Ireland’s a great pick - music, scenery, and seafood are among its greatest attributes. We were there September 2018, our second trip, and in June 2011, first trip.
First trip, touring on bicycles, we didn’t travel fast, and got caught in a downpour one day and a bit of rain on another, but we started in Galway, and followed the west coast to Dingle. Music was phenomenal in towns the whole way, but Dingle was tops, with excellent “trad” sessions on pubs, and an evening performance in a church with probably Ireland’s finest piper. From Dingle, a trip down to Portmagee, to take a boat for a day trip to the mystic Skellig Michael island, and passing the seabirds-only Little Skellig on the way, was an Only in Ireland experience.
Last September‘s trip also started in Galway, but headed north, and clockwise, up more of the west coast, then into Northern Ireland, then down to Dublin. Highlights included the personalized Hawk Walk at Ashford Castle’s falconry school, where we strolled thru the woods with a falconer and our own Harris Hawk, landing on our leather glove for treat bits of mice, which the falconer managed. We didn’t stay at the castle that night, but you could. The Rolls Royces, Bentleys, and Jags parked out front indicate it’s pricey, but quite possibly worth it, especially if you’re celebrating.
On both trips, we spent a night and two days on Inis Mor (aka Inishmore) island, off the coast from Galway. We used the ferry the first time, and flew by plane the second. Fly - it’s the way to go!
If you’re doing your own transportation, bike or car, be aware that it’s challenging, if you’re not used to driving on the left side of narrow, twisty roads, in kilometers per hour, with the potential of having sheep in the road around the next curve. But fantastic views are everywhere. If you don’t rent a car, trains and buses are available for many places. Bus Eireann buses have an Irish Setter on the side, not a greyhound! Driving yourselves gets you to more remote places, on your own schedule, but “relaxing” isn’t exactly how I’d describe it.
That second trip finished in Dublin, which has some historic sights. But lunch our first day had a noisy and raucous wedding Hen Party at the next table, getting more boisterous as our meal went on. Wish we’d picked a different place. And one night, after an excellent Shakespeare’s Richard III performance at the Abbey Theatre, we walked back to our short-term apartment by way of the Temple Bar area. The sidewalks there were wet, but it hadn’t been raining. It became clear that drunk men were urinating outside, too wasted or rude to use a restroom inside. And a hooting crowd, pretty young, was in a square outside, verging on rowdy, so we got outta there, before it got out of hand that night. The next day, in late afternoon/early evening, we spent a couple of hours at The Cobblestone pub in the west end of Dublin. Fantastic, not rowdy, but full of music-appreciating locals and tourists - can’t recommend it more highly!