We are completing a RS Best of Sicily tour on March 19 and will fly to Dublin early that day. We have 6 nights in Ireland before leaving for the NW from Dublin. (All flights are locked in. ) This is a first trip to Ireland. My research tells me that rural attractions, even in March, are preferable to more time in Dublin. If we spend the first two nights, and the last, in Dublin, what is a realistic rural excursion for the balance of our time? Thanks for any suggestions.
First, I would save all time in Dublin for the end of the trip. When you land in Dublin just head to your first destination. Will you be relying on public transportation (not great in Ireland) or will you rent a car? Be aware that some B&B's in small towns will be closed in March.
Rural Ireland is best visited by car, especially with 3 nights. Are you willing to rent a car and drive on the other side of the road? Many people find that daunting.
The western coast usually gets the brunt of the Atlantic weather - cold, windy, rainy. It's wonderfully beautiful on a sunny day, otherwise it can be a huge disappointment. At least in the cities, there are plenty of things to see and do inside. If you stay in Dublin, you can take day trips if the weather's fine. There is good train service to Belfast for a day trip or an overnighter. You can easily spend hours in the pubs, chatting with the locals, whether you drink or not.
From Dublin airport, ww.viamichelin.com suggests that you cold drive as far as Dingle in five hours, or to Cashel in only two hours. Getting a jump on that travel time sounds more efficient than staying in Dublin at the start and you could do just two nights in Dublin at the end.
You can expect cold and rain in March, so be prepared. We recommend a Gore-Tex parka, umbrella, gloves and hat as basic equipment. Don't go out without them. There will be some kind of rain nearly every day.
If it's not too late, let us suggest the Ariel House as your base in Dublin. It's ranked #5 of all Dublin Hotels on TripAdvisor, but it's priced like a regular hotel at about $150 per night. The breakfasts are legendary and included in the room price. It's located in Ballsbridge, which is right on the edge of the embassy district and you can walk to downtown Dublin from there in about 20 minutes. Plus, it's one block from the Landsdowne Station.
You can take day trips from Dublin to:
- Trim Castle and the Hill of Tara
- The Rock of Cashel
If you use Dublin as your base, you won't need to pack and unpack all the time. The Landsdowne Station will take you south to Wexford, or you can just take it into town to the main stations for other trips. The bus tours leave from downtown.
Dublin is a lovely place for walking and full of delightful restaurants, pubs, museums and other attractions. The On/Off Bus is a great bargain (you get two days of tours if you book in advance) and a good way to get an introduction to the city. A visit to the Abbey Theatre or the Gate Theatre is also highly recommended. For a quiet, traditional pub try the Palace Bar at 39 Fleet Street.
Yes, bodo is right. Take in a play. I saw excellent performances at both the Abbey and the Gate in August, with prices much much lower than in London.
Thank you for the insights and suggestions. Need to think about this a bit more, as I might not have been headed in the right direction. Since we are longtime residents of the Northwest, we have been assuming that weather would be very similar to our usual March experience. At least we have the gear to take on any rain and wind that we expect will come our way. Thanks again to all.