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Opinion of 16 days Ireland Tour in mid to end of July

Hello. I would like it if any of you could comment on our 16 days itinerary. We are a family of 3 (my husband and I and our 13 year old son) We have rented a car for the entire journey. We are German/American so we have traveled Europe.

We like to see as much as we can since we are not sure when we will get back to visit. We rather see a little of a lot, rather then a little.

We would like our son to learn about some of the history, hence the Famine Ship, Titanic Experience, Stone Circles, Historic Castles etc.

Please tell me what I am missing in your opinion-what would you add for a 13 year old (besides relaxing-it's ok we relax on beach vacations)

Also, anything we can skip in your opinion and any small towns to add to our drives.

Please let me know if something is too much in one day and completely unrealistic.

Any suggestions for best Irish heritage museum/park.

Thank you so very much in advance.

Day 1- Arrive Dublin 1230>Shuttle bus to city>Stay at Trinity College x 3 nights>City touring

Day 2-Dublin sightseeing

Day 3-Dublin sightseeing

Day 4-Pick up Rental Car early am at airport>Enniskerry>Gardens of Powercourt>Wicklow Mtns>Glendalough>Kilkenny castle if time>Kilkenny overnight

Day 5-Rock of Cashel>Jerpoint Abbey>Kells Proiry>Kilkenny sightseeing>Overnight Kilkenny

Day 6-Waterford city>Crystal tour maybe?>Dunbrody famine shipping New Ross? unless better option elsewhere>Ardmore Beach>Distillery if time>Kinsale overnight

Day 7-Kinsale Tour 9:15am>Fort>Cobh>Cork>Overnight Kinsale

Day 8-Drive to Kenmare via Killarney>Muckross House>Blarney Castle perhaps just drive by>Beal na Blath>Sheep Farm>Stone circle in Kenmare>Overnight in Kenmare

Day 9- Ring of Kerry>Skellig Experience>drive to Dingle-walk Harbor

Day 10-Dingle loop>ferry or via Shannon?>Cliffs of Moher>Burren>Dungaire Castle driveby>Late arrival to Galway overnight

Day 11-Galway sightseeing>Connemara & country Mayo loop or Aran Islands??> overnight Galway

Day 12-Drive to Derry>(What to see on the way to Derry??)>Derry Sightseeing if time>Overnight in Derry

Day 13-County Donegal Loop>Derry sightseeing>Portrush overnight

Day 14-Portrush>Giants Causeway>Distillery>Bridge>Antrim coast>overnight Portrush

Day 15-Drive to Belfast>Belfast sightseeing>Titanic Experience>overnight Belfast

Day 16- Drive to Dublin airport via Bru Na Boyne sights>Trim castle>overnight at Dublin airport

Day 17-Depart Dublin early am


Posted by
2939 posts

You say you'd rather see a little of many different places, and that's what you'll get with this jam-packed itinerary. Personally I know I would not enjoy this type of trip, but it's your choice.

Posted by
4 posts

What would you suggest we skip? My husband wants to see the North which would include Derry and Portrush along with Belfast but we could move some of the other sights from Day 8 to Day 14.

Posted by
4 posts

I figure we need to chose between Ring of Kerry or Dingle unfortunately and between Burren or Connemara? And perhaps no Donegal Loop, just Derry Town direct from Galway.

Posted by
247 posts

I hope that you have carefully checked out the actual driving times between your stops since many roads, especially in the West, are rather slow. The good news is that days are long and you can be on the road in broad daylight from 5 am to 9 pm. Since many people write into this Forum with very similar questions, you can read the responses they got. IMO you could do a great service by tracking how much you actually see and how long it takes each day. Then please return here after your trip to list what you really got done vs. your plans. Ireland is quite charming, have a grand time.

Posted by
705 posts

As others have said, and as you realize, you are cramming a lot in, but it is probably doable, if you can adjust on the fly. You have allotted 2 nights in many areas, so if you realize you can't (or don't want to) do it all, you can go back to town and have a pint and relax.
Some suggestions:
* Skip the Waterford Crystal tour. The crystal is actually made in Central Europe now, so you don't see the artisans doing their work.
* Blarney Castle is a big tourist thing, and even if you said "What the heck, I want to do it," there is a series of ring roads around Cork, and we spent hours try to find our way in just to drive past it, which never happened. Your time is better spent elsewhere as you have many things planned for that day.
* Driving can take way more time than you think. If the stone circle in Kenmare is the one we went to, you drive down one-track lanes where cattle stare you down and you have to wait for them to move, then find yourself with a tractor heading towards you. One of you backs up to a tiny pullout so the other can pass. This can happen multiple times before you reach your destination. It's all part of being in Ireland, but it takes time.
* Day 10 seems packed, but you can adjust as you are traveling to what is important to you. Driving the Dingle loop will take at least a whole morning if you limit your stops. It;s been several years since I've been to the Cliffs of Moher and I understand it is much more crowded now, so take crowds into account.

* Day 11: I don't know where you are staying in county Galway. We stayed in the coastal village of Roundstone, where my husband's grandmother was from. From there, we drove to Kylemore Abbey, which was lovely, but it was a 2 hour drive each way, albeit through Connemara
* Day 13 or 14, I would suggest adding Dun Luce Castle to you itinerary. It is full of history,and your son would probably love it. The castle hangs on a cliff on the side of the ocean.
* Day 16--Definiitely try to see Newgrange and the burial mounds. They are very impressive, showing the technology from 5000 years ago.

As other have said, look at Goggle Maps, but add at least 30-50% to the time they say. I think you have covered a lot of history for your son and yourselves, which is great, but be realistic that it won't all happen. And that's OK, because other stuff will happen that's great, too.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you so much!! We appreciate all of the advice. We do understand that we can plan and may just abandon said plans. We will definitely look for our must sees and pass the rest or be lucky to see them if time allows.
Definitely giving up Waterford Crystal and probably Blarney Castle. Any other Castle suggestions? We do love Castles but I suppose we shouldn't stop at them all.
Any suggestions, on where to stay between Galway and Portrush? (We are aware that some nights will be late so that we will arrive to a Travelodge/hotel on a few nights as not to bother a Bed and Breakfast family)
Thank you!!

Posted by
246 posts

Sligo is about 2 – 2 ½ hours driving time north of Galway and is worth a visit, especially if you have any interest in W.B. Yeats. It’s a good stopover between Galway and Portrush.

Even if you don’t have time to tour Donegal County, visiting Londonderry is worth it. The city walls are interesting to walk around; the murals devoted to the “Troubles” are thought provoking, and the Guild Hall Museum tells quite a bit about the history. I enjoyed Londonderry much more than Portrush.