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Ireland with Mom

Hello All -
Wanted to get some advice about a trip I'm planing with my mom in September 2020. We like doing girls trips each year, and have been to Italy, Australia, and Switzerland - they were all totally different destinations, and we had an absolute blast at each one. Mom is 73, I am 45. She is beginning to have some slight mobility issues - i.e. walking long distances is a bit problematic, hills and uneven ground are not ideal. I thought Ireland would be a good choice, as we've both never been before and it just looks and sounds beautiful. I need some help deciding where would be the best area to visit - Our previous trips to Europe have been between 8-10 days in length, and we typically stay in one, maybe two places and do day trips from there. I find this is easier than moving around a lot from place to place. Should I stay 4-5 days in the Dublin area and then another 4-5 days in the Galway area? We always stay in AirBnB apartments with kitchens/laundry facilities, which has worked out really well for us. We both enjoy being outside, gardens, castles, beaches - just nature in general. We enjoy a bit of shopping, music, good food, etc. Not so much into hiking (it would need to be an easy walk) or museums. We saw a lot of wonderful wildlife in Australia and I'd love to see some of that in Ireland if possible (whale watching, falconry, etc. - don't know if this is practical or not). Are there any realistic day trips from Dublin and/or Galway that would be about 4-6 hours in length? Looking at many day trip options, it appears that most are between 8-10 hours, which I think would be much too long of a day for Mom. I'm a bit apprehensive about renting a car, and would rather do public transportation if at all possible. I realize this may be asking a lot and I'm wondering if I would need to adjust my thoughts about where to go because of this. Would Galway not be doable? Should I just stick to Dublin and the surrounding area? Or another area of Ireland entirely? South or North? As you can see, I need a bit of help! :) Thanks in advance to all & many apologies for the length of my post.

Posted by
2774 posts

If you want to base yourselves in Dublin and Galway, then public transportation should work out well. Ireland doesn't have as much public transportation apart from major population centers, though. So to take a day trip to an attraction outside of each city, you'll probably want to sign up for a organized tour that takes you right to the site of interest.

For example, there's an outfit called Falconry Ireland located south of Dublin by the town of Aughrim in County Wicklow. I haven't investigated, but my guess is a bus doesn't go right there.

OTOH if you just want to see countryside, you could take a regular bus from Galway to Clifden, for example. According to Rome2Rio, a bus runs several times a day.

Posted by
186 posts

Re the 8-10 hr day trips, keep in mind that includes the rides there and back. As well as stops for lunch and/or tea. Your mom will not feel overtaxed. I would just avoid any day trips that include rigorous hikes, etc., and you should be able to see plenty of the sites north and south of Dublin without a car.

Posted by
142 posts

There are some half day tours from Dublin to New Grange and Dublin to Glendalough.
As a previous post noted, the 8+ hour day trips often involve sitting on a bus or an opportunity to sit and relax if you wish for a good bit of the time (often more than I desire). The full day tour I took from Dublin to New Grange did NOT involve long periods of walking or standing at any one time. Similarly, the full day tour I did from Galway to Connemara, included a 2.5 hour opportunity to hike in the national park or tour Kylemore Abby, but you could easily spend some or all of that time in a pub or cafe, or choose a tour with other options.
Train or bus between Dublin and Galway are very easy.

Posted by
821 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,
My mother's first trip to Europe was at age 75. We went for about 10 days. She too had some trouble walking. She used a cane most everywhere. But when a middle aged Irishman asked her to dance in a Pub along the west coast she flew around the floor kicking chairs out of the way with her heels so there was more room to dance. The cane disappeared for the rest of the trip. Ain't life grand?

I would spend several days in Dublin and not be afraid to use taxis. Dublin's main drive...O'Connell and Grafton Streets is a very long walk one end to the other. Even when I was 20. Central Dublin makes many good sites within 'old' walking distance. But a central location can make breaking this into parts possible.

Then I would look at the west coast. If you can rent a car at Shannon Airport, that would be perfect as it is rural and gives you time to get use to the left side driving. Stay to the rural roads, it is safer, slower and prettier. Galway is a bit of a more hectic city to start driving in. But I would set up shop in Ennis. My mother liked it so much, she returned to Ireland a couple years after that dance and stayed a week in Ennis. County Clare is about as beautiful as Ireland can possibly get and Ennis is in the middle of it.

If you still choose Galway. I would still rent a car and spend one day going to Clifden and the surrounding area of Connemara. The another day going into County Clare. Personally, in all my trips to Galway, I have never found any charm there.

Best trip to Europe ever was taking my Mom there.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
1142 posts

Not a lot of people here recommend Killarney but I have really enjoyed it (twice). It has nice restaurants, shopping - all in a small center. You can take a jaunting car ride through Killarney National Park, boat ride on the lake, and an organized tour around the Ring of Kerry - all without too much walking.