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Post Info TOPIC: Great 15 night trip to Ireland!


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Great 15 night trip to Ireland!



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Hopefully this will help some in their planning.  Loved Ireland and want to go back!

 

Returned last week (October 29)after spending fifteen nights in Ireland.Turned out to be a great time to go with the exception of the BurrenVisitorCenter nothing was closed and we had good weather for the most part.Had one day of gale force winds and constant rain in Westport and one day of almost continuous rain in Dingle.Some clouds otherwise but blue skies and sun for at least half the time there.Temps very comfortable wore just long sleeve t shirts, cotton sweaters and light jackets most of the time

 

Planning

I spent a tremendous amount of time researching this trip, first starting out with the idea that we would be able to cover the entire country in time there.Received a lot of feedback telling me that would not be a good idea so we modified the itinerary and still probably tried to do too much.I used Fodors travel forum, Irelandyes.com forum and tripadvisor.com extensively when planning.Also used Rough Guide, Lonely Planet and Unofficial Guide to Ireland as well as book by Michele Erdvig, Ireland Dream Trip.I know many feel that reservations are not necessary when traveling in October that does not fit with my personality so we did have advance reservations for most of the trip in advance.

 

We wanted to see the countryside and my traveling partner did not want to spend time in cities, so we did not see Dublin or Galway at all which I kind of regret.But we did see absolutely beautiful country.I have listed below where we went, some of what we saw, and occasionally where we ate.

 

But first want to say we were traveling as cheaply as we could.I think we received great value for our accommodations rates ranged from 30 to 35 euros per person.We were veryhappy with the bbs and felt hosts were helpful and accommodating.Coming from rural Ohio we knew we are not used to spending a lot for food and drink but were still surprised by how much we spent.We ate mostly bar food and generally just had soup and bread for lunches after the cooked breakfasts every day we found we were not hungry for much at lunch.

 

Car Rental and Driving

Renting a car turned out to be a relatively painless process (after reading endless posts on the subject and getting very confused)We did end up getting a World Mastercard it is affiliated with Travelocity no service fee first year.Rented the car through carrentals.com who placed us with Enterprise.Had an economy car which was fine as we could not imagine driving anything much larger on those roads.Total cost of car for 15 days turned out to be slightly over $300 Enterprise did require that a 250 euro deposit be charged to credit card at time of rental but they refunded it when we returned the car.We were able to waive the CDW.We drove about 1400 miles and believe me when I say you cannot make good time on most of the roads.

 

I was nervous the entire trip though the roads are really narrow in lots of places and stone walls border lots of these roads (sometimes covered with greenery)I can understand why people feel more comfortable taking more insurance.We felt that roads were fairly clearly marked and did not really get lost that often.Considered a GPS but because of cost did not go that route we got along fine without it.Used a Michelin map that I got at Borders before we left it was detailed enough.We did not have a cell phone with us it would have come in handy at times but the people at the BBs were happy to make calls for us on the few occasions we needed information.

 

General Impressions

The scenery was incredible I expected to see green and lush but it was beyond that.The landscaping and flowering bushes in particular were beautiful.I could not believe there were fuschia hedges on the sides of so many roads, still in bloom in October.And the deep red hydrangeas were everywhere.I was really surprised to see so many palm trees in yards.And the beaches were just amazing comparable to Hawaii in my opinion.I could not believe people were surfing in the Atlantic in late October

 

Everyone we met was so friendly.The villages with the brightly painted houses were charming I loved the downtowns and the absence of fast food restaurants in most of the towns.And every place we stayed was so clean and fresh.

 

If I had to pick a favorite area it would be Dingle, followed closely by Connemara.

 

Trip Details

Nights 1 and 2 Kilkenny - Alcantra

BB - Stayed at Alcantra (recommended in Micheles book)which was about 1 km from town center.Paid 35 euro per person.Bridgid and Liam were great hosts very good breakfasts fresh squeezed juice. I left my medicine there and they were good enough to mail it immediately to where we were in Dingle

 

Food and drink - We went to Kytlers Pub which was fun and also had a great meal at Marble City Bar wonderful breads and soup.

 

Arrived in Dublin after night flight from Philadelphia.Picked up the rental car and were on our way, jet lagged and reacquainting ourselves with driving on the left.

 

Stopped in Glendalough on way to our Kilkenny .Glendalough was definitely worth a stop and the drive through the WicklowMountains was very pretty.In Kilkenny we spent a day with atour ofthe castle, and visit to Black Abbey as well as St Canices.

