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4 day visit

Hi all!

My friend and I are hoping to visit Ireland in June of 2022, if the trip isn't canceled again, before visiting Scotland. What I would like to ask is what would be best to see in 4 days? We would like to see The Giant's Causeway and the Ring of Kerryif feasable but would love suggestions. Also, what would be the best way to get from Ireland to Scotland? I read somewhere that there might be a ferry? Wouldf appreciate all suggestions!

Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
6322 posts

I agree that the two places you mention are both well worth seeing but, with just 4 days, it's really not feasible. It would take one whole day to get from one to the other so with so little time I think that's kind of wasteful. Better to stick to one side of the country or the other with that short of time. Do Belfast, Giant's Causeway, and then down to Dublin for a day or two. Or do Galway, cliffs of Moher, and the ring of Kerry. There are flights from Galway, Shannon, Dublin, and Belfast to Edinburgh or Glasgow that are short and quite reasonably priced. If you really prefer a ferry, you could start in Dublin and end in Belfast, the best ferry between the countries would be from there to Scotland.

Posted by
200 posts

Thank you Nancy.
I'm not that familiar with the layout of the country I didn't realize those two places were so far apart. I think it probably would be feasible to stay on one side and visit as much as we can. Any suggestions on what would be good places to stay?

Thanks again,
Kathy

Posted by
200 posts

Again hello Nancy,
I left out the part that we might do they Ring of Kerry suggestion. We would also like to visit some castles if possible are there any on that side close to the Ring of Kerry that we could visit?
Thanks!!!

Posted by
544 posts

Will you have a car? Will you be arriving directly from the US? Will you arrive at Shannon or Dublin? I ask because that makes a big difference as to whether the Ring of Kerry and SW Ireland makes more sense than Northern Ireland (the Giant's Causeway) and Northwest Ireland. Public transit is not great and it's hard to cover a lot of ground without a car. Also, are your 4 days full days or do they include arrival and departure days? Finally by castles do you mean real castles used for defense or castles as in manor houses with tapestries, paintings, gardens, etc. Sorry to ask so many questions.

Posted by
94 posts

sorry but you are wrong here Public transport is alot better here in Europe than in the United states you CAN get to the Giants Causeway using public transport and below is how you do it:

*Translink operate all public transport in Northern Ireland

*From Belfast (Great Victoria Street train station) buy at the ticket office a one day (or 7 day or month) zone 4 card this costs 16 pounds and 50 pence for 1 days unlimited travel

*Board a Train going to Derry-londonderry or Portrush (1hr) get off in Coleraine and go into the combined bus and train station and catch the Ulsterbus 402 service to Ballycastle this will drop you 5 mins walk from the Giants Causeway the bus also goes to the Bushmills distillery and Carrick a rede rope bridge, if you use www.translink.co.uk to get your journey details.

Posted by
200 posts

Hi Trotter!
Yes planning on a car. We will be arriving from the US hopefully as early as possible on or about June 13, 2022. We will have at least 3 full days and a half day. We will probably fly to Scotland on last day instead of taking a ferry.
As for castles, we like true castles or the ruins of them We like history. We want to see as much as possible while we are there. So what suggestion can you give.

Posted by
885 posts

If you like castles and history, check out the Rock of Cashel if you fly into Shannon - it's less than 1.5 hours away by car. Unfortunately, it's in the opposite direction of the Ring of Kerry. If you end up flying into Dublin I'd base there - historic, fun and a bit gritty. The Rock is only about 2 hours away and is a good day trip coupled with a drive by the ruin of Kells Priory before a stop in Kilkenny (cool historic town) on your way back. I haven't visited Glendalough but it's another historic biggie ruin south of the Dublin area. Sláinte!

Posted by
1918 posts

The Irish Landmark Trust offers a good selection of unique properties around the country - both countries actually - including several castles you can book for an overnight stay. Can check them out here: https://www.irishlandmark.com/propertytag/castles/
There's quite a concentration of historical properties and castles heading north along the Antrim Coast from Belfast. The drive itself is gorgeous and there's plenty to see along the way as you wind your way around to the Causeway Coast and the beautiful walled city of Derry.
For such a short trip you need to concentrate on one area or the other. Trying to do both the Causeway and Kerry would eat up half your available time.
A particularly interesting side trip, especially if your heritage traces to Ulster, is the Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh. It does a great job of explaining the history of the out-migrations that started around 1715, and it's just a pleasant place to spend a half day.

Edited to add: although nothing beats the freedom and convenience of a car, rental prices for advance bookings are extremely high at the moment ... around USD$100 per day for a vehicle with automatic transmission and full insurance cover - both of which you really need. Might be more cost-effective for you to rely on a combination of public transportation and the occasional day tour to see the sights you're interested in.

