Hello everyone. I've had wonderful success in the past using this forum for past trips to Europe, so I'd greatly appreciate your help again.
My daughter will be studying abroad in Waterford, Ireland this summer. My husband and younger son (15) will be joining her at the end of her session for a 12-night family vacation. We will arrive a few days earlier to see Dublin, since she will see that earlier as part of her study abroad adventures. I've already booked our flights in and out of Dublin using my airline miles.
Our biggest challenge will be transportation. We do not want to rent a car during our stay. Please let me know your thoughts on the plan below - put together from Rick's "Best of Ireland" book and website reviews. Is it feasible? Anything must-see that I'm missing? Any recommendations on transportation - tours, private driver, etc? Any amazing B&Bs or places to stay along the way?
Thank you very much for your input!
Suzette (Atlanta, GA)
Mon, July 17 Non-Stop flight to Dublin – arrives in Dublin at 8:45 AM Tue morning
Tue, July 18 Rest & Dublin sightseeing. My son would love to see a Gaelic game (schedules aren't out yet; can anyone tell me if this is the time of year that these games are played in Dublin?). Purchase hop-on/hop-off bus tickets. Sleep in Dublin.
Wed, July 19 Dublin sightseeing. The Brazen Head “Food, Folk and Fairies” dinner show Dublin for birthday celebration. Sleep in Dublin.
Thu, July 20 Pick up my daughter at Dublin airport in 10 AM the morning when her study abroad program ends. Store some of her luggage at airport. Will look for transportation options/private driver for this day to do the following (I used google maps for the timing - are these accurate? Can we do all of this in one dayd?)
Drive 90 mins to Kilkenny; visit Kilkenny Castle.
Drive 1 hour to tour Rock of Cashel.
Drive 90 mins for final stop in Kinsale. Sleep in Kinsale.
Fri, July 21 Don & Barry’s Kinsale Historic Tour in AM. Explore the area/harbor and have lunch. Drive to Kenmare (Need transportation/driver this day - any suggestions?). Sleep in Kenmare.
Sat, July 22 Visit Kissane Sheep Farm & see demo of sheepherding. Visit Muckross House & Farms. See Ancient Stone Circle
Drive to Dingle. (Need transportation/driver this day - suggestions?). Sleep in Dingle.
Sun, July 23 Visit Dingle Town. Take the Sciuird Archaeology Tours (2.5 hour mini-bus tour) and/or the Dingle Bay Charters harbor boat cruise. Does anyone have any experience with these? Thoughts? Sleep in Dingle.
Mon, July 24 Drive the Dingle Peninsula loop (Slea Head Loop Drive). Drive to Dromoland Castle for Falconry experience (near Shannon airport). Drive by Bunratty Castle if time (maybe Bunratty Folk Park). (Need transportation/driver for this day). Sleep in Claire area. Recommendations?
Tue, July 25 Drive to the Cliffs of Moher, then through the Burren – ending in Galway. Considering this tour: http://www.fahertytours.com/tour-prices.php.
Anyone have any experience with Faherty? Any other recommendations? Sleep in Galway.
Wed, July 26 Day trip by plane or boat to Inishmore (Aran Islands). Possibly via another Faherty Tour?
Sleep in Galway.
Thu, July 27 Train from Galway to Dublin (2 hr 15 min), then Dublin to Belfast (2 hr 15 min). Other suggestions for activities this day? Overnight in Belfast.
Fri, July 28 McComb’s Coach Travel daytrip to Carrickfergus Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle photo stop, Carrick-a-Red Rope bridge, and Old Bushmills Distillery). Second night in Belfast.
Sat, July 29 Drive to Bru na Boinne. Tour the Newgrange tomb. Drive to Trim. Visit Trim Castle. Drive to Dublin. Possibly use: http://www.belfastcitytours.com/bookings.html. Anyone taken this tour before or have other suggestions? Stay overnight in Dublin (by the airport).
Sun, July 30 Return flight home - flight leaves at 10:45 AM.