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Doolin- does it hold authentic experience any more?

Hi, we are 50 and 60 something seasoned travelers.. Never have been to Ireland. Coming into Shannon airport at 9:00, and plan to drive to either Ennis or Doolin for 2 nights stay. Most of what we want to see : the Burren and Ballyvaughn, is closer to Doolin than Ennis.
We'd drive to Doolin to stay if it felt fine and cosy. If not , we'd rather stay in the country round Ennis and drive up.
We will be moderately tired and will have to navigate around, left hand driving etc.
Musts: the Burren , birds of prey in Ballyvaugh. Maybe: Cliffs of Moher.
Thoughts please.

Thanks much.,
Mary and Tom

Posted by
2246 posts

Hi Mary & Tom, our experience here was only with Doolin; we had dinner at Gus O'Connor's Pub in Doolin, really good food and local music, and stayed at the Moher Lodge B & B about ten km away. O'Connors is a good sized place, was very busy in September but not so busy as to be a problem-lots of fun. We ate a pile of food, pints of Guinness, and dessert for about 30 euro. I had read that Doolin wasn't what it used to be, but we spent a very nice evening there, and Mary and Patrick at Moher Lodge were excellent hosts-a peat fire burning when we arrived. I highly recommend the Cliffs, try to get there either early morning before the tours, or late pm after they're gone. On the rental car, I recommend that you take the CDW and buy your deductible down to zero-Ireland is hard on cars! An automatic transmission is likely available too, and a good idea with everything else to pay attention to. We really loved Ireland, you'll have a great time.

Posted by
1868 posts

First went to Doolin maybe fifteen years ago and had lovely B&B and great night at Gus o'connors pub, don't remember eating there. Understand the music is still great. We last went there this October during the day. This was fourth time and will never go back again at least during the day. We waited twenty minutes for tour buses, two of them, letting off in front of the pubs. Would stay in Lisdoonvarna, not too far away and we found it gave us something to see during the day. Did not enjoy Ennis, too much a feel of a small city. We ate dinner there and had a nice evening at a pub with lovely musicians but that was about it. Depending on how tired you are, you could stop off at the Cliffs on way towards Doolin or Lisdoonvarna as that would give you a chance to walk in the fresh air and stay awake. Haven't been there when there were tour buses there, we have only gone early morning or later in afternoon. Whatever you decide, you will enjoy.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you Dave and Gail.
The trip is a work in progress. We'll be going in mid-May.
The more research I do, the more places I want to experience. We'll be in the Southwest a total of 8 days. Any comments or advice much appreciated.
All the best,

Posted by
2246 posts

Mary & Tom, the highlight of our time in the Dingle area was a half day Slea Head tour we took with Denis Ryan, I highly recommend Denis for a really unique look at the area. Here is a link to the Tripadvisor page, and you can click through to Denis' site and watch his video of the tour. We met him at the T.I. in Dingle and he did the driving, leaving us to see all the great sights and listen to his deep knowledge of the area, in particular the archaeological treasures. For an even better look, you can do a full day rather than a half.

Also, we had a great time at Killarney National Park and Muckross House and Gardens, we took the corny looking at first horse carriage ride and had a blast with a nice old guy named Michael who rode us around for an hour or two.

Posted by
13 posts

Doolin is grand, but definitely don't go mid-day because the tour buses will be totally overwhelming. Just go in the evening, and enjoy a pint while you wait for a table next to the trad at Gus O'Connors- you'll have a great time :)
You might think about taking the ferry from Doolin out to the Aran Islands (you can rent a bicycle there or even better, hop on a horse and carriage just off the ferry), such a beautiful, scenic and peaceful half-day excursion.

Posted by
7 posts

We spent 4 nights in Doolin in 2012 and after leaving and going to Kenmare, we decided to go back to Doolin for another 3 nights. We found it to be a great jumping off point to visit the Burren, Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher and the nearby countryside. I would highly recommend two different B & Bs - Daly House or Doll's Cottage. Both are easy walking distance to all the pubs for nightly music. They're both just up the hill from Gus O'Connors Pub and are actually owned by Gus's son and daughter, Sean O'Connor and Susan O'Connor Daly.

We're actually going back this summer for another five nights. The traditional music during the summer is fabulous!

Posted by
266 posts

We loved Doolen for 3 nights last April. Stayed at Kate's Place just up the hill from Gus O'Connell's Pub. Kate is Susan's daughter, running her own inn now with her husband, a musician whom she met at Gus'. Didn't stay around during the day but we took day trips to the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, and Arren Islands. All the innkeepers in the area know each other so if you can't get in one inn they can usually suggest a few others. Beautiful area and wish we had spent more time in the Burren. Spent every evening at the Pub with good food, authentic music and Guinness.