Posted by
544 posts

Katsinca: If the Ring of Kerry is your goal, try to fly into Shannon. From the airport it's about 2 hours to Killarney and 2.5 hours to Kenmare. Although a lot of folks here downplay Killarney as touristy, it is a central place to base yourself for the ROK and Killarney National Park. It also has the benefit of being a relatively short drive after a trans-Atlantic flight. Along the Ring of Kerry there are a series of tower ruins, which some call castles. They were mostly used as lookouts and "toll booths". https://theringofkerry.com/things-to-see/castles. They are not restored and there is no real historical information provided. But they are fun to see and climb around. The one in Ballinskelligs is next to an abbey ruin. If you depart for Scotland from Dublin there are two other historic defensive castles to visit: Cahir Castle and Trim Castle. Cahir Castle, https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/cahir-castle/, would be more or less on your way from Killarney to Dublin. Trim Castle, https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/trim-castle/, is outside of Dublin and about a 30-45 minute drive from the airport, which makes it a good place to spend your last night. The previously mentioned Rock of Cashel is also on the way from Killarney to Dublin and is definitely worth a visit. https://heritageireland.ie/places-to-visit/rock-of-cashel/

Posted by
200 posts

Hello all!!

Thank you so much for the info and suggestions! There are lotsof good information given. I have ordered SW book on Ireland to look at. To be honest, Ireland was a change on ou trip. We were going to London first then Scotland and then we decisded to switch. We have heard so much positive info on Ireland! As of yet we do not know where to fly into Ieland and have not picked a place o places to stay. I guess it depends on where we visit. I liked the suggestion of the drive. It sounded lie it offered a lot of sights to see. Would you reccommend B&B's or hotels to stay in? Will renting a car be hard? I think we4 will fly into Scotland instead of tking the ferry.
Again any suggestions and opinions are welcomed.

Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
3467 posts

You might want to wait a day before renting a car. Driving immediately after arrival may be a problem. Lack of sleep, jet lag, being on unfamiliar ground, and driving on the left might not bother some people. Others are driving semi impaired, and others (like me) shouldn't be allowed to operate machinery at all. Even a small incident at the start of a trip can be a downer for the entire trip. Don't mean to rain on your trip, just offering food for thought.

Posted by
544 posts

The actual rental of a car is not hard. All the major agencies are at both Shannon and Dublin airports. There are at least two rental car agencies located in Killarney. Whether it is easy to drive is a matter of experience - have you driven on the left before? Are you comfortable with narrow roads with pullouts? If you haven't driven on the left then the recommendation to wait a day before driving is a good one. You can take a bus from Shannon to Killarney - it's about a 4 hour ride. Or, since there are 4 of you, it might make sense to share a private driver. Search the forum (grey box at the top of the page) and you'll find recommendations for private drivers in County Kerry. Hotels versus B&B's is really a matter of preference and budget.

Posted by
896 posts

Wondering if you would benefit from looking at a guide book like those RS publishes? Maps and descriptions all in one place to provide an introduction to possibilities. Usually available at libraries if you do not wish to purchase - maybe in ebook format, too.

Posted by
3523 posts

It sounds like this is your first trip to Europe. You do need to consult the Rick Steves guidebooks on Britain & Ireland. They will also include a lot of general information on European travel. You can see what they include by going to Guidebooks: Britain & Ireland and clicking on the ones of interest.

The basics of European travel are covered in greater detail in his Europe Through the Back Door.

In the meantime, there are resources right here on this Rick Steves website that can answer many of the questions you are asking and provide info on lots of details you don't know to ask about.

The standard phrase here is that there's a lot you don’t know that you don’t know. I've been traveling for about 45 years and even lived in Germany for 3, but I still have forehead slapping moments and learn something new every time I plan a trip

About European travel in general, go to Travel Tips. There you can learn about planning your trip, transportation, packing, money, phones & technology, theft & scams, sleeping & eating, health & hygiene and sightseeing & activities.

About the places you want to visit, go to Explore Europe. There you can browse countries including Ireland which includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England. Each one has information on cities and locations, what to see there and more. Above I linked to the section on Scotland as an example.

As for going by ferry, there are several options. I've gone from Scotland to Belfast that way. It's a fairly short crossing, but going from Belfast to Scotland you need to be aware that it's still a relatively long train ride to Edinburgh. As others have suggested it might be faster to fly there from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, if that's possible. Your departure airport would depend on flight availability and/or where you finish up your Ireland visit.

If you're still interested in taking the ferry, the main route is from Belfast to Cairnryan. This is a link to more information about that route.

It doesn't matter how long or short your trip is, there will still be many logistical details to work out. Sometimes they will affect where you actually can go during the time you are there.

Posted by
3333 posts

I agree that focusing on going one of those two directions is essential.
One idea….. ( I’m not sure if you are counting arrival day as one of your 4)
Day one arrive in Dublin, take Airport Bus to Belfast. Stay at Premier Inn Titanic Quarter.
Day two Titanic Experience, explore Belfast until late afternoon. Then take train/bus to Port Ballintrae and stay at the Bayview Hotel (worth the cost), The bus literally stops outside the door.
Day three: You can easily walk from the hotel to the Giant’s Causeway ( a lovely walk along a few headlands) or take the same bus outside the hotel. You can also visit nearby Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, or Port Rush by walking or bus. Make reservations to eat at the hotel tonight, it is excellent and the view out over the harbor amazing. Stay Bayview Hotel.
Day 4: use bus/ train to Dublin. Explore key sights that interest (skip book of Kells, not worth the time)
Day 5 depart to next location.

