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What should I see in western Ireland?

Hi everyone! I need some help finalizing my itinerary for a 9 day trip to Ireland, particularly the middle part. The challenge: my husband doesn't want to drive, so we're relying on public transportation. We're in our 30s, love history, music, food. If we had more time, I'd like to see more of Galway, but we live in a major city, so I'm prioritizing countryside on this trip.

Do you think this set up is possible/best use of our time? We leave next week.

Feedback is greatly appreciated!

Day 1: Flight arrives in Dublin in the afternoon. Walk around a bit, dinner

Day 2: Walking tour of Dublin, sightseeing, musical pub crawl

Day 3: Bus tour to Newgrange/Tara; early evening train to Tralee and then (cab?) to Dingle. (Can you reserve a cab at 11pm?) Overnight there.

Day 4: sign up for a tour of the area, spend the night

Day 5: Cab back to Tralee (is there a better way?), bus to Doolin, visit Cliffs of Moher/Burren, stay in Doolin

Day 6: Ferry to Aran Islands, stay overnight in Inishmore

Day 7: early ferry to Rossaveel, cab to Ashford

Day 8: cab to Galway, quick tour of the city, then on the train back to Dublin.

Day 9 Early flight home

Thanks for your help!

Posted by
5704 posts

Sadly, I'm going to rain on your parade. Public transport in Ireland is not efficient. You'll be spending far too much time on it and will not have enough time to enjoy the places on your busy itinerary. Taking a cab from Tralee to Dingle is insane. Pardon my bluntness but it is and at that time of night you'll not find one. Ireland is NOT NYC. It's not open 24 hours. It is a laid back country dotted with small towns, mid sized cities. NOTHING huge or as hectic as NYC. Have you looked at a map of Ireland yet? Taking a "cab" from from Ashford to Galway is over an hour. Now if you have the money and wish to hire a car service or a guide to drive to these places then do so but depending on busses and trains to get you to what you wish to see in a timely and efficient manner isn't the proper way to keep to your itinerary. Uncertain why your husband doesn't wish to drive in Eire. It can be daunting but to be absolutely truthful it is the best way to see the country's beauty. I've driven the entire island twice. Once with a clutch (there's something to be said for those of us who learn to drive with a clutch) and an automatic. Took my time, have a great sense of direction, and saw and experienced everything from Belfast, and Newgrange, and the Dingle Peninsula, and Cork, and the Gap of Dunloe, and LondonDerry, and Glendalough, and the Cliffs of Mohr, etc. Oh and I was born when Truman was in office and did both journey's solo! If you absolutely can't drive then start looking at car hires. Ireland is a stunningly beautiful country. You don't want to experience it by looking through windows on a bus or train!!!

Posted by
552 posts

I've done the bus/train tour of Ireland, and it can be done, but you have to plan well, and know that your travel days will be mostly wasted getting from point A to point B. I also had three weeks, you only have nine days. The smartest thing you can do is pick three towns and stay put for three days each, then do guided bus tours to see the sights. Dublin, Killarney, and Galway make the most sense given what you want to see. You can do a day trip to Inishmore from Galway as well as the Cliffs of Moher, and you can do a day trip to Dingle from Killarney. Since you have to backtrack to Dublin to fly out you are going to lose some time there. I suggest the first thing you do is look at the train schedules and see what will work best. It might actually make sense to just get off the plane and grab a train to Killarney, spend some time there, then train to Galway, spend time there, then finish in Dublin. The less days spent travelling, the more time you can spend seeing the sights.

Posted by
1888 posts

You leave according to your post of 5/14 that you are leaving "next week" so I imagine on 5/20 or 5/21 so maybe a couple of days from now? It is not too late but suggest you reconsider car issue and rent a car maybe from Tralee and keep it until you return to Dublin. I think for what you want to do you will waste so much time on public transport especially Tralee to Dingle and then Rossaveel to -Ashford which is quite a trip. Don't believe there is any way possible at 11pm to get from Tralee to Dingle and would imagine the B&B owners would not be happy with your arriving there in the wee hours of the morning. Rossaveel is almost twice the distance to Cong where Ashford Castle is located and don't know how you would get a cab there and then the next day a cab from Cong to Galway. Please rethink your plans so you can enjoy. Claudia and I are about the same age and have traveled the same way and had no problems with driving, so if we can do the driving, you youngsters could do as well.

Posted by
13 posts

Just returned from Ireland and was ecstatic I rented a mini car for $65.93(total price). It was a manual stick shift and roads are small in Dublin and along the west coast but got me everywhere except Aran Islands.

Gas is about $1,28 euro a liter which is equivalent to about $6.40/gallon.

I'd recommend:
Dublin - nightlife is Grafton St and Temple Bar area which si touristy but that's where you find TRAD music.
Galway - fun city with lots of pubs
Cliffs of Mohor
Ring of Kerry
Stay in Dingle at Inch Beach.....25 minutes outside of Dingle but a nice place to wake-up in morning.
Dingle had a few Stag parties groups roaming when I was there making it a bit enjoyable for bar hopping.
Lots of drunk English & Irish lads making fools of themselves
Killarney - great small town with good Irish TRAD music.
Cork - ok place but very big so normal big city experience.
Castle - Rock Cashel - 423 AD Castle where ST Patrick stayed
Kilkenny - skip it....way out of the way.

get a car it's cheap and fun and I didn't have any accidents!!