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5 days in Ireland

I'm traveling to Ireland with my 18-year-old daughter (after time in England and Scotland). We have five full days (6 nights) and are flying in and out of Dublin. This is our first visit to Ireland. I think a few days in Dublin (at either end of the trip) and then one other location to base out of. And I'm not sure what the second location should be. I could drive some, but don't want to spend most of any day driving. My daughter is not a huge political or history person, so that needs to be balanced by amazing scenery, castles, cool cultural things, music, local art, etc. We arrive midday, so we could continue on to somewhere else to stay the first night and end in Dublin.

Any suggestions on what to do? The primary contenders for the second locale are 1) the Ring of Kerry or the Dingle Peninsula, but I'm concerned that's more driving than I want to commit to (it's important that I enjoy the trip, too!), or take the AirCoach or the train from Dublin to Galway and day trip out of there (I like day tours or pick up a car).


Posted by
1180 posts

Five full days. Great! Dublin is a city with many places to visit. Don't skip St, Michan's Church. You could stay there for the duration and do a day trip to the Boyne River Valley. That is not too far north of Dublin. You could hit Trim, Navan, and Drogheda. The river valley is quite lovely. Newgrange, a set of three prehistoric corbeled earth works is along the river. Trim has a nice chestnut surrounded castle, Navan, go ahead be crazy, spell it backwards, has Bective Abbey, the Hill of Tara and Slane castle. And Droheda has the Head of St. Oliver Plunkett.

That might be too much driving. So you could break it into two days.

South of Dublin are the Wicklow Mountains, 45 miles. Mountains only in the heads of the Irish. But lush and green. Near them is St. Kevin's Glendalough. A bit over run by tourists these days but it has a corbeled roofed kitchen (church) and a round tower. If you want to go up in a round tower go to Kildare, 32 miles WNW from St.Kevin's. And then head back to Dublin, 36 miles to the airport.

It is difficult for me to recommend places in Ireland that are not either historic or political. It seems that ever beautiful spot in Ireland was developed by some religious sect at sone point or another. There are a number of really fine pubs in Dublin, Gravediggers for instance. It's got ambience. But why the name? Well, next door is a graveyard with some pretty famous historic/political figures. But is I say, Kilmainham Gaol...well you should know why and who was executed there in.

Driving in Dublin...a bit hectic. It is best to rent a car on the outskirts of the city or at the airport. There is a ring road near the airport. So you can avoid the in city driving. Or, hire a driver. Or find day tours that do the same as I have suggested.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
1489 posts

My preference would be Galway, using either the train or bus from Dublin. Connemara has some of the best scenery in Ireland. Think about a day trip to the Aran Islands -they now have sailings from Galway. Another day hire a car and do a trip around the coast to Roudstone and then nup to Clifden for the Sky Drive ( possibly the best short drive in the world on a sunny day) then head to Leeane and back to Galway.

Posted by
8056 posts

Agree re Glendalough and Newgrange as days trips from Dublin. Also consider an easy 2 hour bus or train ride to Belfast to visit the Titanic Museum.

Posted by
1180 posts

Hello again,
Or get out of Dublin and go to Connemara National Park on teh west Coast. Clifden or Leenaun would be places to stay and there are hiking trails. Have boots and rain gear.
Connemara AKA Joyce Country is rugged and beautiful. Wild white ponies and all that.
Clifden would have more amenities than Leenaun. The only fjord in Ireland starts at Leenaun.
You could bus or train to Galway and rent a car. Galway to Clifden is 50 miles along the N59. Don't use a different path.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
6095 posts

I like Wasley's plan -- Aircoach straight from DUB to Galway, a day tour to Aran or Connemara, train back into Dublin, rest of the time there. No need to drive at all if you find a tour you like from Galway. Five days isn't enough for much more. Luckily you won't be dealing with jetlag.

Posted by
724 posts

I would also suggest Galway for a second location if you are looking more for scenery than history. The Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Connemara will all be easy day trips. You wouldn’t need a car as guided day trips are an easy option, but with your limited time do you want to spend some of it getting there and then back to Dublin? There is a lot to see and do in and around Dublin that could easily use up all of your time. A day trip to Glendalough, Newgrange, take a short train ride to Kilkenny, then just seeing the city could easily use a couple days.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks, all. Galway it is. It's great to know that you can sail to the Aran Islands from Galway - and it looks like they cruise by the Cliffs of Moher on the way back. So one day for the Aran islands and one for a day tour around Connemara. You all are the best.