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4 day base: Dingle Town or Killarney?

I keep going back and forth on this portion of my 25 day journey. I will be coming from 4 days in Kinsale (1 day side trip to Rock of Cashel) and initially planned 4 days in Killarney, with one day trip to Ring of Dingle, Slea Head and Blasket Visitor's Center, and one - two days hiking, biking, touring through Killarney National Park, including Muckross House. ALL TRANSPORTATION IS PUBLIC - trains, buses, small tours, bike, my own two feet.

Recently I have read quite a bit of information on blogs and forums, and think I would prefer the smaller town quaintness of Dingle. And its strong reputation for Trad music. This means I would face a 5+ hour bus ride from Kinsale to Dingle, then another 5+ hour bus ride in four days to Galway. In your opinion, is this amount of time on transportation worth it? Especially since I would probably want to backtrack to Killarney for the National Park. Or, should I stick to original plan, which cuts transportation by at least a couple hours? I know logical solution would be to spend two days in each town, but I really want 4-6 days at each of my destinations.

Thanks for your thoughts!

MAry

Posted by
317 posts

Greetings from Dingle

With respect, I think you've answered your own question - the logical option would be to do 2 days in each town.
Both are wonderful and have so many things to do.
Dingle definitely wins in terms of quaintness, our town is 'over-run' with tourist for only a few horus per day and then most of them return to their big buses to Killarney to over-night.
Killarney is a fine town though and its national park is awesome and stunning.

Im wondering why you are spending 4 nights in Kinsale, I'd spend two nights there max (have dons on about 100 occasions) and then divide the other nights between Killarney and Dingle.

Enjoy your adventures

Slainte!
Stephen McPhilemy
Dingle, Derry and Dublin

Posted by
42 posts

Thanks for your input, Stephen!

To answer your question, Kinsale is my first town. I arrive late in Cork, head immediately to Kinsale, will arrive around 8:00 pm. So that day is pretty much shot. Another whole day will be spent out of town - Rock of Cashell and Kilkenny. Which really just leaves 2 days in Kinsale proper. Also, since using public transportation, I've found it's best to stay longer in places, lessening the travel days. Just the way I like to travel now that I'm retired and can spend a whole month in one country!

Regards,
Mary

Posted by
552 posts

All I can say is that I was faced with the same problem when I was planning my trip using public transit. I had slightly less time than you, three weeks, but in the end I didn’t want to spend so much time on a bus just to get to Dingle when I could do a day trip from Killarney. Also, instead of trying to get to Galway by bus I took the train and made a stop in Kilkenny and Athlone along the way to break up the journey and see a couple of places that interested me. For the most part I tried to use the train and only resorted to the bus when there was no other option. The train is just more comfortable. I enjoyed my four days in Killarney even though a lot of people will say it’s too touristy. But, you aren’t going to be spending your time wandering around town as you will be off on day trips and only returning to eat and sleep. I found some great music in Killarney, too. I think if you are allotting just four days to the area then the long bus trek is really going to eat into that time and it might be best to stay in Killarney.

Posted by
317 posts

Anita is right, Killarney might be the best option.
Are you taking a day trip from Kinsale to Kilkenny? That sounds like an incredibly long day, Kilkenny is historic city, once the capital of Ireland for little while, you might consider making that an overnight?
That being said, the historic sites of Kilkenny could be covered in a day, but you would need a full day to do it justice. i dont see how thats logistically possible, or comfortable, if you're travelling over and back from Kinsale.
Good luck with our public transport. Its not bad. Its reliable and usually punctual, a little expensive in many citizens opinion despite being state subsidised, and some of the local buses are in a dire state (I've seen better in the third world!).
But it'll get you there, and get you there safely. Slainte :)

Posted by
552 posts

I also agree with what Stephen says about Kilkenny needing a whole day, and Kinsale really only needing two at the most. I would suggest removing a day from Kinsale, don't do the day trip to Kilkenny, instead make a stop in Kilkenny after you leave Killarney. You can also see Cashel on your own by bus/train if you want. It takes a bit of planning but you can catch a bus from Cork to get to Cashel, then from Cashel you can catch a bus to the train then take the train to Kilkenny. It's how I did it, but you need to be travelling light (just a back pack) as you don't want to be hauling your luggage around with you while touring the site. I seem to recall there wasn't a specific place to leave luggage but one of the guides let me chain my backpack to a pole that was at the entrance under a flight of stairs. Of course, this was all about 15 years ago so maybe there's been some changes since then.

Posted by
4 posts

Good Afternoon,

I too am using public transportation throughout my trip. I am staying 6 nights on the Dingle Peninsula.
I have found a bus a service that will take you from Tralee to Dingle town and all stops in between local bus runs every day and on Monday and Thursday there is a bus to Dunquin to get you to the Blaskett Islands. I am a walker and there is so much to see on the Peninsula.

I hope you have a lovely time, Pauline

Posted by
9 posts

We drove to Dingle but had some friends meet us there by bus. They said the bus ride was a real nail biter with winding roads and a very aggressive driver. They were glad to get a lift back to Killarney with us. That said, Dingle does have good hiking and music options. Another place we liked was Kenmare, just 45 minutes by bus from Killarney--or you could hike there through the National Park and have a service transport your bags. We hiked the whole Kerry Way and really enjoyed it. It would be easy to combine public transport with hiking on the Kerry peninsula.

Posted by
1754 posts

I can’t speak about the public transport option, as I drove myself all over, even did the ROK. But, as far as towns go, I like Dingle much better than Killarney. I stayed 3 nights in Dingle and 3 in Aghradoe ( just outside Killarney town). Killarney is overrun with traffic and tourists. We did the park, but glad we stayed outside the main town area.