I'm going to be in Ireland March 15th - 18th. I arrive in Dublin around 12:30pm and leave out of Dublin at 11:40am on the 18th. I want to be in Dublin on St. Patrick's day (March 17th). I know I'm pretty limited on time but I would like to get out of the big city for at least one night where there is a good mix of countryside, local people and music/pubs. I've thought about maybe spending one night in Doolin and see the cliffs? Any suggestions? Thanks for the help.
Let's look at your timing: You arrive at 12:30 pm on the 15th. By the time you get your bag, get through passport control and customs and get out of the airport, it's going to be maybe 2:30. Are you renting a car? That will add more time to getting out of the airport. Doolin is over three hours from Dublin by car (and, of course, over three hours back). Your last day won't be usable for any sightseeing or travel because you will need to be at the airport by about 9:30 (or a bit earlier to allow for going through US customs before going to your gate - yes, US customs is done in Dublin). You want to be in Dublin for St Patrick's Day. That means that Doolin would have to be done as a day trip on the 16th, unless you really want to get off an overnight flight, hop into a car and drive across the country on the 15th. In mid-March, it will still be getting dark relatively early, too. If you drive on the 15th, you probably won't be able to stay awake long enough to hear any music (after an all-night flight and a three hour+ drive). You could see the cliffs and the Burren the next day, but there's not much to fill the day there if you want to wait around for music that night. If it were me, I wouldn't go all the way to Doolin on such a short trip. There are plenty of places in Dublin to hear great music. To get out of the city, you might want to take a half-day tour to someplace like Glendalough or Newgrange.
We drove to Doolin after arriving in Dublin last year. We were out of the airport with rental cars before noon, but by the time we got to Doolin, found our cottage, we had time to unpack and get dinner. Day was done. I'd suggest going somewhere on the east coast. There's plenty of folks on here who have explored over there and will have suggestions.
Considering your limited time and that you want to be in Dublin for St. Patrick's Day (good luck with that), you might think of staying in Bray. It is connected to Dublin by the DART train, but is out of the city and will give you easy and quick access to some nice little Wicklow towns to the immediate south. Bray itself isn't much, but it might make a nice base for you.
Thanks for the replies. Just to clarify, I will be flying into Dublin from Scottland, so I won't be drained from an overnight flight or anything. However, I think you all have valid points about traveling to the west coast. I guess I'll have to do a second trip sometime. I'll start looking at places closer to Dublin. Let me know if you have any more suggestions on that too. Thanks guys!