I'm looking for some feedback and ideas on an Ireland itinerary for September. My wife and I are Boston Irish roots, just turned 60, reasonably well traveled and very much in shape and active. We like a vacation that is active, learning and fun. City walks, architecture, history, castles, hikes, natural landmarks, top attractions, local color and culture are all good. Hours in a museum or long lunches in a Paris cafe people watching are not so good. We prefer good food to good shopping. We'll pay for guided lecture tours or hop-on/off bus when in major cities or attractions so we can learn while viewing. I prefer a schedule versus an open "lets just see what happens today" plan. Call it Vacation OCD/ADD if you like.
I will be renting a car for the entire week. I AM USING Fodors and Rick Steeves guidebooks to help develop an itinerary, but they recommend everything. It's hard to narrow down. Here's what I'm thinking.
Day 1: Arrive Shannon 6:20AM (ugh!), drive to Galway. Hotel check-in and nap. Then Galway city walking tour, evening dinner and entertainment
Day 2: More of Galway, Cliffs of Mohr. Atlantic Way, etc. (open to suggestions). Evening in town again.
Day 3: Drive Galway to Dublin. Brief stop at Ballinasloe and the river Suck to see where my family came from, then on to Dublin. I'd love a drive through Louth for my wife's ancestry if this is doable in the same day. We are planning on staying outside Dublin in Howth or Dun Laoghaire to avoid Dublin traffic. Maybe Dublin evening for dinner
Day 4: tour Dublin. Book of Kells, city tour bus, walking tour, pubs, shopping, etc. (open to suggestions)
Day 5: still in Dublin ... buy a full day Glendalough, Wicklow tour. (open to suggestions)
Day 6: Dublin drive to Cobh. Stop at Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel. Sight see Cobh. This seems like a full day so please advise. (FYI: I have already been to Cork and Kinsale).
Day 7: Cobh drive to Killarney as a base operations for Ring of Kerry touring. Killarney city touring, shopping, etc.
Day 8: still in Killarney ... buy a full day Ring of Kerry tour. (open to suggestions)
Day 9: Killarney drive to Bunratty. Stop in Adare for lunch and sight seeing
Day 10: flight at noon from Shannon.
Very interested in your thoughts.