march of this year I researched, on the web, hire prices for Enterprise Car Hire in Galway. When I went in to hire the car they could not give me the web rates and their rates were almost 50% higher. They advised me to go book on the web which is what I did. They saw the daftness of the situation but said they had no leeway to vary prices whereas head office, via the web, could and did.

Finally, as someone travelling without a car, you should look at Paddywagon.com. I see their coaches around and they look interesting. I have no direct experience of them. I just had a quick search and there are several mentions of them in tripadvisor forums. If they are not good then maybe there is an equivalent.

Hope this helps.