Ireland Honeymoon planning...help please!

I'm currently planning my honeymoon and I'm looking for all the advice I can get about planning our Ireland itinerary!! We will have a total of 3 weeks, 1 week will be in Scotland and I have that planned completely (I've been before but my fiancée hasn't), and the other 2 weeks will be in Ireland (neither of us have ever been). All of our flights are already booked and are non-refundable (my fiancées parents bought them as our wedding present!) 4/11: US to Edinburgh, Scotland (travel day) 4/12- 4/18: Scotland 4/19: Edinburgh to Dublin (Arrive at 9am), counts as a day in Dublin 4/20-5/2: ??? 5/3: Fly from Shannon back to US (travel day) Here are the top things we are interested in seeing... Dublin, Kinsale (suggested to us; ??) Great Skellig, Dingle Peninsula, The Ring of Kerry (if you think we have enough time, otherwise, scratch it but definitely doing Dingle),The Burren, Doolin (Music!), Aran Islands (Inishmor?), Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Connemara, Kylemore Abbey (other castle suggestions?) We are young (28/29) and in good shape. We love history, being outdoors, taking pictures, live music, pubs, and FOOD!
I'm having trouble figuring out if we have enough time to do all this and enjoy it. Should we cut something out or is this do-able? Any suggestions on b&b's, rental car agencies, pubs in any of the places I mentioned? Suggestions on a route would be much appreciated! I have Ricks book on Ireland, but I'd love suggestions from other people who have visited. Thanks everyone in advance for any advice!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

You should start by plotting all of your places on a map. You will then find that they are in a kind of circle, for the most part. Many of your choices are close together (Doolin, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, for example). You can easily do all of the things you have listed, and have time for other places along the way, too. No offense, but there are LOTS of great guidebooks out there that cover places that RS doesn't. Check your local library or bookstore to see a selection. Kylemore Abbey is actually not a castle, but a manor house that is now used as a school. It is a beautiful spot, though, and the Neogothic chapel on the site is fantastic. Between Dublin and Kinsale, you could easily stop at the Rock of Cashel (a "must do" in my book), Cahir Castle, and Blarney Castle. Near Dublin, there is Trim Castle. You can see a listing of B&Bs at www.discoverireland.com, arranged by location. Use www.viamichelin.com to determine driving times and routes between places, but add 25% to their time estimates (driving in Ireland is notoriously slow).

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2001 posts

Ireland is about 33,000 square miles. North Carolina is around 52,000. It's a small island so yes, you will be able to see all that you want and even add in Northern Ireland if you desire. To help plan your trip my first suggestion is get a map or look at Google Maps to see what is where. Will help orient yourself. Personally, I'd head South out of Dublin and take the Sally Gap to Glendalough. That drive alone will take your breath away. From there you can head to the coast or head inland to Kilkenny for the night. Once you have a map you can easily plan your own route. Besides driving on the left side of the road a couple of important things to remember. Sheep are everywhere so not unusual to find them on the roads. Roads can be teeny tiny and all lorie drivers seem to be trying to qualify for the Indy 500 or the Monaco Grand Prix. Always buy collision coverage. Take it slow and easy and enjoy. Drive all the way around the island then drive straight across it from Dublin to Shannon to your flight home. As far as B&B's and pubs, et all, take a look at the Graffiti Wall. I'm heading back over in October. Will PM you accommodation recommends if you like on my return to the States. Slainte.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1555 posts

You can totally do this. We are going back again end of October and basically doing the same thing. In Dublin, don't rent a car until you are ready to leave and when rent a car be sure to get the CDW. Agree with Nancy to get some tour books from Library. You can also look up on Graffiti wall for info on B&B suggestions as well as food ideas. Don't miss Rock of Cashel and Blarney, loved the grounds there. Enjoyed the view in Cobh from St. Coleman's very near Kinsale. In Dingle, we liked the Lighthouse B&B, near Shannon the Airport Manor only about mile from airport. Was not impressed with Bunratty Castle but loved the folk park there. We did not like Guiness warehouse in Dublin but loved Kilmainhaim Gaol, been there twice and going back again. Any questions may be able to help you with, send a PM. Enjoy.

