10 Day Ireland Itinerary - It's Aggresive! We can sleep when we're dead! :)

Hi Everyone! My sisters and I are off to Ireland for a grand adventure for my 40th birthday!! My sisters are 55 and 61. We are all very active! We have purchased a package of B&B vouchers and car for 8 of the nights. The last two nights in Dublin will be w/o vouchers...we'll find a reasonable bed somewhere.

General questions - what time is too late to check into a B&B? We want to be respectful to the hosts and the other guests. If we check in and then head out for dinner and pubs...is it ok to come back very late considering we'd like to enjoy the music in the pubs and we have heard that starts and goes late.

PLEASE share your opinions!

Day 1 - land @ Shannon airport at 7am - p/u rental car and drive to Bunratty Castle. Drive from Bunratty to Galway for night.

Day 2 - From Galway drive to see Connemara including Kylemore Abbey. Stay in Galway again.

Day 3 - take ferry to Inismore. Return on 4pm ferry. Drive to Doolin for night. Will we be able to make it to Doolin by a decent hour??? How late is too late to check in to a B&B???

Day 4 - From Doolin, see Burren and Cliffs of Moher. After Cliffs of Moher, drive to Dingle for the night. Is this too hard from Doolin to see both considering they are in different directions?? Could we see the Burren on Day 1 as we are heading to Galway??

Day 5 - tour Dingle Peninsula and stay in Dingle again.

Day 6 - Depart Dingle and drive Ring of Kerry - counterclockwise. Stop in Kenmare for the night.

Day 7 - Depart Kenmare and head towards Bantry ( our great grandparents came from this area) then to Cork and finally end in Kinsale for the night. In Cork...do we see Blarney Castle?? Or is there other recommendations along this path?

Day 8 - Depart Kinsale - see Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle on the way to Kilkenny.

Day 9 - Depart Kilkenny - drive through Wicklow Mtns and end in Dublin.

Day 10 - Dublin - hop on/off bus tour.

Day 11 - fly back to Colorado.

Posted by Caragh
Dublin, Ireland
8 posts

I would recommend trying to do less - the beauty of Ireland is best experienced when you have time to take in the beautiful scenery and time to relax and get to know the people.

The following website is useful to plan your itinerary http://www.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

but bear in mind that the suggested times are the absolute minimum - being unfamiliar with the roads and having to drive on the opposite side of the road will require additional time. Although it is a small island, the road infrastructure in the more scenic areas is not very good.

I would recommend concentrating on the southwest for this trip - Shannon, Kerry, Cork and Dublin. There is so much to see and do, you will not have too much time to spare. If you have time, I would highly recommend a visit to Skellig Michael - UNESCO World Heritage Site - on an island just off the Ring of Kerry. It is truly spectacular.

The area around Bantry in West Cork is also beautiful - a trip to Garnish Island - is also well worth a visit.

Have a great holiday.

Posted by Nancy
Taylor, TX, USA
416 posts

I'm tired just reading it! I would be inclined to skip Bunratty Castle and drive straight to Galway (actually, probably to Oughterard or a little farther to make the Connemara touring a little easier the next day). Rather than ferry to and from Galway to the Aran Islands, why not drive to Doolin on the morning of day 3 via the Burren. You can then also visit the Cliffs of Moher that day and on day four take the Doolin Ferry to Inishmore and possibly see the Cliffs from the ocean as well. I would then either drop Dingle Peninsula or ROK to give you the time in Doolin to do all of that cruising. Nancy from Illinois can give you additional advice on all of this.

Posted by Heather
Thornton, CO, USA
13 posts

Hi Nancy - I've read and heard that the ferries from Doolin to Aran Islands can be spotty...at the whim of the weather and the company owners??? Is that not really the case?

Posted by Tyson
Pinole, CA, USA
316 posts

I think that's do-able. Just be willing to switch up plans because the weather will dictate what you can do in a certain day. I wouldn't book ahead with this plan.

Colorado to Ireland is a fair jaunt and there is a good chance you'll be tired upon arrival at Shannon. Might want to take it easy that first day especially if you are not used to driving. Most tourists seem to do damage to their rentals on Day 1.

The Inismore to Doolin would be the dicey part. It's a really rural area and not much in the way of places to stay in between if you get pressed for time.

Posted by Nancy
Taylor, TX, USA
416 posts

Heather,

Weather can certainly be a factor in whether or not the ferries run--any of the ferries. As for the owners, I would imagine that rather than their whim, they would be acting on things like whether or not they have enough bookings for a particular departure to make it worthwhile or if they are down for repairs. This is one thing where I would definitely recommend pre-booking--if you are not going to be there in the high season, they can give you a better idea if they might be running a slimmer schedule or not and if it IS the high season, you can be guaranteed a spot on the boat.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1346 posts

I think this is a busy but realistic itinerary. Our two trips to Ireland were similar to this, though we spent longer in Dingle in the middle to rest up a bit.

You could stop in the Burren on day one, especially if you skip Bunratty Castle, but you might be too tired to enjoy it. I would play it by ear.

On day seven, if you are going from Kenmare to Bantry to Cork to Kinsale, I don't think you need to look for more stops. Try to leave sometime to see Kinsale. i was surprised that I enjoyed Blarney Castle. It's not much of a castle, but the grounds are really pretty. It's not a must see though, IMHO.

Sounds like a fun trip. I hope you have a great time!

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Day 2---Unless things have changed, you don't see much inside Kylemore Abbey---it is a private school. It's very photogenic from the outside, though.

On Day 3, After Inismore (it's the island with Dun Aengus and the ancient ruined churches) , don't drive all the way to Doolin for the night. Stop somewhere between Galway and the Burren.

Day 4: See the Burren, head on to Doolin, Cliffs, Dingle.

Day 7--After Kenmare, drive around the Beara Peninsula which is beautiful and not touristy. Maybe you could put it into your schedule and leave out Kilkenny?

Day 9---Don't miss Glendalough

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7675 posts

To answer your general question, you should call by around dinner time if you have not yet checked into a booked B&B to let them know that you are still coming. If you check in and then head out to eat or to the pubs, the hosts will most likely give you both a room key and a key to the front door so that you can let yourself in after they have gone to bed.

Day 2 - Kylemore Abbey is definitely worth seeing. There is a beautifully restored gothic chapel on the grounds. You only tour a couple of rooms in the abbey itself, but when we did we also were able to hear the school's choir practicing. We all stood in the hallway and listened.

Day 3 - The driving time from Rossaveel to Doolin is a little over 2 hrs. minimum (more like three hours), and from Galway to Doolin it's closer to two hours. But you might consider staying in Ballyvaughn instead of Doolin. It is right in the Burren, and not as far as Doolin.