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May Trip


I came across this great Ireland forum while planning an upcoming May trip....actually it was a link (N59 Galway Route) posted by Tony2.  We look forward to receiving Michele's book I just ordered. In the past much of my planning information has come from another site....but it never includes much info on Ireland. Much of our trip has been booked such as air, car, lodgings....etc. 

We could really use some help for our first trip to Ireland next May. Linda and I have had so many great trips to other parts of Europe with the help from Slow Traveler friends. We look forward to any suggestions that anyone has. In past trips we have traveled a slow method by picking a couple or a few bases and seeing sights from there.... but it seems that there is so much we want to see in Ireland. Our itinerary has progressed to look like the following::.

Fly into Dublin for 2 nights. We arrive fairly early in the day....We are staying in the Temple Bar area at the Merchant House on Eustace. I also booked the Musical Pub Crawl for the 2nd night.
Rent car when leaving and drive to Kilkenny for 1 night...seeing Glendalough and possibly Powerscourt on the way. Staying at Butler Court.
Drive to Kinsale for 2 nights..... Stop at ROC on the way......explore area and possibly Cohb. Staying at Cloisters B&B.
Drive to Kenmare for 1 night.....skipping the Ring of Kerry....... Is it practical to take the N71 route through Bantry? Staying at Brandylochs.
Drive to Dingle for 2 nights..... explore peninsula and sites.....When leaving Kenmare is N71 through the Park to Muckross more practical than trying to negotiate Gap of Dunloe?.... Staying at Castlewood House in Dingle.
Drive to Doolin for 1 night..... pubs and music.... Cliffs of M...... Staying at Halfdoor B&B.
Drive to Galway for 3 nights.... Aran Islands....sites..,drive through the Burren..... Staying at Park House Hotel..... Would like to spend a day going to the Aran Islands..... and a day doing a Connemara loop. Is it practical in a day to leave Galway via Maam Cross, Recess, Roundstone to Clifton (Sky Road), Kylemore Abbey and back to Galway?? Would Westport be too much to include for this one days drive?
Last night near Bunratty at the Courtyard Guesthouse..... for early flight out of Shannon..... booked Traditional Irish Night at the Castle.

This is not our normal slow travel method....but with several multi-night B&B stays....how does the itinerary sound?
Any advice appreciated for a young feeling senior couple.

Tim



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Over-all, I think it's a workable plan, although I would not have chosen the same bases -- but that's strictly personal opinion, based on my personal preferences.

I would choose Cohb (or even Blarney) over Kinsale, drop one night from Dingle (and add it to Kerry), and I would likely choose someplace like Lisdoonvarna or Ballyvaughan over Doolin, but what you've already 'Booked In' WILL work.

Some of the days will require early-ish starts to complete, but the good news is that there is a goodly amount of day-light in May. 

"Rent car when leaving and drive to Kilkenny for 1 night...seeing Glendalough and possibly Powerscourt on the way."

Since you only have the one night in Kilkenny, were it ME, I would choose ONE, rather than Both.  Each will require a couple of hours to VISIT -- Plus travel time, to-and-fro.  There is SO much worth seeing in Kilkenny:  St Canice's Cathedral and a CLIMBABLE Round Tower, Kilkenny Castle, Smithwick's Brewery -- and SO much more.

Specific answers: "When leaving Kenmare is N71 through the Park to Muckross more practical than trying to negotiate Gap of Dunloe?.... ": 

I Love driving through the Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe -- I've done it about 4 times now -- BUT -- It is NOT a road for the faint-of-heart, and I would NEVER attempt to drive it before the bulk of the Jarvey's have called it a day.  It can be positively jammed full of pony and traps until nearly 5 PM and REALLY slow going.  Even though it IS a Public Road, the jarvey's tend to think otherwise, too.  The N71 from Kenmare to Killarney is Gorgeous in it's own right -- and offers some tremendous views and stop - offs, like Moll's Gap, Torc Falls, Ladies View, Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms, Ross Castle and quite a few others.

Would Westport be too much to include for this one days drive? 

Given your other interests, I would say. "Yes".  I suggest you choose either Roundstone OR Westport, if all you have is the one day. Could you add a stop there (and a drive through Delphi and the Doo Lough Valley?  Absolutely -- but it will make for a long, and rather 'Rushed' day.

Drive to Kenmare for 1 night.....skipping the Ring of Kerry....... Is it practical to take the N71 route through Bantry?

