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3 Days in Ireland- Help me choose!

Hi everyone and Happy New Year!
My husband and I were planning on spending 3 days, 3 nights in Ireland. We were planning on flying into Cork (from Scotland) and then flying out of Dublin back home to the states. We thought this would allow us to see a little bit of the western part of the island and then spend the last day in Dublin. So we thought:
Day 1: Head out of Cork (maybe visit Blarney castle- is that corny?) Go to Killarney National Park and do some driving and picnicking and walking.
Day 2: Make our way back to Dublin, possibly stopping somewhere along the way to break up the traveling. Spend the night in Dublin.
Day 3: Dublin
Is this way too much driving/stuff to do? Now I'm wondering if we should have just flown into Dublin too and done things around there such as Glendalough. While I absolutely could look at beautiful scenery all day, my husband would equally appreciate pubs :) His limit on scenery is about half a day. We do love to bike and picnic if weather is nice.
We will have a rental car.
I appreciate your help!

Posted by
359 posts

With only three days I wouldn't bother with the Blarney Stone. The grounds are pretty but waiting in line to hang upside down and kiss a stone, something virtually every Irish person I've met rolls their eyes and laughs at is a waste of precious time. Glendalough is phenomenal, can be done in half a day if needs be and provides some wonderful scenery along the way. The Rock of Cashel is stunning, can be done easily in less than half a day and there are plenty of fun pubs to grab lunch or dinner at in town. If you enjoy......check out the Wicklow Mountains, so pretty, lots of little stops along the way heading to Glendalough.....or on to Dublin. Newgrange, near Dublin is wonderfully haunting......standing inside a tomb from 3,500 bc was spectacular but might not be the best use of limited time if it's not up both your alleys.

Have a great time. I'd just try and avoid the super clogged areas. Killarney National Park is gorgeous. If you do like time in a car.....some do .....some don't.....if there is any way to do the southern half of the Ring of Kerry it's spectacular....over to Caherdaniel......great views....loads of history, quick stops and great little town pubs.....but you'll be in the car a lot. Others may disagree but with just three days I'd definitely skip the Blarney Stone. There is tons of other great scenery and history along the way from Cork to Dublin and your husband won't lack for pubs !!!! :)

Oh and if by chance you find yourself in the area of Tinahely a short half day hike in beautiful Timnafinogue Woods and a stop at the incredible Dyin Cow pub are well worth it !

Have fun ! The only way to go wrong is to get stuck in long tourist lines or go to a tourist spot that isn't real Ireland. There is something wonderous ....big or small around every corner.

Posted by
1172 posts

With 3 days, I would stick to one place. Personally, I would pick to fly in and out of Dublin. There is more than enough to do in Dublin with 3 days.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks guys! Will definitely skip the Blarney Stone and keep researching things to do in the Dublin area especially!

Posted by
552 posts

With just three days I would also recommend just sticking to Dublin. There is enough to see and do to keep you busy, and if you want to get out of the city for a day just take one of the many guided day trips on offer, then you wouldn’t have to worry about getting used to driving on the left.

Posted by
103 posts

On your way to Dublin you could make a stop at Kilkenny or Cashel to break up the drive from the west coast. They are both nice towns.
Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you everyone! We both have experience driving in England, so I'm not too concerned about the left side conundrum :). We are still considering flying into Cork and making it to Dublin the next day. Does anyone have any recommended activities/towns besides Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel on the way to Dublin? Especially if we forgo the Ring of Kerry, which I think we might have to, I'd love any scenic stops on the way into Dublin. I also have done Glendalough and am considering going again.

Posted by
552 posts

Kinsale, and Charles Fort is only about an hour from Cork. It’s a nice little town with some great restaurants.

Posted by
1 posts

Just got back from Ireland yesterday! We got there on Saturday night and we were headed back to the states Wednesday morning, so we realistically had only 3 days.

We stayed in Dublin on Saturday and Sunday (New Year's Eve) night.
Sunday - we hit the Guinness Storehouse and Dublin Zoo. We had time for more, but being NYE and knowing we would be up late, we didn't want to push it.
Monday - we woke up and drove to Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains. Best decision we made! We slowly made our way to the Glendalough, stopping for lunch and on the east coast on our way. Wicklow Mountains were gorgeous! We love the outdoors, so it was one of our favorite parts of the entire trip. We left the mountains and headed to Kilkenny for the night. We had dinner there and called it a night. Again, we could have probably fit another thing into our day, but we prefer to relax and enjoy everything.
Tuesday - we woke up and ran an errand and ate breakfast. Did a quick 30-minute stop to get some goodies for our families back home. Went to see the Kilkenny Castle, but the noon tour group was booked. We could have done a self-guided tour at 1, but we wanted to get back to the mountains to hike again. We made our way back to Wicklow, stopping at a wool shop in Glendalough to grab a couple wool items we wanted, then headed to hike until it was dark. We finished with dinner at Wicklow Heather, just east of Glendalough, before heading back to Dublin (we had some flight issues needing worked out at the airport).

It was a quick trip, but an absolute blast. While we appreciate the history, we enjoy the scenery more, so that's more of what our trip looked like. We didn't want to plan the entire trip with castles and historical sites since it was such a short trip. If we could have gone anywhere else, we would have made our way to Cliffs of Moher and County Cork. Other than that, find what you truly like to do and plan your trip that way. Don't try to look at everything you think is the most popular. If your husband likes pubs and you like scenery, hit the scenery during the day and top it off with a few drinks at a pub. Stop at any little country town and you WILL find a pump with beer.. I promise! PM me if you want more information!


Posted by
3 posts

Try to get to Newgrange and Knowth and other sites in County Meath. Amazing and thought-provoking. But there is enough to do in Dublin in 3 days. We loved St. Patrick's Cathedral, went to a wonderful evensong there.

Also, nice thing about flying out of Dublin is that you get to go through US Customs before you get on the plane. When you get back to US, it is like arriving domestically.

Posted by
409 posts

I love Killarney, and stay there twice a month for Toastmasters, but after reading your comments I have an alternative suggestion.....

If you have to fly into Cork because those great Scotland flights (Cork Airport is fantastic and SO much easier to deal with than Dublin) I'd go from Cork and head East..... Killarney National Park is great but so is Wicklow National Park! Maybe drive through Youghal (beautiful!) and NewRoss and Arklow --- you could stay in Rathdrum (a small village on a river near Wicklow Nat Park/Glendalough). I've stayed there before, and they have some really great pubs, it's not touristy at all (though there is a big campground down by the river) and they have great short walks.

As for Glendalough - it's an amazing place, one of the very special places in Ireland. I actually went there with a man who is an expert on Glendalough, and having his insights were way better than a guidebook. Let me know if you want his contact info and I'll see if he still does those private tours.... The thing about Glendalough is most tourists just do that one part of the park. The park is HUGE and has many many trails that you can choose based on time..... want a 2 hour walk? 6 hour walk?? I did the 6 hour, met two trail runners, befriended them and 5 weeks later stayed with them in Mayo! Then met my husband but that's a story best told over a pint! ;-)

You could then easily head to Dublin from Rathdrum! and enjoy the beautiful coastal towns on the way up.....

And finally - I've lived here 4 years and have never been inside Blarney castle. You don't have to do what everyone else does! :-D

Expat in Waterville