This is a great site and I have already gotten great advice and tips. Now, I am going to impose some more
We will be in Ireland for a month and hope to see as much of the country as possible. So, we would love to hear your favorite places to visit that might not make most publicized lists. We are adventurous and like the really ancient and historic sites.
Along with those suggestions, we would love to hear the recommendations for B&Bs or guesthouses. We hope to find places we like and use that as a hub to take day trips. Changing hotels/B&Bs every night is not on our list of favorite pastimes.
Thanks so much for all your help.
A lot depends on what interests YOU -- and where you plan to be . . .
Some of MY 'Go To' sites for interesting places:
http://www.megalithicireland.com/ You can select by TYPE -- 'Castles and Fortifications', 'Early Christian', 'Round Towers', 'Megaliths' -- OR -- by County. Very handy. Individual sites contain directions, photos and GPS Co-Ordinates. Sub-sets (like 'Round Towers' ) are depicted by Maps, as well.
Check out the use instructions and then follow the listed 'Link': http://ireland.activeboard.com/t57499061/great-site-for-off-the-beaten-path-locations/
Help Us to Help You. The more you tell us about your plans (dates, interests, budget), the better we can tailor our advice to suit!
A good start on choices for Accommodations is here, on the web sites. I've NEVER been disappointed with any of Michele's picks!
Two rules for Ireland, Take your time & bring a sense of humour
Tony2phones, I like the map on the wall suggestion. I have printed out several maps of Ireland have circled places of interest. Maybe I should print more and just do a county per page.
From tresakon :
"I read through your suggestions for the 6 day trip in June. We will arrive in Dublin on April 26 at 8:40 in the morning and fly out on May 23 at 8:55 am, giving us 27 days on the ground. We are hoping this amount of time will give us the best chance to see as much as we can. We will rent a car and be flexible about our itinerary. A few questions: Since we will be arriving before the true tourist season, how imperative is it to book BnBs early? If we are just driving from one town to the next in the afternoon, will be it fairly easy to find a local BnB? We would really prefer to stay with local families who are offering a room for rent. Do you have any recommendations for local lodgings? Or somewhere to stay in Dublin that is easy to get to and from the airport? We would like to go 'off the beaten' path. Do you have any special places that you could recommend? What type of car would be the best to rent? I have heard from others that many roads are very narrow and the brambles scratched the car as they drove. Would a small car be best? Would it be suitable for any hidden paths we find? I would really love to have Michele Erdvig's book, but getting it shipped to Ecuador is a costly and tortuous process. I am trying to find someone from the States coming this way before we depart who could bring it to me. Thanks for any info you can share. It is so cool that you are helping those of us who want to visit Ireland."
Michele's book has LOTS of useful info, but if you can't get access to it, go to this Link and scroll to the bottom for a good selection of her wisdom and advice: http://www.irelandyes.com/
I always chose a car suitable to my specific needs -- How many are in the party (We've done trips consisting of 2, 3, 4, 6 ), what appeals to my budget (Some times the difference in price is huge, but sometimes, it's negligible), how much luggage needs to be hauled about and how much driving I expect to do -- as comfort plans an important role, too! I've never rented anything smaller than a Compact car -- VW Golf, Ford Focus, but sometimes, even for just the two of us, I've opted for a mid-size and even larger -- We had a VW Passat for one trip --Narrowness of roads CAN be an issue, but the difference in width between the smallest car (a VW Go or a Polo, or a Ford Fiesta and that of a Passat is NOT very much -- maybe 4" total, so cramming into a too small car isn't going to make much of a difference OR make the trip very enjoyable.
I ALWAYS book my first and last night's lodgings and I try to book in advance to minimize time wasted 'hunting down' a place, since I'm pretty much set, schedule-wise before my trip -- BUT, I have, on many occasions, opted to 'Book On The Fly'. They trick is to start looking early (1 or 2 PM) and to be willing to make a few phone calls. Local Tourist Offices in the larger towns will also help to locate a place for you, as well. There are LOTS and LOTS of B&Bs all over Ireland, but I like to pre-choose, based on recommendations and Location (It's GREAT to be able to walk into town, visit a pub or eatery without having to drive back!), but those are the types of places that are most likely to be booked up, if you wait to long.
Michele has a number of recommended places on her Lodgings page: http://www.irelandyes.com/lodgings.html and we have never been disappointed by any of her picks. I've also found a few gems that she hasn't yet rated, too -- but places like that are only of value if they coincide with YOUR travel, so you'll need to figure out a route before those suggestions are worth having.
The same is true for 'Off The Beaten Path' sites -- once you narrow down a route (or, at least, a set of destination towns that we can help you turn INTO a route), then it's foolish to mention a place that's miles and miles away from your plan.
A Focus / Golf would be just fine with your stated luggage.
Best locations for 'Bases' are: Dublin (NO car, here), Galway, or vicinity, Kenmare / Killarney/ Killorglin, and Cork. If Mayo, Sligo or Donegal factor in, Sligo, Westport and Letterkenny area make good bases. So to, are spots in Wicklow, Kilkenny, Wexford or the Belfast area-- but as mentioned before, a lot depends on your interests, available time and, somewhat, time of year.
For example, on our last trip (our 21st!), we spent 6 nights based in Moycullen, just North of Galway as part of our 18 day visit. We've also spent multiple nights in numerous Irish villages, towns and cities over the years -- and STILL haven't 'seen it all'!
The first four listed are the typical 'Go To' towns for the average tourist. To get some ideas, you might want to read a few of the Trip Reports here on the Forum.
"Ireland Expert" Michele ErdvigClick links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland ItineraryVisit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.