I enjoyed the KilkennyDesignCenter and the National Craft Gallery

 

Night 3 Kinsale Snugmore Cottage

BB Snugmore Cottage was very nice (recommended in Micheles book)Paid 35 euro per person Located about ten minutes from Kinsale we had trouble finding it.Beautifully furnished room with view of Kinsale and harbor.Irene had a family illness so her husband made breakfast and also helped us with our route

 

Food and drink we were still in sticker shock over prices so ended up going for fish and chips at Dinos good enough but nothing that memorable.We did go to the Spaniard for music and beer later that night really enjoyed that

 

On way to Kinsale we stopped in Cobh and went to museum exhibit- Queenstown Story about various maritime events that took place there (Lusitania sinking, last port for Titanic and also departure point for many Irish emigrants during famine)Worth going to

 

In retrospect if I would have cut anything from our itinerary, would probably cut Kinsale.We liked it but it is very touristy

 

Nights 4 and 5 Kenmare Abbey Court.

BB

Abbey Court
Paid 35 euros pps.What a great place short distance from downtown and beautiful building, very elegant with well furnished rooms and very nice sitting areas.Brendan was so friendly and helpful made us feel very welcome

 

Food and Drink On way to Kenmare, stopped at Glandore Inn in Glandore for soup and sandwich lovely setting overlooking water.Went to Coachmans one night in Kenmare where we had first taste of Guinness stew very good!Sunday night music was quite good there as well.

 

On the way to Kenmare from Kinsale, we stopped at Timoleague to see remains of a friary.Also stopped at Inchydoney beach near Clonakilty.This was our first visit to Irish beach and we were not disappointed.Also stopped at Bantry where we did a little shopping and I made my first purchase of Donegal tweed yarn.

 

Enjoyed the town of Kenmare very much a vibrant shopping area and lots of pubs and restaurants.On Sunday we toured the BearaPeninsula an overcast day really enjoyed the scenery. Drove all the way around and saw sheep coming off the cable car from DurseyIsland.Stopped in Allihies for a beer at a friendly little pub.Roads the narrowest here that we experienced anywhere in Ireland but hardly any trafficIt was too foggy to enjoy the HealyPass so we did not drive up there

 

Nights 6 and 7- Dingle Pax Guesthouse

BB Pax Guesthouse 30 euros pps.This was a great place.Room was large and nicely furnished very cozy wool blankets on beds.The dining room was beautiful overlooking the bay.Did not see the dolphin LWe had wonderful scrambled eggs and salmon here.Nice touches were fresh flowers in room and chocolates at night.John was very helpful in planning our tour of the peninsula, showing me maps and great places for scenery

 

Food and Drink Upon arrival in Dingle it was raining hard we parked near OFlahertys and had a Guinness there owner is quite colorful.Ate at Lord Hamilton(I think thats the name) food was expensive for us but was quite good

 

Stopped in Killarney on way to Dingle from Kenmare town seemed very busy and touristy.We were in a hurry to get to Dingle as it was starting to cloud over so did not see the national park other than driving through it nor did we see Muckross Farms.

 

The day we toured Dingle it was beautiful the beaches were incredible.Enjoyed seeing the old churchthat is shaped like a boat and the statue commemorating St Brendan.

When we got back to Dingle town in late afternoon I did some shopping while Mike drank some beer I wish we would have stayed in Dingle an extra day it was just a great place to walk around

 

Nights 8 and 9 Doolin OConnors Farmhouse

BB Stayed at OConnors 30 euro pps based partially on Micheles recommendation.Room and bathroom were very large and in a good location.Breakfast was good Joan seemed very much in a hurry and we did not feel as welcome here as we did in other places

 

Food and Drink Went to OConnors Pub - pub meal was OK, disappointed in music.Had a bad experience at Fitgeralds food was terrible and service not much better

 

Seemed as if drive from Dingle to Doolin took forever.Not all that impressed with Doolin as others have said it is a weird town with pubs spread out and no real downtown area.Did enjoy the ocean views from the pier.While in Doolin, we took a boat ride to see the Cliffs of Moher very nice and glad we did it did not go to visitor center for the cliffs.

 

Nights 10 11 12 and 13 Westport Adare House

BB Stayed at Adare House in Westport 30 euros pps great location and wonderful hosts.Really enjoyed visiting with Margaret and Christy, the owners.They went above and beyond to make us feel welcome the room was not huge but was very comfortable.The bathroom was very nice looks like it had recently been redone.The breakfasts were wonderful, with very good homemade brown bread.Nice touch was cloth napkins nice breakfast room overlooking Croagh Patrick.They were very helpful in planning activities.

