I am taking my 74 year old mother to Ireland next week for 7 nights. We fly into Shannon, the next to last night we are staying in Donegal at the Lough Eske Castle. The last night we are staying at the Inn at Dromoland in Newmarket -on - Fergus. Not even sure where that is, then leaving from Shannon the next day. The other 5 nights we can chose where we want to explore/stay for we have 5 nights at any 5 bed and breakfasts on the b and b list. This will be her 4th time there, but, has not been there in 20 years. It is my first. She wants to stay in Galway and in Cork. Any suggestions for a travel plan including these areas? We have vouchers to visit different sights ( Waterford, Guiness - ok maybe I do want to stop there, etc.) but, do not necessarily need to go to them. I know she wants to revisit the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle, Dingle. Sounds like Slea Head is beautiful and I've been told to visit the Jameson Distillery. I'd like to drive the road closest to the water/ country side. I will be doing the driving and pick up the car at 6am upon arrival at Shannon. Anybody able to map this out for me?
Not sure you can can see all of this in 5 nights. If I were you I would concentrate on the west coast and skip Cork and Dublin ( guinness and jameson)
Assuming that you are not to jet lagged, I would drive from Shannon to Dingle and stay in Dingle 2 nights. You can do the Slea Drive from there.
After the 2 nights in Dingle, I would drive to Galway and make stops at Bunratty and the cliffs on the way. This will be along day but is doable. Then 2 nights in Galway. You could do the Aran Islands here if you wanted.
On the 5th night, I would start driving towards Donegal and break up the drive by staying in Connemara or maybe Sligo. You could stop at Kylemore Abbey on the way. Stay the night in Donegal.
Then drive from Donegal back to Dromoland and then to Shannon to fly out.
This is a lot of driving and a pretty fast paced visit. Not sure if this is what you had in mind.
Any chance you can skip Donegal and just concentrate on the area between Dingle and Connamera? That is a long way to go for one night.
First, use the internet and look at the island via Google maps. Get a sense of where things are in your head. STAY on the West Coast would be the first priority in establishing a comfortable itinerary. How are you with jet lag? Driving on the opposite side of the road? If you feel certain you can do this then drive from Shannon Bunratty Castle then onto Dingle and stay two nights in Dingle. I'd add Muckross House in Killarney National Park to your itinerary while you are in Dingle. From Dingle head back towards Shannon and take the Slea Head route. Always get on the road early to beat the tourist buses. Stop in Kilrush for lunch. Then head on up to the Cliffs of Moher. Spend the night in Doolin. next morning off to Galway. Get GPS in your car rental AND go old school with a paper or laminated map as well. Signage is fine but sometimes you can take a wrong turn.
Also unless you are on a 4 lane hi way roads in Ireland are small and travel takes a bit longer than you anticipate. Watch out for lories, sheep, bicyclists, etc. LOVELY country. Enjoy your first visit!
Thank you both for your suggestions. I have to fit Cork in somehow because she has been there before and loves it. Requested to return. I think I am going to skip Guiness. If you are not allowed to see the process we can drink it in any one of the pubs. Unfortunately, I discovered the Jameson Distillery is closed until March 2017.
Sharon, when you say Donegal is a long way ...how long of a way are you talking about? I am used to driving. I think I can handle getting off the plane and getting the car. I work 16 hour eve/night shifts and then drive home 2 hours so I am not so worried about that. Also, it is not like we have to be anywhere at a specific time so we can just take it easy. Do either of you suggest any b and b's in these towns?
Galway to Donegal, I think will take you at least 3.5 hours of driving ( not including stops) . Then Donegal back to Dromoland will be more like 4 or maybe more.. that is close to 8 hours of driving for a 1 night stay.... that, to me, is too much driving for a 1 night stay but that is all personal preference.