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23 days ---boots on the ground in Ireland

Greetings! We will be in Ireland for 23 days (not counting our 2 travel days) in Sept/Oct of 2017. I thought I had this all figured out but after looking things over I have a few questions. First a bit of background. I am 63 and my husband is 75. We are very active for our ages but we don't want to rush from place to place. We will be flying in and out of Dublin (airfare is booked) as well as driving around Ireland starting and ending in Dublin. We will not pick our car up until we leave Dublin and I will be doing the driving (and yes I am the one who posted awhile back about needing encouragement to drive around Ireland). Roughly this is what we are thinking. We will be on the road by 9 AM and done driving by 5 PM (that is the plan and I think this will leave us leeway in case the day runs longer). We DO NOT want to drive at night.

3 or 4 nights in Dublin. If we do Newgrange from Dublin it will be 4 nights otherwise we will arrive mid afternoon and have 2 full Days in Dublin.

Pick the car up at the Dublin Airport and drive to Powerscourt and Glendalough. *****Everyone mentions driving to Glendalough and/or the Wicklow mountains. I am assuming you are including Powerscourt in this drive also???? If not which one would you chose if time was an issue? This will be the first day driving and we may not get started till 10 AM.
We will then spend the night in Killkenny. (1 night)

Kinsale (2 nights)
Killarney (3 nights)
Dingle (3 nights)
Doolin (1 night) this is to basically break up the drive from Dingle to Galway.
Galway (2 nights)
Westport (2 nights)
LondonDerry (1 night)
Portrush (2 nights)
Trim ****if we do Newgrange from Dublin Trim will be one night if not then we will spend 2 nights in Trim and see Newgrange.

We still have one day to plan in here and I was thinking of putting the extra day in at Westport or somewhere between Portrush and Trim, any thoughts???? I am also thinking about skipping Kinsale and adding those 2 days somewhere else.

So for those of you that have done the Dublin to Dublin loop do you have any insight for us? I was almost thinking I should have shortened the trip to 3 weeks (19 days boots on the ground) but the airfare is booked and we will just have to suffer our way through those extra days in Ireland :):) I did not list everything we plan on doing in each location but we DO NOT plan on driving the ROK. We will be doing Slea Head in Dingle however. We have not included Belfast in our stops and I am not sure we want to, even though I hear it is a good for a day.

Sorry for the typos but we are vacationing in Hawaii right now (enjoying a "down" day) and I am typing on a smaller than usual screen.

Posted by
234 posts

I recommend keeping your two nights in Kinsale, especially since you've already carved out the time. We really enjoyed our two nights there! Our B&B was lovely (The Old Presbytery), the town was small and fun to stroll through, and the location was great for a day trip to Cobh and Charles Fort, both well worth a visit. Back in 2012 when we were there Kinsale had a reputation as being a bit of a "foodie" town and we did find some great restaurants, especially Fishy Fishy. And there was good music in the pubs at night too--altogether very relaxing and fun. The Titanic Museum in Belfast was also a great experience for us--worth a stop for sure. We spent two nights in Belfast (only one day) and would have liked one more to explore the city a bit. As for Westport--it's a lovely little town, perfectly situated for some great day trips and it had some of the best music we found anywhere.

Posted by
224 posts

This looks like a good itinerary that will give you time to enjoy each area. I did a similar trip last summer and agree with PJ that Kinsale is worth a visit. I drove from the Dublin Airport to Glendalough without stopping at Powerscourt and spent the night in Killkenny. I took my time at Glendalough, so you could do both, but the one stop was enough for me.

I didn’t visit Doolin, but spent time in each of your other stops and would have enjoyed more time in each. I agree with PJ that the music in Westport is great.

I spent one night in LondonDerry and one in Portrush; LondonDerry was more interesting for me with its wall, museums, murals, and river walk than Portrush.

If you have time for Trim, it is a pleasant city with a nice walk along the river and good restaurants as well as being a convenient location for Newgrange.

Posted by
224 posts

We drove from Dublin to Kilkenny with stops at Powerscourt and Glendalough. I don't remember feeling rushed. We arrived in Kilkenny in time for a late dinner. If you want to arrive by 5, you may want to be more conscious of the time. We were also traveling in August, so sunset was pretty late.

Posted by
239 posts

Thank you all for the input! Looks like we will be keeping Kinsale in the plan. We may have to chose between Powerscourt and Glendalough. This will be my first day behind the wheel and I definitely don't want to arrive in Killkenny after dark. I was thinking we would leave Dublin by 10 AM, drive an hour to Powerscourt and spend (no more than) 2 hours, drive the hour to Glendalough and spend (no more than 2 hours) and then drive the two hours to Killkenny. That would put us into Killkenny around 6 PM if my estimates are correct and we don't get lost.

Once we leave Westport I believe it is something like a 4 or 5 hour drive to Londonderry. (I don't have that information with me right now). The plan was to settle into Londonderry and see what we could before dark, The next day we would spend the bulk of the day in Londonderry as Portrush is only an hour away so basically the first night in Portrush would be dinner and sleeping. The next day we would do the RS suggested tour of the Giant Causeway, Rope bridge, Distillery and castle and then spend the night again in Portrush.