15 days in Ireland, another Itinerary Help post - sorry!!

I know there are several "Itinerary Help" posts on this board (trust me, I've read through at least a hundred). This is what I've sort of come up with, and am seeking any advice you might have. – Does that sound ok? Should we allow more nights along the way? If not, where would you suggest for days 11-13? My husband and I flew into Dublin last March (our first trip to Ireland), picked up our car & drove to Dingle that same day, stayed for 3 nights, stayed 1 night in Kinsale & 4 nights in Dublin. We really don't have any desire to return to Dublin. We'd like to see as much as we can, though at the same time, actually be able to relax, and really soak in Ireland. This is what we're brainstorming... Day 1 – fly into Shannon, pick-up rental car, drive to Galway (stay in Galway) (Friday) Day 2 – Aran Islands (stay in Galway) (Saturday) Day 3 – Connemara & County Mayo (stay in Mayo or Doolin) (Sunday) Day 4 – Cliffs of Moher/The Burren (stay in Doolin) (Monday) Day 5 – Drive to Dingle (stay in Dingle) (Tuesday) Day 6 – Dingle Peninsula (stay in Dingle) (Wednesday) Day 7 – Ring of Kerry (stay in Dingle) (Thursday) Day 8 – Dingle (stay in Dingle) (Friday) Day 9 – Drive to Kinsale (stay in Kinsale) (Saturday) Day 10 – Kinsale (stay in Kinsale) (Sunday) Day 11 – (Monday) Day 12 – (Tuesday) Day 13 – (Wednesday) Day 14 – Bunratty Castle (stay in Shannon) (Thursday)
Day 15 – Fly out of Shannon at 6:00am to Sacramento, CA Or maybe Day 8 – Ring of Kerry (stay along Ring of Kerry)?

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

And, if it helps - we love the pub culture, and will be visiting from October 21st through November 4th, 2011.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

since you have already been to Dingle, I personally think 4 nights there are too much. Have you been to the Beara Peninsula? Perhaps a night or two there will be worthwhile. From Kinsale, how about Blarney (touristy but it is worthwhile) Cashel and other sites near Kinsale. Just a thought.

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

I have not been to the Beara peninsula, we also haven't done the Ring of Kerry. We did the Dingle Pen. - and want to do it again while we're there. I'm wondering if we should stay 3 nights in Dingle, and on Day 8 do the Ring of Kerry, and stay somewhere along there? ... then head to Kinsale. Thank you for your help!

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

One more piece of information, if it helps - we already have our roundtrip airfare booked in and out of Shannon - and our last night stay booked in Shannon.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

If you're visiting Bunratty on your last day, why drive back into Shannon for the night (particuarly with such an early flight the next day)? You could stay at one of the many B&Bs along the Bunratty road, just six miles from the airport. There are so many great places to see in Ireland, and it looks like you are mostly going back to where you have already been. What about Cork, Killarney, Kilkenny, the Rock of Cashel, more of Connemara? You're only alloting a single day to Connemara AND County Mayo? You might consider taking your time in Connemara, maybe spending the night in Clifden, then driving around to Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, Cong, etc.? Or head toward the interior.

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

We booked our last night with the airfare as a package on Expedia ... I don't know that there's much to do in Shannon, so we thought about going to Bunratty that day, and then sleeping in Shannon. Well, we only saw Kinsale for 1 night when we were there, and it was a Monday, so basically everything was closed. We thought we'd go back & probably see Cork with our home base in Kinsale for 2 nights. We are absolutely open to suggestions. We are not returning to Dublin, as we were not a fan. I'm afraid Cork is much like Dublin, and not really our cup of tea. (thoughts?). We fell in love with Dingle, and want to spend 3-4 nights there (probably 3). We also want to do the Dingle Peninsula drive again – that is all we saw last time.
I also tossed around the idea of going to Doolin first for 2 nights (nap, pub first night, see the Cliffs/Burren 2nd Day, sleep – then head to Connemara/County Mayo for 1 night, move to Galway (also unsure of Galway?), down to Dingle. Those last 3 days, we were thinking of seeing Cobh, Rock of Cashel, possibly Kilkenny, but seems a bit far from Shannon towards the end of the trip. So many choices/decisions! Would love any input anyone has to offer!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

One day is not enough to do the Connemara region justice. It is stunningly beautiful and remote. On my first trip, we arrived in the morning at Shannon, picked up our rental car, then drove to Bunratty. By that time, it was time for lunch, so we ate at the little shopping center across from the castle. We then drove to our first night's stop in Liscannor (five minutes from the Cliffs of Moher, on the Cliffs road). We checked in, then headed down the road to Doolin for dinner. We intended to stay long enough for music but were too sleepy, so we went back to Liscannor. We saw the Cliffs and Burren the next day. Keep in mind that it will take some time to get through passport control, do the paperwork for the car, wait for the shuttle, and get on the road. Since you are seeing Bunratty at the end of your trip, you could easily see the Cliffs that afternoon and maybe stay in Doolin. Try to plan your trip like a circle instead of getting farther away from Shannon. Since you want to focus on Dingle, you could go there first, scoot over to Cork/Blarney/Cobh, go up through Cahir to Cashel, then further up to Connemara, hitting the Burren and Cliffs on your way back to Shannon.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1349 posts

Lizzy, It seems your head is exactly where mine was after my first trip to Ireland. My first trip was very similar to yours. I spent three nights in Dingle, but didn't think it was enough. I just loved it. My second trip I spent five nights there. I really enjoyed it, but if I had to do it over, I'd probably spend four instead. Nancy is right Connemara is beautiful and deserves another night. I also liked the Burren much more than I thought I would and wished I'd had more time (we had half a day). We went to Inishmore and stayed overnight, which I absolutely loved. I still haven't done the Ring of Beara, but hope to do it some day. I think doing the Ring of Kerry from Dingle is going to be exhausting. You might want to spend a night in Kenmare between Dingle and Kinsale and do the Ring of Kerry on the day you leave Dingle. I hope you have a great trip!

