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10 days : Dublin + Northern Ireland (NI)

Hi everyone:

My husband and I are flying in and out Dublin. I was wondering if you could help me fill the blanks of my 10-day itinerary or suggest something new.

Day 1-2 : Dublin

Rent a car

Day 3 : Dublin - Belfast (stop at the Mourne Mountains) Anyplace else? Peninsula Ards?

Day 4-5 : Belfast

Day 6 : Belfast - ?? (Belfast Zoo, hiking Cave hill, Glenariff forest park) Whitehead? Larne? Cushendall?

Day 7 : ?? - Portrush (Kinbane Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Giant's Causeway) Are Dark Hedges worth it?

Day 8 : Portrush - ?? (Glenveagh National Park (hiking Errigal Mountain), Slieve League) How far can we get on this day? Glencolmkille? Donegal? Sligo?

Day 9 : ?? - Galway

Day 10 : Galway - Dublin (Cliffs of Moher)

We wanted to make sure we have plenty of time to enjoy NI, but do you think 4 days are too much? We feel kind of sad to miss Achill Island, Westport, Sky Road, but we don't have time in day 9?? And Galway is near the Cliffs of Moher (I have to go there, right?) and Dublin, for the next day.

We reserved hotels/hostel/B&Bs for Dublin, Belfast, Portrush, Galway. Any others suggestions for the stops we don't know yet?

Thank you VERY much for your help. I hope my not-so-good english is understandable :)

MaPi

Posted by
5231 posts

Brief reply as I'm heading out the door. enroute to Belfast; New Grange.
Belfast: Titanic Museum, Grumlin Gaol, Black Cab Tour of the Troubles.

The fact that you aren't considering Dingle and Slea Head should be re though. Stunning coast and you'd be missing it.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Claudia. I know, it seems like we're the rare ones choosing NI over south. But in 10 days, I guess we have to pick a half.

But if we cut one day in Belfast and go straight to Portrush, we will gain 2 days, enough to reach Dingle? ☺

What do you think of the west coast (Westport, Clifden..)? Dingle - Dublin is easily doable in one day?

I'll also appreciate other suggestions on my first itinerary. Thanks a lot everyone.

Posted by
135 posts

Hello MaPi

regarding Day 7, if you want to see a coastal castle in a great setting, it's worth considering either Dunseverick, or Dunluce, over Kinbane, if it's the ruins rather than the hike to it you're interested in.

Regarding Day 8, I believe you are suggesting trying to bite off far more than you can achieve in comfort or enjoyment. The drive from Portrush via Derry/Londonderry and Letterkenny to Glenveagh will take at least 90 mins if not two hours and, whilst you're passing through, you may want to consider stopping to check out historic Derry City centre, with its famous walls and so on. Also, within a mile or so off a side road from the main road (A2/N13) between Derry & Letterkenny, you will pass the Grianan of Aileach, a very famous (although heavily restored) stone ring fort from 1700BC - good views from it, too. Those sights alone could take half a day in total, plus at least two hours to look around indoors and out, once you get to Glenveagh, through great hills/moorland scenery.

Glenveagh to Errigal is only about 15-20 mins drive, but the walk up & back from the nearest car parking spot will take a couple of hours or so, and will be weather dependent (rain, cloud and wind may block your views and route, and it can change in minutes, even on a sunny day). From Errigal, if you want to get south and west you have little option but to follow the very picturesque N56, which is part of the signed 'Wild Atlantic Way' - however driving from Errigal to, say, Glencolumbkille via Dungloe and Ardara will take you probably 90 minutes or so, without stopping to check out any views. Slieve League is maybe 15 minutes from Glencolumbkille, but you may want to walk a bit, taking more time out there. Slieve League to Donegal town is maybe 30 minutes' drive, and in Donegal Town you will want probably an hour to look round (shops, scant abbey ruins, Magees original shop for tweeds and the castle).

From Donegal, Sligo is about 45-60 minutes drive from Donegal, but even on this stretch you might want to stop for a short while at WB Yeats' famous grave at Drumcliffe, where there is also a round tower and High Cross, with Ben Bulben looming in the background.

So, in summary, I believe you may want to reconsider your itinerary and overnight stopping to break the Donegal section into something more manageable and enjoyable.

But have fun, in any case - you will enjoy it all, I'm sure.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Mark G.!

We definately would like to stay longer in Donegal. I didn't mention it, but we don't plan to visit all the attractions. Some, we'll just pass by.

Is Glencolmkille - Donegal - Sligo - Galway too ambitious for one day?

MaPi

Posted by
135 posts

Hi MaPi

Glencolumbkille - Galway is about 150 miles or so, so about a four hour drive - entirely do-able in a day, with some time to stop along the way. NB Glencolumbkille is a village really, so accommodation may be limited dependent on season - so book ahead if you specifically want to stay in that area. If you can, when approaching from the NE ie. Ardara, try to ensure you drive up the Glengesh Pass, and stop at the top for great views back down the valley.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks again Mark!

Your comments are really welcome. Our trip is in two weeks!! :)