My wife and I are bursting at the seams as we begin the preliminary stages of planning our first trip to Ireland! Full disclosure: Rick's guidebooks helped us plan our first two trips to Europe so we're not exactly rookies, but this will be our first trip overseas since we've had children (they'll be 4 and 2). It will be crazy but it will be worth it! Instead of posting our first draft itinerary I thought I'd ask some specific questions to help us fill in some of the gaps, so here we go:
1 - Has anyone taken a bus tour to Glendalough? It is a must-see for us but we'd like to only rent a car when we leave Dublin if we can help it.
2 - The Rock of Cashel is another must-see for us. Having our young children with us will lead us to want to stay overnight at places rather than cram a lot into a single day. However, we're also intrigued by Kilkenny. If we possibly have 2 nights to spend would they be best spent in Cashel with a day-trip to Kilkenny or in Kilkenny with a day-trip to Cashel? ORRR should we consider spending one night in each town? That would go against our desire for multiple night stays everywhere we visit, but if it's the best idea then that is what we'll do. Follow-up bonus question: Is it really only an hour drive between the two towns?
3 - Has anyone ever visited Leap Castle outside of Roscrea and what did you think?
4 - We also want to build "vacation" time into this trip. Consequently, we are considering spending THREE nights at a lovely b&b in Kenmare. Is this town and Killarney National Park too good to be true?
5 - Here's the big one tripping us up. From all the flights we've looked at so far, it appears that RT tickets into/out of Dublin for all of us are $400-$500 cheaper than open-jaw tickets into Dublin/out of Shannon. Our last night will be spent at whichever airport we fly out of and we'll have to drop off our rental car as well. Looking at the maps it seems like driving from Dingle across the country to the Dublin airport would take at least 5 hours. It looks like the Drive to Shannon would be about half as long. Are those estimations remotely close? I don't want to spend our last day in Ireland stuck in a car, but I also don't want to spend that much extra money that we could either save or spend elsewhere during our trip. Thoughts?
Thank you all in advance for taking an hour out of your day to read this novel and for any insight you may give us.