My husband, adult daughter and I will be traveling to Ireland from the US and arriving in Shannon on May 9th (early morning). We will be picking up our daughters friend back at the Shannon airport on May 10th (arriving from London). Could you recommend the best place to stay close to the airport? We would like to take in some sights the day of arrival and will probably have the first part of the 10th to knock around. Also, the 10th to the 13th, our daughter and her friend will be traveling with us (renting a car) before their departure back to London on the 13th. Could you recommend places along the way until they fly out? We thought maybe, Galway would be a good place for them to fly out of without having to come back to Shannon as we are going counterclockwise. After they fly out, we will be on our way back up to Dublin so we have the 13-18th to take in the sights. We would like to find a special place to stay on the 16th (our 30th anniversary) and possibly the 17th as well before heading into Dublin for our last two nights (18th and 19th) before we fly back to the US on the 20th.
Welcome to Michele's Forum!
Where in London do they need to fly into? That will determine the best airport to fly out of. Flying from Galway isn't really an option: http://www.galwayairport.com/ and http://www.galwaytourism.ie/getting-to-galway/galway-flights/ both state that there are NO commercial flights available. If you are traveling counter-clockwise, Kerry and Cork airports are options --
On arrival day, needing to be nearby the airport, Ennis and Bunratty are both likely options. Bunratty has a number of fine B&Bs and the Folk Park, where Ennis has a much livelier night life and music scene.
What is your budget -- particularly for your 'Special Night'? There are a number of high quality, 'Castle' Hotels (Mostly, large, former Manor Houses) scattered throughout Ireland.
Do you have a list of sites that you consider 'Musts'? Does Northern Ireland figure into the mix?
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!
As answered elsewhere with a couple of adjustments. 11 days on the ground. 4 fixed points arrival, arrival 2, departure London, departure home. Thinking outside the box, consider Killaloe/Ballina for the arrival day on the 9th. On the 10th collect your guests and head to Galway for nights of 10/11 with Clifden the night of 12th. Ennis 13th seeing the Cliffs and Burren on the drop from Clifden, straight to Galway and then via west Clare Drive round Dingle on the 14th after dropping in Shannon assuming a bright and early flight or alternative route ending in Killarney If departure has changed to the 13th? you might have to rejig the night of the 12th dropping Clifden have the 12th in Ennis the 13th in Dingle? Killarney for the 14th and 15th. Consider the Lake Hotel one of the nicer hotels in Killarney Cork (area inc Kinsale) 16th for your anniversary. I might consider the Fota Resort above Cobh? or for a real splash push past Cork and stay Waterford Castle. Kilkenny 17th Dublin 18th and 19th. Depart on the 20th.
Two rules for Ireland, Take your time & bring a sense of humour
Thank you for taking the time to give me some advice. We are not on a budget and would enjoy something on the nicer side (but not dressy) to stay for our anniversary. We will plan to do the Cliffs of Moher and Galway (10-13) and then take our daughter and friend back to the Shannon airport for their flight to Heathrow. I have been told that we should certainly enjoy Cork/Kinsale, Cobh and Dingle and someone also suggested Dunbrody Country Home (Manor House in Wexford) maybe for anniversary? What do you think about renting a car for the first few days with daughter and friend and then taking them back to Shannon airport and returning car and hiring a driver for the two of us for the remainder of our trip which would be from the 13th or 14th until the 18th when we arrive in Dublin? Our friends hired a driver and really enjoyed being able to take in the sights without the headache of driving and returning car in Dublin. We will not be doing Northern Ireland. We are not fancy people but we do like a clean, comfortable place to stay and as I said we do not have a budget so we are open to any suggestions. We LOVE beer and enjoy pubs and music but not on nightlife that's too crazy! We are from the Nashville, TN area so we get enough of that around here!
Again thank you so much for your advice.
Bunratty is nearby Shannon Airport and you could take in the castle and folk park while awaiting your daughter's friends arrival. I like staying at Headley Court, which is a clean, cozy B&B with a lovely host and wonderful food. Just down the road is either the Bunratty Castle banquet or Durty Nelly's Pub.
I agree with Tony that Galway would be a fun destination for your time with your daughter and her friend. From there you can do Cliffs of Moher and Burren, Connemara, a trip to the Aran Islands, etc.
Ballyseede Castle near Tralee might be fun for your anniversary. Or you could try either the Park Hotel or Sheen Falls in Kenmare.
