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11 Nite Itinerary Review and Opinions

We are traveling to Ireland for our 30th anniversary in the early summer and I could sure use some pros and cons for our 11 nite itinerary. It’s our first time to Ireland, and while we have a full itinerary with things we’d like to see and do, if we don’t get to everything it will be fine, as we want to enjoy ourselves along the way. We are pretty easy going and are just as anxious to take in the beautiful scenery as to meet and speak with people along the way.

We are flying into Dublin arriving 7:30 AM .
So this is what I’ve got so far:
Day 1 and 2 - 2 Nites in Dublin - booked Staunton on the Green ( however I might switch to an AirBnB).
Will do as much as we can on the first day depending on Jet lag - hop on/hop off, Book of Kells, Guinness, etc. and Day 2 we’d like to do an early trip to Howth returning to Dublin in afternoon and continue exploring the city,

Day 3 - our plan is to drive to Kilkenny for 1 nite (picking up a rental car in the morning) seeing Powerscourt, driving through Wicklow Mountains and seeing Glendalough along the way. I don’t have a reservation yet in Kilkenny for a B&B overnight. Was hoping to get into Butler Court but its already booked out. I would like to stay as close to town as possible so we can tour on foot and leave the car. parked. When we get into Kilkenny , hopefully around 3, we would like to check out the Castle and the Design Center, and walk the town.

Day 4 we will drive from Kilkenny to Kinsale and spend 1 nite . Not In a huge rush to leave early, and we will stop to see Rock of Cashel along the way and MAYBE Blarney Castle. We will spend nite at B&B in Kinsale. Really would have liked to stay at Old Presbytery Inn but they require 2 Nites so I am trying to book Cloisters or the Olde Bakery. Once In Kinsale we will try for a relaxing afternoon just seeing the town

Days/Nites 5 & 6 We thought we would drive from Kinsale to *Kenmare* for 2 nite stay Hoping to book 2 nites at Shelbourne House when they open up reservations again. Not sure how to plan the drive from Kinsale to Kenmare and what to see along the way - so many options.

Days Nites 7 & 8 Drive from Kenmare to Dingle for a 2 nite stay . We are booked at Bambury's. in Dingle Again, trying to figure out what would be the best route to take and what to see along the way from Kenmare to Dingle.
While in the area of Kenmare and Dingle we are interested in The Ring of Kerry, Ring of Beara, Dingle Pennisula, Slea Head, Killarney Park, Muckross House, Torc Waterfall and I'm sure I've overlooked a few awesome sights. I know we wont get to see everything, and I've already reached out to Kenmare Taxi Tours' - Paul Brown today to see if its too early (or too late) to book him for at least 2 days of tours while we are in those areas so we can see as much as possible.

So that leaves us with 2 more days/nites which we figured we would split between Doolin and Bunratty. We will fly out from Shannon on a late afternoon flight. We'd like to see the Cliffs of Mohr, I figure we can catch the ferry after leaving Dingle and take in the Cliffs. spending the nite in Doolin. I'm planning to book the Roadhouse. My husband wants to do the Hawk Walk at Dromoland Castle, I would like see Adare and also check out the Folk Park and Castle at Bunratty and do the Medieval Dinner (the early one). Trying to find an accommodation in Bunratty - already closed out of the Courtyard sadly.

So looking for opinions if we are allotting the right amount of time in places or if there is anything to add or skip and also for best bang for the buck routes to take between Kinsale and Kenmare and Kenmare and Dingle.

Posted by
448 posts

We used Paul in Kenmare for the RofK, great choice. I would not use Paul for your Beara tour, you can do that yourself pretty easily and Paul will help you decide where/how to circle the pens, assuming your day with Paul is prior to doing Beara. I enjoyed the Cliffs of Kerry as much as the Cliffs of Mohr. We drove from Killarney thru Molls Gap on our way from Dingle and I would suggest you go "around" that route on your trip unless you are very comfortable with the narrow drive on the left roads, its a great sight seeing drive but we were lucky as we were going anti the busses but missed them due to the time of day. Paul would have taken us thru that route and I would suggest making that trek with Paul at the wheel....we only went to the café in Avoca with Paul and he planned other locations due to us having already done the Killarney to Kenmare thru Molls Gap route. We stayed at http://ashfieldkenmare.com/ in Kenmare and it ws nice if your other idea doesn't work out. In Doolin try to stay at http://www.dalys-doolin.com/ she is one great lady, is very very helpful and the spot is great. Also if you are in Doolin on the correct night take in the Doolin Music House! https://www.doolinmusichouse.com/ They get together early in the evening allowing for visits to other Doolin pubs and more food and music. We also enjoyed the boat tour up along the Cliffs of Mohr. I don't know about the Hawk Walk at Dromoland Castle but the hawk walk we did up at the Ashford Castle in Cong was fantastic and not to be missed.

Posted by
1524 posts

We stayed at the Bunratty Castle Hotel and can recommend it.

Its right across the street from the castle.
You will be driving a lot with this itinerary. And checking into and out of places.
I would focus on just two or three counties. Slow is really better.

Posted by
4 posts

Than you both for your replies and recommendations.

You have a good point about all the driving, I do hate to feel like I’m missing out on someplace special but would it be wiser to skip the nite in Kilkenny and stay 2 Nites in Kinsale instead? And skip the overnight in Doolin and stay for 3 Nites in Dingle or Kenmare? This way we would have 2 Nites Dublin, 2 Nites in Kinsale, 2 or 3 in Kenmare, 2 or 3 in Dingle and last nite in Bunratty? Which would be a better base for the three Nites?

