10 days in Ireland - Feedback on Itinerary Please

My husband, 20-year-old son and I will be leaving next month to spend 10 days in Ireland. We are trying to balance making this a somewhat relaxing trip vs a travel marathon Each of the sites listed are on one of our "must see" list so need to balance that too. Would greatly appreciate any insights or feedback - don't want to spend the whole trip just madly driving and briefly glossing over the actual sites . Day # 1 Fly Denver to Dublin 2 Arrive Dublin early AM - Hop On Hop Off Bus, Book of Kells, Museum of Archaeology 3 Dublin - Killmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse, Temple Bar 4 Dublin to Galway - Get Car, Bru na Boinne, Monasterboice, Mellifont Abbey, Locke's Distillery, Clonmacnoise 5 Galway - Ferry to Aran Inishmore (Dun Aeonghus) Catch 9:00 Bus to Rossaveel & 10:30 boat to Kilronan 6 Galway to Dingle - Dunguaire Castle, Burren, Doolin, Cliffs of Moher 7 Dingle - Drive Dingle Peninsula 8 Dingle to Portmagee - Killarney National Park, Muckross House, Drive ROK 9 Portmagee to Kenmare - Boat to Skellig Michael, Drive rest of ROK 10 Kenmare to Cashel - Glendalough, Kilkenny, Rock of Cashel 11 Cashel to Malahide - Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains
12 Fly Dublin to Denver Thanks for your suggestions!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

A couple of thoughts: Day 2 - if you are going in August (height of tourist season) you might have a long wait to see the Book of Kells. You might want to move that to first thing the next morning and be there when they open. It was February when I did this, and by the time I got done there was already a line outside. Day 3 - Personal opinion, but I would not waste my time or money at the Guinness Storehouse. You see nothing of the brewing process, just a lot of advertising and buying opportunities for the same Guinness souvenirs you can get all over Ireland. Very expensive "free" pint at the end. Day 4 - That is a lot to cram into one day, considering that checking out of your hotel, doing the car paperwork, and getting out of town will take a good portion of the morning. Again, because it's high tourist season, your wait time at Bru na Boinne could be long. You have to take a shuttle bus from the visitor center and you might have to wait through one or two before you can go.
Day 6 - Same problem. Just the drive alone from Galway to Dingle will be 4.5-5 hours, without any stops at all. That doesn't leave you much time to see the castle or the cliffs. And the draw of Doolin is the music at night. There's not a lot to see there. Driving through in the day time won't be the same.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

One other thing: Have a Plan B for Day 5, in case the weather or water are too bad to allow the ferry to go out to Inishmore. You might consider Clifden or Kylemore Abbey.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4862 posts

"We are trying to balance making this a somewhat relaxing trip vs. a travel marathon". I'm tired just reading your itinerary. When exactly are you 'relaxing'? You are trying to pack a lot into a fairly short time. On Day 1 you plan to do the HOHO bus. You may fall asleep on it, as you will be tired from your flight. I find it's better to do a lot of walking that first day. Where are you staying the last night before your flight?

Posted by David
Arlington, Virginia
29 posts

I agree - far too much drive time to cram in far too much for a 10-day trip. Good start, though, to give yourself a day in Dublin to recover from the flight and see a few sights. Nancy is right about the Guinness tour. Enjoy a cheaper pint and the social ambiance of a pub instead. In general, cut back on the travel/number of "must see" sites and focus on fewer places to wander and enjoy without rushing off to cover more miles. For example, Galway Town is well worth a full day or two to explore, especially it's car-free, pedestrian-friendly commercial center just off Eyre Square. Also, Doolin is a pretty village (actually two villages - Fisherstreet and Roadford - joined at the hip) and has the best trad music in Ireland. That may be the highlight of your trip. O'Connor's Pub is the center of it all, with McGann's and McDermott's for a little variety just down the road . For Doolin accommodations, I recommend the Fisherman's Rest B&B right behind O'Connor's. Danny and Mairead are wonderful hosts, and you'll learn a little Irish trying to pronounce their kids' names, while learning what they mean! See www.accommodationdoolin.com for details. Dun Aeonghus is a treat, and the view along the 300-foot cliffs and down to the sea is outstanding. Day #6 is way too much to do in a day. Spend a night in Doolin, then see the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and overnight in Dingle Town before tackling the Peninsula. If you like seeing the ocean while driving, you won't see much of it on the ROK. Only along the southern stretch between Kenmare and Waterville will you see it at all. The Dingle Peninsula has much more in the way of scenery.