Driving the 'Full' N71 from Kinsale to Kenmare is about 143 Kilometers (89 Miles).  If you drive inland, via Macroom, it's about 97.4 Km (61 Miles).  The third option is partly inland, via Dunmanway and Drimoleague -- and THEN, on the N71, once you reach Bantry -- and that takes 116 Km (72 Miles).    You will do well to AVERAGE about 30-35 MPH along those roads and that is ONLY for Drive Times.  You'll need to add in time for photo, food and 'rubber-necking' stops.  Do you plan to 'branch out' onto any of the peninsulas (Mizen, Sheeps, Head, Bearra)?  Any other 'Must See' sites -- like Drombeg, Castletownshend or Baltimore?  Those are actually South of the N71, on smaller, Rural Roads that will add both miles AND drive time.

As my 'tag line' says -- What are YOUR interests?  What do you want to see, do and experience while in Ireland?  Knowing that will help guide our answers. 



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Thank you Bob for the advice..... Our interests are the people, culture, music and scenery. Most likely I'll take over 1000 pictures since that is what I enjoy while traveling. Most likely we will pass on Powerscourt so to spend more time in Kilkenny for the Cathedral and Castle. On the N71 route from Kinsale the Drombeg stone circle looks very interesting so we will try the longer route. Also we will not try to negotiate the Gap of Dunloe since our driving time would conflict with the pony buggys. Possibly for our Connemara drive we will go via Roundstone and possibly try to include Delphi and Doo Lough. 

Thanks again for your specific help with our trip.

Tim



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If the weather is good and you get an early start, consider following the R600 out of Kinsale, through Timoleague (Abbey) and join the N71 in Clonakilty.  The drive from Bandon is also picturesque, but you'll see more of the coast following the R600.

If you plan to deviate from the N71 to visit Drombeg (Which is a terrifically photogenic sight, by the way!) you will probably take the R597 out of Ross Carbery (gorgeous waterfront / swans and ducks!) and then follow signs onto an even smaller, local road.  Departing Drombeg, return to the R597 and it will return you to the N71 at Leap.

Before that, though, you'll pass through the delightful, bayside village of Glandore, which sits directly East of Union Hall.  The single-lane bridge connecting the two is quite interesting.  It (and the two villages) played central roles in an old film called, "War of The Buttons".  I think you might find it worth a few minutes to cross it and snap some photos.  You will pass within feet of it, as you exit Glandore.

 



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I'll definitely follow the R600/N71 route around toward Bantry and visit Drombeg.

Another drive I an looking at is between Dublin Circular Road (Hertz) and Glendalough. The google map quick route takes me on main roads...but it looks like a more direct route through Sal's Gap on R115 a portion of which is called Old Military Road might be more scenic..... any thoughts? We enjoy taking our time and traveling back roads.... and my 12 year old Garmin GPS has yet to fail me in the end.

Leaving Glendalough and driving to Kilkenny also looks like a dilemma with no direct route. All of this is on our first day of driving. I think the remaining driving days I have good routes based upon previous suggestions.

I really appreciate the help.... you seem to know Ireland better than I know Chicago.

Tim

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Thanks!  Someday, I hope to know 1/2 as much as Michele does!  biggrin  biggrin

Although the R115 isn't the quickest -- or shortest -- route, it IS the most direct, assuming your pick up point is the Hertz Office on South Circular Road, Merchants Quay,  It's pretty scenic, as well, but rather desolate for stretches.  The drive's only about 47 Kilometers (30 miles), but you'll need to allow 1 - 1.5 hours for the drive.

Departing Glendalough, I would take the R756 to the N81 and then continue onward to the M9, at Castledermot  (which is worth a brief stop)   http://irishwalledtownsnetwork.ie/page/castledermot/castledermot-info

There are numerous other potential detours, as well, but I'm trying to maximize your Kilkenny time!  hmm  hmm

Map:  ( Figure an average DRIVE time by dividing distance by 50 - 55 KPH -- That's roughly 30 MPH.  You'll do better than that on Motorways and most 'N' roads, but 'R' and 'L' roads will often be less. ) 

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Glendalough/Kilkenny/@52.8625796,-7.0513121,10z/am=t/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x486797d94279f67b:0x1800c7a937df36a0!2m2!1d-6.32984!2d53.01198!1m5!1m1!1s0x485d30a13423c5ab:0xa00c7a9973173c0!2m2!1d-7.2447879!2d52.6541454!3e0

 



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Oh, I don't know Bob. I think your knowledge of Ireland is comparable to mine. I just have a few years on you. Thanks for filling the gap while I was in Florida visiting my mother who fell and fractured her skull. Ouch! She is doing much better now.

