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travel to Ireland

My husband and I along with our 3 grown sons in their late 20's and early 30's, will be traveling to Ireland and Lisbon this September.
Our flights are set. We will fly into Shannon and fly out of Dublin, with 4 full days in Ireland. We will be renting a car. Our sons want to take a tour at the Storehouse Guinness Factory.

Looking for suggestions for sites to visit as well as places to stay.
We all like to walk and hike. Some suggestions so far are Galway, Rock of Cashel, Cliffs of Mother and Blarney Castle,

Thank you!

Posted by
1080 posts

Bunratty Castle (near Shannon) has a Medieval Banquet that we attended and enjoyed, the music is excellent and the food was also good.

Blarney Castle is a tourist trap and with only 4 days I wouldn't go there. The Rock of Cashel is mostly just piles of rubble and we felt it was underwhelming. I would go see the cliffs of Mother and head south to Dingle or the Ring of Cary, then work your way back to Dublin via the Wicklow Mountains, stop off at Powerscourt and visit the amazing gardens. In Dublin be sure to do a pub crawl, we loved that evening.

Posted by
1961 posts

I hope you are not planning to do all those things in the four days you have in Ireland - especially if you are wanting to walk and hike too... Plot the places on a map of ireland and you will see they don't fit together well. What made you decide on these places?

I'd agree with Donald's estimation of Blarney Castle too, although he is underselling Rock of Cashel.

You may need a rethink and either decide on north to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway OR South to Blarney Castle and Rock of Cashel.

Don't underestimeate time taken to drive between different places. Distances may not look faqr on a map but will take a lot longer to cover than you might expect. Driving in Ireland is slow. It is a place to slow down and enjoy.

Posted by
2388 posts

You say you have four full days so you are not counting arrival and departure correct?? I would head to Dingle just because we think it is magical. Then head towards Kinsale take ferry over to Cobb then onto Cashel and Dublin. I think Cashel is very worth while. I don't see it as a pile.of rocks and have been there sevefal.times. in Dublin. I think a truly can't miss site is Kilmainhaim Gaol. You do need tickets so don't delay on getting them. Since you like to walk you can walk from the Gaol to Guinness Warehouse.

Posted by
509 posts

You're in luck!

I have hiked two trails in Ireland, including the Wicklow Way: The 100-mile-long trail starts (or ends, depending on your direction) in Dublin. The trailhead in Dublin is Marlay Park ( In 1999, I walked the trail for 70 miles over four days. If you want only a day of hiking, you could take it 1, 5 or 10 miles.

In the west of Ireland is the Dingle Way: I walked the full 100 miles in 2010.

Posted by
2120 posts

If your family might enjoy launching and landing hawks, after a very quick instruction (and along with a guide), it is hard to beat the Hawk Walk thru the School of Falconry at Ashford Castle, which is also the previous
home to the Guinness family. It is on a lake (which also offers fishing) and is an absolutely wonderful place to stay. Bt if you book the Hawk Walk ahead of time (you can YouTube to find many videos of people enjoying it), you will have access to the Ashford Castle grounds (and possibly the castle itself for lunch, etc.).

The Sky Road approaching that general area is listed in the first edition of" National Geographic's 500 Journeys of a Lifetime." Beautiful drive.

If you make your way thru Doolin (where the Cliffs are) and stop in at McGann's Pub, tell Tony McGann his Tennessee friends send their hellos.

Posted by
886 posts

You won’t be able to do get to all of these locations with just four days. Blarney Castle really is just a tourist trap, but i know people who enjoyed it. Personally, I really enjoyed the Rock of Cashel as I am a history buff. It really depends on your interests. With so little time you are going to have to either go north towards Galway, or east to Cashel, and then pick some other sights to see as you make your way towards Dublin. Once you start zigzagging back and forth in an attempt to see as much as you can you end up seeing less because you spend too much time in the car. If it were me, I would probably choose to head towards Galway as there is so much to see in and around there. The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, a day trip to Inishmore, and the Connemara area would easily fill the few days you have, and the drives will be shorter allowing you more time to get out and walk around.

Posted by
1961 posts

With just four days I would suggest you base yourself in Galway. It is a vibrant and bust town with good vibes. You could spend a day exploring the Burren with its limestone scenery, completely different to anywhere else in Ireland, which could include the Cliffs of Moher.

Spend another day exploring Connemara which has some of the best scenery in Ireland. Head to Roundstone with its tiny harbour and views across to the Twelve Bens, then do the Sky Drive in Clifden. On a sunny day, this is one of the best short drives in the world. You could head up to Kilary Harbour (the only fjord in Ireland) and go for a boat trip. Return via Cong which was used to film The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. There is the ruined Cong Abbey with its fishing station on the river, with bell to ring to let the kitchen know if a fish had been caught...

Alternatively do a day trip to the Arran Islands.

Head back to Dublin on Day three via the medieval town of Athenry with its ruined castle and abbey and the lovely the early Christian site on Clonmacnoise. Book the Storehouse Guinness Factory tour for the morning of Day 4.

This will give a good flavour of Ireland - its scenery, culture and history.

Posted by
28 posts

Thank you all for taking the time to offer your experiences and suggestions. We probably should have just spent the entire time in Ireland but tickets are all set. I think we will need to decide on one are as we don’t want to spend all of our time in a car.
Our kids live in 3 different states and we wanted to all fly into Chicago and then fly to Ireland together.