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18 day Ireland Itinerary Susggestions?

We have a rough draft of our Ireland Itinerary for 18 days. I know we need to "shave" a day or two here or there. Any ideas or thoughts would greatly be appreciated. We will be there 18 days. Can't wait. Thanks so much! 1. Arrive in Dublin. Stay the night in Dun Laoghaire (1 night)??? We arrive in Dublin at 2:45 pm their time, but our time it will be very early in the morning. Not sure how trashed we will be after the long flight from Seattle. If we drove to Kilkenny, we would have at least a two hour drive. If we did this, that would allow us an extra night somewhere else. Option would be to drive through Kilkenny and spend the day, and not spend the night. Drive straight to Waterford. 2. Kilkenny (1 night)??? 3. Waterford (1 night) 4. Kinsale (2 nights) 5. Kenmare (1 night) 6. Dingle (2 nights or 3) 7. Doolin/Aran Islands (two or 3 nights) 8. Galway (1 night) 9. Westport??? Or do we just drive up to Derry? (1 night) 10. Derry (1 night) Option would be do stay in Portrush for 2 nights and do a day trip to Derry) 11. Portrush (1 night) 12. Belfast (1 night)
13. Dublin (3 nights)

Posted by
465 posts

Some random thoughts: If possible, I would cut back on the one night stays. Maybe turn some of them into day trips. While I enjoyed Portrush (and a couple of its restaurants), I would rather spend the time in Derry. I would go for 3 nights in Dingle. Gives you some flexibility for Slea Head Drive if weather not good on one or two days. The music in Dingle is also worth staying an extra night, IMO. Westport is pleasant but more of a stop to break up long drive from Galway to Derry. Having only spent 1/2 day in Belfast, I would definitely like to see more of this evolving city. Don't miss the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren along the way. Sounds like a wonderful trip in the making.

Posted by
1578 posts

Hi Kelley,
We did 20 nights in Ireland, April, 2012. I researched the trip for about two years before we went. Our interest was in scenery and historical sites. We went the opposite direction from your proposed itinerary. Here is what we did: 2 nights Drogheda - saw Trim, Hill of Tara, New Grange, Monasterboice 5 nights Donegal - saw lots of Donegal, Derry, Giants Causeway, Sligo area. Donegal town has lots of good food pubs. 2 nights Connemara - beautiful scenery, Delphi Valley - you can also access the largest Aran Island from here, we had been there before, so didn't repeat 2 nights Dingle - use the Shannon tunnel just west of Limerick. (For some reason this option never shows up on this helpline!), We stopped at Adare; it was very touristy, not worth the bother IMHO. 5 nights Kenmare - Ring of Kerry, Ring of Beara, Sheepshead and Mizzen Head - you could also do Kinsale from this location. Kenmare has lots of good pubs with music, better quality shops than the usual tourist "junque" 2 nights Cashel - Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey, Cahir Castle, Birr gardens flew from Shannon to London On an earlier trip to Ireland, we drove from the airport to Kilkenny - it was not that difficult - took about 2 hours, be sure you have change for the toll booths. We skip Dublin - to us it is about as exciting as Portland, but others like it Hope this helps a bit.

Posted by
11 posts

Awesome!! Thank you for your reply and comments. I totally agree to reduce the one night stays. Can't wait! I have not been since 1988 and have been so anxious to return. Happy Travels!

Posted by
1804 posts

I personally would skip Waterford, we went quite a few years ago when factory was open for tours and it was good, then went again when tours were stopped, personally did not find the town appealing. Assume you have a car, if so, suggest you go to Newgrange before dropping off car, do not need it in Dublin. We are going back again end of October, can't wait. Enjoy trip.

Posted by
1804 posts

If you have to drop a day, suggest you drop one from Doolin in my opinion.

Posted by
9361 posts

I agree, Doolin doesn't need three nights.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for all your thoughts. I think we may have nailed down the route. Advise on if we should stay in Dublin for 3 nights, or two. I need to shave one more day off somewhere. Thanks. 1. Kilkenny (1 night) 2. Kinsale (2 nights) 3. Kenmare (1 night) 4. Dingle (3 nights) 5. Doolin (3 nights) 6. Galway/Aran Islands (2 nights) 7. Derry (2 nights) 8. Belfast (1 night)
9. Dublin (2 or 3 nights?)

Posted by
30 posts

Don't let anyone talk you out of skipping Westport. That town was a blast. There's a great pub in town called Matt Molloy's. Great conversation and music. Lots of good restaurants as well. Also, nearby are the Achill Islands that have some gorgeous coastlines to see.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you all so much for your advice! So greatly appreciated! Happy travels to all!