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What's your dream Itinerary - 16 days - 5 or so overnight locations

Trying to plan a 16-18 day trip (summer 2024) that is focused on going slow and enjoying our vacation, knowing that we won't be able to see it all. We are OK staying only one night every once in a while, but would really like to spend 2-3 nights in most locations. Flying in and out of Dublin, mid-50's like moderate hikes, food & drink, maybe a round of golf/spa day, - like to avoid overly crowded and touristy in exchange for taking in the local culture. For example, I think I would prefer Kilkee over Cliffs of Moher. Would like to keep nightly $$ to around 200.00 - giving us the opportunity to splurge a few nights for our 25th anniversary. We plan on driving but are totally open to trains/bus and are planning on private tours for the most scenic/small road days so we can both enjoy the view (and perhaps a distillery or two)

I've spent weeks trying to nail down an itinerary and I just seem to add more cities/towns instead of consolidating :-) I would love any suggestions or recommendations. Much appreciated!

Posted by
3026 posts

How many nights will you be there?
Spend your first four nights in Dublin. Spend day one adjusting to jet lag and stop by the visitors center and sign up for a half day tour of Brú na Bóinne for your last day in Dublin.
Download Rick Steves app on your phone before leaving home and after your first night in Dublin take Rick Steves City Walk 1 and tour the Book of Kells in the Trinity Old Library. You can also buy his book that features this walk. The next day take the Dublin City Walk 2. After three nights in Dublin visit Brú na Bóinne.
The day you leave Dublin drive towards Dingle where you want to spend two to three nights. From there you could drive up to Galway and return your car. The next day take a ferry to Inishmore for two nights and hike. You can then take a direct (no transfers) train from Galway back to Dublin and fly home the next day.

Posted by
4 posts

We have 16-18 nights - still flushing out itinerary - sample itinerary below - would like to have more 3 night stays and less 2 nights - would appreciate any "this needs more" "one night is good here" feedback. Thanks so much!

Day 1 - Dublin - arrival and overnight
Day 2 - train to Kilkenny - overnight
Day 3 - overnight Kilkenny -
Day 4 - pick up car head to Cork - overnight Cork
Day 5 - overnight Cork
Day 6 - Cork to Dingle - Overnight Dingle
Day 7 - overnight Dingle
Day 8 - overnight Dingle
Day 9 - Dingle to Kilkee (not driving Connors pass ) it's a no can do for me but will most likely hire a driver while in Dingle - overnight Kilkee
Day 10 - overnight Kilkee
Day 11 - Kilkee to Clifden. - overnight Clifden
Day 12 - overnight Clifden
Day 13 - Clifden to Sligo - overnight Sligo
Day 14 - Sligo (golf) overnight Sligo
Day 15 - Sligo to Dublin - (would like to return car and take train to Dublin) overnight Dublin
Day 16 - overnight Dublin
Day 17 - overnight Dublin
Day 18 - Dublin to Scotland

Posted by
72 posts

We've travelled to Ireland and N. Ireland every couple years and this last April visited the Galway area for the first time. We took the Hawkwalk at Ashford Castle which was one of the most enjoyable times we've ever had. We were renting a house for a week west of Galway City and used it as a base, visiting the Aran Islands, Connamara, etc. We hope to return to Ashford Castle to stay for our 50th Anniversary- major bucket list item.

Posted by
4 posts

@Carol - since posting this I have pretty much done a 180 am now looking at a Northern itinerary - the more I read the more I change it :-) I know it's impossible to see it all no matter how much I want to. Would love to see your itinerary, we're now looking at the following but know that I need to cut something in order to stay 2-3 nights in a few places.

1.Dublin - overnight depending on arrival time
2. Belfast
3. Derry
4. Donegal Town, Adara, Westport ??? - still trying to figure this one out
5. Sligo
6. Clifden
7. Kilkee
8. Dingle
9. Return to Dublin onto Edinburgh or fly from Shannon to Edinburgh

Posted by
72 posts

Our personal preference has been to find ourselves a base for a week, explore what we can within driving distance, and then plant ourselves somewhere else. We generally go for a month at a time which isn't possible for a lot of people. We've always enjoyed each area and try to get the most out of our time.
Our Galway trip included:
1) took the ferry to Inish Mor and rode around the island on ebikes, enjoyed the views from the cliffs
2) spent a day walking around the old part of Galway City and visited a pub, went back to catch the service at the Cathedral
3) went on the Hawkwalk at Ashford Castle, walked around the grounds and visited the village of Cong next door (we also had a private tour of the castle but it's not normally open to the public-it's definitely on our bucket list to go back and stay there). We later went to dinner at the Pulman Restaurant at Glenloe Abbey Hotel just north of Galway City. The restaurant is set in old rail cars from the original Orient Express film (our son is a big fan).
4) took a drive around Connamara, stopping at Kylemore Abbey, and driving the Sky Road- beautiful views.
When we stayed in Derry a couple years ago:
1) took a walking tour of the walls which was quite informative, and just explored the older city that has several small museums
Both my husband and my families came from there so there was a lot of exploring cemeteries, etc.
2) it was an easy drive to the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh from there, which was interesting
I always look to see what is going on in the area. I lucked out a few years ago and visited Derry during a cultural event when they had all sorts of reinactments of the Siege of Derry. I found it helpful to read up a bit on the history.
Derry is a busy town but I really enjoyed the history.
In April, we needed a place to stop between Co. Tyrone and Galway for a night to break up the trip. We visited Slieve League cliffs (similar to the Cliffs of Mohr without the crowds) and stayed at Slieve League B&B. We took a short hike from the B&B to the edge of the cliffs-absolutely beautiful with sheep everywhere. We also went to church in Killybegs, not realizing that the mass was being said in Gaelic- didn't have a clue what was being said but enjoyed it, just the same. I understand you can take a boat ride to the base of the cliffs but we didn't have time.
We've also stayed in a really small village called Clonmellon, in Westmeath. a couple different trips. It's only an hour from Dublin and was handy for visiting Newgrange and many historical sites. The place we stay is a converted stone carriage house owned by a wonderful family that has a sheep farm so there's usually animals around. We spent one day and visited a distillery in nearby Kilbeggan and another day, we spent all afternoon learning fly fishing. (arranged by the owners).
Right now I'm trying to plan our September trip- a week outside Waterford, a week in Kinsale, a week outside Dingle, and then a week in Wicklow. We try to stay at self catering cottages because we have an adult son along but B&Bs are my favorite if there's just 1 or 2 of you. We're a little older than you but like to be active. Not golfers, but cyclists, so we plan to rent either regular bikes or ebikes.
I don't know if this has helped or confused you but wherever you go, you'll enjoy it.