5 days in Ireland

Hi My husband and I will be flying in to Dublin in July for 5 days. I am planning on seeing Dublin the first day and taking the train to Belfast on the last day for sightseeing and flying out of Belfast at night. That only leaves me with 3 glorious days to see Ireland. Would I have enough time to rent a car and see either the Ring or Kerry or Dingle Peninsula. I would really like to to see Killarney, Kenmare, Cobh and Kinsale- just not sure if all is possible? I was thinking we could train to Galway then rent a car and drive through these towns on the way back to Dublin- Is three days realistic? Thanks on any advise,
Erin

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

Unfortunately, no. If you arrive in the morning, it will be mid-morning at least before you even get into Dublin. Get to your hotel and check in, and it's lunch time. And you will be in bed early that first night, which leaves only one afternoon to see anything in Dublin. The last day is slated for Belfast. The closest of the places you mention, Cobh and Kenmare, are each about a four hour drive, with no stops. You would have time for the Queenstown Story museum and a visit to the cathedral (Cobh) and then you will need to find a place to stay, have dinner, and then day two is gone. In short, you really can't see six cities and the Ring of Kerry in five days. You will have a much better experience if you limit your moving around and not try to do everything, or you won't really see anything at all. If the west or southwest interest you more than the city, head that way the first day. Or just concentrate on the Cork/Blarney/Kinsale area and skip Killarney/Kenmare/Ring of Kerry. There are great things to see everywhere, and you really can't go wrong in choosing. But trying to do too much, particularly driving (in Ireland, driving is notoriously slow), will make for a disappointing trip.

Posted by Erin
Orange, California, USA
10 posts

Thank you for your advice. I figured that I wouldn't be able to do it all, unfortunately, and experience is appreciated. Our flight arrives around 6:30am, and you are right regarding the jet lag. Would you have recommendations as to what I should do with my three days? What if we drove to Cork, through Cashel, and on to Cobh and Kinsale, then drove back through Waterford and Killkenny on our way back to Dublin? We really just want to see some of the country and meet the people, not spending too much time is the big city of Dublin (or is that silly?) Thanks! This is our first trip to Europe and the first leg of a long three and a half week vacation.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

Your idea of driving to Cork through Cashel is a good one, and you could see a great deal in a short time. Just south of Cashel is Cahir, with its castle in the river. Then you get to Blarney (castle, dolmen, beautiful grounds, great shopping) and Cork. Both Cobh and Kinsale are short drives in different directions from there. You could easily do that in your available time. But resist the urge to try to add more. Driving just takes too much time. What looks like a short trip can be painfully slow there.

Posted by Melody
Lakewood, Colorado, United States
4 posts

My daughter (26) and I took our first trip to Europe this past October with a trip to Ireland. This is definitely a good year for you because they're holding "the Gathering" all year long and I understand there will be lots of extras everywhere. That said, we had 7 days and spent 3 of them just in Dublin with a bus trip to Northern Ireland. The rest of the time we rented a car and drove a loop that went to Galway, Cashel,Kilkenny and back to Dublin over a 3 day period. It amazed me that we could get clear across the country in around 4 hours. There were about 1000 things I wish we'd have seen but if I had just 5 days? Cashel is amazing. The castle is being renovated but you can still visit, and the scenery will just take your breath away. The town is lovely and fun to walk around. Bunratty Castle is a fun stop on the way. The large castle, many of the town buildings and a gift shop is set up as a kind of park and interesting to tour around. We had scones and tea there and then on to Kilkenny and that was my favorite place of all. We had a chance to talk to locals in many of the places we went. It's a medium size city with lots of cool fun local shopping and a castle and an arts district of sorts all housed around the castle. They have crystal from Kilarney, pottery from Kilkenny, woven goods glass works etc etc. 3 days isn't enough to see a lot but enjoy what you have. It'll be amazing. In Dublin I would just say DON'T try to drive and use the off and on bus to see the city. It was a lot of fun.