We are flying into Shannon to start a 12 day West Coast trip in Ireland. Thinking of driving up to Galway first and spending four nights there and visiting surrounding areas. Then going south. What two other towns should we stay at to complete our Ireland, small town, experience? Doolin? Killarney? Dingle? Thank you so much in advance!!
Thank you Eric.
I recommend Leenane, Clifden and Doolin (especially for lively traditional music in its three pubs), all in Co. Galway.
Kenmare is very nice, and is very close to Killarney National Park, which is wonderful.
Thank you Inbsig and David!!
I don't see many recommendations for Limierick, but it's one of the nearest towns to Shannon airport (actually it's a city), and it seems like it would be worth at least an overnight visit.
In the other direction (north) from Shannon airport is Ennis. In contrast to Limerick, I haven't seen much information about Ennis being attractive for tourism.
What do others think about either of these, or both?
Thanks! I am looking for about 3 hubs. From each one I can go out and explore various sites. I have been to Galway but thought it would be good to go a bit north. Now looking for 2 more.
By all means, also do the Connemara loop along the N59 and R336/R345: Galway-Oughterard-Clifden-Letterfrack-Leenane-Galway. Before Clifden and southwest of Recess pop into Roundstone, a lovely seaside village on the R341. There, you can visit Roundstone Musical Instruments where the iconic Irish drum, the bodhran, is made.
For some exquisite scenery (which is also all of Connemara) and absolute tranquility, take the north-south R344 route through the Inagh Valley between Recess and the area near Kylemore Abbey.
I was just looking at the loop David. Figure we would drive to Galway and stay the night. Then do 3 days/2nites on the loop. Back to Galway for a couple nights. Then south. Doolin for my husband. I have been there twice. Then…
And I second Eric’s recommendation, definitely Dingle. It’s a scenic drive there and driving its peninsula is a short trip offering dramatic mountainous scenery; perhaps the most mountainous area in Ireland. The shopping in Dingle is great and so are the pubs. This is a place to hang out at night and drink your pint of Guinness and listen to the music, have fun.
Thank you Mary, done deal.
Oh, recommend B and B’s?
Ireland has hundreds of wonderful B&Bs from which to choose. In nine trips all over the country, every one of our accommodations has been a unique treat. B&Bs are immaculately clean and attractive, the hosts warm and welcoming and the breakfasts wonderful. And staying with an Irish family only enhances the experience of traveling in this wonderful country.
It's been a while since we've been back, but here's one B&B in the towns I've mentioned that is still open: https://www.accommodationdoolin.com. It's right behind O'Connor's Pub, the "mecca" of trad music in Ireland.
Other B&B resources are:
[https://www.discoverireland.ie] This is the official tourism office (Fáilte Ireland)
Thank you everyone!! Great resources. We are all booked and ready to go in April 2022!!
I can vouch for Doolin - close to the Cliffs of Moher and has a ferry out to Inis Oirr (Aran Islands). Music and pubs there are good but similar. Nearby is the beach town of Lahinch.
Ferries from Doolin to the Aran Islands and interisland service:
A second company offers Doolin-Aran Island service:
Ferry service from Rossaveel (west of Galway) to the Aran Islands:
Spend a night in Doolin for great trad music in its four pubs.
Thank you for the resources everyone!