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Thank you for the wonderful information. What are your thoughts about hiring a private driver? We would enjoy not having the hassle of car rental and trying to find our way around when we could enjoy the scenery and pubs! I have two recommendations, Tom Quinn with VIP Chauffeur and Gene with Glengarriff Tours. Maybe thinking of renting the car for the first few days when we have the girls with us and then dropping the car back off when we take them to the Shannon airport on the 13th.
I have heard good things of both, but haven't any personal experience with either of those companies.
I am my own chauffeur for my wife and I -- and also, for our occasional traveling companions.
I believe that Michele married hers, (Barry) as well, so neither of us have any first hand experience with hired drivers -- but some of Michele's clients MAY have? Hopefully, she will 'weigh-in' -- and correct me if my ASSUMPTION is wrong!
My husband and I always drive ourselves. Because we visit Ireland so often it saves us lots of money as I have to be on a strict budget. Hiring a chauffeur-driven car is expensive but will give you the freedom of not having to drive yourselves. Some of my clients have used Cork Coach Hire: http://www.corkcoachhire.com/ and I've heard favorable feedback on: http://www.pat-keogh.com/
I forgot to recommend a place in Galway. For a lovely centrally located hotel with a real "Irish feel" to it: Park House Hotel. Or if you prefer to be a bit outside the city I suggest Sea Breeze Lodge overlooking Galway Bay.
Great recommendations! Thanks so much. I have already booked the Sea Breeze for the nights of 10th and 11th. It looks wonderful!!!! I am talking with Tom Quinn about his services. He has received very good reviews so I am trusting he would be a good choice.
Thank you so much for all of your help!
Love it! My husband is a fairly good driver ha! but I prefer we ride and enjoy and take it ALL in! I have been in touch with Tom Quinn and he is very helpful and seems very reliable and trustworthy. Thank you for all of your help! Do you have suggestions for first nights stay in Bunratty? Michelle suggested Headley Court B&B. Are there a few pubs in this area as this will be our first night visiting. I also booked our stay for the 10th and 11th at the Sea Breeze Lodge per Michelle's suggestion but I failed to ask her how easy it was to get into the City Centre if we wanted to visit some pubs there as well at night. She suggested the Park House Hotel too but I was drawn to the Sea Breeze Lodge and the reviews were outstanding.
There's not much around Headley Court, other than a small shop and a Petrol (Gas) Station -- but the B&B (and hostess) is one of the best in Ireland -- It's one of my 'Top 5'. Headley Court is about 2.8 kilometers up Lower Road from Durty Nellys. http://www.durtynellys.ie/
You would need to stay closer to the Castle and Folk Park if walking to a pub was important.
Tom Sheridans Bar and Restaurant is probably within walking distance of Sea Breeze and it gets good reviews. Google says it's a 13 minute walk -- and 3 minutes by car. --
I think I would seriously recommend the Crane Bar, even if it requires a short taxi ride. Google says 50 minutes if walking, 8 minutes by car.
Slightly closer than the Crane, O'Connor's might fulfill any 'itch' for quirky that you might have, but it's 7 minutes by car and 32 minutes, on foot.
This is all so helpful & I cannot thank you enough. I'm slowly feeling not so overwhelmed! One more question (at least for now). Since we are arriving on the morning of the 9th and will most likely be picked up by Tom, what are your suggestions for sights for the three of us to take in before going to our hotel in Bunratty? Remember we will be picking our daughters friend up at the Shannon airport on the 10th (morning flight in from London). We don't want to take in too much as her friend wants to enjoy sightseeing as well upon her arrival & I imagine we will be a bit jet-lagged.
I thought you planned to hire a car for the first few days -- and THEN engage the driver?
There are numerous day tours and alternative options to driving during your Galway time -- and it would be possible to do without either, up to the point that the girls depart.
In any event -- Things to do on Day 1: https://www.shannonheritage.com/
The Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is an easy, self-paced tour that can take you anywhere from 2 - 6 hours to meander through. Yes, it IS 'touristy' -- but it is done very well.
