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7 day Ireland Itinerary

My wife and I are looking to plan a 7 day Ireland vacation, but I am getting mixed reviews on the optimal itinerary. Anyone with recommendations, please feel free to help out. Some info: -We will be traveling in mid-august of this year. -We are both young (relatively! (late 20s/early 30s) and would like a mix of history and entertainment. -We are traveling from the US and would like to spend at least 2/3 days in Dublin, as I am an urban enthusiast and love to study and experience western Europe/uk urban design. -I'd prefer to rent a car for the additional freedom it allows. I've heard it can be quite expensive, but I've also heard rail travel can sometimes limit your Ireland experience. Any preferences? -Any favorite/must see destinations? Conversely, any over-rated tourist traps? -Any other general info/feedback regarding Ireland. Thanks in advance - we had a fantastic trip to Paris/Normandy last year, booked almost exclusively off of reviews and recommendations from this forum, so I am excited to solicit advice from the best again.

Posted by
9363 posts

Can you give us some ideas of what you are already considering? A car is definitely the way to go, since public transportation is more limited than in other parts of Europe (particularly rail). In August it will be expensive, but if you book now you can continue to watch for deals, then cancel your original reservation if you find something better. You will also want super CDW insurance. Standard transmission cars are far cheaper than automatics. Everyone has their own list of favorite places, but mine include Dublin, Newgrange, Blarney/Cobh/Kinsale, the Connemara region, the Rock of Cashel, Kenmare, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren.... in general, you can't go wrong, no matter where you choose.

Posted by
13 posts

Well my preliminary plan is making a clockwise loop through southern Ireland, starting at Dublin and moving through Kilkenny, cork, Kerry and/or Galway. Any of those can be cut, to increase the quality of the trip everywhere else. Unfortunately we are both in a position where we can't get away for more than a week, so we are in a compressed timeframe. In terms of actual interests, we'll hit the big ones in Dublin (was planning on staying there for two/three nights), but from there any opinions on castles, monastic stops, nature, pub scene, etc is what we are looking for. I'm in a sports management field, so I love to experience sporting events abroad too, so any feedback on a quick stop at a football pitch, golf course, etc is also appreciated. One other question...my original plan was to arrive/depart in Dublin. Is that inefficient. I just tend to be more comfortable flying into/out of larger airports when traveling to Europe, but feedback explaining why that is foolish would be welcomed. Thanks!!!

Posted by
13 posts

Of course another option is to stay in Dublin the entire time and take day trips on 2 to 4 mornings of our trip. Thoughts on that approach and day trip options.

Posted by
10261 posts

We had 7 nights in Ireland and managed to see quite a bit. We flew round trip to/from Dublin. When we landed we immediately picked up a car and drove to Kilkenny. We spent one night there, then stopped at the Rock of Cashel on our way to Dingle. We spent 2 nights there, then drove to Galway. We stopped at the Cliffs of Moher on the way. We spent one night in Galway, then drove to Dublin. We dropped the car off at the airport, then took the bus into town. We spent 3 nights there. I would not recommend having a car in Dublin. I recommend using a GPS. I loved the Dingle area. There is plenty to see (drive around the peninsula) and the pubs are a lot of fun. We stayed at the Milestone House and it was great. They served the best breakfast of any B&B I have ever stayed in. Well, next to the lobster omelet in Maine anyway... You will probably want to reserve your lodging ahead of time since you will be traveling in the summer.

Posted by
61 posts

Staying in Dublin would be a good plan in the sense that you want the city experience, but it would be difficult to take day trips to the southern sights, eg. Cliffs of Moher. That is a long drive. I'd also definitely recommend Galway, it is a pretty, fun, young city. CoM and the Burren would be my must-see non-city sights, I love the ocean and the wildness of it. Temple Bar in Dublin was crowded and somewhat overrated, and full of tourists, but I still had fun there and listened to some great Irish music. It was kind of interesting to talk to travelers from other countries.

