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10 days in august--ireland

fearing over scheduling i'd like you to review my plan and advise.

arrive morn of 1st, stay dublin 2 nights (cassidy's hotel), car to belfast 2 nights (staying with friends, galway 1 night (college crest), dingle 2 nights (milestone), kilkenny 1 night (dunromin), dublin 1 night (ophira house) fly out morn of 10th.

concerns: best (enjoyable, scenic, but not too long) route belfast to galway (long haul i know). maintaing a relaxed pace but seeing great stuff (it's all great, i know).

we're interested in walking, nature, history, pubs/pints, we're vegan and hope to maintain that as much as possible.

so far the short list is (besides dublin stuff) cashel, newgrange, glendalough, the burren, loophead, walking/biking dingle peninsula. don't think giant's causeway will fit, but wish it would.

thanks all for any help!! trip of a lifetime for us.

Posted by
9363 posts

First, let me say that I don't mind driving at all, and I tend to enjoy a faster paced vacation myself. It looks, though, like you won't be doing much other than driving. Yes, Belfast to Galway is a long haul, and it won't leave you any time to actually see Galway because you'll be off the next whole day to get to Dingle. Galway to Dingle is another long haul. You are essentially leaving yourself only one full day in Dingle, then you have the long drive to Kilkenny (again, no time to see anything), and on to Dublin again the next (again, another day in the car).

I'm guessing you plan to see Newgrange and Glendalough while you are in the Dublin area the first time? You really need to look at www.viamichelin.com for driving times/routes for your proposed days. Add about 25% to their time estimates. Driving in Ireland can be very, very slow, and if you are not accustomed to driving on the other side of the road, that will add some stress to the trip, too.

On the face of it, you'll have only one full day in Dublin (plus the rest of the day you arrive), one full day in Belfast (plus your travel day to get there), one full day in Dingle, and otherwise you'll be driving. You actually only have eight days on the ground, since you leave early on your last day, and it will be at least midmorning by the time you get out of the airport on the day you arrive.

If you weren't visiting friends, I'd suggest skipping Belfast because it's out of the way of everything else you want to see. Since that can't be changed, I would suggest skipping Dingle (again, because of the distance involved). You'll get dramatic scenery all along the way, particularly if you stop at the Cliffs of Moher, and you'll have more time to actually experience more than the inside of your car. You don't want your trip of a lifetime to turn into one long blur of roadway.

Posted by
319 posts

Joanna,

I agree completely with what Nancy said. Driving is slow and you want to give yourself extra time to stop and see sights along the way as well as to get lost and still arrive before dark (which is pretty late in august but still).

Why not skip the west coast this time? It's great but it doesn't fit into your trip this time. For example, Newgrange and Glendalough each take up most of a day. So that would leave you with only one day to do "dublin stuff." And it's your first day, when you'll be jetlagged. You could also spend more time in Belfast, where you have friends. You could add in a day at Giant's Causeway. And the only things on your list you'd be missing are the burren and dingle. You could still spend one night in Cashel during your time in Dublin on either end.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Posted by
1586 posts

You might consider visiting Donegal. We haven't had a chance to visit that part of Ireland yet (next trip!), but it is supposed to be very scenic, has some high cliffs and miles of coastline, and is very close to northern Ireland.

Posted by
9 posts

i'm in the process of getting our belfast friend to meet us somewhere so we can concentrate on dublin, dingle, and points between. coming up with a driving loop (instead of backtracking the midlands) is proving a bit daunting for me, especially as limerick is unanimously UN recommended.

i've been working on getting a rendezvous near dublin or between dublin and belfast, but not too far north. one possibility is our 2 nights in dublin, get car at airport (when we put son on plane) and drive to newgrange area and stay the 3rd night and do newgrange with our friend early on day 4. (she MAY be coming down from belfast to meet us) then on toward dingle.

if not newgrange, what is cool in the portlaoise area or within easy driving distance? (our friend MAY have a gig there our third night, if so and we went to hear her and stayed nearby with her we could spend our 4th day with her.) kilkenny doesn't seem so very far, considering she would normally book it home to belfast after her gig. then where could we get to for a nice 4th night on the way to dingle? we'd like to spend 2 or even 3 nights in dingle (wanna walk/bike a lot) then coming back i'd love to see cashel, glendalough, i dunno what. our last (9th) night is booked in dun laoghaire which is spozed to be near enough the airport (1030 flight out)and a neat area.

we tend to like off the beaten path stuff, not sport,no blarney stone for us, etc.

thanks for the reality check and any further help!

joanna in minneapolis

Posted by
9363 posts

ViaMichelin shows Kilkenny to Belfast as 3.5 hours (roughly 4.5 hours is more realistic). If your friend drives that after an evening show, she must not get there until the wee hours of the morning. It really is out of the way of where you want to go.

If you want to stay near Newgrange, you could stay in Navan or Drogheda or Trim, which are all nearby. You'll want to get to Newgrange early so that you get a chance to go in. Later in the day during tourist season it can be iffy. Not having information about your timing on Day 3, driving only to Newgrange seems like a wasted day. It's only 45 minutes, max, from the Dublin airport. Of course, if you'll spend half of that day getting to the airport and putting son on the plane, that might be all of the time you have.