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Your Wisdom Trimming An Itinerary, Please.

Have been sitting on an itinerary for some time, knowing it's robust, but having a really hard time slimming it down. Understanding true driving time could help in knowing what to trim. Here is where is currently sits:
9/9 - Purchased RT to/from Dublin. Arrive, pick-up rental car and park at hotel. Explore Dublin for 8 hrs.
9/10 - Drive towards either Connemara or Cliffs of Moher. Stay in area.
9/11 - Explore, making way to Dingle Peninsula. Stay?
9/12 - Explore, making way to ROK Peninsula. Stay?
9/12 - Explore ROK Peninsula.
9/13 - Explore Killarney National Park - walk a bit of Gap of Dunloe. Stay?
9/14 - See the structure of Blarney Castle, see Rock Cashel.
9/15 - Explore day - ? Glendough area? Return to airport hotel.
9/16 - Fly out.
Okay - Here are some of our thoughts.... We like to stay on the move, but fully understand the value of planting in a small town/village to take in the music/pubs/food/people.

Connemara area seems like it would be really beautiful. If its wonderful, would hate to not get to experience it.
Going to Ireland, would like to do Cliffs of Moher, if it can work.
Want to do the Dingle Peninsula - what town to best take in music/pub/food/shopping. Like scenic villages that has something to do - experiences that are little treasures.

Would like to not miss the ROK. Again, looking for a treasure of a small village to stay in - Portmagee?
Have an interest in seeing some of Killarney National Park. Mostly would like to walk just a bit of the Gap of Dunloe.
Would like to see the structure of Blarney's Castle. Is Rock of Cashel a stop?
Back to Dublin via Glendough?
Will be needing lodging that accommodates 3 adults.
Question on cars - Have two adult men (6'5" and 6'3") - what is the best "small" car for needed leg room and still being able to drive on the narrow roads?
If viewers could offer drive time, it will offer a needed reality check.
Thank for your help.

Posted by
2184 posts

This is a lot of driving and nothing that I would want to do. Most Americans just can't seem to resist rush, rush, rush to try to see it all. Well with this short of time, you will not see it all, so why try?
Please don't do the Dingle peninsula with Slea head Drive and the ROK!!! Pick one and do the other next time. Otherwise, you are just driving around trying to get to the next stop.
We use google maps to get drive times, but then you will need to add more time to those estimates. Remember, you will want to stop for photos, bathroom breaks, food, and many of the roads are narrow.
Two night stays should be the minimum!

Spend some time mapping your routes and don't forget to add about 30% more time to the estimates.

Posted by
1878 posts

So you have seven nights, and the first day is more or less a jet lagged throwaway.

You have a lot of one night stays here. You might be able to catch a direct bus from Dublin airport to, say, Ennis. Pick up car the next day at Shannon airport. You could also catch a bus to Kilkenny from the airport and spend a couple of nights there. A lot of people will tell you the west coast is the big attraction in Ireland. The west coast is great but you can also have a great visit along the Wicklow/Trim/Kilkenny corridor. Weather is better in the eastern part of the country, too.

I would not try to drive into Dublin immediately upon arrival. I would not try driving into Dublin at all. Dublin is worth two full days (three nights), if you are going to visit there.

Not criticizing, but for others reading this thread, always consider flying open jaw or in and out of Shannon, when traveling to Ireland.

Driving times: Google maps +25%.

Posted by
6876 posts

We are heading to Ireland in a couple of weeks on a cruise ship. We are doing like you and spending the night in Dublin before heading 225 miles to the SW coast. We will be staying in one Waterville area B&B for 3 nights taking day trips and visiting pubs in the area. County Kerry has many, many great B&Be along the coast.
Then we will return to Dublin and take in the sights before flying home.
If I had any suggestion, it would be to slow down a little. Everyone says it takes longer than expected to get from point A to point B in Ireland.
And after studying the maps, Ireland takes more than one visit to see properly. It is larger than I expected.

Posted by
359 posts

Totally agree w earlier posters. Diveloonie nailed it. It's hard to believe I know but slowing down means you actually see more and get to experience it. Understand wanting to see as much as possible but it is so counterproductive and you miss out on so much of what makes Ireland great.

Here are some random points.

Cliffs of Moher are beautiful. They are tourist clogged....souvenier shops and tour buses galore. Worth a visit....sure. A must see.......hardly ......especially when you will be on the ROK and right next to the Cliffs of Kerry which ARE the wild, non touristy cliffs that people dream about seeing. You waste the better part of a day driving to see something inferior to what you would be driving right past.

Blarney castle ? That is a long drive to see a castle that is okay - nice... but far far from one of the nicer castles and is totally tourist overrun and probably THE major tourist trap in Ireland. Ross Castle in Killarney National Park is far nicer and you would be right there. And there are many other castles better by far. And ones that won't waste precious hours in a car.

Where to stay on the ROK ? Portmagee is really nice but is best used as a base for all the wonders nearby. A town like Waterville, Sneem or Kenmare would offer more pubs and restaurants in that town.

Please follow the great advice above. Connemara is fantastic, so is Dingle, so is Donegal, so is the ROK, so is Beara, so is Wicklow and Kilkenny.....but you can't see them all and trying is self defeating. An itinerary can be a cruel master. What is the goal ...... tick off a list of so called must sees someone else has put together........or really experience Ireland and in doing so see wonders, history and culture at a pace that allows that real magical interaction ???

Your itinerary would be okay if you had a month.....and you still wouldn't be able to plumb the depths of the areas listed...and it would still be pretty busy. In the time allotted you'll miss 95% of what you are driving by and connect with little of it at that pace.

Try to cut back to 2 or maybe 3 areas .....try and keep them close to each other or on the overall maybe Dingle the ROK and on the way back Cashel and Glendalough. That is too much but at least somewhat more feasible.

Best of Luck hope you have a great trip.

Posted by
3192 posts

Loved Connemara and Glendalough, not a fan of Dublin