Tim, Since your itinerary is already firm and you have your overnight reservations I will just comment on a few things along the way. From Kenmare to Dingle I would spend most of the day in the Killarney area: Muckross House, Gardens & Traditional Farms, Muckross Abbey, Torc Waterfall, Ross Castle....and since you will be there in May I will suggest the Cherry Tree Walk (through the gates opposite The Avenue Hotel). If the trees are blooming it is glorious.

Save your second day in Dingle for Slea Head Drive and all things Dingle.

On the drive from Dingle to Doolin you will pass through Adare (photo stop) and should take the Limerick Tunnel toll road under the river to save time. Besides the Cliffs of Moher you might consider Aillwee Cave & Birds of Prey Center, Poulnabrone Dolmen and Caherconnell Fort & sheepdog demos. 

On your last day be sure to save a couple of hours for Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. 



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Michele...... Thanks for chiming in and I definitely will incorporate your suggestions. Your book may be coming next week and I'm looking forward to studying it for help. If I might ask when we are in Galway for 3 nights and 2 full days we plan on one day going to the Aran Islands and the other day the Connemara driving loop. Our full days are a Sunday and Monday, are the Islands or driving loop more suited for either day? Also you mentioned the Limerick Tunnel..... would that work better than the Shannonferry? Once again I appreciate any help and I wish that I found your site earlier on in my planning. I like planning almost as much as the doing.

Tim

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According to my tracking info your book should arrive today. It is "out for delivery".

Sunday will probably be a busier day for tourists visiting the Aran Islands since it is a weekend. Unless it is a Bank Holiday I assume a Monday would be less busy for the islands.

Going via the Limerick Tunnel is shorter and quicker plus it costs less. If you miss the ferry or it is already full you will have to wait till the next one. Here is the schedule: http://www.shannonferries.com/page/ferry-timetable/7 Taking the ferry will allow you to drive some of the coast of Clare. The tunnel route will allow a stop in Adare for the thatched houses. Either one will work. 

 

 



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Received the book today..... thanks very much. I think I'll be good with all of your planning tips and suggestions. Only a couple of my lodgings are listed in your quick picks......missed on the rest. I have a friend that lives in Ahakista on the Sheeps Head Way near Bantry and distant relatives in Dromineer on Lough Derg. We may try to incorporate one of these on our drives.

Thanks again Michele and Bob,
Tim

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Tim - We visited Ireland for our honeymoon in 2007 and stayed in a few of the same spots you are staying. I personally loved Kinsale and was glad we spent a few days there but I get that it is a bit isolated for other sightseeing. We sort of stayed put while we were there midway through a two week trip. We stayed at Butler Court and Park House hotel and really enjoyed both. We're going back this May as well! Enjoy planning, it's half the fun :)

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Thanks for the feedback. Nice to hear from someone that has stayed in some of the same places. Enjoy your trip back.

Tim



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Some old photos (2006) of Drombeg, Sheep's Head, Mizen and Glandore / Union Hall:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/albums/72157600736019135/page1 

From there, you will also have access to a number of other albums showing other areas in Ireland.  The 2005 entries are Dingle/Blarney/Cobh - centric.



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Really enjoyed the travel photos..... hopefully Linda and I can make more visits to this beautiful country. Also makes me want to better organize my travel photos on Flicker.
Tim

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Can nearly see Dromineer from the hill behind the cottage but its the wrong side of Lough Derg (Tipp side) not sure where that would fit into what you have? The Lough Derg drive from Doolin is going to be a big lump out of the day heading for Kilmacduagh and Gort then Protumna for the crossing at the North, down the eastern side calling at Dromineer.. maybe a quick visit to Nenagh..then down over Ballina Killaloe, up to Tuamgraney then back west. Long day.. https://goo.gl/maps/3ChuqY5vjH22 



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Can anyone tell me what it means in Google Maps that road is a private or restricted usage road. Example would be R115 (Old Military Road) between Dublin and Glendalough....... or on the map above?
Thanks, Tim

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Google uses that phrasing to cover a Multitude of possibilities -- such as a Private road / driveway OR other limitations / restrictions.

