We're going to Ireland this August for the first time ever, staying in Dublin while my husband attends a conference. He's got from Tuesday noon to Thursday morning off and we really want to go to the Dingle peninsula after seeing Rick's show and reading the guidebook. We were thinking about renting a car, staying overnight Tuesday, back on Wednesday night. Does this sound like too much? Is it farther than I think?
Driving in Ireland always takes much longer than what you are used to in the U.S. - few major roadways, road construction (especially around Dublin) can cause big delays and the backroads are narrow and often have poor signage.
I personally wouldn't make that journey, especially since you can't even leave until noon on Tuesday and you have to turn around and drive back on Wednesday - but to each his own. Summer days are much longer, so you'll find it still is light outside even as late as 10:00-10:30 PM.
It's probably farther than you think (350km). Driving in Ireland can be quite slow, even on major roads. The Viamichelin site estimates 4hr30min, but to be safe you need to increase that by nearly half. So you could easily get to Dingle by Tuesday night, but you won't have much time to tour the Slea Head Peninsula on Wednesday before having to beat it back to Dublin.
IMO, the best way to do this with your limited time is to fly to Kerry Airport, which is near Farranfore between Killarney and Tralee, and pick up a rental car there. It's 70km from Farranfore to Dingle. You could get an evening flight back to Dublin on Wednesday or even a really early flight Thursday morning.
Aer Arann and Ryanair both fly Dublin-Kerry.
In case you decide that Dingle is too far, you might consider Co. Clare. Drive straight across to Galway from Dublin and angle southwest. In that area are the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, and Doolin, center of Irish music in the west. You'll get a taste of the same kind of scenery as the Dingle area without quite as far a drive.
If you go to
it is like mapquest and you can get driving directions (be sure to hit the Ireland tab). There are a few different websites like this, but so far I have found this one to be the easiest.
Anyway, it said that from Dublin to Dingle it takes about 5 hours. I would add about 1-2 hours onto that just incase you get lost or slowed down because of narrow roads and getting acclimated to driving since it would be your first time.
We did the drive from Dublin to Dingle with stops in 2 days. The hard part would be for you to have to leave again right away. Dingle is somewhere that you want to step back and relax and not somewhere to be too rushed. This was our favorite place in all of Ireland and would recommend anyone to see it if they can, however, it would be a long trip for you. You would make it there by Tuesday evening and could spend time in town that night.
The Slea Head drive deserves at least a 1/2 day and that....
would put you on a late start back to Dublin. If you are up for some really late nights and tired travels you could try it, but I would recommend sticking a little closer to Dublin.
You could possibly consider Glendalouch or the Boyne Valley area to see Newgrange and/or Knowth. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Good luck and no matter what do try to get out of Dublin for a day to see some of the "real" Ireland!
Hi Pat, I am in total agreement with Amber. With the limited amount of time you have stay in the Dublin area where you will be able to spend more time seeing a few sights well as opposed to getting to Dingle just in time to basically turn around and start back. Dingle itself needs at least two full days and a few hours just would not do it justice.
Glendalough or Newgrange are certainly worth a day trip or just take the DART to one of the small towns, such as Malahide or Howth, have lunch and just walk around town. Much less stressful than all that driving or trying to catch a plane and the hassle at Dublin Airport.
Try www.buseireann.ie or www.irishrail/tours for info on short tours from Dublin.
Thanks everybody for your good advice. It looks like it's just too far to enjoy Dingle in ETBD style on this trip. We'll stay in Dublin and explore the countryside on day trips.