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7 nights between Kerry and Donegal Counties

Planning our family spring break trip for this coming April for a total of 10 nights. We fly-in and out of Dublin. Our first two nights will be in Dublin, the last night will be near the Dublin Airport. I'm working on sorting out the 7 nights in between.

My initial thoughts are 3 nights in Dingle, 1 night somewhere in-between Dingle and Donegal County (Galway?), and 3 nights in somewhere in Donegal County as a base, perhaps Letterkenny.

I know its a quite the distance between Dingle and Letterkenny, with a night stop along the way. Do you think that this is too ambitious? We prefer the countryside to bigger cities. In Kerry County our priorities would be the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. Up in Donegal, we would be Slieve League, Glenveagh National Park, Londonderry, maybe Giants Causeway.


Posted by
509 posts

I believe your plans are too ambitious to go between Dingle and Letterkenny. If you're driving, the traffic in western Ireland doesn't move as swiftly as it does in the U.S. (if you're American). Plus, you'll be covering a lot of ground since you'll be starting and ending in Dublin with stops in Northern Ireland as well as the West. All of that is pushing it for just 10 days' time.

Could you extend your visit to 14 days? I guarantee you won't regret four extra days. Then maybe you could accommodate your ambitious plans. Once you see Ireland, you are likely to become entranced by it. For just 10 days, you might be rushing instead of enjoying. I have visited the Ireland five times: I kept going back because I couldn't get enough of it.

If you stick with your plans, Galway is a good halfway point between Dingle and Donegal. However, Westport might be a better one.

In Dingle in 2010, I hiked 100 miles on the Dingle Way trail for seven days. Dingle is stunningly beautiful. I have also been to Dublin, Galway, Letterkenny, Glenveagh the Giant's Causeway and Derry as well as Dingle.

Two ideas: maybe fly back to the US from Shannon International Airport in the West of Ireland. That way, you don't have to drive all the way back to Dublin at the end of your trip. Also, cut either the Ring of Kerry or Dingle from your plans. Maybe see just one of them. They're both beautiful, but you want to do other things. That way, you have time to fit everything in.

Posted by
1965 posts

It would work. You need an overnight between Dingle and Donegal and Galway City is as good as anywhere. Rather than Letterkenny, I would look for somewhere more around Donegal town- more interesting place/scenery and access to some excellent coastline too.

Don’t forget three nights only effectively gives you just over two full days in a place. Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula will take up all your time in Dingle. Donegal is a lot more ambitious and I’m not sure you will have time for Londonderry and Gian’’s Causeway. I would suggest you spend the days exploring Donegal rather than trying to cram in Northern Ireland too.

Don’t underestimate driving times in Ireland. It will take a lot longer to cover distances than you might expect. Most roads are slow and traffic won’t be going much more than 40mph and possibly slower. An Irish funeral can really snarl places up too. Then add in sheep, slow moving vehicles ...

Posted by
8 posts

You could do it, but that is a lot of driving. You are probably looking at 30 hours behind the wheel. You might consider dropping off the northern part of that trip. Go straight to Killarney for one night, Ring of Kerry the next day around to Portmagee; go out to the Skellig Islands (book ahead; make sure available at that time of year; will be the highlight of the trip) then on to Dingle, stay in Dingle two nights, Slea Head drive the first day then head north the 2nd day; take the ferry at Tarbert on your way to Cliffs of Moher; stay in Doolin; The Burren on your way to Galway; Aran Islands either from Doolin or Galway; then Galway to Dublin.

You could alternatively do a northern route. Dublin to Belfast; stay in Belfast and do one of the black cab tours of the Troubles (fascinating); then to north coast; stay around Bushmills area; Giants Causeway; Carrick rope bridge; Bushmills distillery; then over to Dunfanaghy. Beautiful open beaches there and there is a trail called Horn Head Loop that is stunning. No need to trek to Slieve League if you do Horn Head. Also, that base is close to Glenveagh. Then to Westport. Charming town. Westport to Dublin.