In the case of the Old Military Road, it references the lack of suitability for large or heavy loads (trucks), so it doesn't mean that you can't access it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R115_road_(Ireland)

Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIdJf5mnYf4 

Some nice descriptions and still photos: http://www.dangerousroads.org/europe/ireland/5023-b%C3%B3thar-m%C3%ADleata.html    -- Although certainly NOT dangerous, in my opinion -- Unless you plan to attempt setting Land / Speed Records!   biggrin  hmm  biggrin   



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There are routes that have size/weight restrictions. there are also roads that cross public land. technically there are no private roads under the Irish constitution and "any man can walk any road".. the key word there is walk.

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Don't depend entirely on Google maps. They sometimes show "ghost ferries" that really don't exist. Get yourself a good Ordnance Survey Atlas of Ireland to use in conjunction with electronic maps.

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A friend suggested that instead of the Cliffs we go to Hags Head for a similar experience without the crowds. Possibly a friday in mid-May will not be as crowded. Any thoughts?
Tim

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The Hags Head hike is rather like the OLD Cliffs of Moher experience -- before they built the fancy, new Visitor's Center.  Same cliffs -- just from a different perspective. 

Some details and info: 

http://www.earthtrekkers.com/walking-cliffs-of-moher-doolin-hags-head/

http://www.secret-ireland.com/hags-head/

http://www.thewanderblogger.com/hiking-hags-head-ireland/

Some people also opt for Loop Head as a Cliffs alternative -- but it's a fair bit South:    http://www.loophead.ie/home/  

http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel/ireland/how-loop-head-won-the-best-place-to-holiday-title-1.1413417



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Lots of folk haven't even heard of Hags Head, the southern end of the Cliffs of Moher at Liscannor, same place as Brigids Well. No point adding links already in place but yes the Cliffs of Moher without the just for tourists additions and charges.

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Thanks...... We will be coming from the south (Dingle) on N67 so we may try Hags Head on the way to our night in Doolin. We will look for a landowners car park. The above links are great.
Tim


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On our drive from Kinsale to Kenmare on N71 we will be stopping at Drombeg Stone Circle and other scenic stops. At Glengarriff would it be possible to head into Beara to take Healy Pass through the mountains ...or would this add hours and hours to our drive?
Tim

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If you were only detouring to just drive the Healy Pass, it would probably only add an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  I doubt you would be content with a non-stop drive through though, as the scenery is VERY special!  biggrin  confuse  biggrin

Likewise, by crossing the Pass rather than continuing along the N71, you'll miss the also scenic, Caha Pass. 

It might be best to see where you are, time-wise, once you reach Glengarriff.  confuse  confuse

Some Healy Pass photos:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/itallian_chauffeur/albums/72157645603932391

Caha Pass pix:  https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=caha%20pass  



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The Beara Peninsula is wonderful. If you can devote a day to it you won't be disappointed. If I were doing the drive from Kinsale to Kenmare I would skip Healy Pass and just enjoy the west Cork drive. If you enjoy gardens in Glengarriff you can take a boat to Garinish Island to see Ilnacullin Gardens.

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I'm thinking maybe you should come with us....... have driven every road? How about from Muckross to Dingle....... through Castlemaine and Inch....... or through Tralee? Wife is a beach walking nut...always looking for beachglass.
Tim

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Although we can't physically come with you, we can in spirit by offering our advice in advance. That's why you are here!

Since you are driving the Dingle Peninsula you could go one way onto it and another way off. That way you are not going over the same route twice. There are beautiful beaches everywhere on the peninsula. Look for signs that say Tra (means beach in Irish). Inch is spectacular. I have walked the whole 4 miles of it but you can also drive it (carefully as the rental company insurance doesn't cover accidents off-road). I would go through Tralee and Castlegregory (wonderful beach in Castlegregory) then Connor Pass. Come off the peninsula via Inch. That way all bases are covered.



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I like driving the Connor pass from South (Dingle) to North (Castlegregory), so I would say to drive out via Inch and return via Tralee.  That puts the passenger along the sea side along the Castlemaine to Inch to Anascaul stretch of road -- rather than the hill side!   biggrin 

If you like waterfalls, be sure to stop at the little pull off, just below the single lane stretch of road, just North of the car park at the top crest of the Pass. 

If you like Inch Strand, you'll also love the beach at Kilcummin and Castlegregory.



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Thanks Bob and Michele..... I have an old Garmin Nuvi 275 (Sophie) with new European maps. I've been plugging in many individual stops and towns as favorites to lead our way on the routes you have suggested,
Tim


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