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Itinerary for Ireland trip this fall - please comment

Well, after a postponement from last fall to this coming October, and with helpful comments from you folks here on this RS forum, here is the proposed itinerary for our trip to Ireland. Please feel free to make any comments.
Ten nights, flying in and out of Dublin from Philadelphia
Day 1 – Arrive Dublin. Immediately travel to Galway. (Train from Hueston preferred, bus from airport possible) Explore Galway. Sleep Galway.
Day 2 – Explore Galway. Sleep Galway.
Day 3 – Pick up rental car in or near Galway, head to Burren & Cliffs of Moher. Sleep Ennis.
Day 4 – Leave Ennis for Dingle. Explore Dingle and area. Sleep Dingle.
Day 5 – Explore Dingle and area. Sleep Dingle.
Day 6 – Leave Dingle, drive to Kinsale. Explore Kinsale & area. Sleep Kinsale.
Day 7 – Explore Kinsale & area. (Cobh?). Sleep Kinsale.
Day 8 – Jettison rental in or near Cork, train to Dublin. Sleep Dublin.
Day 9 – Dublin. Sleep Dublin.
Day 10 – Dublin. Possible short side trip? Sleep Dublin.
Day 11 – Fly home from Dublin.

Miscellaneous, to assist anyone who might be moved to comment: Just my wife and I, 56 and 60. Both physically able. We like walking or strolling, but no interest in serious hikes. We like strolling around a quaint town, shopping maybe, and sitting with a bottle of wine or a Guinness and admiring a view. We would like to get a flavor of Ireland, but without madly scheduling this and that activity. We like to eat out but are not foodies by any stretch. We are “plain eaters”, so larger towns with a variety of restaurants is important. A pizza and a bottle of wine is wonderful. We would like to see/tour at least one classic castle somewhere along the way. For various reasons, I am thinking we will skip any boat rides, such as to view the cliffs, or to go out to Skellig Michael or the Aran Islands. Not yet having researched a car rental, I am hoping that my plan (pick up upon leaving Galway, drop off after leaving Kinsale/Cork area) will work. We would prefer to avoid crowds and super-touristy things, such as kissing the Blarney Stone. (I already have the gift of gab.) As to lodging, we would like to shoot for an average of under $200 per night, if that can be done. No interest in churches, unless there is some overriding reason to visit, and no interest in any kind of sports. Not sure exact dates yet, but likely early to mid- October. Thank you for any comments!

Posted by
8536 posts

Ashford Castle (now a hotel) would be a side trip from Galway. It has beautiful grounds, but even better, it has the Ireland School of Falconry on those grounds. You can go for a "hawk walk" in which you fly a hawk through the forest and grounds. It was the highlight for my sister of our entire trip!

Nearby is the town of Cong, made "famous" by John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara making a film there. It is a pleasant town to walk around or have lunch in.

Posted by
59 posts

Thank you Carol, for this comment and good information. I will certainly check it out! Yours is the lone comment on my post, so maybe I should gather that my suggested trip is flawless! Just kidding of course, but I did put it together only after reading the back and forth here for quite a while. Thanks muchly.

Posted by
1988 posts

It looks good.

In Cong there are the ruins of Cong Abbey. Walk down to the river to find the monk's fishing station. There was a bell to riung t6o let the kitchen know when a fish had been caught.

It is worth doing the drive round the coast of the Burren from Kinvarra to Doolin. This is olne of the most attractove coastlines in Ireland. Have a photo stop at the beautiful Dunguire Castle (unfortunatley it isn 't open in October.)

Posted by
59 posts

Thank you for that Wasleys - I like that idea about the drive around Doolin, and that seems like something "doable" for us, and the castle too. Much appreciated.

