Planning our 2016 vacations and considering the "Heart of Ireland" Tour for May. We would arrive in Ennis, where the tour starts at least two days before. What is the best option for one of those days--Trip to Aran Islands or trip to the Falconry school at Ashcroft Castle, based on which would be more interesting and ease of transportation by train or bus. Also, it appears this tour does not include the Ring of Kerry-am I correct in this assumption? Thanks, Gladys
Stephen McPhilemy here, I have guided for Rick in ireland for 15 years, great to hear you're considering the Heart of Ireland tour, its great. The Aran Islands are easier for you to get to than the falconry at Ashford Castle. You can take a bus from Ennis to Galway and then the bus to Rossaveal, where the ferry to Inis Mor leaves from. Ashford Castle is in Cong, it would be 3 hours away fro Galway and would involve changing buses. You could rent a car though of course.
There is also falconry in Dromoland Castle which is around 30 minutes away from Ennis. Many of the big 5 star hotel resorts in Ireland have their own Falconry schools, not just Ashford castle, although it is an excellent one.
Regarding the Heart of Ireland and the Ring of Kerry, on the tour we don't go to the Ring of Kerry, instead focusing on one of Ricks favourite peninsula drives - the Dingle Peninsula. Our Heart of Ireland tour, 2 weeks, does touch a little bit on the Ring of Kerry when it goes from Kenmare to Killarney.
Le meas/with respect
Rick Steves guide
Thank you for replying and for the advice. I am disappointed BUT just read a reply to a similar question I posted on the Ireland forum, It was recommended that I hire a taxi and I plan to look into the price. I really want to go and do not know when I will get the opportunity. By the way, we cant take the longer RS tour which goes to these places because of time constraints.
If we finally decide, we might even get to see you, Stephen!!
Sorry Gladys, i meant to write it would be 3 hours approx from Ennis to Cong, not from Galway to Cong (which would only be around an hour, on pretty small roads).
Hi again Gladys, do you mean take a taxi to see the Ring of Kerry?
If so, then the way to do it would be to take a taxi from Dingle during your free day on the 'Heart of Ireland' tour. There local taxi drivers, like John and Elaine O'Connor who double as tour-guides and would take you on a tour of the Ring of Kerry for a pre-arranged fee.
You could also easily the bus/taxi from Dingle to Killarney and hop on one of the many day trips from Killarney around 'the Ring'!
Happy New Year to you!