Posted by Joyce
Kansas City, MO, USA
5 posts

A few years back we rented a small apartment in the village of Liscannor. It is just north of the bigger town of Lahinch and at the south end of the Cliffs of Moher. It was a great base to travel to Dingle, the Burren, Inishmore, Galway, and Doolin. It was a nice small village with a great pub and a good little market. It was nice being able to pack our lunches in the morning and then head out for the day. It is only about a 15 minute drive up to Doolin and the Burren and a bit over 3 hours down to Dingle. We did a day trip to Inishmore leaving from Doolin. It took a bit longer to get there because the ferry stopped at the other islands but they were fun to see. Inishmore is a wonderful day trip. If a real Aran sweater is on your shopping list ask at the Dun Aenghusa information desk if they can recommend a local knitter. We splurged for a pony and trap to take us around the island since we had a non bike rider in the family.
There are self catering cottages in many towns in the area. Lahinch was a nice town with good pubs with live trad music. We have gone the self-catering route on several trips to Britain and Ireland and really enjoy the cost savings and freedom. Google self-catering accommodations and you will find several companies. We used Dream Ireland and they were fine. Best wishes on your life together.

Posted by Sarah
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
21 posts

We went to Ireland on our honeymoon too and it was lovely! The west coast of Ireland is absolutely beautiful and my favorite part of Ireland. We stayed in Doolin, Galway (took a day trip to the Aran Islands from Galway), Westport and Achill Island. Our favorite lodging were Petra House in Galway (had a private car park and easy walk into downtown Galway...and really good breakfasts); and Hotel Westport (great spa and breakfast)...I've never been but I hear that Kinsale is known for great seafood...Enjoy!

Posted by Margaret
Nashville, TN, USA
451 posts

Bandi, what a lovely honeymoon you will have!! What a lovely gift of airline tickets from your future in-laws!!! As Nancy suggests, do see the Rock of Cashel (we did this last month on her recommendation), it really is impressive and historic (2000 years old). You can see photos on www.tripadvisor.com Definitely stay a night or two in Kinsale. Old Presbytery Inn was lovely (ask for the room with the little balcony that faces their private parking area, as it is nice and it is quiet. The White House is a great pub/restaurant within walking distance of there...get the seafood platter :) Consider a stay at Ashford Castle (incredible). They offer some nice two-night package specials (ask if nothing is posted), and definitely do the Hawk Walk falconry experience there. Agree with other posters that the Bunratty Folk Park is worth a visit. Don't miss the Cliffs of Moher, but time it so you have a morning or an evening to see them...since rain/fog could be an issue at any time. The Sky Road in Connemera is incredible and is listed in National Geographic's 500 Journeys of a Lifetime book. In Doolin, O'Connors and McGann's pubs are great and well known. Durty Nelly's in Bunratty was good for a nice lunch (didn't go at night).

Posted by Margaret
Nashville, TN, USA
451 posts

Brandi,
An additional thought is to visit Galway. There is a pedestrian street (I think I remember it is called Key Street) with street performers (music/jugglers, etc.) along with a variety of restaurants, pubs, shops, etc. It was filled with young people when we were there mid-day....I'd guess it is even more colorful in the evening. Also, en route from Kinsale toward the Dingle you will pass thru Ca Ha Pass....beautiful.....then further north (somewhere around Dingle) is Connors Pass....incredible. Get a good map!! Kenmare is a nice place to stop for lunch....cute town. Also, the village of Adare is worth a very quick stop.....very touristy, but great place for quick photo opps. I didn't echo The Burren, but definitely keep that on your list...easy to visit....extended hikes can also be arranged, if you want to allocate time. Kylemore Abbey looked lovely...we didn't have time to visit (we had a much shorter trip than you), and the Muckross House is also lovely.

Posted by Brandi
Raleigh, NC, USA
10 posts

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!! I really appreciate all the help. I am going to discuss with my fiancee and then post an itinerary in hopes of getting more suggestions/tweaks. Thanks again :)