We will be arriving at 8:30 am in Dublin and want to go see bru na boinne then head over to Doolin for the night. Is that do-able? We will be renting a car at the airport and we are not planning on spending time in Dublin.
Are you trying to do this on the first day you arrive after having flown from Oregon to Dublin, or will you already be somewhere else in Europe and you're not contending with jet lag? If you are just getting off an international flight from the U.S., you'll likely be rolling into Doolin later than you hoped and very tired. Factor in how long it will take you to get through the lines at the airport, pick up your rental car, fight the traffic around Dublin airport to head over to Bru na Boinne, how long you will actually spend at Bru na Boinne (the visitor center website lists average times of visits depending on what you plan to do when you are out that way - you can easily spend 3+ hours). I'm sure living in Oregon you are used to driving long distances, and on a map it may not seem too long to go from the east coast of Ireland to the west coast. But are you used to driving on the left? driving along some windy, narrow roads that don't always have the best signage? being slowed down on the back roads by a flock of sheep sitting in the middle of the road, or some tractor puttering along? You'll also want to stop along the way and check out the scenery at some points, so this eats up more time. It's do-able, but not necessarily enjoyable if you are jet lagged and it's going to be your only night in Doolin to head out to the pubs and enjoy some music.
Points well taken. Yes, we will be fighting jetlag from Oregon. And your right, on a map, it doesn't look too bad (I travel 45 miles just to get to work). We are trying to travel without too many set plans but the one reservation I wanted to make was our first night in each country. I figured our first night we would go to bed a bit early but the whole point of going to Doolin is the music, so I don't know!
We are flying into Dublin Sunday 9/4 at 8:30am and out of Dublin Wed evening. We wanted to do dublin, Bru na Boinne, Doolin, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle and Rock of Cashel back to dublin. Perhaps instead of going north, west, south, east, we should do dublin to cashel to dingle, to cliffs of moher, to doolin to bra na boinne?
You CAN do it, but I would not recommend it. You will be too tired. First of all, right now your flight is scheduled to arrive at 8:30 a.m. Between now and September that can change. After landing you will go through customs/immigration and then it will take time to get your car. We flew from Sacramento - Dublin, picked up a car and drove to Kilkenny. That was far enough that first day. Cashel isn't too much further, so you could manage that. You could even tour the Rock of Cashel that first day (I find if I keep walking I can make it until a reasonable bedtime that first night). We went to the Rock on Day 2 on our way to Dingle. You would save yourself some time by seeing the Rock your first day. Dingle was an easy drive from there. We spent 2 nights in Dingle, then drove to Galway from there, stopping at the Cliffs of Moher. Be sure to take the Tarbert ferry to save yourself time as you head that way. We spent one night in Galway (Salt Hill) and drove back to Dublin. The Galway - Dublin drive is as close as you will get to our freeway driving while you are in Ireland. I highly recommend using a GPS.
Quick rule of thumb when driving around Ireland, estimate the time it will take you to get somewhere, now add another 50% (ie, think it will take 3 hours to drive according to the map, nope, try more like 4.5 hours). This is far more realistic given you will inevitably be delayed, get lost or just stop and gawk at scenery. The only exception to the rule is when you are driving anywhere in or immediately just outside of Dublin. Then add 100%.
You are trying to put, at the very least, a seven day trip into four days. What time of the year will you be going? You can see all of these places but you will not have time to enjoy then as you will be spending most of your time in the car. Remember the old Chevy Chase movie "Family Vacation" where they get to the Grand Canyon,get out of the car and spend about five minutes looking at the canyon and then being herded back into the car to continue on? At least in my opinion that is what you will be doing. There are numerous places in Ireland to hear music besides Doolin and many of these are not geared toward the tourists.
Google maps says it is about 3 hours, so I would allow 4 hours for the trip. Google does not count sheep in road, (have pictures), cows in road (have pictures), grid lock, etc. So, 4 or a bit more hours should be about right.
After reading some posts, I am thinking we are going to drive dublin to rock of cashel and make our way north/west. If there are still more opinions out there, here is the "current" plan. Day 1- Sunday. Arrive at 8:30am airport. Rent car and make our way to Rock of Cashel. Again, we are not planning on spending much time in Dublin. Arrive in a town around the dingle pennisula (suggestions?) for the night. Day 2- Monday. Drive the Dingle Pennisula and then Drive to a town on the way up to Doolin (suggestions?) for the night. Day 3- Tuesday. See cliffs of moher, sleep and nightlife in Doolin. Day 4- Wednesday. Drive back to Dublin for our evening flight out to London. (Our England trip then begins). I realize this does not encompass many wonderful parts of Ireland but this is what our Europe trip allows for. Since we were not even planning on going to Ireland, we are thankful we get 3-4 days! We will come back again some day.
Don't underestimate how tired you will be when you arrive. It is a long trip to Ireland from the West Coast. We spent zero time in Dublin upon arrival. We got in the car and drove to Kilkenny. Cashel is not that much further, so it is doable. There is NO WAY I could have driven to the ROC, toured, then get back in the car and drive all the way to Dingle. I am not a wimp driver either...when we make the 12 hour drive to Seattle we drive straight through (we do trade off driving), only stopping for fuel and potty breaks. If you have never driven on the "wrong side" you don't know how tiring it can be, especially when you are getting used to it and after a long flight. Not only do you have to concentrate even more than you do at home, the roads are smaller and traffic is slower. You could reasonably go to the ROC after you arrive and tour it (keeping yourself moving is good), then stay near there for the night. Get up early and drive to Dingle. I know your time is limited, but you want to make it to England don't you??