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Our Ireland plan, sites, restaurants, B&B's etc, we shouldn't miss?

Our Ireland plan, sites, restaurants, B&B's etc, we shouldn't miss?

Old Mar 12th, 2011, 09:13 PM
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Our Ireland plan, sites, restaurants, B&B's etc, we shouldn't miss?

Lots of reading and mapping but this is our 'rough' plan for May 10 -24. (We will have been in London for over two weeks, so it will just be the short flight LHR to Dublin)

Arrive into Dublin about 10am, pick up hire car and head to Kilkenney via Glendalough and the Wicklow mountains. I will have a B&B booked, so we can take the better part of the day enjoying the drive.
2 x nights Kilkenney

Next day drive out to the Rock of Cashel and maybe back to Kilkenney via Waterford?

I was thinking of the next night in Kinsale, suggestion on sites and things to do.
1 x night Kinsale

Then head to Kenmare for two nights, priorities are to drive the Ring of Kerry at leisure and visit Skellig Michael.
2 x nights Kenmare


The next day we will head north towards Doolin (we will probably have a look at Dingle when we leave Kenmare) is Doolin a good base for two nights to visit the Cliffs of Moher and a few sites on the Burren? We will drive from Dingle and use the Tarbert/Killimer ferry and avoid Limerick. (as per Rick Steves driving suggestion)
2 x nights Doolin

Next day drive to Cong following RIck Steves driving suggestions Connemara and County Mayo. Spend a full day exploring the coastal sites.
2 x nights Cong


We will then have a longish drive to either Derry or Portrush (suggestions please) and base for 2 nights to visit Giants Causeway, Carrick a rede and other sites.
2 x nights Derry/Portrush

Then head to Belfast and maybe just have one night here or nearby, Bangor maybe? We really just want to do a tour of the city to see some of the murals and significant sites.
1 x night Belfast

Finally head back to Dublin, maybe staying at Trim? Again we just want to have a look at Dublin, we will have a full day plus the next day we don't fly out again till after lunch, so will have that morning too, we will drop the car at the airport before our flight.
2 x nights Dublin

This is pretty much just a plan to work to, the reason we don't book ahead is in case we change our mind, we may spend more time at one place but less at the next. Love to hear your suggestions of great places to visit in these areas. I know some will say it’s a lot of driving, but we do love it. As I mentioned we wont book ahead, apart from the first two nights, so any B&B suggestions would be great. Thanks ahead of time, AD
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 04:42 AM
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If you are scheduling a day in the Kilkenny area, I would strongly recommend driving out to Graignamanagh and walking out to St Mullins along the Barrow river. Beautiful stretch of river with weirs, locks and cuttings for boat navigation; you park and start at the bridge in Graig. The town itself is nice with a large abbey to explore.

Jerpoint abbey is another point of interest in the locality and there is plenty to see in Kilkenny city itself.
In terms of eating out in the city, bizarrely two of the better places are Spanish and Italian - Cafe Sol and Rinucinni's.

Not sure of the logic in returning to Kilkenny after visiting Cashel. You are on the main road to Cork so you could press on there, taking in Cahir Castle en route. Despite being Ireland's second city, Cork is still very manageable, size-wise, with lots to see and do. If you have any interest in food, the English Market is a must see.

Kinsale - you will have plenty to do just strolling around the town, taking in Charles Fort and wandering up to the Spaniard for a pint.

Try to go the coastal route when moving on to Kenmare to take in a bite of West Cork. If time allows and you are passing through Glengarriff, there is a local industry there ferrying people over to Garnish Island - a little Island with Italianate gardens, which should be looking great by May.

I'm sure it ranks as heresy to disagree with the god that is Rick Steves but I'm not a particular fan of the Tarbert/Killimer ferry. Sure on paper it looks a no-brainer but apart from the waiting time on the Kerry side, the roads that you drive on in County Clare are not made for rapid progress. However, much more effort has been put into the improvement of Ireland's primary roads and Limerick is no longer the problem to get through that it once was; going that route also throws in the options of seeing Adare village and Bunratty Folk Park.

Working Dingle into that day's driving is a bit too much in my opinion. While it looks eminently reachable on a road map, the time to get there is always greater than you will allow and it would be a pity to have to limit yourself to a quick pit-stop there. If you really felt the need to see the town and surroundings, I would take a night there and limit Doolin to a single night.

Taking a large lump out of Connemara and Mayo while in Cong again makes me feel tired, even reading it. If you put away the car keys for at least a few hours, you could explore the walk between the villages of Cong and Clonbur - taking in views of both Lough Corrib and Lough Mask. It would still leave time for a round trip Leenane-Clifden-Inagh Valley in the afternoon.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 04:58 AM
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I agree with most of above. I would suggest you spend one of your Doolin nights in Dingle, missing the SleaHead drive around the peninsula would be a shame and you will find a lot better music in the Pubs in Dingle. A visit to the Cliffs only take an hour and if the Wx is ok the boat ride from Doolin to see the cliffs from sea is great. Leaving Doolin and heading north take the coast road up towards Ballyvaughan and Blackhead for a great drive with sea on your left and the Burren on your right. If you are interested in Irish History the walking tour run out of the Tourist office in Kinsale is wonderful, take about an hour and half. Have fun
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 10:05 AM
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Going to Cashel and back to Kilkenny is sort of backtracking. I would spend the day in Kilkenny. As mentioned above there is lots to see and do.

