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Where to stay in south west/western Ireland

My wife our two daughters(13 &14) and myself are planning trip to Ireland in April 2017 for one week. We plan on flying into Shannon and having a rental car. We would like to rent a cottage for the week and have found many that interest us in County Clare as well as Dingle. The big question is with one week where should we focus our search for a home base to operate from? Day trips to Dingle or vice versa day trips to County Clare from Dingle/Ring of Kerry region? I understand some will say move around and spend nights in different towns but we have found having a home base tends to work for us, Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Posted by
1916 posts

Unless you have a particular reason for considering Clare (family connection?) you'd be much more central to the highlights of southwestern Ireland if you based yourself near Dingle or Killarney. It's a 2+30 drive from Shannon airport just to get to Dingle town, so day trips from anywhere in Clare to either Dingle or the ROK would make for long days
April is shoulder season so you'll see better availability for self-catering cottages wherever you look, and it will be less crowded generally at that time of year.
Many here like the area around Kenmare as a base. It's less crowded than Killarney but is still close enough to it for easy day trips back and forth, as well as being central to all of the attractions along the ROK. It's also a good base for exploring the lesser known but very pretty Beara peninsula just to the south - one of our favorite areas.
Safe travels.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Robert! The reason we are considering Clare is its proximity to the Aran Islands, The Cliffs of Moher...etc... Also our youngest would like to see as many castles as possible and from the small amount of research I've done Clare seems to have a few. I know we can't do everything in one week but would like to figure out where we could get "the most bang for our buck" in terms of sightseeing, small hikes etc between ROK region or Clare.

Thanks again for you reply!

Posted by
1916 posts

In that case I'd suggest Connemara - either Galway town itself or maybe a bit further afield near Clifden. We stayed in a cottage out on Sky Road on our last trip and loved it. Not too far from the ferry at Rossaveel for a trip out to the islands, and the loop drive around to the National Park, Kylemore Abbey, Cong, etc. contains some of the prettiest scenery in Ireland. Would also be a short jaunt to Doolin, the Cliffs and the Burren. It really is a great area.
For an evocative side trip we recommend going up to Doolough. Can Google it to read a description of what happened there and to determine whether it might be of interest to you and your girls.

Posted by
4 posts

Once again Thank you Robert! Here is a loaded question for you....If you had to choose between ROK or Connemara would Connemarra win?

Posted by
1916 posts

Boy, that's a tough one - guaranteed to get me into trouble with others on this forum no matter how I answer. Let's just say that both are gorgeous, that the ROK is internationally famous for good reason, and that it's a great introduction to Ireland for first time visitors. Connemara is less well-known but, in our subjective opinion, is the prettiest region in all of Ireland.
One thing I might suggest that you include in your planning is a copy of "Back Roads Ireland" from DK publishing. There are used ones on Amazon for just a few dollars. Contains lots of off-the-beaten path (and on-the-beaten path, come to that) driving excursions around Ireland. It's the only pub we take with us aside from the RS guide. There are several scenic drives in there, for both the Connemara region and ROK, that might be of interest to you in helping to make up your mind.

Posted by
4 posts

Robert Thank you again for all your insight. It truly helps. We ended up booking a house in Newquay(a little off the beaten path) but the price was right and the views look wonderful. That being said we are focusing our trip on County Clare and Connemara. We might try and do one over night in Dingle but will have to play that one by ear when we get there.