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14 days in Ireland in May 2020 - What are your favorite parts? We can't decide!

The whole point of our trip (just my fiance and I) is to get married. We plan on getting hitched outside of Dingle near some castle ruins. We have those details nailed down, but we can't decide which areas of Ireland we want to see. Excluding Northern Ireland, we want to know what your favorite parts of Ireland are.

We will be landing in Dublin and leaving from Dublin. We are renting a car and we will be getting married near Dingle, so those areas are givens.

Posted by
2680 posts

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! However, have you checked the legalities of getting married in a foreign country? For example, here is some info from the U.S. State Dept.: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/while-abroad/marriage-abroad.html

Other than that ... With 14 days, you can see a lot of Ireland but certainly not everything. Since you will be in Dingle, I'd say to stick around in the southwestern quadrant of the island. In fact, if you can fly in and out of Shannon you'd have less driving and thus more time to relax and enjoy the southwestern region.

Posted by
2 posts

I'd definitely spend a couple of days exploring the Dingle Peninsula and then Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. you could take the car ferry from Tarbert to Kilimer and explore the Clare coastline taking in the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren and maybe on to Galway City where you could do an Aran Islands day trip. From Galway you are only a couple of hours drive to Dublin.

Posted by
4 posts

My husband and I have been to Ireland 3 times, always rented a car. Some of our favorites are: Galway, Dingle, Kenmare and Kinsale. You can spend a few days in each and take side trips from them.

Posted by
236 posts

Connemara area west of Galway. Explore Sky Road, Inishbofin, Killary Fjord, Doolough Valley, Croagh Patrick for starters. We ran out of time before making it to Westport, Kylemore Abbey, and Connemara National Park. We based in Clifden which was well located for exploring the area and has a number of nice pubs and restaurants.

Posted by
4385 posts

The west side of Ireland's definitely our favorite part, in 2 trips, which hasn’t included the far south or southeast. In addition to places mentioned above, Lisdoonvarna, south of Galway and just east of the Cliffs of Moher is a delightful town. They have an annual Matchmaking Festival, but you 2 won’t need that - congratulations!

Posted by
3103 posts

Well, you excluded my favorite part, Northern Ireland. That leaves the Aran Islands.

Posted by
15 posts

Those are some great ideas! One thing I loved, but might not fit into your schedule is a walking holiday. It's an amazing way to see the country and more satisfying than a there-and-back hike, because you actually walk to your lodging each night. You can book with a local agency (we did Hillwalk tours, but there are others) and they transport your luggage and arrange bnbs and give you a daily itinerary. We did 3 days on the Dingle Peninsula and it was magical. Dramatic cliffs, soft islands in the distance, cute villages, amazing restaurants, charming locals, etc. Highly recommend.

Posted by
453 posts

Dingle has a music and arts festival and I believe it is the first banker holiday weekend of May. We didn't know about it in advance but it was really an awesome weekend for music, art, and sport in Dingle beginning I think the Thursday before the weekend and running thru Sunday. If I were in the long range planning stages I would try to be in Dingle on that weekend. It was not overly crowded as I feared it would be when I learned the festival was taking place. We saw bands and players from all over the world and took in the local Celtic Football team take on Killarney, fun weekend to be in Dingle for sure!!! You might touch base with the Dingle tourism folks if this interests you to make sure I have my weekends correct.

Posted by
3 posts

Glendalough.
The Aran Islands.
Glendalough.
Westport.
Glendalough.
Wexford,
Glendalough.
West of Cork (my favorite B&B, with my favorite hostess, serving my favorite breakfast ever is Ard na Greine in Clonalkilty)
Glendalough.

Did I mention I love Glendalough?

Posted by
791 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
14 days is nice length of time. But don't think you have forever. Limit your trip to a quarter of Ireland. Don't try doing coast to coast more than once and back.

If you get to County Clare, a most beautiful county, then this drive along with visiting Ennis is a must.

Use Google maps and follow my directions. This is a really Irish drive. Takes less than hour unless you walk out to the ruin of a castle. Google 'Killinaboy, Ireland'. Once you have that go west on the R476 from Killinaboy to the first right. This small road you have turned onto has a real sharp S curve (that way you know you are on the correct road). Head north. First you pass Parknabinnia on your left. Then Creevagh. Then when the road makes a sharp right ,then left there is a bit of signage for Cahercommaun. This is a ruin from the 4th century. Pay attention to how you walk out there. Look for the grass beaten down by others. Watch for sheep dung.

