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Any suggestions, modifications to our 9 nights in Ireland

My wife and I are heading to Ireland (arriving 10/1) in celebration of our 15th anniversary and will be there for 9 nights. This will be our first time!

Day/Night 1
We arrive at approximately 11:30 a.m. After picking up our rental car, we will be driving to Dun Laoghaire and staying the Royal Marine for the night.

Day/Night 2
Have a leisurely morning at the hotel, explore a bit and then head to Glendalough.
The plan is to spend a few hours exploring Glendalough and the surrounding area before heading to Kilkenny for the night. May do Smithwicks tour. Staying at Butler's Court.

Day/Night 3
Explore Kilkenny in the morning.
Early lunch in Kilkenny
Drive to Rock of Cashel
Spend a few hours there.
Depart for Kinsale. Staying two nights at Friars Lodge (FL)

Day/Night 4
Tour Kinsale area from morning until lunch.
Head to Midelton Distillery for tour after lunch
Return to Kinsale for final night at FL.

Day/Night 5
Leisurely morning.
Head to Cliffs of Moher...tour there
Drive to Galway after Cliffs.
Staying at Petra House for two nights, but no immediate plans once we arrive this day.

Day/Night 6
May drive to Knock for Mass but those are our only plans at the moment.
One more night at Petra House

Day/Night 7
Wake in Galway but have completely open plans
Don't know where we are staying.

Day/Night 8 - this is our actual anniversary :-)
Drive back to Dublin.
Return rental car.
Staying at Buswell Hotel
Will be doing the Folklore dinner at The Brazen Head
No other plans this day.
My brother wants me to go to a pub called The Celt.

Day/Night 9
Trinity College & Book of Kells in the morning
Thinking about EPIC museum
Not much planned after that.
Staying at Buswell hotel

Day 10 - Fly home.

Things we are thinking about:
Falconry Tour at Ashford Castle

Totally open to experienced insight.

Posted by
16 posts

I claim no expertise but did just get back two days ago. Since we did not venture further south than Galway after leaving Dublin I have no information to share. We did however do the Ireland School of Falconry at Ashford Castle - totally worth it! Dave was our guide/handler and he did an excellent job. When returning the car to Dublin airport, it was well marked which calmed some anxiety. We got to the airport at 9:30 and by the time we were through USPC it was 11:20 and our flight would have been boarding at 11:35 had there not been a delay - to me that was too close (I travel for work, so I felt prepared but the lines were long). It may depend on your departure time. Also, instant Nescafe is the coffee beverage of choice, we knew that ahead of time and took a French press with our own coffee. (I did post a trip report if you're interested.)

Posted by
7 posts

Thanks for the info. Very helpful. I’d love to read the post trip report. Also, what were your favorite things about Galway and the surrounding area?

Posted by
243 posts

Falconry tour at Ashford Castle was an amazing part of an incredible trip. I talked a few friends into doing it and they loved it.

We stayed in Westport as a homebase and had an incredible time. You may want to consider staying in westport or Clifden.

Posted by
7 posts

Excellent. Thank you! Will definitely do the falconry tour and will check out the towns you mentioned.

Posted by
4 posts

My advice is to add 30% to estimated drive times and to limit total daily driving to 2 to 2.5 hours if possible. You are there to experience the culture, not drive by it. I think you said you are going in Sept, so days will be short. I do not recommend driving in the dark.
Just found a great website for Kinsale, probably our favorite town of 10 or more we stayed in. You could easily stay 3 nights and use it as a base for day trips. Great food, and great craic at night. That goes for Westport too, which someone else recommended. And yes, getting through security as well as redeeming your Value Added Tax at airport will take longer than you think. We left Galway our last night and stayed instead in Althone, on the motorway and River Shannon, and only 1.5 hrs from airport. The town was a hidden gem. Get a place to stay within walking distance of river/heart of town, because it's traffic flow is such that we ended up driving twice as far home, as we did to get there, and we were less than 2mi from that area!

Posted by
1770 posts

We really enjoyed the walk along the river to upper lake while at Glendalough. While we did go to the monastery, we enjoyed the sunny day strolling with the locals more.

If you decide on Clifden, I have a fabulous BnB you might enjoy. Just PM if interested.

Posted by
1168 posts

Another vote for Dunmore cave outside of Kilkenny and the Falconry experience at Ashford was amazing

In Dublin, I highly recommend Kilmainham gaol. You will need to buy tickets ahead of time as it seems out fast.

Posted by
138 posts

We spent nearly 4 weeks last month driving around southeastern and Southern Ireland. One thing we noticed was that it always took much longer to get somewhere (both in miles and time) than Apple maps or Google maps showed. We soon learned to build in extra time! But, Irish drivers are not aggressive and are exceedingly polite (at least by Florida standards) so that was a benefit, especially on some of those narrow side and backroads. And do try to get to the Smithwicks Experience in Kilkenny. You get a very decent draft at the end!