Posted by Willie
Edinburgh, Scotland
8 posts

The comments posted already are all spot on. Dump the Guinness Storehouse. Maybe even drop the jojo bus and walk, Staying in the cleverly named Central Hotel makes it a short walk to Trinity College and the Book of kells, the castle (nothing special), ChristChurch and St. Patrick's cathedrals and Grafton Street. Skip Temple Bar. Just a tourist trap. Staying in the Central, you have some excellent pubs and restaurants all around you. From the front door, go left for two short blocks and try the International. Music most nights. The best real pub with no tv's and every amateur pump room philosopher in Dublin, is Grogan's excellent Castle Lounge. Turn right at the Internaional and it is about 100 yards up South William Street. Just past the International, incidentally, is the second best vegetarian restaurant in the world, Cornucopia! Turn right from the Centrral and immedaitely left and the Long Hall is about 150 yards up on the right. The Library bar, in the Central, was our Friday after work pub of choice many years ago. Do visit the Gaol Very important site!
You are going to have to drop some things. I was exhausted reading yur list as well. Day 4, drop Monasterboice and melifont Abbey. Day 5, exchange Connemara National park, Clifen and rthe Sky road for theAran Islands. Day 6, do Burren to Doolin and stay overnight (agree with everybody about the music and especially at O'Connors - also try their excellent seafood chowder). Day 7 to Dingle via the Cliffs of Moher and Shannon River ferry at Killimer (look out for dolphins,. I saw about 40 one time last year, but none before or since) and also do the Slea Head Drive from Dingle. All easily managed in a day. See next reply for more advice.

Posted by Willie
Edinburgh, Scotland
8 posts

Day 8 stay in Killarney - excellent Fairview is fabulous and right in the middle. Do Ross Castle, Muckross, Torc Waterfall and walk in the national park, all on day 8. You are not allowed to land at Skellig Michael and the sea can be very nausea-inducing in the little boats they use. The ROK is a bus company construct designed to corral tourists and make them money - them and all the huge woolen shops and restaurant/bars on the way round. Dingle Peninsula much prettier. I would head from Killarney, via Kenmare for a nice lunch in Jam and then down to the Mizzen Head and the lovely villages of South West Cork - Union Hall, Schull, Glandore etc. and visit Cobh for the excellent Heritage Centre, remembering the Titanic (100th anniversary this year) and the famine emmigrants. Over 1.5 million left Ireland or died in the famine years of the 1800's. Many of those leaving left through Cobh. I'm not normally a big fan of "heritage" sites, but this is the best I have ever visited! Stay in the Commodore and watch ships go by your window (ask for sea facing room). Day 10 Rock of Cashel and stay in Killkenny for the castle and the cathedral - nice town to walk abut too. The Rivercourt Hotel opposite the castle is perfectly situated and a good standard. Drive over to Holywood and over the Wicklow Mountains to magical Glendalough and then up to Dublin. The Deer Park Hotel in Howth just North of Dublin, is 20 minutes from the airport. Peaceful, situated amongst it's own three golf courses with lovely views down to the sea. Not expensive. HAVE FUN! Willie

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1555 posts

Another one who says skip Guinness and Temple Bar as well. Don't miss the Gaol, we thought it was best thing we saw in Dublin. Agree with Nancy, you might have a long wait to see the Book of Kells in afternoon. Don't know how you do with jet lag but suggest you do the Hop on Bus day you arrive and if you really want Temple Bar in PM and next day early Book of Kells and then the Gaol. Enjoy.

Posted by Deb
Fort Collins, CO, USA
11 posts

Thanks for all the feedback and advice on our itinerary. We knew it was VERY ambitious to start with, sounds like we need to cut back a bit. Our hotel is located in the Temple Bar area, so that is a given at this point. Will try to talk hubby out of the Guinness Storehouse visit - I think it's just the mystique for him! The only reason we are doing the ROK is to take a trip out to Skellig Michael - my understanding is that you can land there (weather permitting) for several hours to explore the island, is that no longer true?? Also plan to do lunch in Kenmare with some relatives also on holiday in the area. Good suggestions on alternative plans for Inishmore and instead of the ROK. I'll let you all know how things end up. Thanks again for all the suggestions! So much of the world to see, people to meet, and so little time and $ to do it!!!!