I have very fond memories of our First-Ever, April, 1999 visit. From a long-ago post:
"Lots of folks pan the Folk Park as corny and a Tourist Trap, but it DOES have a lot going for it. On our first trip in 1999, the Folk Park was OUR last stop. My wife and I had brought her sister, brother and father, to meet relatives and see the places where my father-in-law's father was born and raised. Here's what I wrote about it: "There is a photograph prominently displayed on the wall in my family room. In it there is an old man, walking along a high stonewall. He is seen from the back, at the far end of a long gravel path. He is wearing a gray trench coat and an old, green cap. In his right hand is a blackthorn cane. There is greenery all around and ahead, and it reaches up and disappears into a fine, gray mist. That photograph never fails to evoke a strong reaction from all those who see it. I find it interesting that most women are taken by a sense of sadness. It implies a finality, an ending, to them. Yet, most men have an entirely different impression. Like me, they see in it a journey, a continuation, but I alone, see much, much more. I see my eighty year old Father-in-Law, on the last day of our first ever trip to Ireland. I see him walking down that path in the Bunratty Folk Park, hurrying on ahead to see what lies around the next corner. I see irrefutable proof that Dreams Do Come True and that Hope really does Spring Eternal. " I've toured the Folk Park since, but our first visit holds a cherished place, in my memory. It was a Magical Moment, the likes of which I may never experience again. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
This all sounds very lovely and we will take advantage of doing this when we are in Bunratty. Yes, we do plan to hire a driver but wondered if there was enough to do in Bunratty do we really need to pay the driver the first day or can we conquer this area on foot and have him pick us up the following day at the Headley Court B&B? This is assuming we can get a ride from the airport to Bunratty for our stay there on the 9th.
Can you recommend what would be the best place to stay for 30th anniversary on the 16th? I think we would be around the Cork/Kinsale area on that day. We like nice but not over the top fancy because we don't enjoy dressing up especially on vacation. Michelle offered some wonderful suggestions as well. Thanks so very much!
Our plans changed about renting a car first few days. We are hiring a driver for all days except first day I am in question about?
Headley Court is about 11 kilometers from Shannon Airport. A taxi should cost around 15 Euro.
These two certainly meet the 'Special' requirement:
In Cork's suburb of Douglas (we stayed here for a wedding, in 2012): http://www.maryborough.com/
Between Killarney / Kenmare and Cork city, near Skibbereen: https://www.bedandbreakfast.com/ireland-skibbereen-county-cork-thecastlebbandholidayhomes.html
Michele has some picks for Kinsale and Blarney, but -- while they will certainly be clean, comfortable and well-run, as all of her personally inspected recs are -- I'm not sure if they'll have that, "Anniversary-Special' vibe . . .
See http://www.irelandyes.com/lodgings.html for Michele's picks throughout Ireland. Her Emerald Award places are worth noting: http://www.irelandyes.com/awards.html Also, her list of 'Castle' Hotels: http://www.irelandyes.com/castles.html
For Cork City: Hayfield Manor
There is really no super deluxe place to recommend in Kinsale. Are you open to other areas of Co. Cork?
Although I love Headley Court you might be better off instead at Bunratty Castle Hotel or Bunratty Manor as they are both just across the street from the castle, pubs, etc. You can get a taxi from Shannon Airport to Bunratty and spend the day at the castle and folk park. You will be in walking distance of everything then.
Yes open to any suggestions for anniversary. What about the Longueville House? Someone mentioned this? We would like something private and romantic. Dunbrody Manor House was another one mentioned to us by a family member as well as Ashford Castle and Fota Resort above Cobh? Blarney Woolen Mills Hotel is yet another in Cork. Are there other recommendations besides Sea Breeze ( cancelled because they emailed back that larger room not available and could not walk to city centre) in Galway. I know you said the Park House Hotel but wondered if you recommend any others as we plan to stay there for 2 nights and we would like to walk around since we have two younger adults with us. Our next stop will be Clifden on the 12th and thought maybe Ennis on the 13th and wondered if you had recommendations? Thank you so much!
wow! thank you!
I would not recommend Blarney Woolen Mills Hotel for a romantic anniversary as it is extremely busy and full of tour buses. Does it have to be a hotel? I know a beautiful B&B that only has three rooms and is set on a cliff overlooking the ocean, beach and lighthouse. It is out of the way but not too far from Clonakilty: Henry's. The honeymoon suite at Inchydoney is lovely.
If you want to go as far as Waterford then I recommend Waterford Castle. It is set on a private island in the middle of the river. You have to take a car ferry to the island. Really a wonderful setting with deer wandering around. Dunbrody is even farther away in Co. Wexford so maybe not the area you are aiming for.
If you do stay at a big hotel for your anniversary be sure to ask if there is a wedding or event on during your stay. In that case you might want to avoid.
Incydoney looks wonderful! Not sure we would be as far as Waterford on the 16th. Had a recommendation to stay in Killarney on the 14th and 15th after going to Dingle on the 13th. Isn't that back North?
Inchydony is Clonakilty -- about 1/2 way between Bantry and Cork. It's between 86 and 147 Kilometers (Depending on which route you take) from Killarney and 50 - 60 Km from Cork City -- again, depending on which route you take.
Favorite place to stay in Dingle ?
Greenmount House or Heaton's.
What do you think about Hotel Meyrick vs. Park House Hotel?