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10 day itinerary feedback

Hi Forum,

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.

  • Donald
Posted by
1 posts

We arrive DUB on Sept 10. Depart DUB Oct 4. First six nights booked (Ashford, Kilkenny, Bantry). Last three booked Dublin. Everything inbetween is serendipity.

Posted by
1172 posts

If you can, I highly recommend Kilmainham gaol in Dublin. You will need to pre-purchase tickets on line. It was amazing!
In Killarney, we rented bikes just outside the park and biked the national park to Muckross house and farms and Torc waterfall. It was great.

Posted by
23 posts

Hi, I agree with the suggestion to plan on a visit to Kilmainham Gaol. Coupled with a visit to the General Post Office (GPO Witness Exhibit), it makes for a great day in Dublin which provides historical perspective to the country. Both are stops on the Hop-on Hop-off Bus, which is delightful in itself.

On Day 2 between Galway and the Cliffs, I suggest driving through the Burren. It is a landscape which exists no where else in the world, except for somewhere in Russia. It's astonishing and there are some great prehistoric sites dotted throughout.

Day 6 seems too packed. You may have to choose between Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel. I'd also recommend Cahir Castle, about 30 minutes south of Cashel. I also highly recommend Spike Island off the coast of Cobh. I am not sure why this isn't in Rick's book. From the Cobh Harbor, you'll take a boat to Spike Island, which they call the Alcatraz of Ireland, but it is much more than that. It's a nice boat ride, then tour of the island (which alternated as a fort and as a prison), then time to explore the island and its buildings and land on your own. It does take 3 1/2 hours, which I thought would be way too much, but it was perfect for a great 1/2 day activity. You can see more at or read some trip advisor reviews.

Sorry to give you more things to consider. I recently did 11 days in much of the same places as you (though did Dingle Peninsula instead of Ring of Kerry) and it is indeed tough to narrow down the itinerary enough to find that space of experiencing a lot without rushing too much.


Posted by
5 posts

Bus tours are offered to the cliffs and the Burden. They pick and deliver to/from the area hotels. Self driving up there is crazy because of the high bus count.

Posted by
381 posts

I would eliminate Killarney and the Ring of Kerry and spend as much time as possible on the Dingle Peninsula. You could still stop in Adare on your way to Shannon Airport. On our first trip to Ireland in 2001 we went to both Killarney (Ring of Kerry) and Dingle Peninsula. Since 2001 we have been back to the Dingle Peninsula three times! The last trip we rented a house overlooking Inch Beach for three weeks! There is nowhere more beautiful....

Posted by
2222 posts

I am in Dingle right now. I highly recommend visiting the Dingle Music Shop to see if they have a concert going on while you are there. We went to one last night and it was great!!!! I just love intimate venues with talented irish musicians!