We are going to spend 4 months in Ireland. We're looking to do 1 month at a time in different areas. I've only been to Ireland 1 time and it was a long weekend. We did the ring of Kerry then drove across Ireland and spent a night in the southeast area, then drove up to Dublin. For those of you who have been there multiple times, we'd love your opinions on the best way to spend our 4 months to experience Irish culture, appreciate the sights and countryside and enjoy Irish food, music and drink!
Just wondering. Did you apply for and get a special visa to stay more then the allowed 90 days?
Pat is correct, you would need to apply for a long stay visa if you wish to stay more than 3 months, unless you have dual citizenship or carry an Irish passport. Even if you spend some of the time in Northern Ireland. It appears they have an agreement between the two and time in NI would be included in the 3 months allowed without a visa.
Your best bet might be to collect several country guides to research and cross-reference your areas of specific interest, starting with the RS guide for Ireland which is really quite good.
With that much time at your disposal you'll be able to savor the subtle charms of both the Republic and the North, and with that in mind one particular guide that we recommend is "Back Roads Ireland" by DK publishing. It has lots of off the beaten path explorations that you might find of interest. We organized our entire trip last year around the various scenic drives presented in the book, and used it to find a number of the lesser known attractions that the major guidebooks tend to overlook.
We've also found the Trip Advisor "Things to do" feature to be quite helpful in our planning.
Do include the North in your itinerary - we found the cities of Derry and Belfast to be delightful, with many beautiful and meandering drives through the surrounding countryside. If your heritage is Irish I'd recommend a day at the Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh - fascinating place.
A Heritage Card, available here http://www.heritageireland.ie/ ,will save you some money over the long haul.
Check with your car rental agency to verify their maximum rental periods. Ours only allowed a maximum of 28 days, so we had to allow one morning once a month for vehicle drop off and pick up. No big deal, but it helps to know the logistics in advance. And remember that the North is in the UK, which could result in international drop charges if you're not careful.