Wondering if I have made a mistake. We have booked for four nights in a Limerick Hotel as my travelling companion wants a home base. We will go for one day and see the burren, cliffs, etc. One day Dingle peninsula, one day cork, one day galway. Is this a huge mistake? We both don't mind driving as we get to see the countryside, blah, blah blah, but are we doing ourselves a huge disfavor by not staying a night in each area?
The Cliffs and Burren, and Galway would be easily reachable as a day trip from Limerick, but Cork is a pretty lengthy drive down. To make it a day trip, you'd practically have to turn right around and come back, leaving no time to see anything. You also can't adequately see the Dingle Peninsula as a day trip.
Limerick is well located for most of the sights you wish to see, with the exception of Cork (that would be a long day). However, Limerick itself is not all that interesting of a city (in my opinion), though some of the surrounding area is spectacular - the coast, Lough Derg, etc etc.
I recently spent two nights in Dingle, and last year spent 3 nights in Galway, and I thought that was about the right amount of time for each (though an additional night or two in either would have been just fine as well).
You don't need to spend a night in the burren or at the Cliffs of Moher. You can see the burren and the cliffs on your drive from the Limerick area to Galway (be sure to drive the coastal route).
Have a great trip. No matter how you plan it, you won't be able to see all that you wish to see. Which is a good reason for a return trip. It's an incredible country.
Personnally, I found Limerick the most depressing city in Ireland. You can do much better than staying there. Why not stay in Dingle?
I agree with Judy. Limerick is THE most gray place in a very green Ireland. When I visited I could see how McCourt's life had been so miserable.
I don't want to imply it was a miserable experience. I'm capable of enjoying myself anywhere. I was able to find a pub with traditional music. I also had a great cultural experience by wandering into an IRA pub. They were great hosts and I had some very good conversation over a pint.
Overall, Limerick would be near the bottom of my list for places to visit in Ireland. It isn't high on my priority lists for return visits and I would never use it as a base.
I strongly agree with those who say that seeing the Dingle Peninsula requires a minimum stay of one night. With that in mind I heartily recommend Ennis as a base. Very pleasant town and several pubs have traditional music sessions. Easy day trip to the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, and Galway. Farther from Dingle and Cork, but you'd need to make those overnight trips anyway.
We spent our first night in Lisdoonvarna and loved it. Easy to see Burren and the cliffs. The rest of the time was divided between Dingle, Kenmare, and Kinsale. One of our locals is from Dublin and before our last trip his words of advice were to avoid the larger towns and stick with small places and the countryside. After reading Angela's Ashes I knew I did not need to see Limerick.
I just wanted to thank all of you for your quick replies. We have cancelled the reservations and going to do ennis, dingle and kenmare. Thanks again.
You'll love Kenmare! Make sure to go to the Kenmare Lace center to see how it is made, and visit the stone circle just down the street from there. Cute little town, wonderful food.
Great choices (your change of itinerary). From Ennis, if you venture to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, head west from Ennis to Lahinch. Very nice coastal town. From there you can take the coastal route to the Cliffs and Burren, and up to Galway.
Sabrina, I'm so glad you changed. I was told not long ago that Limerick has also been called "Stab City".
I agree w/Mike. Make it a early start and head west on R474 out of Ennis toward Milltown-Malbay then R67, to Spanish Point, Lahinch then LEFT onto R478 towards Liscannor (St. Bridget Well) on onto Clifs of Moher. After checking out the Cliffs you should check out Doolin; which is just up the road on R479. A ferry does run from Doolin to the Aran Islands daily at the Quay. If you decide not to go up the coast road you can cut back thru the Burren toward Lisdoonvarna on R476; which will take you toward Kilfenora to Leamaneagh Castle on the corner of R476 and R480, if you make left onto R480 it taked you right pass the Poulnabrone Dolman & Aillwee Cave then travel back onto R67 to Ballyvaugh toward Kinvara to Kilmacduagh Churchs & Round Tower then take R347 to R18/R17 'the Galway Road' head south toward (an)Gort and check out Thoor Ballylee(WB Yeats home) and Coole Park (Lady Gregory - the lady responsible for saving alot of Irish verbal stories & folklore).
I know that sounds like a lot in one day, but I have done this route several times. Usually on the way to from Shannon Aerport to family in Galway; which means this is usually done on the day I arrive home, because I seem to have at least one 'newbe' when I go to visit family. This route can be done easily in one day and not leave you feeling like you are wiped out. This of course is minus the ferry to aran islands; which we usually slot off another day.
It will take you almost no time(unless you hit rush hour) to get from (an)Gort to Ennis.
If you are heading to Dingle from Ennis take R473 to Kilmer and take auto ferry from Kilmer to Tarbert it will take off alot of road time heading to Dingle.
good luck & have fun!
Claregirl is right (especially since she agrees with me:>)). Unlike many drives in Ireland that take twice as long as you think they will, the drive she suggests is doable in a (rather long) day. But great sights along the way. And stay overnight somewhere if it comes to that. Doolin is a nice little town known mostly as a music center in addition to being a boat ride away from the Aran Islands. Ailwee Caves is worth the price of admission if you go that route.
This is a beautiful part of the country. But then, what isn't.
Have a great trip!
Thank you again, for replying. Since we are coming from Londonderry, instead of going to Ennis the first night, we were thinking of going straight to Doolin. Then the next morning go up to the burren, cliffs (pretty much do all your suggestions claregirl and mike-thank you)then ferry to go to Dingle for the evening. Next day do the peninsula and head to Kenmare. Hoping that this seems reasonable, and truly appreciate all the advise.
You didn't mention before that you are coming from Londonderry. Does this mean that you will be driving through Donegal and then through the Connemara? That should be a very beautiful and non-touristed drive, and will take you through Galway before heading through the burren and to Doolin. Note the peat fields along the way. Donegal is the least-visited county in all of Ireland. Hope to get there myself before long.
When in the burren, get out of your car and walk around. The beauty is in the details. Lots of plant life growing in seemingly inhospitable rocky environment.
I think you've put together a great itinerary. You'll love it. When driving the Dingle peninsula be sure to include the Slea Head loop at the very west end of the peninsula.
The only part of your trip I don't understand is the "ferry to Dingle" bit. Ferry from where?
Kenmare is a great town. As is Dingle out there on the peninsula.
You're gonna love your trip!
You're not going to like my reply. Last time we went over, we were going to stop in Limerick. I talked extensively with a couple of resident Irish friends about places to go and they said to stay clear of Limerick. It's dirty, high crime and lots of punks running around. Assaults etc.
The have nicknamed it "Stab City" because of all the stabbings.
Have you ever read "Angela's Ashs" by Frank McCourt? It's based in Limerick where he spent a large part of his youth. Yes this is a little off topic, but it's great reading and it IS about Limerick.