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Help with 11-day Ireland itinerary appreciated

Hi,

Your review of our itinerary below is appreciated. We are four friends in our 60’s who will be enjoying our first trip to Ireland next month. One of us lived in Belfast during her childhood for a few years, so we’ll be making a brief look at the area where she lived.
Note, I haven’t included evening activities but we hope to take advantage of traditional music in many places m and of course enjoy local cuisine!
Please let me know if any of this itinerary books troublesome.

Thanks in advance

Margo

Day #1
arrive to Dublin airport, take Aircoach bus to Belfast
Get settled into airBnB
If not too tired & time permits:, take self-guided mural arts tour (not political)
Overnight in Belfast

Day #2
explore Belfast
Morning - Titanic Museum tour
After lunch - Black Cab political murals tour
Overnight in Belfast

Day #3
Pick up Rental Car
Visit to childhood neighborhood
Giants Causeway
Bushmills Distillery Tour
drive to Derry, check in to accommodations
Overnight in Derry

day #4.
Explore Derry - walk the Walled City - see Sunday Bloody Sunday memorial, Artists Murals/ Free Derry Corner sign/Peace Bridge with sculpture/Guildhall
Free Derry Museum (if time permits)
After lunch - Drive to Westport - check into airBnB
Overnight in Westport

Day#5.
Drive to Kylemore Abbey & Gardens

Connemara National Park (hiking)
overnight in Westport

Day #6.
Drive through Burren to Cliffs of Moher (May skip and spend more time in Burren)
drive to Bunratty - check into accomodations
5:30 Medieval Banquet at Bunratty Castle
Overnight in Bunratty

Day #7.
drive to Dingle & Dingle Peninsula
Inch Beach (if at sunset on the way to Milltown)
Drive to Milltown - check in to accommodations
Overnight in Milltown

Day #8
drive to Killarney National Park
Possibilities: Torc waterfalls, Ross Castle/Muckross House
Overnight in Milltown

Day #9.
drive to Gap of Dunloe
Hire jaunty car at Kate Kearney’s Cottage
Drive to Cork - lunch at The English Market
Drive to Cobh - check into accommodations
Kinsale for dinner/walking around (if we have energy to do more driving)
overnight in Cob

Day #10 -
drive to Rock of Cashel/Hore Abbey
Drive to Dublin
Killmainham Gaol tour
Check in accommodations - return rental car
Overnight in Dublin

Day# 11
Explore Dublin
Free Walking Tour
Book of Kells tour
Rock n Roll museum for two of us, Guinness Factory for the other two
Grafton Street area
Overnight in dublin

day #12. Fly home

Posted by
2328 posts

One issue I see is that since The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are different countries, you’ll almost certainly incur a very large drop-off fee if you rent a car in one place and drop it off in another.

Posted by
2682 posts

Inbsig is correct re the one-way international drop charge, which will be upwards of $USD200.
Your other challenge will be finding a vehicle large enough to fit 4 adults plus luggage, not to mention added charges for an automatic- which is probably what you want unless one of you is very comfortable shifting with the left hand while driving on the left. It might actually be cheaper to consider renting two smaller vehicles rather than a larger one unless you're all traveling very light, ie carry-on only.
Your proposed itinerary itself looks doable.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you both and we are aware of the extra fees for pick up in Belfast and return in Dublin and getting a big enough car for us & our luggage, which will also make driving the narrow roads more difficult.. Because there are four of us we are able to split those extra fees so it’s not so horrible. We booked the car months ago so hopefully it will be there when we go get it!
We were advised not to drive any distance after an overnight flight and we didn’t want to add overnight time in Dublin ..An expensive trade off. Couldn’t think of any other way to do it. Margo

Posted by
1598 posts

The itinerary works but you will be spending a lot of time seeing the scenery through a car window.

Don't underestimate driving time on each day. It will take a lot longer to cover the distance than you might expect. Driving in Ireland is slow. Allow time to just stop and stare. If stopping off for a visit, allow time to find somewhere to park and then get to where it is you want to see. In May you wll get long hours of daylight which is an advantage.

Day 4 - Derry to Westport - allow 4 hours drive plus stops.

Day 6 - Westport to Bunratty plus Cliffs of Moher is going to be 4.5 hours drive. (Actually I was quite disappoiunted by the Cliffs of Moher . They are best seen from the sea rather than from above. They are always very very busy. The Burren is wonderful with its limestone scenery. I would personally spend time here rather than at the Cliffs.)

Day 7 - Bunratty, Dingle Peninsula and Milltown. This in another long day,looking at 5 hours drive here plus time for stops. Not a lot of time to stop off and see things.

Day 10 - Cobh, Rock of Cashel/Hore Abbey, Dublin . Again allow 4 hours for the drive plus time to park up and visit Rock of Cashel/ Hore Abbey. Allow an hour for each visit.

Posted by
4 posts

Yes, a few days with a lot of driving but it’s a trade off with wanting to see as much of the country as we can on this trip, given the amount of nights we can stay!

I read elsewhere to add 25% to any driving time indicated by Google, and of course that never takes into account just wanting to stop somewhere to take photos, bathroom stops, slow traffic, etc. We have two drivers to trade off driving duties for our drive to Westport.

However, I was surprised to see you have 5 driving hours for Day #7? Yes, the ride from Bunratty to Dingle is far, but I was thinking Dingle to Miltown wouldn’t be as long. We found places to eat near Inch Beach so we figured we’d land there near sunset with dinner, and do a pre-arranged late check in at our accommodations in Miltown.

I agree that we will probably skip the Cliffs in favor of time at The Burren.

For Day #10 I meant to say we will go to either Rock of Cahel or Hore Abbey. They are close to each other so we will choose which on our way to Dublin. Do you have a personal preference? We may justvlook around on our own and take photos and not opt for the formal tour.

Thanks so much for your help.
Margo

Posted by
491 posts

Contrary to popular sentiment, I've never had a problem driving after landing. We're doing a remarkably similar trip in May, and I'm driving from DUB to Belfast immediately. Not only is it only 90 minutes, but I plan to park right next to the A12 in Belfast. The car will be parked for the three days in Belfast, which even with parking, is lots cheaper than the drop-off fee. With four folks in the car, I wouldn't think staying awake would be a problem and you'll be getting lots of traffic advice. I find manual shifting actually helps remind you that's something is different.

On our first trip to Ireland, I drove from DUB all the way to Clonakilty via Kilkenny - probably a risk to go that far, especially since I never sleep on airplanes but the excitement of being in Ireland is a good stimulant.

The "25%" guidance all depends on your driving habits. Driving at the speed limit will match Google's results. You don't find sheep, tractors, or viewpoints on the main roads. I do use the 25% rule for rural driving.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks about the reminder of the the 25% rule being more applicable to the rural roads!

None of us drive a manual so we are renting an automatic. I know I don’t get much sleep on these flights and would be terrified. Only one person has experience driving on the “wrong” side of the road - If we had experience, doing this after an overnight flight probably wouldn’t be as intimidating!