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Itinerary Input for March please

We are making our first trip to Ireland the last part of March. We finally nailed down our itinerary and have places reserved, but most can be canceled if we want to adjust. The timing and locations are impacted by two things: Our son lives in Skibbereen, so of course we are going there and trying to coordinate it with his days off work, and my husband inadvertently reserved two nights in Dingle that are non refundable (although we may be able to move the dates if there’s availability), so we’re pretty locked in there.

Day 1: arrive Dublin, get rental car and drive to Athlone. My husband has driven in the UK on several occasions, and we’ll be traveling on the M4 so I’m guessing no winding narrow roads.

Overnight Athlone.

Day 2: drive to Doolin, and see some of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher.
Overnight Doolin.

Day 3: drive to Dingle, leave early, sightsee some along the way. This will be St. Paddy’s Day, so we are planning on spending the afternoon/evening there enjoying the festivities.
Overnight Dingle.

Day 4: Dingle peninsula drive
Overnight Dingle.

Day 5: Ring of Kerry drive (or perhaps Killarney National Park).
Overnight Kenmare.

Day 6 and Day 7: Skibbereen and surrounding areas ( beaches, Clonakilty, Bantry perhaps…depends on our son’s recommendations)
Overnight (2) in Skibbereen.

Day 8: drive to Enniskerry in Wicklow. We know this will be a long drive, and we’re ok with taking our time and stopping at interesting spots for a break.

Any recommendations on driving route? The one through Waterford along the coast is showing about a half hour longer, but I’m guessing the views would be worth it?
Overnight Enniskerry.

Day 9: Dublin. We plan on having a full day here, hoping to see the Book of Kells/Old Library, the museum, the gaol (don’t have my notes here with the exact names but I know they’re right in Dublin).

Day 10: Fly home

The alternate option we’ve looked at is driving to Kilkenny from the airport, spending the night, and taking the next day to drive toward Dingle, seeing a bit of Kilkenny and sites along the way. Perhaps staying somewhere between Limerick and Tralee. Then on to Dingle for the rest of the itinerary.

We appreciate any suggestions and cautions.

Thank you!

Posted by
2621 posts

You plan on renting a car on your day of arrival? Are you flying over the Atlantic? If so, don’t expect to get any sleep. Driving on foreign land in a car you’re not use to has it’s challenges, even if your hubby has experience driving a car with the steering wheel on the opposite side (and lanes too). How about spending your first night in Dublin and dropping your car off at the Dublin airport the night before flying home and sleep at an airport hotel.

Posted by
325 posts

For what it is worth, I would echo the caution about driving the first day. It's up to you of course, but I think there's a little fogginess that first day that makes the re-acclimation process of driving on the other side of the road a little tougher.

For me on your Day 5, I'd focus on Killarney National Park and the area around there rather than a Ring of Kerry trip just after your Dingle Peninsula driving trip on Day 4. Muckross House / Muckross Farm are a lovely day out, and you can walk the Gap of Dunloe. All of this is very close to the convenience of Killarney. In my opinion, Killarney town gets a bad rap from Rick Steves (perhaps on the assumption that it is always overly busy/jammed with tourists), but we stayed there in March for a few nights to see the area and the hotels/transport options that make it busy in the summer are simply convenient and helpful in shoulder season when tourists are not so numerous. Even if you stay in Kenmare, I'd think about using the Killarney area as a base for the day on your drive from Dingle to Kenmare, and that this might balance your visit a little more.

Whatever you choose, you'll love it of course. Ireland is a joy and March is a good time to visit.

Posted by
2 posts

MaryPat and Steve- thank you for your input. We are taking the advice to spend the first night in Dublin. Better safe than sorry. We’ll hopefully sleep well and get a very early start.
Steve- I was leaning toward the time at Killarney so it was good to hear your thoughts. Sounds much more relaxing than another day focused on driving.

Posted by
1477 posts

From Skibereen you could drive to Sheep's Head Peninsula - ut isn't a very long drive but has fget to be discovered by the visitors to Ireland. It is lovely scenery.

Posted by
2621 posts

Stay on your feet on arrival day and tour Dublin. End the day with a nice meal and don’t go to bed until after 9p. If you wake up during the night don’t panic. If you have trouble falling asleep close your eyes and rest. If you sleep in later than you wanted to, that’s alright too. You may want to give your car rental agency a time slot when you’ll pick up the car i.e., between 9a and noon.