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First Trip Ireland:Itinerary question

We are spending 6 days in Ireland and fly into Dublin and out of Shannon this June. We will be renting a car after we explore Dublin. I've heard driving is very slow. We plan to depart Dublin in early a.m. visit Bru Na Boinne then drive to Kildare to see the Nat'l Stud (my sister insists!). Then on to Kilkenny where we will spend the night. The next day we plan to drive to Rock of Cashel,Blarney, Muckross House, the arrive in Dingle in the later afternoon. I'm worried we will not have enough time. Any thoughts? Thanks!Tara

Posted by
31521 posts

Tara,

Driving in Ireland is not for the "faint of heart"! It can be very challenging at times, considering narrow roads and driving on "the other side of the road". I'd suggest taking both a good Map and a GPS unit (you may be able to have that provided with the car). You might also consider getting the full CDW Insurance.

Your Itinerary sounds a bit rushed for a six day trip, but hopefully you'll get some further opinions on this.

Happy travels!

Posted by
9363 posts

Driving can be slow in many areas, but there are also some nice, modern highways. Bru Na Boinne is only maybe 40 minutes by car from Dublin. I'm not sure if what you're hoping to do the second day is possible if you plan to spend any time at any of the places you listed. Kilkenny and the Rock of Cashel are not far apart, but you'll want to walk around there (and I'd recommend seeing the film that they show about the history of the Rock). From Cashel, Blarney is within a couple of hours' drive. But again, if you want to go up into the castle, maybe do some shopping at the Woollen Mills, it will take time. On our first trip, taking a route opposite to yours, we stayed the night just south of Blarney. We saw Blarney Castle in the morning (and shopped), then stopped in Cahir to see its castle, and continued on to Cashel. We saw the Rock the next day because we got into Cashel too late in the day. Keep in mind that you are traveling in June and the crowds are likely to be awful.

Posted by
9363 posts

I would recommend splitting what you plan for day two into at least two days. Even with maps or a GPS you're almost guaranteed to make a wrong turn somewhere (signage is terrible in some places). You might be better off to spend the night somewhere like Kenmare, and then see Muckross House and travel on to Dingle the next day. Oh, and I second Ken's suggestion to get the "super" CDW insurance.

Posted by
67 posts

I definately agree to split day 2 in half. Driving almost always takes double what you think it will and as mentioned above, the signage is "creative".
When I return to Dingle I will surely stay there 2 days - it is so beautiful and they have great local traditional live music in several places.

Blarney Castle (kissing the rock) is a big tourist attraction and I think might be very crowded. The steps (?) carved out of rock are single file only and definately for the sure footed. I think it is very overrated but each to their own.
Kilkenny is a fun town to walk around in if you have the extra time. We stayed at a wonderful B&B run by a great 80+ year old woman who had a great sense of humor. If you wish, email me and I can give you the info on that.
Have a GREAT time - which I think you will anywhere in Ireland. I am going back in September and can't wait.

Posted by
11973 posts

You aren't going to the Hill of Tara? Newgrange is also a great ancient site worth a visit just North of Dublin.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks so much for the feed back! I had planned on the Super CDW but not the GPS I will look into that. Sounds like I have some re-working of the itinerary to do. :-)

Posted by
147 posts

Day 1 will be your time adjustment day, if you're coming straight from the states. Driving on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car is challenging enough without being dog tired. 8 hours ahead of us on the west coast. There are a couple of bottlenecks driving out of Dublin,so leavng at 0-dark-thirty in the am is a good idea. I'd set aside a night and day for Kilkenny, it's a blast. Great shopping and great pubs. the Rock is worth it, I'd pass on Blarney. Dingle is fantastic. You'll love all the music

Posted by
100 posts

I agree with the others when they say to try and split up the 2nd day arrangements. We left from Waterford in the morning after going to the crystal factory there and then headed to the Rock of Cashel, then to Blarney and had also thought we might get to Muckross and then to Dingle. We never made it to Muckross and barely made it to Blarney as we got a bit delayed driving. We didn't end up arriving in Dingle until about 11pm because once it was dark the roads were even harder to navigate. I remember the morning before we left that day the host at our B&B jokingly called us "crazy Americans" after we told him our plans for the day. It was a crazy day for sure and we were exhausted.
Definitely plan to enjoy your time in Dingle and be sure to do the Slea Head drive- this was our favorite scenery during our trip. Have fun!!

Posted by
20 posts

Really important for driving in Ireland--buy a Michelin map (1 inch-6.30 miles), available in the US at bookstores and worth every nickel! "Tourist maps" are not detailed enough. You do have a busy itinerary for six days. My suggestion is to be flexible. I have been to Ireland many times, and always book my first and last nights in the country in advance. The rest of the trip--even in July and August, high season, we have been able to find a B&B on the same day we need it. The trick is to decide by early afternoon where you plan to spend the night and book it, either by phone or in person. We try to get to the place by mid or late afternoon. I think that Cashel and Cahir are great, skip Blarney (for another trip) and head for the Dingle Peninsula from Cashel. Conor Pass is for daytime thrills! I love Co.Clare and Galway so much, so I put off seeing Dingle until my 3rd or 4th trip. Remember, buy the map and have a great trip.

Posted by
56 posts

Tara, We just got back from IRE last weekend. All the motorways are torn up with major construction projects, so Bru'na Bo'inne and Co Kildare are all you will probably get to in a day. Driving, once you clear Dublin is great fun, but to get through Dublin or "around it" on the M50 will take an average of an hour. Newgrange, if you get the first tour will take you to 1130, if you go to Knowth too, most of that day is shot. If you decide to pick just one, go to Newgrange. Unless you are traveling by tell-a-port, your second day is equally packed, and I would say even impossible to visit Cashel, Blarney, Muckross and "arrive in Dingle by the afternoon". Our advice would be slow down and enjoy Ireland. Europeans, with limited exception, to not subscribe to the hurry up and get there theory, which you may find frustrating if you are pressed for time. Oh, we'd suggest a good GPS AND a good map, because of the construction.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for all the feedback! We have revised our itinerary to do visit New Grange only then possibly the Hill of Tara before heading to Kilkenny. This seems like it should be doable in one day. The next day we plan on going to Cashel then directly to Dingle. Hopefully this is more realistic!
Tara :-)