I am planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland. I attached some photos of our itinerary. I was hoping for some general comments, suggestions, corrections, thoughts on accomplishing this itinerary?
I'd also like some suggestions for places to stay, B&B's, castles, or just hotels in the areas we are stopping in.
I looked at the cell phone sticky and didnt notice anything about data. I was planning to use my unlocked iphone 4S with a local SIM to make phone calls but more importantly for data so that I can use the internet to look things up and for navigation. Do you have any information about using data with a local SIM?
I like to do active adventures so if you have any suggestions for that too!
In looking at your plans, all I can see is blur... You want to spend your first two nights in Dublin...your next two in Cork and then drive to Kylemore Abbey.... wouldn't attempt that and I am a seasoned Ireland traveler... The activities you have lined out for each area is enough for an entire two weeks just in Ireland herself
If your goal is Dublin and the North, with the exception of Blarney...with a week, I would drop Cork/Blarney and focus on Dublin...the Northwest and into Belfast...otherwise all you will have is windshield views
Ireland and Scotland are deceptive in that they are small in size...but they are long in roads...There is a lot of slow and go...and not because of vehicular traffic jams...but because of four-hooved traffic jams...farm equipment traffic jams...pedestrian trafic jams... There is also the "Oh I have to have a pohoto of that!" stops to factor in and allow time for...
In Ireland and Scotland... "Slow is Better" is oft heard...also "Less is More" ...and "You won't Miss what you don't see"
You might check off all the things on your list...but it will be just that...a tick mark next to an attraction...You will have no time to truly experience what brings people back to Ireland and Scotland time & time again....The people, the culture...those things can't be experienced in a mad dash around
We can only comment on Ireland. Draw a line from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher on your map. Choose to do what is above the line or below it. You can't do both unless you are a super hero with super powers...or you drive really, really fast day and night. Here is a handy tool for driving distances. Get mileage (not kilometers) and divide by 35 to get your average driving times. Remember, you need to stop for food, sightseeing and comfort stops. Each sightseeing stop takes time. Many people forget that.You cannot "stay" at Kylemore Abbey. It is a place to visit. You will have to stay in a hostel, B&B, guesthouse or hotel.For the Dublin portion of your trip I suggest using the hop-on hop-off green bus. The tickets are good for 48 hours.Since only you know what you must see while in Ireland, you need to make the decision as to what to cut and what stays in your itinerary. With a little homework you should be able to do so. No one gets their itinerary right on the first try. Try, try again and eventually it will work out.
"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.
Since you are looking to head to Glasgow from Belfast, I would recommend that you stay North.
We decided to go North!! Here are my notes so far. Would definitely like your expert advice again. Looking for suggestions for things to do, places to stay and eat as well as any other advice to make traveling easier. We like active tours that include walking, hiking, or bicycling.
Day 1: Arrive Dublin in the morning or mid-day, need a Dublin hotel/B&B? How to get from airport to hotel? Where to get SIM card for cellular data usage to navigate and browse internet? What cellular network is best for Northern Ireland?
Day 2: Jameson distillery, Guinness storehouse, National Botanical Gardens, same Dublin hotel/B&B?
Day 3: Best location to rent a car, at the airport or somewhere else? Drive to Cliffs of Moher, need a place to stay in this area like a castle/hotel/B&B? Maybe in Galway?
Day 4: Kylemore Abbey (9:00-5:30) and Marble Arch Caves (10:30-last tour at 4:30), need a place to stay near the Marble Arch Caves?
Day 5: Marble Arch Caves to Giants Causeway, on to Belfast, need a hotel/B&B/castle in Belfast? Return car in Belfast. Which car hires will allow pickup in Dublin and return in Belfast?
Day 6: What to do in Belfast?
Day 7: Fly Belfast to Edinburgh, I will post second week Scotland itinerary in appropriate forums but would appreciate your advice on that too
Sim cards can be picked up in one of two places within the Dublin Airport. Airlink Bus #747 offers regular runs to City Center. I prefer to rent from the Airport as it saves driving within Dublin. Virtually ALL Car Hire companies allow One-Way rentals from Dublin to Belfast, but generally charge a HEFTY premium.
Your Driving Days seem rather Ambitious. I'm guestimating 8-12 hours every day, just to cover your wish-list. Were it ME, I would either forget Clare (Cliffs) and Galway (Kylemore) and concentrate on Northern Ireland, or cut back on Dublin by flying into Shannon and ending in Dublin. If you decide to do the North, take the train or bus to Belfast, rent a car there and return it there, saving the Drop Off Fee. Likewise, I would then wait until Belfast to buy a SIM (which would be good for the there AND Scotland) and rely on Free Wi-Fi while in Dublin.
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!
LoveGuinness wrote:We decided to go North!! Here are my notes so far. Would definitely like your expert advice again. Looking for suggestions for things to do, places to stay and eat as well as any other advice to make traveling easier. We like active tours that include walking, hiking, or bicycling.Day 1: Arrive Dublin in the morning or mid-day, need a Dublin hotel/B&B? How to get from airport to hotel? Where to get SIM card for cellular data usage to navigate and browse internet? What cellular network is best for Northern Ireland?
I liked the idea that on Day 1 you eliminated the touring. After being awake continuously from the morning of the day of your trans-Atlantic flight until you set down in Dublin, unless you're a great airplane sleeper, you are going to be pretty tired. Getting to your hotel/B&B and getting some rest will leave you in a much better position to enjoy your Dublin touring on Day 2.
And a BIG +1 on the Dublin Hop-On/Hop Off bus tour! Doesn't go to the Botanical Gardens which are a little ways out from the city center, but can easily be reached by city bus. Or maybe you could find a B&B near the gardens! Good luck & have fun.
For getting to and from Dublin Airport: http://www.dublinairport.com/gns/to-from-the-airport/overview.aspx
Places to stay: http://www.irelandyes.com/lodgings.html Please note that my website has a lot of good info on it if you have the time to look at it.
I like Bob's idea of train to Belfast and renting a car there to avoid the drop-off fee.
You do have a lot of time driving in the car. There is plenty to do in No. Ireland. Have you thought of choosing a smaller area to explore?
There are an endless number of scenarios you can create. Some will work and some will not. Personally, I would be happy seeing just Northern Ireland in that amount of time. The Cliffs of Moher get lots of publicity and they are impressive but they are "touristed up" for mass appeal. Weather can make or break the cliffs. Unless you plan on spending a lot of time in the visitor's center or hiking to Hag's Head, you may not actually spend much time there. A quick look over the edge, some photos and cross it off your bucket list. I don't know if I would go that far out of my way for them. There are cliffs in Northern Ireland all along the Antrim Coast. This may help with some decision making as you read up on what to do and see: http://www.discovernorthernireland.com/
For more off-the-beaten-path attractions: Ireland Travel Kit.
Even with cutting out the south, your itinerary still attempts to cram two weeks into 4 days, in my opinion.
I could very easily spend 4 days along the Antrim coast between Belfast and Portrush alone and not touch all there is to see and do.
There is so much to see:
Dun Luce Castle
Glenariff Forest park
Binevenagh Forest Park (For Cliffs)
Just that list alone would take closer to two weeks to see everything properly, without rushing through
You might look to Ballygally Castle Hotel which would put you in good position for most of the coastal activities. It is a hotel built around and to include a 17th century castle.