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6 days/7 nights Ireland - 1st time there and need advice

This is our very first time in Ireland and a dream coming true. Although a seasoned traveler, I'm wondering whether our itinerary is too aggressive as there is so much to see and do everywhere. Any suggestions on what we should cut out or what to add would be great!

We've booked flights to Dublin and arriving late at night, staying that night north of Kilkenny. We then plan to continue to Kenmare, plan on visiting the Border Collie live demo at the sheep farm, continue for sightseeing to Killarney and the National Park there, but returning to Kenmare for the night. We then take off for the Ring of Kerry but I think we're skipping going to the famous island there (Skellig) as a landing is not guaranteed (or should we go for it???). Then continue to Dingle and spend 2 nights there (tour of Dingle Pensinula during that day). Continuing to Cliffs of Moher, stopping en route at various castles/ruins (any recommendations here) to just south of Galway, where we will be spending the night. Next morning, going back east towards Trim (sightseeing en route during the day). Spending 2 nights in Trim to visit the Hills of Tara, Valley of the Boyne, and especially the famous Toombs there. I know this is a lot of driving but we've already cut out Northern Ireland. Any suggestions would be appreciated! I should add that we're flying from Germany to Dublin, so jetlag is past :)

Posted by
1566 posts

Your itinerary is too aggressive!
In 6 days you are trying to see half the country! Yikes! Too much driving!
Narrow your focus and pick 2 counties to stay in. Since you arrive in Dublin, head either south or north. Unless you are flying out of Shannon, I would not try to do the west coast side in such a short time.
Avoid one night stays! 2 nights minimum!

Posted by
5 posts

I was afraid of that. We're over-excited to finally see Ireland and don't know whether we will be able go back. Will cut out Cliffs of Moher and Galway. This way we'll be able to spend 2 nights in each place. We're only staying north of Kilkenny the first night because we're arriving so late in Dublin and won't be able to drive all the way to Kenmare. Any other suggestions?
Thanks!

Posted by
1566 posts

I think cutting out the Ciffs of Moher is a great idea. I haven’t seen them, but the Ciffs of Kerry on the ROK are supposed to be even more beautiful and less crowded.
However, I would not try to do the Dingle peninsula and the ROK.

Posted by
1754 posts

I agree that your proposed itinerary is much too aggressive, and that the best place to start to streamline it a bit is to forget Galway and the Cliffs of Moher this trip. You'll run yourselves ragged trying to fit all of this in.
Suggest looking for accommodation between Killarney and Dingle - maybe somewhere in the vicinity of Castlemaine or Glenbeigh. Either of those would position you for easy access to both the Dingle peninsula and the ROK. As was mentioned the Kerry Cliffs, located along the pretty Skellig Ring Road, is a much better option than Moher anyway (IMHO). Plus, you'll be close to the Gap of Dunloe - probably the prettiest glen in Ireland. You'll be able to unpack once for 3 or 4 nights, settle in, and enjoy Kerry at a much more relaxed pace than what you're currently proposing.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for the replies. Helps tremendously and makes me feel less guilty cutting some of the planned itinerary (but didn't want to miss more that we have to...).

What about Newgrange, Knowth, Hill of Tara - are they worth staying in Trim for a full day (2 nights)?

Posted by
1579 posts

Try this itinerary out on Google maps and see if it would be acceptable: Dublin - Drogheda - Clonmacnoise -Dingle- Kenmare- Kilkenny- Dublin.

Drogheda is about half an hour from Dublin airport and is a good location for New Grange and Hill of Tara (not much to see at Tara except in the imagination).

Drive New Grange to Dingle with a long mid-day break at Clonmacnoise Abbey. This is a long day's drive, but you need two long-drive days to make this work. If Dingle is too far, you could stop at Limerick (Hunt Museum is worthwhile) or very touristy Adare.
Dingle - explore town and Slea Head and the Blasket Islands visitors center which is on the mainland. One full day works, although more would be lovely. If you leave late afternoon for Kenmare you would also have a good part of a second day for Dingle.

Relocate to Kenmare which is only about 60 miles from Dingle. Try for two full days there - one for ROK and one for the Beara Peninsula . Instead of doing complete rings on those, you might get more scenery if you do just the south side of ROK and just the north side of Beara.

Drive back to Dublin with a long mid-day stop at Kilkenny. This is your other long day drive.

So, one night Drogheda, two nights Dingle, three nights Kenmare. If you need to cut out a night, eliminate Drogheda, saving New Grange for another trip.

Posted by
1754 posts

"What about Newgrange, Knowth, Hill of Tara - are they worth staying in Trim for a full day (2 nights)?"
Yes. The Boyne Valley is also worth a stop, especially if you're interested in Irish history.

Posted by
359 posts

If you like history and you feel a connection to the past Newgrange is an incredible experience. If history and the near magical connection to history present in Ireland isn't in your soul Newgrange/Knowth might just be a pile of stones to you. Really depends on your interests. For my wife and I it was a life highlight.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks, Cynthia! I think we'll be cutting out Newgrange, too, and hopefully make it there some day.... We will take the advice of several who mentioned Baera and include it, and spend more time in this SW corner (Baera, ROK, Dingle) and leave it at that. I already feel relieved and now really start looking forward to a more relaxed time there. Thanks so much!