I'm having trouble deciding where to stay, what to see and how many days for each. My husband, my 12 year old daughter and I will be visiting the East coast. This is our 2nd time in Ireland. Our first time we did the west coast and loved it. That is probably why I'm having trouble - loved to go back and visit some to the places again. But we want to see more of Ireland. Do you have any suggestions on where to stay and how long on the way from Killarney down and around and up to Dublin?
Could you give us a little more information about the overall length of your trip, whether you'll be renting a car, and your preferred type of lodging (rent a cottage, stay in B&B, etc.)?
Also, what are your interests? Ancient ruins, modern history, hiking & outdoors pursuits, ... ?
We fly into Shannon and out of Dublin. We are renting a car and will be in Ireland for 18 days. However, the last 8 of those will be spent with relatives near Dublin (who already have plans for us). We are starting with 3 days in Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe then up and around the east coast. We like a variety of things: history, ruins, scenery, a little hiking etc. We want to see New Grange and the Rock of Cashel. We are planning to see the Book of Kells and Trinity college along with just some of the local atmosphere of Dublin. I didn't know if Waterford (crystal) and Wexford for Hook Lighthouse were worth the trip or what else there is to see. We absolutely loved the west of Ireland and it is hard not to just go back to those spots. But we want to see the more of Ireland so... We have fallen in love with the b&b's but do not object to a hotel. So looking for advise.
Kinsale is a great stop, and Charles Fort is the oldest star fort in Europe and has an interesting walking tour. Kilkenny is also a good place (the castle, climb the tower at St. Canice's).
I also enjoy scenery, ruins, history, and hiking, so here are some of the places I enjoyed in the area you plan to visit.
In Killarney, the Muckross House Traditional Farms are fascinating ibecause they show a diversity of lifestyles. I enjoyed those even more than the Muckross House itself; you can walk around at your own pace and talk with the interpreters. The Muckross gardens have a number of pleasant walks and short hikes.
Nearby Torc Waterfall is worth a visit, as is the 2 ½ mile round trip hike to Dinis Cottage and the Old Weir Bridge which is at the “Meeting of the Waters” featured in a number of old prints.
The Gap of Dunloe is scenic. I hiked up and back down, but others took the pony carts.
Kinsale is a scenic, interesting town with good pubs and music. My B&B was near the French prison, and I overheard part of the Ghost Tour as it walked by, sounded funny and informative. Great dinner at Fishy Fishy.
If you visit Cashel, Kilkenny is about an hour’s drive away toward Dublin.
I loved visiting Kilkenny and had great BnB hosts there, great conversations about Irish history. In addition to Anita’s suggestions, I enjoyed Kyteler’s Inn, and the story of the original owner who was the first recorded person in Ireland condemned for witchcraft is sad, but interesting.
Nearby Jerpoint Abbey (30 minutes) and Kells Priory and Kilree High Cross make for a good day or half-day trip (ruins and history).
Glendalough combines easy hiking, ruins, and history, and is about 1 ½ hours from Kilkenny in the direction of Dublin.
If you aren’t visiting Newgrange as part of your planned Dublin excursions, you could drive from Kilkenny or Glendalough to Newgrange or Trim to spend the night, so you can arrive early at the visitor’s center the next morning.
I spent one night each in Kilkenny, Killarney, and Kinsale and would have enjoyed a second night in each.
All the best,
Thank you so much for your response Anita and Raymond. I found them very helpful. We are going to spend 2 nights in Kinsale and 1 night in Kilkenny then heading to Dublin. I think the hardest part is to find something for everyone and make sure you see and enjoy as much as possible. I've put fishy fishy on our map for dinner!
You’re welcome. No matter how much time you have, there is always more to see and do. Some of my favorite memories involve conversations with people I met (both travelers and local residents).
Hope everyone enjoys the trip.