Posted by Mike
Lincoln, Nebraska
20 posts

Hi Lizzy Looks like a pretty good trip. We personally stayed in Kenmare when we drove the Ring of Kerry. I would highly recommend staying there. We finally found real Irish stew in the local cafe. We had looked for days before finding it there. You mentioned going to Bunratty Castle as well. We know a lot of folks thing it is too touristy, we liked it and spent our last day goofing off there. We also attended the dinner the night before, it is like any other show put on for tourist but it was fun, had good food and drink and very fun people. We agree with some of the other folks, you might want to look at seeing the Rock of Cashel, close by there is Cahir Castle. We stayed in a BB at the base of Cashel and Cahir was a very easy drive from there. Both of these sites were worth the stop to us. The one place we did see but thought was too crowded was the cliffs of Moher. They are a fun thing to see but we actually had more fun hiking and seeing cliffs along the Beara, Kerry and Dingle areas. No matter what you do have fun.
Mike

Posted by Heather
Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
5 posts

Hi Lizzy, I just returned from Ireland and if I'm reading your itinerary right, you are planning to stay in Kinsale for 4 nights? If so, that is too long. You won't have enough to do. One night was plenty and that was my least favorite stop. The Blindgate House was a great B&B to stay at in Kinsale. If I were you and you're seeing the Cliffs of Moher, and the Aran Islands, I'd stay in Doolin for at least two nights. Doolin feels like it's out in the middle of no where, but there is a lot to do in Doolin. If you go to the Aran Islands, don't just go to Inisheer. It's very boring, closest to Doolin and small. Go to the islands closer to Galway. Think about visiting the islands from Galway and stay there an extra night. The biggest island is closest to Galway and I know they have trips that go out of Galway. Here's my biggest tip on Doolin. STAY AT DALY'S. It's not recommended by Rick Steves because he never visited it and it's tucked away and hard to find. I found it on TripAdvisor and took a chance because it was had such fantastic reviews. It was the best B&B we stayed in. The hostess, Susan, was amazingly hospitable and served us Baileys and coffee upon our arrival. She made you feel like you were a part of her family. I can't say enough about Daly's House. Also, see "Doolin Caves" in Doolin. They're 80 feet underground and really cool to visit. Check them out. If I were you, I'd stay in Kenmare instead of Dingle while driving the Ring of Kerry. Also, Dingle is probably only worth two nights. We stayed at Bambury's Guest House and it was very nice. Ask to stay on the second floor facing the sea. Do the Archeological Tour of Dingle with Tim Collins- incredible.
Consider driving to Glendalough near the Wicklow mountains. If you want to, email me at halpin.heather@gmail.com and I'll give you more specifics, I'm running out of space! Good luck!

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

Thank you all for the input! I have revised the trip somewhat... Do you think this would work? I'm still debating whether we should drive to Doolin & stay there at the beginning, or shoot straight up to Connemara and head down to Doolin. I'm thinking Doolin would be a good place to start & get over jetlag. I am also still deciding whether we should stay 3 or 4 nights in Dingle (especially since the first day will be traveling most of the day from Galway). Day 1 – fly into Shannon, pick-up rental car, drive to Doolin (1 ½ hour drive) – dinner & music (stay in Doolin) (Friday) Day 2 – Cliffs of Moher/The Burren (stay in Doolin) (Saturday) Day 3 – Drive to Connemara – about a 3 hour drive (stay near Connemara or County Mayo) (Sunday) Day 4 – Connemara & drive to Galway – 1 ½- 2 hour drive (stay in Galway) (Monday) Day 5 – Aran Islands (stay in Galway) (Tuesday) Day 6 - Drive to Dingle (4 hour drive) (stay in Dingle) (Wednesday) Day 7 – Dingle Peninsula (stay in Dingle) (Thursday) Day 8 – Dingle (stay in Dingle) (Friday) Day 9 – Ring of Kerry (stay in Killarney) (Saturday) Day 10 – Drive to Kinsale (about 2 hour drive) (stay in Kinsale) (Sunday) Day 11 – Cork/Cobh? (stay in Cork or Cobh) (Monday) Day 12 – Stay an additional night in Cork or Cobh, or drive up to Kilkenny for 1 night Day 13 – Rock of Cashel (stay near ROC)
Day 14 – Bunratty Castle (stay in Shannon) (Thursday)

Posted by Lizzy
Sacramento, CA
17 posts

Oops, I meant stay in Kenmare or Killarney when we drive the Ring of Kerry