We're a well traveled family of four (including two daughters, ages 4 and 9) heading to Ireland in July. Flying in/out of Shannon (tickets already booked) and picking up/dropping off a rental car upon arrival/departure at the airport. Considering the following itinerary: 2 nights in Dingle; 2 nights in Killarney; 1 night in Cork; 1 night in Kilkenny; 2 nights in Dublin; 1 night in Athlone (visiting a family friend); 2 nights in Galway; 1 night in Ennis before flying home the next day. Planning to stay at B&Bs. Would love any suggestions/comments on this itinerary -- in particular (but not only) whether it's too ambitious based on distance/travel time. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
Well "Johnny" - I think this is pretty acceptable. Depending on your arrival time in Shannon, it's about a 4 hour drive or so to Dingle. And since this is your first day, you won't have a lot of time to do much exploring. Your first full day would be a great day to do the Slea Head drive around the peninsula which takes 3 - 4 hours. Rick's book does a really good job detailing all the worthy stops during the drive. I might possibly trade one of the nights in Killarney for a night in Cashel. The Rock of Cashel is worthy of a stop. You will not need or want to drive in Dublin. Stay on the outskirts and take the bus or train into the City Centre. If you start early, (for me) Dublin is really only worthy of a full day. Newgrange and Hill of Tara to the north and Powerscourt & Enniskerry to the south were very enjoyable to us. The bandbireland website is really good for researching B&B's in Ireland. I also go to TripAdvisor and check out the reviews. In Dingle, we love The Lighthouse B&B and in Cashel - Ard Ri House. You should have an awesome time in July.
I would stay in Kinsale over Cork. And I would drop Galway and spend another night in Dingle and Killarney. Milestone House in Dingle is great!
I concur with staying in Kinsale over Cork and using public transport to explore Dublin. From Kilkenny to Dublin you might want to cut through the Wicklow Mtns to see Glendalough and the Powerscourt Estate. Also, the Ring of Kerry is better than the 'Ring of Fire :- )