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Rough Itinerary help for 5 day Ireland Countryside trip

Hey everyone! I'm planning a trip for 6 of us ladies and I REALLY want to get it right. None of us ladies has splurged on a holiday like this without kids in at least a decade and some of the funds were gifted to me as part of a "dream fund" because I have a terminal illness. We have all lived internationally for at least a few months - Kenya, Germany, Damascus, Ukraine, and India. So we're pretty experienced travelers. I know I need to cut something, I just can't figure out what! Feel free to give your advice. We need a month! We're headed to Scotland for a week after Ireland.

None of us are super ambitious with needing to check everything off the list and cram it all in.

Fly into Dublin, see the museum and the famous library
From there to Glendalough
On to Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel
On to Kinsale and Cobh
On to Ring of Kerry and then Dingle
On to Cliffs of Moher and back to Dublin

So is what would you leave out if you only had 5 days? We're not interested in staying in the cities. We hope to stay for 2 nights in 2 places that we can use as a home base and plan to use AirBnBs or regular BnBs in villages or small towns. We can drive but would rather rely on public transport. I don't know if this is feasible. We wouldn't be adverse to doing a few guided tours but aren't really the types to get on and off a tour bus for 5 days!

Submitting this for your wise counsel!

Posted by
333 posts

It’s doable if you don’t mind some long driving days (4+ hours) and that you would have to stay in a different B&B each night. We’ve done it twice but you will be cramming stuff in

Assuming are not going to be jet lagged and are familiar with driving on the left I would skip Dublin and go to Kilkenny from Dublin. If you will be jet lagged don’t try driving the first day. It’s tough enough as it is without your head being 4-8 time zones away

Kilkenny to Kinsale visiting Cashel on the way.

Kinsale to Kerry via Bantry Bay is one of the best drives in the world. Stay around Killarney

Ring of Kerry early and then on to Dingle. Stay in Dingle. You can do both the Ring of Kerry and Dingle on the same day but it is a lot of driving. For my money, Dingle is much better if you chose just one

Dingle to Cliffs of Moher and back to Dublin. You could save some time flying to Scotland form Shannon if you aren’t committed to a flight yet

If this will be too much. Dublin to Galway and skip Kinsale

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks Ty! If we rent a car we would probably have to return it in Dublin. And we were hoping to stay 2 nights in places that would be accessible to do day trips, but I know we’re trying to do too much.

Posted by
378 posts

When you say 5 days does that include arrival and departure days? If so, I think you definitely need to drop a few things. The first should probably be the Cliffs of Moher. I haven't been in 30 years but others have said that the cliffs were very crowded. They are also a little out of the way from the other things which you have listed. So instead of the COM, many suggest the Kerry Cliffs. I would also suggest that you choose between the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula and not try to do both. If possible also try to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon or vice versa. Most of the car rental agencies will allow you to rent from one and return to the other for a relatively modest one-way drop fee. I think around $50-75. Split 6 ways that's worth doing to save 4-5 hours of driving. Also bear in mind that driving times are 25-30% longer than what Google maps estimates and that for 6 people (and your luggage) you will need a car which is much larger than what most Irish drivers (and Irish roads) use.

This seems like a real blitzkrieg itinerary. A few comments . . . maybe you should spend 7 days in Ireland instead of Scotland. The Cliffs of Moher are often fogged in, so not a good visit . . . based on my personal experience from last year, I suggest you skip them. I would rent a car to save time and offer convenience, vs. public transportation. However, be aware that in places the roads are very narrow 2-lane affairs, and you'll be driving on the left--so you may not want to deal with that challenge. If you are going to try to do Dingle & Kerry in one day, you are going to practically fly around them without stopping very much to enjoy the scenery and potential stops--look at Rick's book for all of the sights you may want to stop & visit! Killarney is a good base for Dingle/Kerry travel. I believe that the tour buses all stop there, and there is a wealth of places to stay that are quite nice and CHEAP! My wife and I stayed in a hotel that was about 75 Euro, including a cooked breakfast.

Posted by
5019 posts

Sorry, this is not a realistic a 5 day itinerary. More like 7-9, and that's still going fast.

Count your days carefully. Do not count your arrival day as usable (you'll be jetlagged, do not plan to arrive and then drive off).

Dingle and the ROK and COM are far away from Dublin, and take longer than you think to get to (or back from). For your arrival day, consider this: push on (out of Dublin) on public transport. You can take a bus or train to Galway or somewhere in the Southwest, within striking distance of Dingle or the ROK. Get a good nights sleep before you tackle driving.

You can't really do your plan via public transport (that's too time consuming). Rent a car, at least for the west/southwest part of the country. Take a train or bus back to Dublin and spend a day or so there before you fly out.

Posted by
1 posts

I'd agree that this is a very demanding schedule. Glendalough gets very busy so allow time for that visit. Dublin city is not very friendly for drivers / parking but public transport in the city is good. Kilkenny is great for a stop over and you can visit Cashel en route to Kinsale as many do. Cliffs of Moher are busy and might not be worth the hassle. I'd spend more time in Dingle personally then you'd be refreshed for the long drive back to Dublin ;-)

Posted by
130 posts

You can't achieve all that in just six days. My preference would be to remove kinsale, Cobh and Cliffs of Moher.
suggested itinerary (and even this is hectic!)

Day 1 Dublin

Day 2 Glendalough and overnight in Kilkenny

Day 3 Explore Kilkenny and then drive to Killarney for 3 nights

Day 4 Ring of Kerry overnight in Killarney

Day 5 Dingle and overnight in Killarney

Day 6 Return Dublin via Rock of Cashel