Hello- We're planning a trip to Ireland, flying in and out of Dublin for eight days in March. The plan as of now is to spend two nights in Dublin, one night in Kilkenny, two nights in Kinsale, two nights in Dingle, and one night in Galway and then drive back to Dublin to catch our flight. The other option is to skip staying over night in Kilkenny but visit the castle and head on down to Kinsale for two nights and then bump everything back one night and head to Dublin for the night before our flight. Is this too much? Our priorities are Dublin, Kinsale, and Dingle.
Dublin to Kinsale, stopping en route to see Kilkenny Castle, would be a VERY long day. Driving on the other side of the road, particularly on some of Ireland's roads, is slower than you think. Personally, I would skip Kilkenny all together and head to Kinsale via the Rock of Cashel. If you haven't purchased your tickets yet, you would be better off to fly into Dublin and out of Shannon instead. It would save you the drive back to Dublin. Remember, the drive from Galway will take you upwards of three hours, and you have to be at the airport (after dropping off your car and getting the shuttle) a minimum of two hours before your flight (and you will go through US Customs while still in Ireland, so that can take awhile). If you flew out of Shannon you could stay in the Bunratty Castle area the final night and be just six miles from the airport. You say that one of your priorities is Dingle, and flying out of Shannon could potentially give you an extra day there that you would otherwise spend driving.
I agree with Nancy about skipping Kilkenny. You might want to use the day you save by skipping that area for driving around the Ring of Beara OR visiting the Gap of Dunloe OR spend a day driving around beautiful Connemara.
Have you taken St. Patrick's Day into consideration in your plans? There's a 5 day festival in Dublin and depending on what you like, you may want to be there or you may want to be elsewhere. You can find all the info here: http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/cms/home.html
We really enjoyed Kilkenny when we were there (1 night) last year. We drove from Dublin, stopping along the way, got there in the afternoon, ate, walked around, saw the castle, had a great dinner, slept and headed out the next morning (well rested) for the Rock of Cashel. We drove to Dingle that day (by way of Kilarney) but decided not to do anything more than see Muckross House, and instead focused our time on Dingle Loop, rather than Ring of Kerry.
Great suggestions everyone! We haven't yet booked our tickets so I'll check out the Dublin/Shannon idea. Can anyone recommend any B&B's in Kinsale, Dingle, or the Galway area? We'd like to find something in the 60-70 euro per night range. Nothing fancy, just comfortable. Thanks!
If you haven't driven in the ROI or UK before Dublin-Kilkenny is a nice way to ease yourself into driving. There's a huge parking structure located just outside the main City Center and a ton of great pubs and B&Bs. Really lovely town. I plan on spending some more time there when I get a chance. Depending on where you are flying to Dublin from it might not be much difference in flying out of Shannon than Dublin for the return flight and that would save you a bit of time
You might want to consider ending in Dublin whether you fly in through Dublin or Shannon. When I booked tickets earlier this year there was about a $150 premium to go through Shannon. I followed these ticket prices and saw the Shannon-Dublin difference swing wildly but Dublin was usually a bit cheaper than Shannon from Houston. If you drop a car off at a different place than where you rented it, most (if not all) companies change a fee for this. Kilkenny is worth about half a day but I think you have many better places to go than Kilkenny for 8 days. The castle is reconstructed to what it was in the mid-1800s. Dingle is a great place for two days. If you haven't seen Glendalough, it's a great site as is Clonmacnoise which is between Dublin and Galway. The passage tombs north of Dublin (Newgrange and Knowth) are great and there's a nice one day tour of several other sites which includes the Trim Castle. I assume you have a guide book or two and can look up all the attractions. On a short visit like you are planning I wouldn't go to Kinsale. There's just too many other places I think are more interesting. March is also a good month for rain and cold. Dublin deserves 3 days and if I didn't have them to spare, I'd probably skip it. There's a certain amount of effort required to take the bus into Dublin and back to the airport. Everybody has their preferences and opinions. Good luck with your planning.
"If you drop a car off at a different place than where you rented it, most (if not all) companies change a fee for this." Absolutely untrue. I have almost always flown into one city and out of another city in Ireland and I have never been charged a fee for dropping my rental in different city. My parents and other family members have done the same (a total of nine trips), using a variety of rental companies, and none of us have been charged.
Ashley As for B&B's: we liked Griffin Lodge in Galway because of the convenient location, just 2 blocks west of the Spanish Arch and downtown area. In Dingle we stayed at Murphy's B&B, located right next door to Murphy's Pub, also a great location for doing "Dingle Town" We always choose B&B's that let us keep our car parked for the evening and night, so we can go out and enjoy a pint or 2 and not have to worry about driving back to the B&B. Hope this helps! D.
Thanks for the B&B tips. I'll check those out. It's a couple hundred dollars cheaper to fly in and out of Dublin so we'll stay the first night in Dublin and then pick up the rental car and hit the road and wrap up the trip with our two final nights there, one of which will be St. Patrick's day. We haven't booked our tickets yet and are loosely considering a week in Paris instead but my heart is telling me Ireland is the place to go. Thanks again!
If you are planning to spend St Patrick's Day in Dublin you would be wise to book your accomodation ASAP.
If the St Patrick's Day celebration is a big reason for your travels to Dublin you may end up a bit underwhelmed. The US tends to have the bigger parades and festivals and a lot of Irish actually travel to NY or Chicago to take in the St Pat's parades there instead of at home
Well done on this trip I will say. Though some replies are right that the St Pat's day is bigger in the USA, that's because the holiday began here in New York, you will no doubt have an amazing time on the emerald isle on that day. A few words if you've never hired a car there before: Yes driving opposite side of the road is incredibly different but not impossible. Shifting is quite difficult and you will come to long for the ever elusive 3rd gear. Also, Republic Of Ireland car hires are among the only ones in all Europe that do not accept insurance from anywhere but the car rental agency itself. No Amex ins, no international car insurance through your current insurance company. Also they have what's called an 'excess fee'.. this is anywhere between $2000-$3000 that you have to let them 'hold' on your card the entire time you have the vehicle. Most places require this...it can truly be a rude awakening when you get there and can't get a car unless you have 3 grand laying around that you just don't really need. Other than that, hiring a car will allow you to do many things upon your own schedule. Ireland's land mass is quite small and the roads are quite good. I'll myself be there This coming Tuesday and if I can get the extra days off I'll stick around until St Pats day :)
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