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Area south of a line from Dublin to Galway

We are going to spend around 10-11 days exploring the area south of a line from Dublin to Galway. Arriving from USA in Dublin and departing from Shannon. We like gardens, castles, beautiful villages, and spectacular scenery. What are your suggested favorites in this area? We will be driving ourselves around. Is late April/early May a good time to visit? Thanks in advance.

Posted by
6725 posts

Glendalough and Monastic City, along with the nearby Poulanass Waterfall. The 1723 woolen mill in Avoca is the oldest in Ireland. If you’ve heard of the old Irish tv show Ballykissangel, it was filmed in Avoca. The woolen mill is just outside of town. Powerscourt Waterfall Is between Dublin and Glendalough. Cahir castle was nice and it’s near the Rock of Cashel. Cobh was nice for a short visit as was Kinsale. Kilkenny was a nice visit and we also visited Muckross House in Killarney. We skipped the touristy Blarney Castle and Stone.

Posted by
1977 posts

Ring of Beara (less busy than Ring of Kerry and scenically as good) with a trip on the Dursey Island Cable car (check it is operating again).

Drive Gap of Dungloe - preferable in the evening when the jaunting cars and walkers have gone.

Explore the limestone scenery of the Burren - it is unlike anywhere else in Ireland. The drive around the coast from Doolin to Kinvarra is some of the best. If Cliffs of Moher are a must see, do them by boat rather than from on top.

I know it is a bit north of Galway, but the Sky Road Drive from Clifden is one of the best short drives in the world on a sunny day.

Posted by
6788 posts

The entire west coast is spectacular. For us, on a trip that seemed to be all highlights, the highlights-of-the-highlights included several magical places not yet mentioned:

  • Inishmor (in the Aran islands, off the coast near Galway)
  • The entire Dingle peninsula (including the town of the same name)
  • Great Blasket Island, off the coast near Dingle
  • Skellig Michael

Late April/early May can be nice, but be prepared for at least some non-trivial amount of atmospheric moisture, exactly how much you get will depend on your luck. I was there in June and actually got a sunburn, but it's a very green place (it's called "the emerald island" for a reason).

The boats out to Skellig Michael usually don't start until sometime in May. I would plan my whole trip to allow a landing on the island (if shifting it a few days would allow you to do the island landing trip, I'd certainly make that adjustment).

You do have the guidebook, no?

Posted by
509 posts

See the Dingle Peninsula, which is south of Galway on the west coast of Ireland. In 2010, I walked the 100-mile-long Dingle Way trail (, one of the best things I have done in 17 trips outside of North America.

There are three things that might appeal to you: 1. Visit Dingle Town, one of the most charming villages in all of Ireland, on the south coast of Dingle. 2. See Minard Castle, one of the coolest castles of the 50 or so I have seen in Ireland. It's somewhat off the tourist track, but easy to get to with a car. I didn't see one tourist on my visit. 3. Climb Mount Brandon on the north coast of Dingle against the Atlantic Ocean. It's only 2,500 feet and has a relatively gentle grade. I climbed up and down it in about three to four hours.

A postscript: Dingle is awash in Celtic, early Christian and Norman antiquities. Two of the more popular are the beehive Christian huts from the fourth century AD and the Gallarus Oratory. If you like antiquities, there aren't too many places that can top Dingle in Ireland or even greater Europe.