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7 days in Ireland

Hi there!

My Husband are planning a 7 day, 7 night trip to Ireland in late May. We are flying into Dublin and out of Shannon, but I don't even know where to start as far as where to stay. Everyone seems to have a different opinion. We are interested in doing half of the southern loop and particularly interested in the southwest and the west. We are in our late twenties early thirties and interested in food, beer, music, history and nature. Basically, want to spend our days being active and our nights eating good food, drinking good beer, and listening to live music. Another thing to consider is that we want to avoid tourist traps. People keep recommending places like Adare or Kinsale, but then I hear that now they are too popular to be enjoyable. Also, which tourist traps are still worth seeing? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!


Posted by
5195 posts

Hi Jen- Rick's "back door" location of the Dingle Peninsula is well worth some time. Stay in or very near Dingle town. The area is full of historic sights, you can go on an ocean boat trip, the countryside is breathtaking, and the food (especially seafood and lamb) and beer (skip the Coors light, but also look for cider) are outstanding.

Haven't been to the Blarney Castle, but Rick Steves suggests that kissing a rock that's already covered with other peole's saliva and lipstick is a prime Tourist Trap.

For our departure the next morning from Shannon Airport, we stayed at a B&B in nearby Sixmilebridge, and got a ride to the airport. Happy travels!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all of the great info! There have been some changes to our plan. We are going to fly in and out of Shannon and want to do a west/southwest roadtrip. We still have 7 nights. I think we have narrowed down the counties that we want to visit. Galway, Clare, and Kerry. Please let me know if you think we should fit another one in there. Sad we will be missing Kilkenny, Cork and Mayo. Now I am having trouble mapping out an efficient route/itinerary. Any ideas? Thanks!

Posted by
9363 posts

What do you mean by "tourist traps....worth seeing"? In my opinion, if it is worth seeing, who cares if there are other tourists there? You aren't going to have the place to yourselves very often, even in May. Kinsale is definitely worth visiting. I also like Blarney (which some pooh-pooh but it has beautiful grounds). In May, nothing is going to be packed with people, anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Honestly, it's hard to go wrong with wherever you choose to go. You can't do everything, anyway. The rest will be there when you come back.

Posted by
30 posts

Hi Jen! My husband and I are planning the same kind of trip in May!! I also want to avoid tourist traps and Blarney is at the top of my list. I spoke with someone today who went to Ireland in 2005 with his wife and baby. He said the Ring of Kerry was his favorite part of the trip, and that you could drive it in 2 hours or 6 hours, depending on traffic, so just be prepared with food in case you want to stop and smell the roses while traffic passes you by.I have my eye on the Inch House B&B in Thurles which is close to the Rock of Cashel. There are a lot of good reviews on this place. I am also considering hiring MIchele Erdvig ( She will plan an itinerary for you for about $75. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience as she has traveled around Ireland about 50 times. I emailed her some questions which she got right back to me on.

Posted by
5195 posts

We had 2 weeks in 2011, but were traveling by bicycle, so with a car, you'd likely be able to travel more ground in less time. For what this is worth, we flew into Shannon, took the bus to Galway, and stayed in a B&B in nearby Salthill for 2 nights. On day 3, we headed out on our bikes to catch the ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran islands, where we stayed for 1 night (at the Man of Aran B&B).

We ferried back to the Irish mainland with our bikes, stopping on the way at another Arran island, and spent 3 nights at a B&B in Lisdoonvarna, visiting The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. County Clare has, arguably, the best concentration of talented Irish trad musicians & venues, but Dingle in Kerry is also extremely good.

We eventually reached Dingle, and stayed at a rented cottage just outside of town (easily reached by bike or taxi). From there, we biked over to Valencia Island, for a day trip out to Skellig Michael, the fascinating location of hermit monks over 1,000 years ago and now the home to thousands of puffins and other seabirds. Back to Shannon by way of Tralee (visit the County Kerry museum) and our last B&B in Sixmilebridge.

As Nancy noted above, you have a wealth of outstanding options, so wherever you decide, and can fit in, will make for a great trip!

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9 posts


My wife and I went in June. We arrived Sunday morning and left Friday morning. We are in our early thirties. Here is our itinerary. I did major research before we went. Renting a car was the best thing we did. A new experience for me, other side of the the car and road. Stopping not to hit sheep was fun in it of itself. We flew into Shannon and out of Dublin (from NYC). Renting a house in Dingle was much cheaper. We actually rented in Ventry not Dingle. A three story house on the water. So we stayed in in the area for two days and nights. you have to find the right bar for music. It took us three tries. Once we found a good place we stayed there all night. Eight musicians gathered. Fun as hell! We did the loop and stopped by the famous pottery place, Louis Mulcahy Pottery. I made something which they mailed back to me in the states. The scenery and history is amazing. The car made it easy and I like being on my own schedule. Tuesday morning we drove north to the Cliffs of Moher. We have pictures hanging off the ledge! Driving the back roads was awesome. The sights, people and animals were great. We took the ferry shortcut at Tarbert. That night we stayed in Dromoland. Not worth the money. Go there for the grounds and the activities. Beautiful place! It was convenient that they had American outlets for our plugs. Wednesday we toured some castles on the way to Dublin. Wednesday night and Thursday night we stayed in Powerscourt. A wow hotel. I had a connection to get a crazy deal. Thursday we toured Dublin, its shopping and bars. Friday we went home. The Powerscourt gardens were unsurpassed. South of Powerscourt there is a lot to do also. I hope this helps a little. We are already itching to go back. next time we want to go North of Dublin and to the west.