Help plan my itinerary

Having such a hard time planning this trip. Have never been to Ireland. We will fly into Dublin and take a train to Galway. We will spend the first couple days visiting our son who will be studying there. We will spend time with him and points North. Here is where i need the help. I think i know where we want to visit but need help figuring how long to stay in each area. Here is what we want to do/see. Cliffs of Mohr, Burren, Aran islands, Dingle and Ring of Kerry. This is where we will spend bulk of our trip. Please fill in other " must sees" and where and how long to stay in each area. Thanks

Posted by Lauri
Marblehead, ma
76 posts

Hi Terri, we are flying home from Dublin and will spend a few days there prior to returning home, but the bulk of our time is the areas I mentioned in post. I am however open to suggestions for return route to Dublin as well. Thanks so much

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8393 posts

Your post is a little confusing. You talk about seeing Galway and "points North", but the things you want to see are all in the southwest. In fact, Galway is the farthest north point of anything you wanted to see. How long is your trip all together? What time of year are you planning to travel? From Galway, the order I would see things in is Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Ring of Kerry. You could do the Aran Islands either from Rossaveel (near Galway) or from Doolin (near the Cliffs of Moher), so it could be put in your itinerary at either point. After the RoK, depending on how much time you have, you might want to see Blarney Castle, then head up to the Rock of Cashel on the way back to Dublin. Once back in Dublin, you will want to get rid of your rental car (you are renting a car in Galway?) before spending your time in Dublin. Parking is scarce and expensive, and you can easily get to the airport by public transportation.

Without information about the total length of the trip it is impossible to advise you about how to prioritize your time.

Posted by Lauri
Marblehead, ma
76 posts

I guess my post does seem a bit confusing. We will have 14 days. The first 3 are in Galway. We will spend a day in Galway itself and leave 2 for points north. By this I mean anything we would not normally travel through to the places I mentioned. I really need help figuring how long to spend in each area. Thank you

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8393 posts

OK, what time of year are you planning to do this? Is Day 1 your arrival day? And is Day 14 the day you fly out? That leaves you 12 actual days. You could drive around Connemara and up to Kylemore Abbey on one of your days in the Galway area (and again, you could do your Aran Islands trip from Rossaveel, which is near Galway). Once you leave the Galway area to head south, the Cliffs of Moher are about an hour or so away, and you will drive through the Burren on the way. You could make a couple of stops and still be at the Cliffs before noon. The drive from the Cliffs to Dingle takes around four hours if you take the route along the coast and the ferry across the River Shannon instead of going around through Limerick, so you could do that part of the trip in a single day. You could detour just a bit to see Bunratty Castle if you wanted to. It's near Shannon Airport.

Dingle needs a couple of days at least. Since you have the time, you could spend a day in the Killarney area before doing the Ring of Kerry. You should have a Plan B for the day you intend to do the RoK, since rain and/or fog could leave you with nothing to see. Without some idea of what you like to do, it's hard to say how long you might want for each area. I use www.viamichelin.com to determine driving routes and times. Add about 25% to their time estimates, since driving in Ireland can be slow, particularly in the more rural areas. Perhaps when you look at some guidebooks and determine how far things are from each other in terms of driving times, it might suggest a route. Beyond your list for the southwest, you have listed nothing that you might want to see on the way back to Dublin, so you need to look at what is between the RoK and Dublin.

How many days in Dublin before your departure day? Count up how many days you are using getting through your list as it sits now, add the Dublin time, and you then can see how many more days you have to use. Be sure you factor in driving time from one place to another, as well as any time you are going to spend actually touring something once you get there.