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7 day itinerary - what makes sense?

I'm going to Ireland for the first time in early April 2019. I have to fly in and out of Dublin so planning on 1st/last night there. For my other 5 nights I plan on seeing Clare, Galway and maybe a pit stop in Mayo. This is what I need advice on. The Mayo stop is because I have family there so I am potentially going to see the farm where my Great grandmother grew up in Bekan. But I realize its in the middle of no where and I only want to devote a day or less to that. So now I have 4 full days left and probably 5 nights (I dont want to sleep in Mayo, just visit for an afternoon or something). Does it make sense to split 4 days/5 nights between Clare and Galway?

In Clare I want to see the Burren (my great grandfather grew up there), also the Cliffs of Moher. O'Donoghue's Pub in Fanore (a link to my g-grandfather), Murrooghkilly (just to see where he lived quickly), then other things I wrote down as possible things to see are Corcomrow Abbey, Doolin, Ennis, Bunratty Castle, Poulnabrone Dolmen. I also want to find my great great grandfathers grave. He died in Murroogh in 1902. No clue where he'd be buried, but I figure not far? Can Clare be seen pretty well in 2 full days?

In Galway I have more cousins I have never met that I would like to maybe see (like for a quick beer in a pub or something). They live in Gort, which seems pretty close to Clare. I also would like to see Galway City, maybe Clifden, some of Connemara, Kylemore Abbey, Mannin Bay Blueway, and Dunguaire Castle. These are mostly just sites I have seen that look interesting to me. I am prepared to drop things that don't make sense.

I also want time to CHILL and sightsee in small towns and villages. I think I'd like to stay places that are interesting at night, where I can walk to a pub or 2 in the evenings. I'm wondering if I could do a day in each County where I drive around and see multiple sights, then another day thats more relaxed?

So can these things in Clare and Galway be done in 4 full days? I am thinking all day Monday - Thursday and on Friday morning I will drive back to Dublin. Am I missing any things that I really should see while I'm in Galway or Clare? Its just me and my friend so no kids to worry about. Thanks!!

Posted by
1863 posts

Mayo, Galway and Clare are right next to each other. So yes, this is doable, but you will be driving quite a bit. Not sure why you want to see Galway city??? Connemara is the most beautiful part of western Ireland IMHO. Just realize, looking for graves, visiting with family, driving, eating etc. It all takes more time then you think.

You are renting a car? I hope!

Posted by
38 posts

Maybe I dont need to see Galway City. I just figured since its there...

I will be renting a car, but I dont want to spend all day in the car. Which is why I'm asking what makes sense.

Posted by
5191 posts

On a bike trip a few years ago, traveling slower than you will by car, we had a couple nights in Galway, then set off by bike, staying at a B&B in Lisdoovarna for 3 nights to explore County Clare and The Burren.

We’ve leaving tomorrow for our second visit to Ireland, this time with a car, and starting again in Galway (just 1 night) before heading to Clifden, whose annual Arts Festival is going on right now, then north to county Mayo and Achill Island, then farther north still. So we’re taking our time, but with a car, plan to be able to cover more ground and see more each day, then if we were pedaling everywhere.

You should be able to cover a lot of ground as well, but if you’re planning on some quality time in pubs, Ireland’s strict drunk driving laws mean that we’ll be done driving for the day once we have even one drink. That could influence staying in a town big enough to have the pub availability it sounds like you might be seeking.

Posted by
38 posts

I do want to see some pubs but I am not a big drinker. I am more thinking that I would stay in an area where at night I could walk to dinner/pub and walk back to where I am staying. At lunch maybe 1 beer (i honestly dont even know if I could consume a pint of Guinness), and staying for 1-2 hours before driving again. I am not a big drinker. More likely to have one at dinner than during the day to be honest.

I am wondering now if I should nix Galway and just spend all of my free days in Clare. That would give me more time to do things and less running about. Maybe I could hit one of the Aran Islands for a night? Is that possible in early April? I would have 4 full days and 4-5 nights then to see the Cliffs, Ennis, Doolin, the Burren, visit relatives in Gort, and maybe spend a day in the Aran Islands? Plus I would still have my first and last nights in Dublin and a day to see relatives in Mayo if that works out.

I have a feeling this wont be my only trip to Ireland so I could always do Galway/Connemara on another trip.