 

Food and Drink Really enjoyed the bar menu at The West quite good.Went to Vulcano great Italian restaurant.Matt Malloys was a lot of fun good music and nice people (although crowded)

 

Westport was a good base.Enjoyed the ride through Connemara on way there, stopping at a place in Leenane that was about the wool industry also had a very nice shop where I bought some more Donegal tweed yarn.

 

Had one day of horrible weather in Westport based on Margarets recommendation we went to Museum of Country Life free admission and very interesting would highly recommend it.Margaret also suggested a day at AchillIsland about 45 minutes from Westport.We really enjoyed it beautiful scenery, kind of scary cliff roads on way to KeemBeach which was absolutely worth the trip.Lots of other sites to see such as the DesertedVillage.On the third day we were there we drove around Connemara, stopping at Clifden andRoundstoneStopped at grocery store and picked up supplies for lunch should have done that more often.Connemara is wonderful and we enjoyed driving around the area.We skipped Kylemore Abbey but it looked very nice.

 

Nights 14 Newgrange Lodge, Donore

BB stayed at Newgrange Lodge - $29 euro per person

 

We also stopped at FamineMuseum in Louisburgh but ended up not going in admission of 8 euro seemed steep and we were near end of trip.

 

On way to Newgrange, we stopped at Trim and toured the castle very impressive.This is where part of Braveheart was filmed worth a stop

 

Next day we toured Newgrange interesting and worth a stop

 

Night 15 Days Hotel in Ballymum near airport

Paid 29 euros pps.This did not include breakfast.Room was small but clean but hallways and elevators could really use a facelift.Ended up returning the car the night before our flight as we left fairly early in morning.

 

It was a great trip and we saw a lot.Favorites were Dingle and Connemara.As I said earlier I could have cut Kinsale and possibly Doolin.We did try to stay in most places two nights which made the trip a little less hectic.Three or four nights would be even better.Thanks so much to everyone whose advice and comments helped me so much in planning the trip.



-- Edited by Buckeyeknitter on Monday 2nd of November 2009 09:45:50 AM

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Pam,

Many thanks for taking the time to post a trip report here. I know it will be of great help to others who are in the planning stages.

I hope you get to return again and see Dublin and Galway on your next trip. You can mix it up with countryside to please your travel companion.

I must mention that Joan at O'Connor's in Doolin just has a rather gruff personality. She warms up once she knows you but otherwise it is just cut and dried with her. That's what makes staying at various B&Bs interesting. Everyone is different!

Congratulations on getting all the way out to Keem on Achill Island. I agree that the road hugging the cliff is a bit dicey. I often wonder how those sheep cling to the side.

I am interested in your opinion of Newgrange Lodge. I inspected it a couple of years ago but thought it seemed very "hostel-like". Can you tell me about it?

Very enjoyable trip report. Thanks!

Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



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The Newgrange Lodge was hostel like but the location was terrific and there were two internet terminals available which I enjoyed. The room did have what appeared to be newly remodelled bathroom - although small it was very clean and bright. The bedroom was comfortable enough - very long and narrow. The biggest negative was the continental breakfast - not at all appetizing,either in presentation or in food quality. I would not want to stay there for an extended time but it worked out perfectly for us.

For some reason some of my punctuation did not transfer on the trip report but I guess it is still readable. Really enjoyed the trip and appreciate so much all of the advice I received here

Pam

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Great post! My parents and I stayed in the apartment at Abbey Court in Kenmare for three nights. We had our own washer/dryer, full kitchen two bedrooms with full bathrooms...very nice place. I do have to admit that I enjoyed Kinsale. We stayed right in the middle of Kinsale and it was great because we could walk almost everywhere...and I loved Charles Fort!

My parents and I spent 16 days in Ireland in October 2008 and drove over 1100 miles...next time we're doing Dublin only with day trips and no rental. Unfortunately I couldn't relax because of the responsibility of driving... Nonetheless, I wouldn't have changed a thing...dings and broken passenger side mirror and all...

Maggie

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Pam,

Thanks for the feedback on Newgrange Lodge. I agree about the location. You can walk to the Newgrange Visitor Center from there. I'm glad it suited your needs. Don't worry about the formatting of your report. We enjoyed it very much.

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.



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Thanks for sharing your trip report!  I've written down the Marble City Bar and will be looking for it while I'm there. I didn't have any restaurants down for the Kilkenny area yet and soup/breads sounds wonderful!  smile

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Your post brought back all the good memories of our trip in June and July.

My son, daughter and I all had basically the same impressions you did about Doolin, and we also loved Dingle even though the weather wasn't the best. Could stay there longer.

Dee

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Mara Dee Hodson
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