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5 Night itinerary - IRELAND

We are visiting Ireland for the first time in March and wanting some feedback as far as our itinerary. We are arriving early morning into Dublin. We plan to spend our first night in Dublin and then rent a car for the remainder of our trip. This is our planned route - leaving Dublin and spending our 2nd night in Kinsale or Cork (wanted to make it all the way to Dingle- but didn’t think that was possible with stops). 3rd night in Dingle , 4th night in Galway and our final night before we depart from Dublin staying near Dublin in Malahide. Any thoughts and our opinions would be appreciated -
Thank you !

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359 posts

A totally normal itinerary plan many first time visitors make but unfortunately it's a poor one and I speak from personal experience. Virtually your entire trip will be in a car. Drive times in Ireland are notoriously off from app estimates. Adding 30% is about right and that doesn't include stops for food, restrooms, sights, gas etc. Also one night stays often waste time as well.

The good news is even on a very short trip you can experience the magic of Ireland, but only if you don't try to SEE a lot of Ireland. Ideally I would just stay in the east ... there is so much to see.....Newgrange Tara/Boyne.......the wonderful beautiful Wicklow Mountains (where some of Braveheart was filmed) and one of Ireland's gems Glendalough. That and Kilkenny and sights in Dublin are all major wonderful spots to easily fill your time while also allowing time for the small self discoveries and interactions that provide the real magic. The inside of a car is no way to enjoy Ireland.

I do understand the pull of the west....but be aware you lose the better part of a day going across the country and in March the days aren't that long. If you do head west pick one spot and use as a base for the area. For instance near Galway...possibly in Clifden there is Connemara and the Sky Road which is gorgeous....along with access to much else fairly close like the Aran islands. Or further south stay near Castlemaine and you have easy day trips to see Dingle and the ROK....and the good stuff near (but not in) Killarney.

Bottom line you can't see Ireland in 5 days....and trying defeats the whole point of experiencing Ireland. Save the rest for a future trip and even if that's not just in the cards maximize your time by not being in a car that much....and really see things, have time to discover the little magical things that are all over Ireland and interact with the absolutely amazing people. Those memories which you would race past will live far longer in your hearts than trying to cram in too many so called "must-sees".

Stay in the east....but if you must go west pick one spot and really explore that area. You can have fun careening around I'm sure (though we didn't remotely compared to later trips) but it's exponentially better to cut back and experience the magic that is Ireland.