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Trip Report-Ireland & Northern Ireland

My family of 4 just returned from our trip to Ireland & Northern Ireland (6/17 to 6/30).
I used this forum to help plan our trip. I'm very appreciative of all the great advice and experiences that have been shared on this forum. The advice was invaluable.

My husband and I traveled with our 2 daughters (23 & 26). It is our first (and most likely our only family vacation) to Ireland & N Ireland. It took us 2 years to coordinate 4 work/school schedules. My goal was to cover a lot of ground and savor each stop on our itinerary. We are a very active family, so it was important for me to incorporate physical activity into our plans.
Also, there are many activities/modes of transportation that may have been done more cheaply. After much research, I chose our activities/transportation based on efficient use of time & safety (not necessarily cost).

6/18: Arrived @ Dublin Airport 8 am (flew direct from Charlotte, NC)
Took Airlink Bus (purchased online before trip) into Dublin Centre. Left bags @ Tourist Office on N. 37 Green.
Breakfast @ O'Neill's. Trinity College Tour (very enjoyable). Walked around & got lay of the land.
In afternoon took DART (from Tara Station) to Ophira in Dun Laoghaire. Stayed 2 nights in DL @ Ophira. Loved this seaside town and b&b.
6/19: Took DART into Dublin. Had tix for Book of Kells and evening Musical Pub Crawl. We really enjoyed the Pub Crawl.
We did many of the stroll, free museums listed in book.
6/20: Took Aircoach from DL to Dublin Airport to pick up rental car. Made a reservation on Aircoach before trip and this was key as there was not room on bus for several people w/out reservations. After much research, I went through Conn's Ireland Car Rental. We had an excellent experience. Great car, no wait picking up & returning.

Drove to Kilkenny. Lunch @ Thursday Farmer's Market and walked the town. Drove to Cashel and toured the Rock of Cashel and walked down to Hore Abbey. Loved both. Excellent stay @ Rockville House. Nice dinner @ Cellar Pub.

6/21: Dingle via Conor Pass (did scramble). Beautiful drive but a bit stressful. Stayed at Collins Kirrary B&B. Rented bikes and biked/hiked up to Eask Tower. Very enjoyable. Dinner @ Anchors Down. Pints/music @ Courthouse.

6/22: Sciuird Arch Tour (morning). VERY enjoyable. Afternoon Brewery Tour at Dick Macks.

6/23: Left @ 7:30 am, took 9:30 ferry from Tarbert. Drove to Cliffs of Moher. This was our ONLY day of rain. In spite of the weather and crowds, we were glad that we stopped here. Had a great brunch in Lahinch @ DODI on way to COM. Drove to Galway. Stayed @ Petra House-absolutely lovely

6/24: Took 11:30 flight over to Inishmore. Rented bikes, rode 15 miles to all the sites. Dinner at Joe Watty's & stayed @ Clai Ban. Beautiful weather, particularly magical after the crowds depart late afternoon. We LOVED our time on the island

6/25: Flight back to Galway @ 10:15. Drove to Westport with stop in Cong. Explored the town & walked the grounds of Westport House. If we had more time, would have done the 26 mile bike ride on the Greenway (next trip). Lovely town & fabulous B&B-Plougastel House

6/26: Drove to Portballintrae. Two nights @ Bayview Hotel. Bushmills/Dunluce/Rope Bridge/Royal Portrush GC/Five mile hike of Giants Causeway. Absolutely breathtaking

6/28: Back to Dublin-stop @ Glenariff for 2 m waterfall hike
Stayed @ Waterloo Lodge
Dinner @ Hairy Lemon (fun). Purchased tix for Riverdance for next evening

6/29: Excellent tour of Kilmainham. Guinness - absolute circus but a must for husband & 2 millennial daughters. Riverdance-LOVED by entire family
6/30: Aircoach to airport

Great trip, grateful for fabulous weather. Only change-if we had 1 more day would have spent it in Westport.

Posted by
5561 posts

I'm glad you had such a great trip! Bicycling on the Aran Islands and walking along the Coast near the Giant's Causeway were some of my favorites on our trip. I was happy to see that you enjoyed them as well and Port Ballintrae/Bayview Hotel as well.

Posted by
681 posts

I love Ireland. Glad you had a great family trip. I am so tired reading all the things you did but am so glad you did them together. Congrats on great planning. Is there anything you would have done different?

Posted by
6 posts

Hi Nancy,

The only thing I would have done different (on this trip) was to spend a full day in Westport. The area was beautiful and I would have loved to have biked the Greenway.

For the parameters of this trip (only having 13 days, balancing the interests of 2 millennials and their parents), things worked out beautifully.

Our next trip will be to Italy. We will concentrate on a much smaller area, use public transportation and it will just be my husband and I.

We loved our time in The Republic and N Ireland and I look forward to reading about other peoples experiences in Italy.

Posted by
2057 posts

Nice and very informative report, klwaggoner! It sounds like you all had an amazing time together. Thank you for posting.