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More Ireland itinerary suggestions needed

We are planning to fly into Shannon and fly out of Dublin. We were thinking of staying in the Limerick area (open to other locations) for 3 nights as a base and taking day trips to Cliffs, Blarney Castle and Galway. We would then head to Sligo for a night, we really want to see Ballyshannon. Finally, we would then head to Dublin for the rest of our visit (3 more nights). Does this seem reasonable? Note: We have children in tow. Thanks!

Posted by
1878 posts

I think you are trying to cover too much ground with day trips. It's really hard covering that much ground in just six days. Also, when driving in Ireland, plan for it to take longer than you plan for it to take. (We drove on our 2002 trip, so I speak from experience.) You can check driving times on Google maps, but I suggest adding 25% to the times they show. That said, Ennis is a nice, relaxed workaday town half an hour from Shannon airport, nicely situated an hour from Galway and closer than that to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. It is not a tourist center, as Rick says the town does not covet the tourist dollar while not shunning it, either. Cruise's pub in Ennis has traditional music in the evenings, or at least they did when we were there years ago. Blarney Castle is o.k. but not worth going out of your way for. In that part of the country, I would go to Kinsale and Cobh before I would go to Blarney. Two full days in Dublin is about right (three nights). Rock of Cashel, which is sort of on the way back to Dublin, is much more worthwhile than Blarney Castle, in my opinion. You could consider two nights in Ennis, one in Galway, then train or bus to Dublin for three nights. I don't like one night stays much, but it's tough planning over such a wide geographical area with really only five full days to work with, since the first day is basically a throwaway.

Posted by
9363 posts

I completely disagree with the previous poster regarding Blarney. There is much more to see in Blarney than just the castle. The grounds are beautiful, there is a cave and a dolmen, and across the street, at Blarney Woollen Mill, is great food and shopping. But I also would not want to spend three nights in Limerick. I don't mind moving around. When you try to take long day trips like Limerick to Blarney, you waste a lot of time backtracking - time that could be better spent seeing new things instead. Along the road from Limerick to Blarney is a donkey sanctuary that you might like to visit. It overlooks a castle ruin outside of Liscarroll, and is free. On one of my trips, my son and I stopped there after landing in Shannon. After our visit there, we drove on to Blarney, saw the castle and grounds and ended up staying the night there, so it is easy to get that far on the first day. On the way between Blarney and Cashel is Cahir, with the castle that our kids liked the best in Ireland. It sits in the middle of the river and has lots of little rooms and passages to explore.

Posted by
105 posts

I definitely wouldn't base myself in Limerick for the 3 nights Anne, as Nancy says you will just be backtracking on yourself and wasting a lot of time. I would head for Blarney, on to Killarney/Dingle, and on up through Clare (Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave etc), on up to Galway, Sligo & Ballyshannon. Taking that route you are seeing a lot of the country, but seeing it all just once. Enjoy!!

Posted by
30 posts

I agree with John. Limerick is not very interesting and taking day trips from there involves alot of backtracking. Fly into Shannon and rent a car and head north to Connemmara north of Galway- try the ferry out to Aran Islands and abuggy tour. Then head back down through the Burrens and Cliffs of Moher- take the boat out of Doolin to see the Cliffs- much better view- then you might want to go down to Dingle and the Dingle Pensinsula and if you have time to Kenmare. Both Dingle and Kenmare are great towns with terrific food, pubs and shopping. Tom

Posted by
11 posts

Tom's itinerary sounds like the one I would choose. My friends and I are planning our trip in October and your question was basically like mine.

Posted by
4 posts

The driving in Ireland is not as difficult as it used to be, there are great motor ways now. Only driving in the city of Dublin would be crazy. Your plans are heavy on outdoor site seeing and some days the weather may be moody. Of course no one goes to Ireland for the weather!
Arriving in Shannon and taking the first drive north is a great idea. As you then travel south along the coast going to Killarney you will find plenty to do and it is a very short drive to Blarney Castle, the grounds and the Woolin Mills. You could even drop the car in the south and take a train directly to Dublin.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for all the suggestions; we are definitely going to cut down the driving.

Posted by
1010 posts

If you have time, we suggest you visit the Ashford Castle. The castle and the grounds are oh so beautiful. We stayed there for two nights, this past June. The room view over the water was spectacular. You can view the hotel on-line. Our Tauck 14 day tour started in Shannon and ended in Dublin.