We are planning a second trip to Ireland. On our first trip we did Dublin, Cobh, Cork and back to Dublin. On this trip we are thinking about flying into Shannon and doing a loop on the west coast. All of the itinerary loops I've seen travel the coast around the island. Are there any good routes that would take us through the middle of the isle? We are two 60-year-old adults traveling and plan to rent a car.
A little more information would be helpful. How many days will you have? What kinds of things/places do you like to see - what are your interests? This will help us to give you good suggestions and recommendations.
A a couple of 60 year-olds ourselves. I have been going to Ireland since I was 19. The coasts are where the beauty is located. I have tried to pry some, "Oh my gosh" beauty out of the central plain. It is nice, but for a first trip fly into Shannon, skip Limerick. Near Shannon is Gort and a nice abbey ruin near by. (A five year-old told me it was a good place to dragon hunting.) A comfortable place to land and spend a night or for the departure.
If you haven't driven on the "wrong side" before, Shannon is a great place to start. But you have, none the less, it is a comfortable place to get back in the saddle.
Skip the Ring of Kerry, it is for bus tours. A car is too short to see over the hedges.
Two options. Head northwest of Galway and do Connemara. Between Oughterard and Westport. Or County Clare which is southwest of Galway. Each is worth it. Connemara is rugged Irish scenery and has Cong Abbey. Clifden is a good place to set up shop. And the only fjiord in Ireland, Killary Harbor, Not a Norwegian fjiord but pretty.
Clare has the Burren, Doolin, megalithic tombs, some lovely villages and the market town of Ennis. Ballyvaughan is a good place to locate. There is a road (R480?) heading south out of there with megalithic tombs. A real Irish experience, that means sheep poop is involved, is to find Cahercommaun. Not Caherconnell as it is a rebuilt, pay to view, ring fort, but with a nice coffee shop. Maybe the easiest is to continue south on the R480 to Leamaneh Castle. Turn left (east) on the R476 go 3.5 km until there is a road that heads to the left (north) go 5km. Keep on it until you pass the only four way intersection. After 5km on this road keep your eyes peeled on the right side Cahercommaun It is signposted. Follow the first ten yard's directions carefully or you end up in someone's farmhouse.
Thanks for the great advice.
Carol - My family of 4 drove Dublin to Doolin and stopped in Clonmacnoise and Athlone on the way. Clonmacnoise is a monastic site, on the Shannon River with a visitor center and high crosses. Very historic and scenic. We then had dinner at Kin Khao Thai restaurant in Athlone which was very good. The area had several peat bogs. We also looped up near Clifden and Westport after our lunch stop in Galway's historic old town.