Then get an early start and see Cashel on the way to Kinsale. I am not a big fan of Kinsale--didn't hate it, just wouldn't put it on an itinerary in the future, but that is just my opinion.

Personally, I would only give Doolin one night and either add another night to Cong or give yourself one night between Cong and Derry/Portrush. I liked Portrush; I used it as a base for exploring the Giant's Causeway, DunLuce Castle, etc.

You only have one day to drive the Ring of Kerry AND visit the Skelligs. The trip to the skelligs is weather dependent, and even sunny days can be rough enough to cancel trips. Trips leave from PortMagee or Chairciveen, an hour (at least) drive from Kenmare. so you might want to research this a bit more thoroughly.

It will be a great trip no matter what you do! Have fun!
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 10:39 AM
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Bookmarking for Kilkenny
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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Thanks everyone for such indepth advice, just what I needed, I will take all into account.

As for "I'm sure it ranks as heresy to disagree with the god that is Rick Steves" I completely agree, BUT I have to admit that 'he' did us good in Croatia last year and I still think if you can get past some of his 'americanisms' (not to offend) he does have some good tips.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Mr Steves must not have been in Ireland recently.

You don't go *through* Limerick any longer. From after Adare you will drive on 4-lane motorways only, which bypass Limerick on the city's Southern perimeter and take you through the new Shannon river tunnel to Ennis.
The route via Talbert/ferry takes narrow 2-lane highways, needs more time and costs ten times more than the tunnel: €18 vs €1.80.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Faircall Cowboy1968, but if you had the time which would be the more interesting/scenic route?
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Old Mar 14th, 2011, 04:56 AM
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We [wife and I] are looking into something quite similar. I'd be happy if you could post the B&B names such that people could comment.
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Old Mar 14th, 2011, 07:36 AM
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OP--
I'd be biased towards the route via Limerick.
The scenery is not that much different either way, the route via ferry looks a bit more "coastal" in West Clare, but you have more options for nice breaks on the Limerick route (as SeeDee already mentioned).

I'd suggest you take a look at the following possible stops, and see if you find those worth to take that route:
- Adare village
- Bunratty Folk Park
- Craggaunowen Living Past Project (http://www.craggaunowen.org/)
- Ennis town

If a stopover is not relevant, you can of course take the route via Kilrush/Talbert.
There is nothing wrong with taking your time on "2nd class" national roads in Ireland. But 100-150kms on a somewhat bumpy inland rural highway is something else than cruising along the coast, getting rewarded with stunning vistas every 1/4 mile.

What you could do is use Google maps and use streetview on a few sections of either route. You can take a virtual look around to see which scenery you like better.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 02:48 AM
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Lovely, thank you so much. What I've decided so far is to book one night Kilkenney as opposed to the two I originaly thought, that way we can do Rock of Cashel when we leave the next day. That also gives us a night 'up our sleeves' to use somewhere else.

Cowboy1968 & SeeDee we will probably use your advice and head to Limerick.

thank you all, know that all suggestions are being researched and taken on board.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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What cowboy1968 said.

There is a pub in Kilkenny where we heard good traditional music, called Kyteler's inn - just down an alley south from the Castle. Across is a decent sandwich place called the Marble Inn (named after the black marble made in Kilkenny).

Near Kenmare, look up Strawberry Fields. It's a little cafe that serves heavenly crepes and all sorts of tea. It's in the middle of nowhere on the side of a mountain - but it's worth it! It's on the southern 'end' of the Ring of Kerry.

A very good Chinese restaurant in Dingle called Tir na Ri (Land of Kings - the owner's name is King in Chinese).

When circling back to Dublin, Malahide has a lovely castle/manor house to tour.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 02:58 PM
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Since you mentioned that you will rent from Dublin airport and drive to Kilkenny from there:
One section of the M50 Dublin orbital motorway is tolled. There are no toll plazas, but you pay either
A) via a device built into your rental car that connects wireless with the toll bridge (the easy way, as you do nothing), or
B) you have to pay yourself, either online, call center, or at many outlets like petrol stations. The latter are designated by a "Payzone" sticker - usually at the entrance where you also often find stickers of accepted credit cards.

As not all rental car companies have that device built into their fleet, you should inquire at the rental desk how the M50 toll gets handled.
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Old Mar 15th, 2011, 03:19 PM
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Thanks again Cowboy1968, your info is great.
Greendragon, hello there. You probably don't remember but you have helped me before on a UK trip. Thanks,I'll be printing and taking with us.

I forgot to mention that I've re-thought the 2 nights in Kenmare, might just do 1 and then have a night half way around the R.O.K, that way our options for Skellig Michael may be better.

This is why we don't book ahead, don't want to be locked in.

Keep it coming. Especially interesting places to eat, its all about the food for us ;-)
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 05:25 AM
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Well, if it's all about the food... Kenmare actually does have a reputation for great food. I've only been there for lunch once (had fantastic pub soup), but we will be staying 3 nights this trip in May. We'll be in Ireland the same time you are - we're going from the 12th through the 30th. Perhaps even in the same spots? We start our trip in Belfast and end in Kenmare. We might even be able to meet up for a pint along the way...

Glad I helped you before!
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Old Mar 16th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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