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3 couples, 11 days

We are a group of friends planning a trip late June, arriving Dublin then heading northwest to the Wild Atlantic Way, finally departing from Shannon. Our plan is to arrive Dublin on a Friday morning, spend two nights then rent a vehicle and depart Sunday to Donegal with a stop at Newgrange. Plan to stay 2 nights in Killebegs, Donegal and see Slieve League. I'm seeing a number of people recommend this over Cliffs of Moher, yes/no? Anything else that stands out to visit in that area? After that, heading south to 4 nights at an Airbnb in Galway. I'm interested in the hawk walk at Ashford Castle. Has anyone done this, is it worthwhile? Any recommendations for site seeing stops along the way from Donegal to Galway? What day trips can you recommend from Galway? Our last stop is the Dingle peninsula for 2, possibly three nights. We have a 9:00 a.m. departure from Shannon. Is that too far to travel from Dingle that morning or should we stay at the airport the night prior? Since we'll be there in high season should we pre-arrange tours for Trinity College/Book of Kells and Guinness? I know the hot spots will be heavy with tourists, would love some recommendations for places to visit that aren't overly crowded. Thanks!

Posted by
72 posts

The Cliffs of Moher are spectacular but they are very busy with tourists. Slieve League is in a more remote area with less people. It is also spectacular. The first or second time we visited there was a terrified woman clinging to the large rock she was sitting on, across the road from the edge. She was in no danger, just afraid of the height, and I sort of wanted to share her rock. Over the years some viewing areas have been added for safety. You can climb a path up the mountain for higher views. It’s also free.

Between Donegal and Sligo you can find Glencar Waterfall, which is worth the inland detour.

Our philosophy for driving in Ireland has always been to take the coast road, so if you can do that, it’s usually rewarding.

Posted by
1891 posts

We did the Hawk Walk thru the School of Falconry at Ashford Castle, and, yes, we would consider it "worthwhile." It fact, we would consider it among the top 20 travel experiences we have had (and we have traveled a lot). Be sure to make reservations in advance. If you are not staying at Ashford, perhaps you could enjoy lunch there, which would give you a chance to get a look inside the castle hotel (which is truly fabulous). If you treat yourselves to the splurge of staying there for a night or two, you won't regret it.

As far as day trips from Galway, driving along Sky Road in the Connemera region is listed in "National Geographic's Top 500 Journeys of a Lifetime" book. It is lovely. It would then make sense to head to Cong (where Ashford Castle is located) at the end of that journey from Galway, but if you are spending all your nights in Galway while in that general area, it would NOT be reasonably possible to make the Connemera drive AND do the Hawk Walk in the same day.

Sounds like you won't be heading towards Connor's Pass and the Dingle? Lovely scenery down that way, too.

Rock of Cashel is worth seeing, if it is on your route as you head west.

We've not been to Dublin, so I can't advise there. We also have not visited Newgrange, but would definitely do so if we ever get back to Ireland.

Posted by
1518 posts

Dublin has lots of great (and free!) museums - art, archaeology, natural history... One that I particularly liked was the Chester Beatty Library. The city also has some beautiful parks. I visited St. Stephen's Green and Merrion Square Park. The latter has a very interesting memorial to Oscar Wilde, in a corner of the park across from where he had lived.

Posted by
1863 posts

I have not done the Hawk walk, but have read many posts on this forum that highly recommend it. I would definately, buy tickets online for popular attractions like Book of Kells and Guiness Storehouse etc!

Posted by
76 posts

I also vote for Slieve League over the Cliffs of Moher. A tip: as you approach the area you’ll come to a large car park. Just beyond the car park is a road that goes up the hill. There’s a gate at the bottom that may or may not be open. If it’s closed, just get out, open it up and drive up the hill. When you get to the top, there’s another car park that’s close to the view of the cliffs. There's a beautiful lake, a Mortello Tower, and cliffs galore. Last time we were there we saw four different rainbows.

If you do opt to go to Slieve League, make sure to stop at Malin Beg and the Silver Strand...just wonderful.

Donegal to Galway...yes, there are nearly endless things to see along the way. Check these out on Google images: Eagle Rock, Gleniff Horseshoe Drive (incredible), Benbulbin, Downpatrick Head, Achill Island, Doolough Pass and Famine Memorial (beautiful) name just a few.