Advice Needed- Driving Killarney to Galway AND Doing Dingle Peninsula?

Hello Fellow Travelers- this is my first post, and I am excited to get some advice! My husband and I are travelling to Ireland for the first time in November and are trying to plan sightseeing (we rented a car). First, our itinerary looks like this Day 1 and 2- Dublin Day 3- Drive to Killarney- sleep Killarney Day 4- Drive to Galway and sleep 3 nights Day 7- Drive back to Dublin
Day 8- Fly back to US (Minnesota) What I need help with is determining if we have time to drive the Dingle Peninsula en route from Killarney to Galway. I can't change any nights anywhere, since they're booked and it costs money to change anything. But, I realize now after booking, that I should have had 2 nights Killarney and 2 nights Galway, instead of 1 and 3. BUT, a coworker suggested 3 nights in Galway because we would like Galway (we are young and love the nightlife)... Thoughts? Thanks!

Posted by Matt
Kent, WA, USA
107 posts

Well, Google maps thinks you could do that drive in 4 hours and 40 minutes; so it seems like you should be ok, even if Google is overly optimistic about the speed you'll be able to drive on the Irish roads, and even with 2 or 3 hour long stops it wouldn't be too long of a day. Like you said, a 2-2 split may have been a better way to go, or even 1 night Killarney, 1 night Dingle, and 2 nights Galway; but if you're locked into the 1-3 split it should be ok. (*NOTE I tried to include a link to the GoogleMaps route but it doesn't work, but I just "got Directions" from Killarney, to Dingle, to Galway *) This is ugly but might work, if you paste it into your browser: http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Killarney,+Ireland&daddr=Dingle,+Ireland+to:Galway,+Ireland&hl=en&ll=52.449314,-9.448242&spn=2.520999,3.323364&sll=52.589701,-7.800293&sspn=2.512958,3.323364&geocode=FcJWGgMdogBv_ynZbpe0DDxFSDHAdDGXqccACg%3BFQmTGwMduEhj_ymRSZwkx_tPSDEAzDGXqccACg%3BFR_YLAMdZM51_yn_Wy1alZNbSDGBUkkKRBsrAw&oq=Galway&mra=ls&t=m&z=8

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

Your daylight will be limited in November. You need to check sunrise and sunset times. The roads I felt were the most dangerous and difficult to navigate was the stretch between Doolin and Galway. I would personally not intentionally drive this stretch just soulth of Galway in the dark. I also think the previous poster just got you to Dingle and didn't include driving the loop. Dingle is a wonderful place but I personally wouldn't try to do it as a quick day trip. You really won't have enough time to appreciate it if you can't spend a night.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

You don't need to have car in Dublin. Yes it gets dark in Ireland in November, about five pm so consider that. I think Dingle is too much for a day trip considering early sunset. Just curious, why do you say it costs money to change anything? Even though they are booked, do you mean hotels, I have never had a problem canceling with at least forty eight hours notice and there was no charge. Can you do this?

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

In addition to the short days, if you only spend one night in Killarney, and set off the next day for Galway (with or without Dingle), when are you going to see anything in the Killarney area? Dublin to Killarney is going to be around 5 hours, so you won't have much daylight that day by the time you get there. I would skip Dingle this time. Just the drive to Galway, without stops, will be close to 5 hours, anyway. And Dingle deserves more than just a drive-by. It's too bad that you won't have time on that day to see the Cliffs of Moher, but perhaps you intend to do that during your Galway stay? And I agree with Gail. In four trips now, I have never been charged for changing a hotel or B&B reservation.

Posted by Matt
Kent, WA, USA
107 posts

I think I agree with Ken and Tim, I'd drop Dingle this trip. I know we all tend to get emotionally attached to some sites on our travel wish-list, and we often try to do more than is reasonble. But trying to include a drive around Dingle might really just be adding stress and complications; and might just make your trip more tiring than enjoyable. Relax.
Go with your existing itinerary, enjoy the drive from Killarney to Galway; and save Dingle for your next trip!

Posted by Kristen
Burnsville, Minnesota, USA
9 posts

Thanks all for the great advice, I really do appreciate it. I can't change hotels because I booked through this online travel agent, Gate One, and they said it'd be $50 a person to change anything, which is lame... but I might just bite the bullet. I feel I messed up, because the trip was scheduled to do 2 nights Dublin, 2 night Killarney, 2 nights Galway orignally (on their website), but due to some advice I switched the night to Galway (the co-workers husband is an Ireland travel agent so I thought she was trustworthy haha) I found such a good deal on their website I just kind of jumped on it! Anyhow, yes, with the daylight being so short, makes sense that we'd want another night Killarney. Not to mention seeing the sights there before we have to move on.

