We can't decide between Waterford & Cork. Any passionate reasons for either? Also, is it possible to do the Dingle Peninsula drive and the Cliffs of Moher in one day? Or is that just crazy talk? Any tips would be lovely. We only have 5 1/2 days and I want to see things all over the country. I so wish I could stay longer. Thanks for any and all advice!
Oh, and also, which Titanic museum is better: Titanic Belfast or the Titanic Experience in Cobh? I'm leaning towards Belfast right now.
As far as Dingle and the Cliffs in one day, that is crazy talk, being a couple of hundred km apart and a good 2-3 hour drive. If it's one or the other I'd choose Dingle, and I would suggest the drive around Slea Head and out to Ballyferriter where there's lots to see. Maybe you catch the Cliffs early or late on the way? It can be a good idea to avoid the Cliffs in the middle of the day when the tour buses are there.
Perhaps two days in the southwest and 3 1/2 for Dublin, Newgrange and Belfast? We did not go to either Titanic exhibit, but we enjoyed Belfast for a day, taking a Black Taxi tour and seeing Belfast City Hall-a free tour.
Take some time to see the highlights of Dublin, like the Kilmainham Gaol, Christ Church and the museums, all well worth it.
I know a lot of people don't like Cork, but I did - better than Waterford (unless you're going there for the crystal, of course). I found the Titanic experience in Cobh very interesting and informative. In Belfast we just saw the shipyard where she was built, didn't go to any museum or 'experience' so I can't compare. I did love Belfast though, one of the most interesting cities I have visited, especially the murals and monuments.
It's impossible to do the Dingle and the Cliff in a single day.
Cobh trumps Waterford.
There's too much in Belfast to waste time tromping out to the shipyard.
Thank you so much Dave for the recommendations. I think we will do exactly what you suggested: 2 days for Dingle and 3-1/2 for Dublin, Newgrange, & Belfast. Nancy & Ed, is there anything specific you could point us towards in Belfast? The Taxi Tour sounds interesting. Is that an actual thing (with tickets) or do we just hail a cab and ask them to show us around? Thanks everyone! I love this forum. Great way to get help planning a trip! :)
You would want to arrange a Black Taxi tour ahead of time, see link below for who we used. We took the train from O'Connell station Dublin up to Belfast, John met us at the station and away we went. He took us through the The Falls Road and Shankill Road areas of Belfast, explained from his perspective what it's all about and what other perspectives are too. It was a fascinating look at the "troubles"; there are huge murals and tributes to fighters and important dates in history, so-called peace walls, with giant gates that to this day get closed at night to minimize traffic between nationalist and loyalist neighborhoods. It was an incredible two hour tour, after which we took the free tour at Belfast City Hall, that's really a beautiful building. We had a great seafood supper, and hopped the train back to Dublin.
You can set up a tour with Norman here, not sure who you will get for the tour, but they are all very passionate about educating folks about their city.
I know you want to spend your five days all over the country, and while that is definitely possible, consider more quality time in a few spots- this way, you can really enjoy yourself and experience Ireland the way the Irish do. :) I spent last year living in Limerick and when friends/family came to visit, we pretty much stayed on the west coast (although Dublin is a must for a lot of people- and that can be done in a day or two). Since you already want to see the Cliffs of Moher, consider staying a night in Doolin, where trad music originates from- go to Gus O'Connell's pub for the evening and enjoy dinner and live trad in a small intimate setting. there's some very nice B&B's by the sea near Doolin, and they're cheap- we stayed at Atlantic View. Then you can drive down to Dingle which is a more populated village but also has great trad and food and scenery on the way- I love Dingle!! Also nice B&B's with views of the water, we stayed at St. Joseph's. Have you thought about going to Galway or Killarney? I enjoyed those cities far more than Cork or Waterford- they are both easy cities to see in a short amount of time, and each have a lot of history/culture. I'm saying this because they would require less travel time to get to than Cork or Waterford. Enjoy Ireland, Slainte! :)
Waterford isn't that exciting. The original factory is gone. It only take about half an hour to see the tour. Then you are dumped into a lobby, that looks like a china, crystal store. That is all. It is just a lobby with items. Our tour guide said Waterford can be bought in the U.S., cheaper than in Ireland. He ordered 12 flutes at the factory lobby, a few years ago. When they arrived they came from New Jersey, yet he paid for expensive postage. Waterford is owned by an American company now.