Posted by
9363 posts

I would suggest you think about flying into Shannon and out of Dublin. The main reason is the ease of adjusting to driving on the other side of the road. Shannon is a smaller airport, but it is the other major airport in Ireland. It is out in the country, rather than on a busy thoroughfare, like Dublin airport is. At Shannon, you have a much better opportunity to get used to opposite-side driving before you encounter much (or any) traffic. On our first trip, we drove immediately to Bunratty Castle, which is only about six miles away. That gave us a little taste of driving, then a stop for a tour and lunch, and then we were ready to set out for real. The other advantage to flying into Shannon and out of Dublin is that can give you more usable time for seeing the country instead of having to go back to Dublin to fly out. You can ditch your car when you get to Dublin (you won't need or want it in the city) and use public transport from there.

Posted by
2376 posts

Definitely try to fly into Shannon and home from Dublin or the opposite. We have done both and found this much better than in and out of Dublin (which we did once). I loved the Cliffs of Moher even though touristy. Also in Dublin see Kilmainhaim Gaol and skip Guinness Brewery, I thought it was boring. Do not need a car in Dublin at all. I personally think two days in Dublin is enough and leave the other 5 for other places. We prefer Dingle over the Ring of Kerry but that is our opinion. See Rock of Cashel, I thought it was lovely. I know others have said they like it but we were not impressed with Waterford at all. We also liked Kinsale and especially Cobh for the Titanic and Lusitania history and the cathedral. So many wonderful things to see and do. Enjoy.

Posted by
1994 posts

Glendalough, a monastic ruin an hour or so south of Dublin in the Wicklow mountains is lovely, and one of my favorite memories. In August, I suggest getting there early or late in the day to avoid summer crowds. It's a pretty drive, or if you don't get a car, there are day tours you can take there from Dublin.

Posted by
13 posts

Thanks to all for the feedback. I've decided to fly into Dublin. We will stay there for three nights, one of which we may day trip to cork or somewhere relatively close. After we are done in Dublin, we are going to rent a car and head west to stay in limerick for 3 nights and fly out at Shannon. Limerick seemed centrally located on the west coast, giving us the flexibility to escape to a few places. Worst case scenario, we will head up to Galway or dingle for a night and just leave everything back in limerick. Not the most cost efficient way to travel, but I wanted to make sure we had something booked since we will be there in the summer months. Thanks again for all the info - feel free to leave any other opinions / advice for a first timer to the Isle.

Posted by
9363 posts

While Limerick may appear to be centrally located, be aware that traffic there is horrendous. And it's an ugly city with nothing of particular interest. Galway would be a much better alternative. It's close to the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher on one side, and the Connemara region on the other.

Posted by
2376 posts

Agree, do not do Limerick. There are so many other nice towns to stay near there.

Posted by
13 posts

Thoughts on staying in the Old Ground hotel in Ennis instead? My dilemma is that my flight out of Shannon is at 7:30 AM, so I don't want to be too far away from the airport if I have to wake up, drive to the airport, turn in rental cars, gets bags checked, etc. Thats why Limerick, purely from a location standpoint seemed to make good sense. We still planned on traveling to Galway/Dingle/CoM while we are lodging in Limerick....just seemed like either that, or Ennis was the best best for arriving to the airport quickly. I agree with your point, as I was underwhelmed with the overall reviews of Limerick.

Posted by
10261 posts

I would not choose Limerick either. Even though places seem close to each other on the map, be prepared for your drives to take longer than they would at home. The only real 'freeway' type driving I found was between Galway and Dublin.

Posted by
13 posts

Also, if not Ennis does anyone have an opinion on Dingle over Galway, for a home base?

Posted by
2376 posts

Would not consider Dingle as a home base, it is too far out there. It is great place to visit and you can certainly drive around the area but in my opinion it should not be used as a base.