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Ireland in September

A friend and I will be landing in Dublin 9/8. Picking up a rental car and plan to drive clockwise around the country. Return to Dublin on 9/16. Then fly out 9/19. What would be the best cities/towns tostay in as we travel around? Im a bit overwhelmed thinking I'll miss a great spot or not stay in a town/city long enough. Thank you

Posted by
8054 posts

We don’t know your interests so it would be smart to get the RS Ireland guide to read. Do your own research. It will provide intel for you to decide what you’d to see and where you’d like to stay.

Posted by
1488 posts

If you are planning to drive round Ireland in 8 days that is a lot of driving and you are going to see most of Ireland through the windscreen. You aren't going to have time to do or see anything.

Distances may not look far on a map but will take a lot longer to cover than you miaght expect. Roads are narrow and slow. You may encounter slow moiving traffic and an Irish Funeral brings everywhere to a standstill... If using google times, you need to add 25% to their times and then ADD on time for stops, lunch etc. Ireland is a place to slow down and enjoy. In the time you have, there will be many great places you will miss - to see everything takes weeks, months and even years!!!

I appreciate this may not be the answer you want to hear...

Posted by
3240 posts

In case it helps, you absolutely will miss cool spots in Ireland! With 8 days, there’s no way around it. So do some reading, watch some videos - see what calls your name for this first trip.

Posted by
35 posts

Just curious if the 25% rule just for the single track roads and once you get off the main roadways or are the highways slow as well? Planning as well and I find this important information. Thanks

Posted by
4 posts

This isn't the only trip I plan to do in Ireland. I'll see it. For this trip I guess I was looking at good cities to stop in. Should I do 4 stop and 2 nights in each where I can branch out and explore. Or do like 6 or 7 stops and see a place for a day? What cities are a must? We plan to leave early on drive days so we can stop and see things

Posted by
35 posts

For me personally my preference is to limit having to pack up and move on every other day. I perfer to find a home base and from there to branch out to sights within 1.5 hours drive time. My recommendation would be to look at some of the other threads here and see if any of the suggestions sound good to you. Also my preference is to see smaller towns and more picturesque type of sights than big cities. It really is a preference thing.

Posted by
1153 posts

Are you arriving in Dublin from North America? If so, please consider whether you will be sufficiently rested to get off the plane and immediately drive on the "wrong" side of the road. Since big cities seem to be your thing, the best option might be to go straight to Galway upon arrival taking the bus from the Dublin airport. Spend a couple of nights there then rent the car and head to, for example, Kenmare and Cork, taking day trips from both, then go to Dublin and return the car.

To the PP who asked about the 25% drive time rule. The only times you will be able to drive the posted speed limit is on the M roads between the major cities. And these are not the picturesque lanes you imagine being on when you explore Ireland. Even the N roads are narrow and especially in the west, frequented by farming equipment. Neither the N70 - the Ring of Kerry - nor the N86 - to get to Dingle - are roads on which you'll be driving at speed.

Posted by
450 posts

If you're comfortable driving he speed limit, then the Google times are pretty close, except for the occasional flock of sheep of farm tractor. I plan my trips rounding up Google times to the nearest 15 minutes and rarely fall behind. If you're tentative due to driving on the left, then 25% might not be enough.

I concur about missing a lot in eight days. No offense to NI, but I'd focus on the Southern part of Ireland. Specific spots are really dependent on your interest in pub sessions, whiskey, Neolithic stuff, castle ruins, hiking, gorgeous views, puffins, museums, popular spots (Blarney, Waterford etc.) and whatever.

We've made several trips of about that length, but the above question needs answers, first.

The question of "base" versus one-night stands is important as well. We're firmly in the "travel light" and don't unpack camp. We rarely spend two nights in one place and never spend more than three nights except in Dublin of Belfast. The things we're interested in always seem to be between desirable stops, so the base station approach just adds long drives with back tracking. As we slow down in our old age, I'm starting to use alternating one-night/two-night stops, that way, by also alternating when you move between stops, you have a full afternoon and morning near each stop. I try to limit the driving to 2-3 hours per hop.

Because pub music is our top favorite, I ALWAYS book lodging within walking distance of a candidate pub. Driving while impaired in Ireland is a no-no.

Posted by
1488 posts

There’s no need to be so aggressive/dismissive of our answers. I can understand they may not have been what you were hoping to hear, but the fact we are all saying the same thing ought to be cause for thought...

OK first question - what time are you likely to be landing at Dublin Airport?

Second question - what time are you due to fly out?

Tentative suggestion

9/16 Head to Dublin for the rest of the day
10/16 Pick up car and drive to either Wexford or Waterford
11/9 Drive to Cork
12/9 drive to Killarney
13/9 Drive to Dingle
14/9 Drive to Galway
15/9 Drive to Donegal
16/9 Drive to Londonderry (Derry)

17/9 Drive to Belfast
18/9 Drive to Dublin and drop off car
19/9 fly out of Dublin

You could easily have sorted this out by looking at a map of Ireland.

Whether it will achieve what you want, only you will know at the end of the trip