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12 day route lower half of Ireland - Suggestions?

First trip to Ireland. Planning 12 days May 2017 hoping to pick a few home bases and travel out daily from there.
Arrive Dublin, pickup car and drive to Bru na Boinne then over to Trim. 1 Night in Trim.
Travel Trim to Galway area - Stay 2 nights
Travel to Limerick area - Stay 3 nights
Travel to Kenmare area - Stay 3 nights
Travel to Kilkelly area - Stay 2 nights
Back to Dublin for 2 nights and flight home
Would like to reduce home bases if possible. Trying to limit long driving times, have flexibility in schedule, tour off the beaten path a bit. Especially interested in culture, archeology, history, local food, muisc and people. Accommodations blend of B&B, self-cater cottage, small hotel. Would appreciate all suggestions.
Thanks!

Posted by
1163 posts

If it were me, I would put your Dublin days at the beginning so that you are not driving when jet lagged ( assuming you are coming on an overnight flight from North America). You do not need a car and Dublin and can just pickup the car on your way out of Dublin.
Why did you pick Limerick as a home base for 3 days ( i.e. what do you want to do in the area)?
We absolutely loved Dingle on our recent vacation so I would make sure to have 2 night there.. we went from Dingle to Galway with a few stops in one day and it really wasn't that bad.

We had one night in Kilkenny and it was enough for us.

Just a few thoughts ...

Posted by
1698 posts

I'd resist the natural temptation to try to cover too much ground, and spread yourself too thin, on your first trip. Suggest slowing it down a bit to declutter your itinerary. Assume that you'll be going back someday - Ireland does have that effect on people.
I, too, would substitute Dingle for Limerick. Would skip Kilkenny too.
A couple of extra days in Kenmare would permit more leisurely explorations of the Ring of Kerry, Killarney, and the Beara peninsula - one of our favorite places in Ireland. Would add some of the flexibility you're looking for too.
Highly recommend taking a look at "Back Roads Ireland" from DK publishing. It's the only other pub we bring with us aside from the RS guide. Contains lots of scenic, off-the-beaten track drives that you might want to incorporate into your plans. Have seen used ones on Amazon for just a few dollars.
Safe travels.

Posted by
16 posts

Super suggestions from all. We will reconsider home bases and probably replace Limerick. Thank you!

Posted by
14 posts

Treat yourself to a night at the Bantry House after the tour--highlight of our trip last year and we will be back this fall.