First trip to Ireland

We are a group of 6 travelling to Ireland shortly and want to maximize our time without losing sight of the culture we want to embrace. We plan on arriving in Dublin and then take train or perhaps bus to Galway for 2 nights. While in Galway some want to golf (not sure if Connemara or Lanhinch would be good golf choices) From there we wanted to know if it is worth the time to ferry to Aran Isl, Cliffs of Moher and then find the best way to get to either Bunratty or Ballynahinch Castle for an overnight. We could not get a reservation at Ashford Castle (any other suggestions?) From there we want to get back to Dublin (not sure if bus or train would be the best option) We want to make sure to see Ring of Kerry as well. When we get back to Dublin we will have either 3 or 4 nights. We are considering taking a train to the north Giant's Causeway or Belfast for a day trip, and then 2 remaining days to enjoy what Dublin has to offer. Any thoughts, suggestions or help. Golf at least one perhaps two times while in the west is a high priority.
Thanks LC

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8279 posts

I already answered another version of your question. You really need to get a handle on how much time you have all together. You are suggesting day trips that won't work, timewise, and you are all over the map, distance-wise (your other version didn't include the Ring of Kerry or a second day of golf, and your timing was already tight). Connemara is a whole region, and I am not sure where there are golf courses there. Lahinch is beyond the Cliffs of Moher to the south, so that's not feasible from Galway. Bunratty castle is not a castle where you can stay, though there are lots of nice B&Bs in the immediate area.

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
862 posts

You may think this is a dumb idea but it works for us and it doesn't take all that long. Everyone write down what it is they really want to see and do. Twelve things tops. Make a master list - 5 people want to see Cliffs of Moher - 5 points, Giant's Causeway 1 person, 1 point. After you shaken down and consolidated the list everyone gets to pick ONE other thing they really want to see/do. Get a map and divide Ireland into color coded zones. Look at your final list and put colored dots next to everything you all want to see/do in the red zone, the blue zone etc. Your final list should show the red zones as a group, blue zones as a group etc. This will weed out a lot of time wasting, will let everyone see what is really practical and everyone gets to see do what they want within reason. Once all are agreed everyone signs the list in BLOOD! You will probably be able to do half of what you list and call yourselves lucky. Tell me you've all read Rick's Ireland book. Take your umbrellas......

Posted by Rose
922 posts

Bloody brilliant, Marie. A family travel contract that everyone 'buys into' in advance. :)

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8279 posts

Brilliant idea, Marie! It can be tough to coordinate a group and make sure everyone gets to do something they especially wanted to do. I can imagine it saves a lot of sulking. And Marie is right - don't plan on getting to everything in your final list. There will be unexpected delays or other reasons to change your plans, so be flexible.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

We went on a Tauck tour of Ireland last June. One of the highlights of the 14 day tour, was staying at the Ashford Castle for two nights. NOne of the 26 guests, wanted to leave. It is so unbelievably beautiful there. Our tour bus let us off somewhere. Then we boarded a private boat for the 26 of us. We took about a 30 minute ride on the river, and got off at the Ashford Castle. Then we were met by a proper bag-piper. The bag-piper marched and played his bag-pipe, as we walked from the dock, across a picturesque bridge and over to the castle. The grounds are spectacular and the meals were great also. We had a room with a view over the water. Hopefully, you will be able to at least drop by there and eat. The Ashford Castle used to be the summer home of the Guinness Family (Guinness Brewery and Guinness Book Of Records).