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26 days in Ireland

My cousin and I have flights to Ireland in May into June for 26 days in Ireland.... we want to have a leisurely trip with maybe at least one 5 night stay in a traditional cottage near a town. We will start our trip with 2-3 nights in Dublin, pick up our rental car and then be off to see the sights!

We are not wanting any 1 night stays if at all possible... we don’t mind spending at least 3 or 4 nights in each place to see things nearby that city or village.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Zella

Posted by
397 posts

First question: are you returning to Dublin to fly home, or are you flying home from a different airport?

Dublin is easily worth 3 nights, especially at the start of the trip. The first day is given to jet lag, so you can ease into your trip with a couple days in the city. Kilmainham jail is worth a visit to learn a bit about the history of the country.

We enjoyed Kinsale and Dingle. Both would be nice places for a multi-night cottage stay. Lots of beautiful drives around either town. The Dingle peninsula is a great day drive.

Posted by
5 posts

Oh sorry.... yes, we are flying out of Dublin home too.

We are so very excited! We are both retired and will be 68 and 69 at the time of our trip. In fact, we will celebrate my cousin’s 70th birthday while on our trip. How special is that?!

We want to see as many of the tourist type sites, but also off the beaten path would be great!

I have purchased Rick Steves Ireland 2019 a few months ago. I’ve cruised through it some.

What town would you suggest for looking for a quaint cottage that would lend itself to a little sightseeing and relaxing in the cottage and village pubs too? Any ideas?

Thanks for any info you can share.

Posted by
1832 posts

On our own trips to Ireland we've had good luck with these sites when booking accommodations: https://www.shamrockcottages.co.uk/ and http://www.kerry-coastal-cottages.com/Properties/Menu.html. They even have a few thatched cottages if that would be of interest. Although in some cases they require a minimum 7 night stay we've generally found that the break-even point (versus the cost of a hotel or B&B) is about 4 nights, so you'll still save money even if you don't use up all of your days. Also, if you pick a strategic location midway between several attractions you could unpack for a week and explore at your leisure from a central hub. The area between Glenbeigh and Castlemaine, for example, would be central for day trips to the northern half of the Ring of Kerry, Killarney NP, and the Dingle peninsula without having to relocate every few days.
The Irish Landmark Trust has some unique properties that might be of interest as well: https://www.irishlandmark.com/.

Posted by
66 posts

There are many things you might want to take in that are relatively isolated, so unless you can bag them between long stops, you'll be trading driving time for packing/unpacking time. Several examples might include going to Skellig Michael, where it's a long and early drive from Killarney to get to a boat, but Port Magee doesn't have more than a day's worth of things to do. Similarly, spending four or five nights on Inish Mor would acquaint you with every sheep by name, yet a day trip from Galway is totally unsatisfying, so don't be too rigid in your one (or two) night stays rule.

I've started the planning process for trips with the plan to use a "base" and expect long drives, and ended up with all one night stands. In our three trips (totaling 32 days) we've only spent three nights in two places, not counting 7 nights on a LeBoat on the Shannon.

It will take a miracle to get there in June of 2021. You might spend the first 10 days in quarantine. Hope I'm wrong...

Posted by
2591 posts

Hopefully you know that many people recommend getting an automatic transmission on the rental car because driving in Ireland is not easy. Rental agencies have a limited number of automatics.

Posted by
5 posts

Jjgurly.... I know we are definitely hopeful in going in May-June.... but we can hope.. at least for a while yet.

Posted by
232 posts

We spent 28 nights in Ireland May, 2019. Only one 1 night stay near airport before we flew home.
Here's how we split our time and the highlights in each place:
Kilkenny 3 nights (b&b)--explore Kilkenny town, Jerpoint Abbey, Rock of Cashel
Killorglin, 7 nights (cottage rental)--we used this as a base for Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula, spending a day on each of those. Also day tripped to Kinsale, explored Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Kerry Cliffs, Valentia Island.
Lahinch, 3 nights (b&b)--cliffs of Moher/Doolin, Burren, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Loop Head lighthouse drive
Clifden, 4 nights (air bnb, townhouse)--day trip to Inishbofin, Connemara Sky Drive, Kylemore Abbey, Killary Sheep Farm, DooLough Valley, Croagh Patrick, Cong. There was more we wanted to do in this area but ran out of time.
Donegal, 7 nights (cottage rental)--Slieve League cliffs, Glencolmcille folk village, Glenveagh National Park, ghost village of Port, day trip to Derry, Belleek Pottery
Dervock near Portrush, NI, 4 nights (air bnb)--Antrim coast including Giants Causeway, Ulster American Folk Museum, day trip to Belfast, Bushmills Distillery.