Posted by
200 posts

Hi all!

Just to let you know this will be our 2nd trip to Europe. We visited Scotland 2 years ago. We were supposed to go this summer, but well we know what happened don't we? Yes we learned to drive on the left side of the road, I drive better in the country and my friend drives better5 in the city :)) I did but the Rick Steves book. Lord there are so many wonderful places to visit!!! I think we are leaning more on visiting Dublin and wandering down toward either the Dingle Peninsula or the Ring of Kerry and visit what's in between, like the Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny Castle. Does that sound feasible? Has anyone done an itinerary that may cover that area?

Thanks!!
Kathy

Posted by
200 posts

Thank you all for all the suggestions!! They are greatly appreciated and are being looked at and considered for our trip!!
Thanks again for all the help!

Posted by
200 posts

Hi all!

Can I ask your opinions on a possible itinerary? Would this be doable? The dates would be June 13th thru June 17th.
Arrive morning on June 13th in Dublin, visit the castle and maybe visit one other place and pick up rental and spend the night. Next day (14th) head toward Glendalough and the Wicklow Mtns., visiting both Glendalough and Powerscourt Estate, then to Kilkenny Castle to Rock of Cashel, spending the night somewhere close. Next day (15th) head to Rock of Cashel(if we didn't visit the day before), then onto Waterford and to Blarney Castle toward Dingle Pen. Spend the night. Next day (16th) Cliffs of Moher to Dunguaire Castle and the Dinner show. Spend the night and on the 17th, back to Dublin to catch a flight to Scotland. Is this possible?

Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
885 posts

You can do it but you'll be spending A LOT of your valuable time driving, finding parking, etc. I think you're trying to do too much with this itinerary. Google maps has you driving over 15 hours. I'd play with your itinerary to lower your drive time - for example if you simply drop Waterford, Blarney and Dingle you're down to 8.5 hours driving - and if you fly out from Shannon rather than backtrack to Dublin you're down to 7 hours. You need to prioritize what you want to see the most and then build your trip around those places.

Posted by
544 posts

Yes, your proposed itinerary is doable. But I wouldn't do it. The general rule of thumb is to add about 25% to whatever drive time the online maps (google maps, via Michelin, etc.) estimate. The online estimates use posted speed limits. You are unlikely to actually be able to drive as fast as the posted speed limit. I'm also not sure you've budgeted in "wander" time - time to enjoy something that strikes your fancy or striking up a conversation or watching the sheep or just stopping to smell the roses. One specific note: you mention that you'll arrive at Dublin airport, visit Dublin Castle, maybe something else, pick up the car and spend the night. Have you considered where you will pick up the car and spend the night? You do not want to have a car in Dublin City Center. If nothing else parking will be an exercise in frustration and likely expensive.

Posted by
360 posts

And by all means stay in B&Bs instead of hotels. They're much more intimate and friendly, plus you get to meet the families in their homes. The breakfasts are wonderful and filling.

Here are some resources to get you started. Book directly with each B&B to avoid higher fees the owners pay to a third party agency like Booking.com.

https://d5qsyj6vaeh11.cloudfront.net/files/brochures/pdf/english/AC20ENG101BBD---Bed-and-Breakfast-Ireland-NEW-637141676027212373.pdf

You can also order a print version of the above guidebook.

https://www.bandbireland.com/[enter link description here]2

https://www.irishtourist.com/[enter link description here]3

Posted by
200 posts

Thanks KBK, Trotter and David!!

I did google distances between locations and allowed timme to visit each site, based on the RS book. I had ot thought about flyingout of Shannon though. That might be an option. Iiam theperson who enjoys the lanscape views along with a castle or two along the way. My friend who is coming with me on the trip enjoystheshops and tours such as Waterford (her choice to visit). I am lucky in that she is allowing me to do most of the picking and choosing what to see and where to gto, but I want to make sure she has a good time also as this wi be her vacation also. We would love to stay in B7B's. We very much enjoyedthose we tayed iin in Scotland. Can any one tell me what the general opening and closing times of tourist attractions and shops might be? Howmuch daylight we may have dur5ing that time period? I believe we will want to daty along with the tentative plan, but it seems we may have to tweek it it :))

Thanks!!
Kathy

Posted by
94 posts

few things to remember
Northern Ireland being in the UK we use miles per hour theroad signage and speed limits are different from Ireland
you will need pounds for NI
and there is NO train to Portballintrae just a bus (ulsterbus 402 ) service to Ballycastle you can However get a train to Coleraine from Belfast and get the bus from there as there is a combined bus and train station in Coleraine

Posted by
94 posts

ps you can fly from Northern Ireland to Scotland and its a quick 40 min flight easyjet fly to Glasgow and Edinburgh from Belfast International airport

Posted by
27 posts

Your itinerary is way too rushed. It was OK until you started heading to Dingle. Why drive all the way to Dingle when you arent even going to see it because the next day you are rushing to the Cliffs and then to Kinvara? Its a long way to drive just to pack up again the next morning and leave.