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Ireland Itinerary Question

We are travelling to Ireland in September and we have come up with the following plan. Please let me know if its doable or just too hectic. Really appreciate any help or tips you guys can offer especially and local residents.
Day 1 & 2 – Explore Dublin
Day 3 – Drive to Kilkenny via wicklow, Glendolough and stay in there
Day 4 -Dive to Kinsale via Rock of Cahsel, Hore Abbey, Blarney Castle, English Market in Cork
Day 5- Drive to Killarney and spend day exploring park
Day 6- Drive the ring of Kerry and stay in Dingle
Day 7- Drive the Dingle Peninsula and stay in Tarbert
Day 8- Take the Ferry and head to Cliffs of Moher, explore Doolin, Stay in Galway
Day 9- Explore Galway and go to Innishmore Aryan islands
Day 10- Drive Connemera loop, hike there, Kylemore Abbey and stay at westport
Day 11- Drive to derry via Glenveagh National park, Slieve League cliffs, Donegal Castle
Day 12- Derry to Belfast via Giant causeway, Rope bridge, Dark hedges, Dunluce castle
Day 13- Explore Belfast and Drive late to Dublin
Day 14- Fly back
Thanks.

Posted by
5113 posts

This is going to completely get down to travel style. Your trip would hold no appeal for me with its driving and one night stays. However, it may be just the type of trip that you enjoy. Do you like a lot of driving and don't mind one night stays? Then it could be your trip.

You must have some concerns that you have over scheduled yourself or you wouldn't have asked this question.

Posted by
795 posts

I personally find this itinerary to be too much. But I'm a slow traveller. So if you like to go-go-go and don't mind packing and unpacking virtually every night, then go for it. Whatever you decide to do, please check your spelling for Day 9.

Posted by
12 posts

Yes I agree with the over scheduling part. Can you suggest any changes like additions of days to certain location or dropping one. We are ok with the one night stays. It's our first trip and my first try at planning. Any help would be great. Thanks.

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Posted by
795 posts

It's the Aran Islands. I don't usually correct grammar or spelling but "Aryan" has negative overtones in some places.

Once you get off the main roads in Ireland it will be unlikely that you will be able to drive the posted speed limits. The roads are narrow - frequently only wide enough for 1-1/2 cars. So the general rule of thumb for driving in Ireland is to add 25-30% to what ever the driving apps tell you. So day 4 looks particularly ambitious. Just a lot of ground to cover on some small roads. The town of Kinsale is down a fairly steep narrow road and I wouldn't want to arrive there for the first time in the dark. Similarly, Day 6 is ambitious. Dingle town is at the western end of the peninsula so you would be going around the Ring of Kerry and half-way down the Dingle Peninsula before you get to where you will be staying. I haven't been to Connemara and Galway for 30 years and never to Northern Ireland so I can't make any useful comments for the rest of the itinerary.

Posted by
246 posts

The one night stays aren’t as big a deal as the number of things you’re trying to see and do each day. Driving through Ireland is slower than it seems. The actual time is longer than the suggested Google Map driving times. Day 11 looks especially busy with a lot of driving time.

Also, there is so much to enjoy when you slow down and stop in local pubs, shops, etc. and talk with people and just soak in the ambiance of the area. I had some wonderful conversations with BnB hosts about the area, local history, and current events.

It does depend on your travelling style. Some people are happy with a quick tour through a place and seeing the sights; others want to explore an area in more depth and allow time for tea/coffee/ice cream breaks, journal writing, impromptu side trips, etc. So just be honest about what you want your experience to be like and what your top places to visit are. If you are happy seeing a place for a short time and then moving on, you can do most of this itinerary.

However, remember, there is nothing you have to see or do on your vacation. So if you skip a “must see” place for something you really enjoy, that’s fine.

In terms of what to cut, you should decide what your priorities are (both major stops and each daily activity). Focus on the most important and cut some of the less important (or make them optional for that day depending on how your time goes and how you feel).

For example, I spent 26 days in Ireland, and I didn’t visit Belfast because I was visiting Dublin and Galway and wanted to have more time to explore the countryside and rural villages, so two larger cities were enough. Others would choose Belfast over Galway.

You have several castles and famous cliffs on your itinerary. Which do you most want to see or which ones fit best with your schedule? You might cut one or two to have more time for other things and to cut down on driving.

Here are some possibilities.

On Day 4, consider skipping Blarney Castle (since you have plans to visit others), make Cork optional and time dependent if you want more time to explore Kinsale.

Another option, drive from Kilkenny to Killarney and skip Kinsale; use the extra day to spend more time in Ring of Kerry or Dingle or add the time to your Day 11 and make that two days (that day involves a lot of driving).

Days 6, 7, 8, Would you rather visit Cliffs of Moher or Slieve League cliffs (Day 11)? You might cut out one Cliff to provide more time for other activities/sites. Or you might chose to explore either Ring of Kerry or Dingle, but not both. It is possible to drive each one in a day, and many people are happy to do that, but spending an extra day in either place is worth it.

Days 10, 11 & 12: If you create an extra day by skipping something on Days 4 – 8, you could use the extra day to drive from Westport to Donegal/Sleive League Cliffs and explore that area and stay overnight, then drive to Derry the next day.

Day 13- Depending on what time your flight leaves, you could stay in Trim (or nearby) instead of Dublin. Of course, you may need/want to book a hotel near the airport with a shuttle service.

All the best,

Raymond

Posted by
1839 posts

We LOVED Ireland! We had 2 night stays mostly and found it to be way too much driving! I was a bit surprised that a lot of driving isn’t scenic since there are walls on the sides of the roads that you can’t see over. But other areas it’s beautiful. Our favorite parts of our trip were asking farmers for directions ( even though we didn’t need them) going to little pubs in small towns off the beaten path, hiking, etc. On our next trip we will slow down and go to small towns and hang out. It’s so fun to go to the same little pub a few night in a row and hang with the locals!

So, remember to leave time for the Irish people! They are the best part and the beauty as well. Enjoy!!

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for all your comments and tips. They were really helpful. I apologize for the spelling error. So we decided to make a few changes, please let me know if it is still not doable. We don't like too laid back vacations either.
Keep day 1,2 and 3 the same,
Day 4 drive from kilkenny, do Rock of cashel and head to kinsale.
Day 5 leave kinsale for killarney and spend day exploring killarney
Day 6 ROK and than stay in tralee or Portmagee not sure. Please help.
Day 7 do dingle peninsula and stay in galway or tarbert not sure. Please help.
Day 8 do cliffs of moher and Doolin ( stay in galway)
Day 9 do Inishmore /Aran islands and either drive to westport
Day 10 westport to Donegal and visit the donegal castle and slieve league cliffs and stay in derry
Day 11 the same as original itinerary
Day 12 Belfast and stay in trim
Day 13 our flight is at noon from dublin.

Posted by
325 posts

We did a similar trip on a tour (12 day Vagabond ) in 2019. We stayed in Portmagee in hopes of taking the boat to Skellig Michael, but the seas were too rough for the boats to go out when we were there.

Since you are planning on going to the Aran Islands you might not want another boat ride, but if you do, I can recommend Paddy Byrne: https://sliabhleagueboattrips.com/about-us

Posted by
246 posts

Portmagee is a lovely village, and the nearby Skellig Experience Visitor Center is interesting to visit, especially if you can’t get to Skilling Michael itself. There is a really good seafood restaurant just across the street from the harbor. Valentia Island has some beautiful drives and views from the cliffs. It is quiet at night, and you’ll have a longer drive the next day to Dingle, but you’ll have more time to enjoy Kerry the day before if you stay there.