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Ireland in 7 days this August (2021)

Hello,
My daughter and I will be in Ireland for seven days and am looking for advice on the best itinerary. We are most interested in beautiful, natural areas, good cuisine, and charming but not shabby lodgings. Was thinking of a mix of luxury and charming, I guess. We should include one castle stay for sure. I will be attending an art school in Galway for twelve days before our trip begins, but so far could only get a flight into Dublin, not Shannon. (Will keep looking for Shannon flights as it gets closer, and can change)

I'm thinking of skipping Dublin, or only perhaps spending an afternoon there. Since we only have seven days, we will need to also skip some of the recommended towns, such as one or more of Kilkenny, Kinsale, Waterford, and Kenmare. I'm thinking spending most of our time on the west coast from Ring of Kerry up to Connemara. Which of the four South East Coast towns listed above to you feel are the most "must see's"?

And anyone have any hidden gems they would like to share? Such excellent lodging in tucked away places? Amazing restaurants?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Posted by
374 posts

Sally,

For beautiful, natural areas Connemara tops my list. And the rest of the West Coast comes in second.

Since you'll be in Galway, Connemara is right outside your door. The village of Leenane - set between three mountain ranges at the end of Killary Harbor, which has Ireland's only fjord - is arguably in the lovliest setting in Ireland. For grand meals, check out the Blackberry Restaurant there: https://www.blackberryrestaurant.ie. The dinners are superb.

Doolin in Co. Clare is great for trad music and good food, while the offshore Aran Islands in Co. Galway offer a bit of history, peace and quiet and exposure to Irish, the first language of their residents.

As for accommodations, "shabby" is not a word I would apply to any in Ireland. The country's many B&Bs are wonderful, clean, warm and welcoming. You'll find many here:

https://www.bandbireland.com

https://www.ireland-bnb.com/

https://d5qsyj6vaeh11.cloudfront.net/files/brochures/pdf/english/AC20ENG101BBD---Bed-and-Breakfast-Ireland-NEW-637141676027212373.pdf

Slainte!

Posted by
782 posts

I would recommend staying for a couple of nights at Ashford Castle, it’s fairly close to Galway, beyond beautiful and most importantly the two of you could take their 1/2 day falconry class. My wife and I did this and it was the highlight of our trip to Ireland. I would also stay 2-3 nights in Dingle, lovely town and the surrounding area is awesome.

If your flying in and out of Dublin I would plan on seeing the New Grange prehistoric monuments the last day before heading home, they are older than the pyramids and inspiring to visit, really interesting.

I’m assuming that you will have a car during this trip otherwise it will be difficult and time consuming to travel in Ireland.
Hope you have a great trip, Ireland is my favorite of all the places we have been in Europe.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks so much for your recommendations! But oh dear, I did not mean to imply that the B&B's are truly "shabby". Wrong choice of words. Was thinking more as in "shabby chic". Will check everything out. So, you think skipping the Southeast coast is not a bad idea? If we were to stay in one of them, which one should it be? Thanks!

Posted by
1978 posts

Flights into Dublin will be cheaper than those into Shannon. It's an easy 2 hour bus or train ride from there to Galway town, so that might be your better option logistically.
You won't need a car while attending art school, and if you have a weekend break from your course it may be an opportunity for you to take the ferry or fly over to Inishmore on the Aran Islands, either as a day trip or maybe an overnighter - might be especially appealing to your artists eye. Won't need a car for that either - Aran Ferries has a shuttle from Galway to the ferry landing at Rossaveal.
Upon completion of your course you could collect your rental car in Galway for a one-way rental, returning to Dublin - the one-way drop charge (if any) would be minimal . Connemara is our favorite part of Ireland too, and by heading a little further north you'd have a chance to explore the Yeats country around Sligo and then on to Donnegal - Ireland's Wild West - before turning back towards Dublin. Time and interest permitting you could complete the loop with a couple of days in Northern Ireland. Both the Causeway Coastal Route and the drive along the Antrim coast towards Belfast are world class, though they might be a little too far afield for your limited time.

Alternatively, you could meander south and explore another beautiful part of the country around Dingle and Kerry.
The Irish Landmark Trust has a number of unique properties, including a few castles, that might be of interest to you https://www.irishlandmark.com/ and which will be more affordable than Ashford Castle.

Posted by
986 posts

Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands are both beautiful and fun!

Posted by
5699 posts

Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Portmagee Glendalough, Kinsale, Dingle… and if you like libraries get tickets for Dublin’s Trinity College’s Long Room.

Personally if you only have 7 days I’d stay on the West Coast.

Lovely island, lovely people. Slainte!

Posted by
577 posts

Totally agree that with 7 days you may want to stay in the central and northwest. But if you decide to head south and would like an accommodation which is luxurious in a stunning setting I suggest Parknasilla Resort in Sneem, Co. Kerry. It’s on the south side of the Ring of Kerry. As for what to skip, Waterford would top my list of missable places.

Posted by
824 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
As you probably know Clifden has a some good restaurants. It is a nice market town. From Galway to Clifden avoid the coast road. Head straight for Oughterard and then it gets pretty and rural.
Westport is a lovely planned city.
enjoy Connemara.
wayne iNWI