My husband and I are planning a trip for October - not sure if my itineray will work - want to see alot, but not be exhausted. We land in Dublin early and planned to spend the day in the city - probably the hop-on/off bus tour, then rent a car and drive down to Wicklow for 2 nights - see Powerscourt estate and gardens and golf a little - then head to Kilkenny for a night and see castle and caves. Leave Kilkenny by noon and head to Bunratty to see burren and cliffs of moher and maybe catch rugby match at Thomond Park. Next day, head south and drive Ring of Kerry, then head to Dingle to spend 2 nights. Leave early on third day to drive to Doolin and take ferry to Aran Island and overnite there. Next day fly from Shannon to London - spend 2 nights there - then train down to Bath area and spend 2 days exploring down there before flying out of Bristol to Dublin to catch flight home. Is this feasible.
Most of it is doable with a few tweaks but exhausting!
Hop on and off tour is a good way to see the sights without tiring yourself out. I would imagine by the time you arrive at the airport, check into the hotel and get started on the sightseeing you may not have a lot of time to hop on and off, but the ride around the city is just as rewarding. Pub dinner and a pint before a 9pm bedtime should suit you well too!
Are you picking up the rental on the second day? Worth it if you have a city centre hotel which also makes the bus tour and dinner options easy. Also means you will be refreshed the next morning for your drive out to Wicklow. Lovely countryside.
Kilkenny for a night is doable just make sure you check castle open times do you time your journey right. There is a nice town centre to explore in the evening.
The Bunratty, burren, cliffs and rugby stretch seems the most exhausting part. I'd skip all of that and the Ring of Kerry and opt for a slower pace using Galway as a base for the Cliffs and the Burren. Connemara is gorgeous too. Don't forget to add time for all the stops to explore all of the small villages and historic off the map sights. From Galway you can take a bus to the port for the ferry across to the islands.
Shannon to London to Bath and Bristol and Dublin is all fine but you will be knackered if you squeeze all the driving around Ireland into your itinerary.
Go slow and enjoy the sights.
A LOT of backtracking in Ireland! If you are flying out of Shannon, why wouldn't you save Bunratty for the last day? And why go down the ROK and then back up to Dingle? I'd say just stay south and work your way north through ROK (go clockwise and avoid tour buses), Dingle, Doolin, then Bunratty.
Too much backtracking! If you are going to be in Kilkenny, I would then do the ROK, then Dingle (if you really wanted to do both). Then do Cliffs, Doolin, Burren, Aran Islands. Save Bunratty for last because it's right by the airport.
The reason for Bunratty on 10/10 is it looks like there will be a rugby match at Thomond park and my husband loves sports, but haven't been able to find out for sure anyway. Would it be totally stupid to skip Dublin all together, rent car at airport and drive straight to Wicklow??? Is Ring of Kerry really worth all of the driving? Thanks.
Another thought, we don't have our flight from Shannon to London yet, what about flying out of Kerry into London - where is Stansted airport??
Stansted airport is about 35 miles NE of London, one of the popular airports for discount airlines. You can get to/from the airport by train (the faster but more expensive Stansted Express, or slightly slower National Express East Anglia train), or by bus (easybus, Terravision, or National Express.) Personally, I always take the train now...I've been caught in too many traffic jams on the buses!
I wouldn't underestimate the value of a good night's sleep on your first night. Dublin is your best bet and then off to Wicklow the next day.
If you want to catch a rugby match you probably should confirm whether you should get tickets in advance especially if you are planning your trip around that day.
Don't forget that you will be travelling in October. That can bring all sorts of weather. I've done two summer driving trips in Ireland and both times it was pelting with rain so who knows, your week in October could be perfect but just factor in that possibility.
I've skipped the Ring of Kerry and enjoyed the bits that I've discovered along the way.
Okay, 2 important questions...do we NEED to see Dublin, and do we need to have reservations for rooms, or would it be better to just find places to stay along the way??? Thanks.
No, you don't need to see Dublin. I would have reservations for your first night, last night and in London. You can find B&B's as you drive around in Ireland, when you see a sign stop and ask if the have a room for the night or go to the tourist information center of the town/village and they can get you a room.