12 days in Ireland

Would love some feedback on our tentative itinerary. Traveling with hubby and 18 year old son. They have limited tolerance for museums and historical buildings, but we like to hike. 1- Newgrange-stay in Howth; 2-Dublin; 3-Wicklow Mountains; 4-Rock of Cashel; 5-Galway; 6-Connemara National Park; 7-Cliffs of Moher & Burren; 8 & 9-Dingle; 10 Loop Head; 11 Ennis; 12 Fly out of Shannon.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8407 posts

It would help to know when you are traveling. Connemara National Park, for example, is closed during the winter months.

Posted by Pat
wichita, kansas
484 posts

Why not go to Dingle after Cashel instead of going up to Galway and then doubling back?

Posted by mr tom
113 posts

I'd skip Galway and Connemara and spend the extra time in some of your other places. Keep in mind that travel time will be much longer than you think even though it may look like a short distance on a map. Killarney NP has some hiking and scenery. (The coffee shop/deli at Ladies View is a good stop for lunch and/or an Irish Coffee) You could add the extra time the Beara Peninsula (see Ricks book) or Ring of Kerry. Allow a full day for the ROK.

Add the extra time to your other places. In the Wicklows, Glendalough monastic site is worth a stop and there are trails, too. Another monastic site worth the stop if interested is Clonmacnoise, but it is further north. (No need to stop at Blarney Castle unless you really want to swap lip germs with several thousand other people....just thought I'd throw that in for free)

Consider staying in Dun Laoghaire for your first 3 nights. Dublin, Newgrange and Wicklows are easy day trips from there.

I highly recommend getting a good ordinance map or a Michelin map with a 1:300,000 scale. The Michelin has great information on it and the ordinance map is even better. A GPS is always a good tool.....you will get lost.

One more thing, try to stay two nights in one location. It saves time looking for a place to stay.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8407 posts

In case you can't spend a whole day in Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey is just up the road, too. I'd suggest a second day in Dublin, as well. Instead of Ennis, I would suggest spending your last night at Bunratty, about six miles from the Shannon airport. There is the castle and folk park there, as well as Durty Nelly's pub, one of the oldest in Ireland. There are lots of B&Bs on the Bunratty Road, and you'll be practically at the airport for your flight out.

Posted by Michael
New York, NY
319 posts


I agree with others that the one clear change is to streamline your destinations so that your travel is as efficient as possible. Dingle should go before Galway, and Ennis should go with the Cliffs, since they're both in the same area. You don't want to waste time doubling back. Did you look at a map while arranging these dates? If not, you definitely want to do that. Bear in mind that driving in Ireland takes a lot longer than Google maps suggests.

I would focus the trip on the Southwest. This will minimize your travel time and allow you to spend more time hiking and enjoying yourselves. This area has lots of great areas for hiking and enjoying the scenery that are not on your current list.

After the Rock, you could head south to Kinsale. This is a lovely town with great food. Then head to Kenmare, which is a great place for traveling out onto the Beara Peninsula, the Ring of Kerry, and Killarney National Park. Each of these provides spectacular scenery. From there, I'd head to Dingle, where I'd stay three nights.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have a great trip.

Posted by Dan
39 posts

You can get pretty accurate driving times at www.aaroadwatch.ie - and go to the Route Planning page. I have found these times to be quite accurate.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1462 posts

I second Michael's suggestions. Also, I see no point in adding a day to Dublin if you prefer hiking to museums and historical buildings.

Posted by Shelley
Indianapolis, IN, USA
9 posts

I know my route seems a little strange but...we were going to Connemara before Dingle to hit Dingle during the week, not on the weekend. Knowing our style of travel we will be wandering the back roads quite a bit-more to our taste than cities. We will be staying two nights in the same place for most of the trip - 2 in Howth, 2 in Kilkenny or Cashel, 2 in Galway, 2 in Dingle, 2 in Ennis.
Thanks for all the advice. Just booked my tickets lat night - good prices are starting to disappear.