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Where to go for first time in Ireland?

My wife, Leanne and I are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this summer. We have decided to go to Ireland (maybe add Scotland?) to celebrate for about 7-10 days in late July. Not sure if renting a car, taking train and/or bus to get around effectively? My wife suggested a bus tour, but I don't like the tight touristy schedules. I am looking forward to seeing the Irish countryside, cliffs and meeting some locals, seeing castles and occasional pub/music places. She is also looking forward to the similar, but more museums and less pubs. Just found out that Garth Brooks will be kicking off his tour in Dublin at Croke Park during this time (would be a gift to my wife). I keep hearing about Dingle, but not sure where else to visit? Thanks for any help. Jeff from Texas.

Posted by
2081 posts

Welcome Jlaustin,

It would be nice if you were horsey people in Texas.

If you are, there is the Irish National Stud in Kildare, not far outside of Dublin.

happy trails.

Posted by
1887 posts

Am sure you already have a tour book or two already to give you some ideas of what there is to see. Suggest you drive instead of tour, this way you can stop whenever you want and not be on such a schedule. Fly into Shannon, it is easier to start driving there than Dublin. Tour the west, the cliffs, Dingle,perhaps down to Kinsale and then up,to Dublin where you drop off car as you won't Need it there and home from Dublin. As far as museums, there are not museums like you would think of in say London, Scotland but there are many wonderful small museums such as Trinity college in Dublin. If at all possible, stay the ten days as the last day is not a tour day as most flights home to US if that is where you are leave in AM. Wonderful country and people. Tell your wife the pub experience is wonderful way to meet people. Enjoy.

Posted by
81 posts

Hi Jeff! Jerry from Texas here. You will absolutely love Ireland! At least, in my humble opinion you will. For your trip, I would fly into Shannon, go up to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Then down to Dingle and then work your way back to Dublin for the last couple of days. You will not need a car in Dublin itself. Here's what I just posted to another traveler going on their first trip to Ireland. Let me know if you have specific questions.

I am completely sympathetic with your dilemma. Our first trip, I fretted for months. So much to do and see in just 8 days. So here's what we did. 2 nights in Dublin. 1 Day in Dublin - 1 day north to Newgrange and Hill of Tara. On leaving Day 3 went south to Powerscourt and lunch in Enniskerry and then drive to Cashel (night 3). Toured Rock of Cashel in the morning then drove to Killarney, toured the Muckross House, hiked in the National Park to the Torc Waterfalls and then drove to Dingle. We arrived about 6 p.m. 2 Nights in Dingle. Slea Head drive is an absolute must! Then drove from Dingle (thru Connor Pass) to Limerick, stopped at Bunratty Castle for lunch, tour and tour of the folk park. Arrived at Cliffs of Moher about 5 p.m. Spent the night in Doolin. Next morning drove thru the Burren then onto Galway for lunch then drove up to Lough Corrib and then back to Dublin about 6 p.m. So last night in Dublin. Flew out at noon the next day. Our last trip was completely different. Into Dublin and drove straight to Donegal. Spent 3 nights in Donegal. The went to Clifden, spent 3 nights and then went to the Galway Christmas market our last night and then flew out of Shannon next day. It's easy drive from Galway to Shannon. SO thus far Dingle and Donegal are 2 most favorite spots. BUT it will take another couple of trips to see everything we want to see. So don't fret so much. As suggested, do a combination of things. Be sure and get Rick's Ireland book. It is worth every penny.

Posted by
59 posts

I think some of it does depend on your interests. We went in 2009 and started in Belfast, traveling counter-clockwise around the island, departing from Shannon. I was given some of the same opinions which kind of devalued Dublin as a primary stop. We had a great trip in our two weeks staying in Bangor, Derry, county Donegal (Glenties), Westport, Doolin, Dingle and Kinsale. All those stops had either museums or items of historical interest. The "living history" tour in Kinsale was nice. It is a beautiful country with welcoming people.