Posted by
448 posts

Sorry we didn't visit Kinsale or Bunratty so I cant share about those locations. If you do a RofK with Paul and also are considering a self drive tour of Beara you may need three nights in Kenmare, two at the least. Paul's tour is a long day and you will wnt to be settled into your B&B or hotel so you can get the whole day. That will leave you with a second day for Beara and any other spots in that area you want to visit. Paul can help with recommendations. I would give extra time to Dingle and suggest at least three days in Dingle and would not hesitate to take extra days there if you are trying to decide how to split things up. We also did a half day driving tour with Denis Ryan from Dingle as the tour guide and it was really nice. We did his tour the first full morning (Slea Head drive) and it helped us decide where we wanted to do self drive the other days. If you enjoy music, pubs, good food, and shops Dingle and the Dingle Pens. has a ton of stuff to do.....but (and I know this only makes your decision harder) Doolin is pretty cool and the Cliffs of Mohr are awesome and have an easily accessible viewing area if you are not hikers! We also did a boat ride out and viewed the cliffs from the water side and it was pretty cool....this was on the recommendation of Susan at our B&B. If I had to decide which town to give the most days to between Dingle and Kenmare I would choose Dingle....tuff choice!!

Posted by
4 posts

Such decisions....thank you for your valuable advice...I've decided to cut out Doolin and Cliffs of Mohr, so below is how it's looking. If anyone has any opinions or advice on this itinerary please let me know. I am considering dropping the nite in Kinsale also, and driving straight from Kilkenny to Kenmare stopping at Rock of Cashel along the way. Then I would add the extra nite in Kenmare. This way I could do the Hawk Walk on the extra day instead of the day we drive to Dingle and have free time to just hang out in Kenmare. I don't want to be SO busy running and driving from One place to the next that we miss the time to be with people in the pubs and shops etc.

Day 1 & 2 Dublin. We will explore Dublin, do the Hop on Hop Off, and do a morning trip to Howth on day 2.
Day 3 - we will pick up our car and drive to Kilkenny stopping at Powerscourt, driving thru the Wicklow Mtns and stopping at Glendalough. (How long should this take - as I'd like to have a few hours to explore Kilkenny when we arrive). Overnight in Kilkenny.
Day 4- Drive to Kinsale stopping at Rock of Cashel and possibly Cahir . Overnight in Kinsale
Day 5 Drive to Kenmare - stop at Clonakilty then head straight on N71 so we have the some of the afternoon to relax in Kenmare.
OR SKIP KINSALE AND ADD EXTRA DAY/NITE TO KENMARE
Day 6 - Ring of Beara Tour (hopefully with Paul Brown) so we don't have to drive.

Night in Kenmare.
Day 7 - FULL DAY - Drive to Dingle via Ring of Kerry. My plan would be to drive up to Killarney, stopping at Molls Gap, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Muckrose House and Ross Castle then and do the Hawk Walk at Killarney Falconary. After the Hawk Walk we we head to Dingle quickest route we could. Spend nite in Dingle.
Day 8 - free day around Dingle . Spend nite in Dingle
Day 9 - Dingle Pennisula/Slea Head Tour (hopefully with Denis Ryan) . Spend Nite in Dingle
Day 10 - Drive to Bunrattythrough Tralee, Adare and via the Limerick Tunnel to Bunratty. Will stop at Adare and plan to be in Bunratty in time for the 5:30 Dinner at the Castle . Unfortunately Cliffs of Mohr will have to wait until next trip.

Posted by
1524 posts

Kenmare and Dingle are not really in the same area. Remember, if you only have two days at each location, that gives you one day to see stuff. The other day is spent driving to the location.
If you are in Dingle you can do the Slea Head drive and then skip Ring of Kerry.

If you want to do Muckross House that is in Killarney and you need one day to do that.
Planning for two nights in each location is a better idea.

Posted by
4 posts

I agree that it was too much drive time. I’ve revised the itinerary and added a day so we could depart from Shannon. So now I’ve got:
2 Nites Dublin
1 Nite Kilkenny
3 Nites Kenmare
3 Nites Dingle
1 Nite Doolin

This should enable us to have the time to actually enjoy the time we have a bit more. I was even able to secure a tour date with Paul Brown when we are in Kenmare, so pretty excited about that. I like having a plan to refer to even though we may not stick to it in full or get to everything at least there’s an outline of possibilities.

Posted by
409 posts

I like the suggestion above that says stick to 2 or 3 counties. That's what I tell my visitors, too.

Since you're skipping Cliffs of Moher yet are relaxed for the 3 nights in Kenmare, I'd be sure to put The Kerry Cliffs on the itinerary while you're on Iveragh (that's the peninsula where Ring of Kerry is, and where Kenmare is located)! The Kerry Cliffs are on The Skellig Loop / The Skellig Ring (a loop OFF of the Ring of Kerry) and every guest I've taken there has said "these are better than Cliffs of Moher" - and for the doubters, I have that on video, for some!

Another option if Paul isn't available, is Iveragh Historical Tours. They have 5 choices depending on your interests. Archaeology; History; etc.....

You mention the arts center in Kilkenny - are you into art? If so, Cill Rialaig may be worth a stop (also on Skellig Loop).

Susan
Expat in Waterville