Here's a link to my trip report with more details. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/may-in-ireland

Posted by
778 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
26 days, now we are talking. So many people want "to see" Ireland in three days.

I have circled Ireland completely and crisscrossed it a bit. For your first 26 days in Ireland, think coast line. You don't have to be exactly on the coast, but the center of Ireland can be pretty darned flat. Let me say that Clonmacnoise is nearly dead center and a most impressive religious site. That and The Rock of Cashel, which is inland a good bit, sis teh best tight collection of antique buildings.

Heading down from Dublin there is Glendalough and the Wiclow Mountains. But Wexford and Waterford are more industrial places cities and I would skip. Now Cork and surroundings is a famous and historic city/area. Kinsale is a heavily touristed beauty with Charles Fort nearby. Side trip into Cashel... Then continuing along the coast you start getting into the beauty areas of Ireland. Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Bantry ..all lovely. And inland again a bit is Gogane Barra. With St. Finbar's Oratory.

Now you come to the three peninsulas: Beara, Kerry, and Dingle. In order of beauty and ruggedness is Beara (least touristed), Dingle (pretty heavy tourist visiting), and Kerry (packed to the gills). Kerry is the most famous because a rail line from Dublin was completed many decades ago and allowed tourists to visit. It has continued to draw tourists as the road ringing the peninsula is big enough to handle full scale busses. So you have some heavy traffic and to let you know, the road has some very substantial hedges preventing car level viewing of the landscape.

From Dingle I would head straight for Ennis. Perhaps Irelands finest Medieval high street. A great place. What?! And skip Limerick? Read Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes and his description of Limerick. I have had the unfortunate experience of being in Limerick several times and except for that one night with a Priest when he gave me pub recommendations, a real bust of a city. Historic for the Treaty of Limerick and ...limericks.

Ennis, now you have reached County Clare. You can't spend too much time in this county. Limestone outcrops create a unique environment for plants. You can look up Clare your self. Doolin (a bit too touristy these days, but still has music) the cliffs of Moher. The backroad from Killinaboy to Ballyvaughan with all its megalithic stones is a treat.

Galway. the cathedral here is not worth ten minutes of your time. Move on and get to Connemara. Here is one of those places where the main road is the best beauty road. from Maam Cross to Clifden to Westport and into the two big lakes. It is all nice even Cong where John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara met. The west side of the lakes is the pretty side.

I would cut to Sligo. Queen Maeve's Grave. My wife came down from the top Glenveagh National Park, and Glencolumkille. Now into Northern Ireland. A more affluent part of the island. Between Derry and Belfast are the Green Glens of Antrim, Oh boy is that nice. The Giant's Causeway. A castle slowly falling into the sea. A swinging bridge. The road right on the water's edge with foam blowing onto your windscreen. And those gorgeous glens. Belfast is a pretty good visit. But between Belfast and Dublin you might skip (you only have the 26 days) down to Droheda. That is a big jump. But do visit the head in the church in Droheda. The Boyne River Valley awaits you. Tranquil. Beautiful. Historic Boyne. And the big tombs. Some nice sized cities. Small, but large. Slane, Cavan, Kells, Trim and the Hill of Tara.

Read Angela's Ashes and his brother's book A Monk Swimming, Trinity, view The Field. Buy, off eBay, the Ordnance Survey maps of Ireland. About $15/each. Unflod them and dream. they split the island into four maps showing EVERY road. The prettier the area on the map (a mix of colors green, yellow to orange and reddish) the prettier it will be.

wayne iNWI