Head north from here and bear left and you will hit the L1014. Turn left and go to the R480, and turn right. Now you are headed toward Ballyvaughan. You are again headed north and into a more touristed area. Many site have been developed alongthis stretch.
Poulnabrone is the most famous.

A game to play is to take the Irish name for a place and try to pronounce it. Here is the rule. A consonant followed by an H is makes both mostly silent. Think Vaghan, or the word through. Chahir becomes a very soft k, very soft, and is Kahir.

I have spent months in Ireland touring. The coast is what is great. The center of Ireland has its moments but much of it is flat. The Ring of Kerry is not as good as the two pennisulas near it, Dingle and Beara.

enjoy
wayne iNWI

Posted by
1770 posts

We recently got back from our 16 days in Ireland. We landed in Dublin and rented a car and headed out. We went to the Wicklow mountains, down south to Castletownshend, Kenmare, Dingle, Aran Island- Inishmor, Clifden, and Trim then home. So, south and then up the west coast.

We prefer staying outside of towns, more rural, and we don't mind driving. All of Ireland was spectacular! Hope you get lots of sun because the sun shining on the hills changes the color of the landscape. We are not big hikers, but our favorite areas were the times we hiked. There is a wonderful waterfall hike near Kenmare, we climbed to the top of the mountain/hill in Dingle, hiked all over Great Blaskets, rode bikes in Inishmor (the opposite direction of all the tourist)

My overall impression of Ireland is the natural beauty and the people. Keep a very loose schedule so you can stop and talk with the farmer, go into a small village pub and hang there for a couple hours, etc. get out of the cities into the less touristy areas. I think you can see those smaller areas even if you chose to stay in the cities. We stayed in gorgeous BnB's from the 1700's fully restored. I wished for rain a few times so we could just hang out in the BnB, but that didn't happen :-)

Posted by
56 posts

Went to Ireland last summer and loved:

Book of Kells (Be the first there if going to see, otherwise it's mobbed.)
Kylemore Abbey - amazing food there in their cafe- wish we'd made more time for Connemara National Park
Newgrange - must book tickets ahead - amazing - went in at 9 a.m. and loved having what felt like a very quiet tour as our small group was the first on site for the day.
Rock of Cashel - had an AMAZING french cafe/pub meal down below the rock - not the 3 star Michel place owned by same couple.
Dingle Peninsula - wish we had taken more time. Many hanging lakes if you park on Conor Pass and just walk up into the hills and explore. Stayed in Cloghane and loved being able to walk to the beach and the bakery each day.
Galway - would have skipped this town - looks exactly like the RS video. Would have been better if we'd taken more time there. We stayed only one night.
Cliffs of Moher -feels like a must see, but expect it to be mobbed with people.

We stayed rural in most locations and loved that. The downside: the local pub for music was not nearby and we didn't feel like we wanted to wander in to drink and dine and listen to music and then have to navigate our way back to the homes which we had rented. It might be good to have a mix of rural (if you wish) and urban so you can enjoy the pubs, but also enjoy the peace and quiet of Ireland. I do think the west side is where it's at in Ireland, but we did not explore the north or east much.

Posted by
15 posts

The very best of wishes on your upcoming wedding! "May your happiest yesterdays be your saddest tomorrows!"
Clearly, the wedding is your prime focus, but do you have any other "must-sees" on your travel list?
This, and the trip time scheduled, will decide where you can go and what you can see!
On our first trip to Ireland almost twenty years ago, we mistakenly believed we could see the 'entire island' in two weeks!, but we failed to take the build of the roads into consideration!
Read a copy of Rick Steves Ireland 2019 for ideas and suggestions.
Our favorite area of our first trip was Co. Donegal. We drove there from Dublin, and then headed 'anti-clockwise' around the coast to Connemara, Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, Waterford, and Rock of Cashel, before we returned to Dublin (Swords) for the flight home.
We covered much territory, but had to jettison plans to visit much more on our original itinerary.
Those missed areas will be visited on our return trip in the Fall of 2020.
Be sure to practice driving on rural roads on your arrival to familiarize yourself with driving on the left side of the road in a right-hand vehicle!
Safe travels!

Posted by
727 posts

We visited the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands and really enjoyed them! Stayed in Doolin 3 nights but 2 should suffice.