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2 weeks Ireland July 2019......Where?

My sister has just told me as my Xmas present we are going to Ireland next year!!! Now I need to plan and I am overwhelmed. We did England and Scotland last year, my first trip out of the US (I am 66) and it was perfect! But I had a year to research and plan. So I am asking for HELP....ha. I would love to "duplicate" last year's trip but in Ireland so I will tell you about it. Four days in York at a bnb...what a marvelous city!!! The York walls, the river, the medieval buildings! We then did a tour of the Yorkshire dales for a day.....Middleham castle ruins and Fountains Abbey were the highlights and of course the sense of the varying terrain of the area. From York we rented a car to drive to Scotland and on the way stopped at a Roman fort ruins as well as Hadrians Wall...bucket list for me. Such ancient! Then 4 days in a cottage on an estate surrounded by pasture next to Roslin Glen where we could simply go on a stroll through the woods for relaxation.....and we did day trips to Edinburgh (too crowded we did not enjoy and I felt badly about feeling that way) as well as to some castles. From there we drove west through the Highlands and stayed in another cottage 4 days outside of Kilmartin Glen....which consisted of the museum, an Inn and a few houses....which is an area packed with ancient cairns, standing stones, carved stones. We spent a day walking the glen....then day trips to visit an abandoned clearance village and castles. Such a hearbreakingly, beautiful area!!!!!!

I obviously am more interested in natural beauty, ancient sites and old ruins...farms and stone walls. Not interested in fancy, redone castles...nor big cities. I think 3 places as a base camp for several days gave us relaxation and a sense of "home"..though a 4th for a one night en route would be ok. I would, of course, enjoy one of those stays in a nice town with locals...but not a crowded touristy city.

My sister wants to see the Giants Causeway.....and the Aran Islands.

So far, in the little I have done, it seems possibly Giants Causeway, along west coast to Galway area has a lot that will satisfy? ( Dunluce, Dun Aonghasa, and ???) Then possibly to the Wicklow area? Any input? Stay on Aran island?

Any input would be so greatly appreciated to hasten my plans! Have to book rooms quickly! Nice, cozy towns to choose from? Any historical not to miss? Airport?

Thank you so in advance!!! I am sure I will be asking more questions.


Posted by
2802 posts

From what you've described, I think you're on the right track centering your route around (a) Giant's Causeway and (b) the Aran Islands. You could fly open jaw Dublin - Shannon, rent a car for 2 weeks and see quite a lot of natural beauty.

People on these forums generally advise against driving while jetlagged, so let's assume you're staying your first night in Dublin and then picking up your car at the airport the next day to drive to Northern Ireland and the Giant's Causeway region. From there you could go west and south through County Donegal, south to Westport and then the Connemara peninsula (many people recommend Clifden as a base). Next, the Aran Islands and finally, if time allows, the Dingle peninsula -- which people usually rave about. That should fit into two weeks.

In case you're considering flying into Belfast instead, be aware that renting a car in Northern Ireland and returning it in the Republic of Ireland is likely to carry a hefty service charge. In contrast, if you rent from Dublin and return to Shannon, there shouldn't be any extra charge associated with having taken the car into Northern Ireland and out again. (Caveat Brexit, of course.)