Posted by
66 posts

Ambitious plan for sure. We are about 10 years older. We did some similar last May, returning this May to see more, but just a week concentrating on Burren, Doolin, and Beara Peninsula and southwest.
-I would take the quickest route to Galway unless there is a scenic preference train vs bus. You might consider a car for the whole trip. That's how we went and it gave us a lot of flexibility.
-I would recommend seeing the cliffs from the water, but be mindful of the sea (a lot of chumming the day we went). We took ferry from Galway to Aran islands that passed the cliffs on the way back. There's also ferries/tours from Doolin. Doolin is supposed to be a great trad music place, we missed, but for sure this time.
-I preferred Ring of Kerry to Dingle. One highlight of our whole trip was Gap of Dunloe Road which traverses the ring, just one gorgeous spot after another. If you chose Kerry, I'd suggest Kenmare as a stop.
-If you get to Cobh, the Titanic museum there is worthwhile, her last stop before she perished.
-Dublin. So much to see and do. We did see the Book of Kells, but that was a lot of time, and there's lots to see all over Dublin.
-Side trips from Dublin. Wicklow Park and Glendalough to the south. Have not visited but hear amazing comments. Belfast, a little longer, if just to see the big Titanic museum, which is where she was built, but all Belfast is wonderful too.
You will so enjoy this trip. One last thing.....We started with 9 days, then 11, finally settled on 14, and still not nearly enough. If you don't think you'll return, make this one as long as you can!

Posted by
6629 posts

I think your overall plan is fine. I'd suggest a few tweaks. Day 1, the direct Aircoach from DUB to Galway takes 2 hours and will save you time vs. the train. But maybe you're train buffs or don't like buses. Day 2, you could spend all day exploring Galway, but it might be a better use of time to get going to the Burren, Cliffs, and Ennis. Galway is a nice place but a full day seems like too much given your overall timeframe.

The rest of it looks good to me, and if you skip the full day in Galway you'll have another day for Dublin and/or a day trip from there. (Consider Newgrange as an alternative to Glendalough.) Dublin has a lot to offer.

Wise to miss the Blarney Stone. I did. Can't imagine a less enjoyable tourist experience. But if I lacked the gift and believed the hype maybe I'd kiss the damn thing.

Posted by
59 posts

Thanks again to all who commented! It is much appreciated. Dick, your suggestion that the bus to Galway makes more sense than the train registers with me. I figure that right after an overnight flight it would be a more pleasant process to just get on coach from right there by the airport. Thanks to all.

Posted by
10337 posts

I think your itinerary is just fine. I would not advise you to pick up a car in Dublin upon arrival and drive to Galway because it’s dangerous just after an overseas flight. The bus is definitely the way to go. Someone suggested Ashford Castle. We were in Ireland last August and decided to go there as a day trip from Galway. I had looked into the School of Falconry and it was quite expensive, and with 4 people it was not in our budget. We thought we could at least stroll around the grounds. We were stopped by an employee at a guard shack at the bridge to the castle and were told that without a reservation at the hotel we could not proceed. We did enjoy walking around Cong and had lunch there. Another Castle suggestion would be Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. We stopped there on our drive from Dingle to Galway and really enjoyed it. We love Dingle and have been there twice. We also really enjoyed staying in Kinsale. You should have no trouble staying under $200 a night unless you want to stay somewhere high end. B&B’s would be a good way to go.

Posted by
99 posts

Andrea, we also attempted to go to Ashford Castle and were stopped at the guard station. If you make a reservation for lunch or dinner there, you can get in. Sadly, I knew this, but this overlooked this detail in our planning. But do it in advance, there was no availability on the day we arrived.

Posted by
3311 posts

For me, this is too much being behind the windshield of a vehicle, in other words, too much driving. Distances on google maps can be a bit deceiving. As much as I love the west coast of Ireland, with 10 days, I would do the east coast of Ireland. Newgrange, Wicklow, etc. perhaps Kinsale, but not all the way to west coast.

Posted by
31 posts

Instead of driving to Ennis, I would stay the night in Doolin. It has lots of great B&Bs. If you have any interest whatever in Irish Traditional music or Irish pub life, you should. Hit one of Doolin's great music pubs that night. Gus O'Connor's Pub has great food and music.