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

Even if you stay 2 nights in Killarney, I would still recommend you not try to go to Dingle. There's nothing wrong with 3 nights in Galway. Depending on the weather, you could drive Connemara and possibly visit the Aran Islands. There are also many other sights close by. The nightlife will definitely be more active in Galway than Killarney. Just off the main highway between Galway and Dublin, there is an old monestary called Clonmacnoise. We really enjoyed seeing it.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

In my opinion, you did not mess up. You just had a learning experience! If you really want to change what you plan, pay the hundred dollars and do what you want. That said, when you do that, be a squeaky wheel and tell this booking site how unhappy you are with the extra fee and that you will be posting your negative review on several travel sites as well as trip advisor and see if they will waive the fee, you never know. Anyway, enjoy Ireland. It is fantastic!

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

I strongly encourage you to "bite the bullet" and stay a second night in Killarney and cut one night in Galway. If you leave Killarney early in the morning, you would have time to stop at the Cliffs of Moher on your way to Galway. Drive to Tralee on the N 22 and then drive to Tarbert on the N 69. Take the ferry across the Shannon River to Killimer. At this time of the year the ferry departs from Tarbert every hour on the half hour. Drive the coastal route on the N 67 to the Cliffs of Moher and on to Galway. You'll even get to see a bit of the Burren between Lisdoonvarna and Ballyvaughan. I like Ken's suggestion of driving through Connemara while you're based in Galway.

Posted by Sherri
Goleen, Co Cork, Ireland
69 posts

Hi, I agree to take a second night in Killarney if you can swing it. On your drive from Dublin to Killarney you might want to see some sights (rock of Cashel is great) so you wouldn't get there too early. It's really dark here early and as nice as Dingle is I wouldn't go there just to drive through. Much better to stay a night or 2 so I'd skip it this trip and plan for the next time. Galway has great nightlife so if that's important you shouldn't be disappointed! Enjoy, Sherri

Posted by Mary
Woodside, New York, United States
38 posts

Hi, I may be a day late & a dollar short here but why don't you change your flight to Shannon since you are spending most of your time on the west coast? I have been to many areas in Ireland, and Galway/Dingle are my top two. As far as stops from Dublin to Killarny, it was fun to kiss the blarney stone, a little touristy but good. I also like Kilkenny for a stop. Enjoy your trip, Mary

Posted by Kristen
Burnsville, Minnesota, USA
9 posts

Mary- that is a smart suggestion. We got a super good deal on the package vacation and Im sure that had to do with going roundtrip Dublin. Something I'll definately keep in mine for our next trip! We are spending the last night in Dublin, too, so not just driving there to fly... We were debating Blarney stone, heard it was super tourist-trap, but you know what they say, when in Rome...

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

I have taken the Slea Head drive on the Dingle Peninsula and loved it. I have not taken the ROK drive. However, I have driven from Kenmare to Killarney along the east side of the national park and I can tell you that it is a truly beautiful drive. IMO, I think driving the ROK will be a better use of your time. It could take you nearly two hours just to drive to Dingle and another two hours to drive back to Killarney.

Posted by Kristen
Burnsville, Minnesota, USA
9 posts

Thanks all! I did pay the change fee and switch a night to Killarney, so now we should be able to take the 2nd day there and either do ROK or Dingle drive. The Dingle Peninsula looks like it takes less time, but ROK is closer to Killarney, and then we could see the National Park and Gap of Dunloe. I know some of you mentioned Dingle would be best to spend a night in, so would the ROK be a better use of our time? Also, I would like to stop someplace on the way from Dublin to KIllarney- I was thinking either Cashel or Blarney to see the castle. Thoughts on the best stop? Thanks! :)

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7682 posts

There is a lot more to see at Blarney than just the castle. The grounds are beautiful, and then there is great shopping right across the street.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

I prefer Cashel but agree the grounds around Blarney are prettier. Guess it is a toss up. If you do decide to kiss the blarney stone, at this time of year should not have any waiting time. We were there late November one year and no wait, once in April and was almost an hour.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8756 posts

We were debating Blarney stone, heard it was super tourist-trap, but you know what they say, when in Rome... geography lesson to follow, or is Ireland now in Rome? ;>