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Post Info TOPIC: 1st time - only 4 1/2 days - Donegal / N. Ireland by syv


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1st time - only 4 1/2 days - Donegal / N. Ireland by syv
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syv
Unregistered User
(1/30/04 4:58 pm)

1st time - only 4 1/2 days - Donegal / N. Ireland


Trip for two ladies from Canada. We are very used to "roughing it" very budgeted travel. We do not spend any time at big cities, night life, shopping, fancy dining. We want to see lots & lots of scenic spots. Perhaps one or two castles / historic spots.

Arrive Belfast at about 10:00 a.m. on March 9th, 2004. Must be in RASHARKIN by Saturday night March 13 (Sunday a.m. at the latest).

By the time we get our luggage and rental car...
& this being my first time "driving on the left", how does the following "very rough" itinerary sound? Also - how long should we expect driving times between some of these places? Is it reasonable / do-able? :\

I don't know where the days will end up at all. Not sure how to calculate that...

- BELFAST across Co. Fermanagh
- Beleek Pottery visit
- Donegal area
- coastal road through Killybegs to Carrick
- Slieve League Cliffs
- Glencolmcille
- Ardara
- Horn Head, Dunganaghy
- Letterkenny to Fanad Peninsula to Fanad Head
- Glenveigh National Park
- Giant's Causeway
- Dunluce Castle
- Carrick-a-Rede
- RASHARKIN (meeting friends there)

We do have a few connections with relatives of friends who are willing to let us stay overnight if we end up in their area but they are all in Northern Ireland.

Sorry so vague - but perhaps this forum will help:eek



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 2091
(1/31/04 1:39 am)

Re: 1st time - only 4 1/2 days - Donegal / N. Ireland


Hi syv,

All I can say is WOW! :eek With 4 1/2 days you need to cut at least half of that out of your schedule, if not more. I would suggest concentrating on Northern Ireland and not try to do a driving marathon through Donegal where the going is slow. You want to see and experience your trip not remember it as a green blur. Why don't you start refining your itinerary and post what you think you can do each day? I will be happy to help.

Michele



DarrenA
Registered User
Posts: 51
(2/2/04 12:50 pm)

P.S.


If you happen to be hockey fans (you are Canadian after all ), the Belfast Giants have games on the 12th and 13th of March.

www.belfastgiants.com



syv
Unregistered User
(2/3/04 6:37 pm)

Revised / More defined plan - comments?


March 9 - 13.

Perhaps my calculations are way off?? Still seems like I have ONE whole day not yet used before needing to be in RASHARKIN on the night of 13th.

Tues. 9th

Leave Belfast Airport w/ rental car 11:30-12:00 noon
95 miles / 3 hrs. to
Belleek (pottery tour)       
37 miles / 1 hr. to
Omagh (overnight w/ friends)       

Wed. 10th

Omagh – leave 7:00 a.m.       
121 miles / 5-1/2 hrs. to
Cliffs of Moher (& Burren area)       
(1 hour sightsee/walk)       
60 miles / 3+ hrs. to
Clifden (Sky Drive)       
(1 hour 9-mile scenic drive – sightsee)
couple miles to
Kylemore Abbey (Pass of Kylemore)
(can it be seen from road/entrance for photos, without paying admission?)

OR
Option – if arrival at Clifden is DARK (see below)

Overnight (possibly Brookside Holiday Hostel?)

Thurs. 11th

Clifden / Kylemore Abbey (finish)       
couple miles to
Connemare National Park       
(2 hours walk/sightsee)       
96 miles / 4+ hrs. to
past Killybegs to Slieve League Cliffs
(1 hour sightsee/walk)

Strabane (overnight – friends)

Fri. 12th

Strabane               
55 miles / 2 hrs. to
past Portsalon to Fanad Head       
(1 hour walk/sightsee)       
57 miles / 2 hrs. to
Dunluce Castle        (not open in March - just drive by to photograph)       
couple miles to
Giant’s Causeway       
(1 hour walk/sightsee)

Sat. 13th

??? It looks like I have a whole extra day that could have been spent elsewhere before ending up so close to Rasharkin. I’ve already added about an hour to the estimated driving times of viamichelin & AA route planners.


Thanks,

Sylvia ;)



johnny
Unregistered User
(2/3/04 7:02 pm)

ha ha ha!


This itinerary must be a joke. I probably wouldn't drive four hours after a flight, but then the next day you spend 10+ hours in a car with just 1 hr walking around. Your friends would never let you leave at 7am. You'll be given breakfast and other stuff. You do not take into account the time to stop at scenic places along the way, eat, get gas, enjoy a pint and so on. :rollin :rollin :rollin :rollin :rollin :rollin :rollin :rollin :lol :eek



darrena
Unregistered User
(2/3/04 8:24 pm)

Mad!


He's right - you must be absolutely crazy. Look at a map and look how you're going round in circles. Here goes:

------------------------
Tues. 9th

Leave Belfast Airport w/ rental car 11:30-12:00 noon
95 miles / 3 hrs. to
Belleek (pottery tour)

------------------------

Fine, assuming you're not jet-lagged - if you are, this will seem like a lot more than 3 hours.

------------------------

37 miles / 1 hr. to
Omagh (overnight w/ friends)

------------------------

Fine, although I can't imagine it taking an hour to get to Omagh from Belleek.

------------------------

Wed. 10th

Omagh – leave 7:00 a.m.
121 miles / 5-1/2 hrs. to
Cliffs of Moher (& Burren area)
(1 hour sightsee/walk)
60 miles / 3+ hrs. to
Clifden (Sky Drive)
(1 hour 9-mile scenic drive – sightsee)
couple miles to
Kylemore Abbey (Pass of Kylemore)
(can it be seen from road/entrance for photos, without paying admission?)

----------------------

This whole day seems absolutely mad to me - 10 hours driving? On Irish roads???

----------------------

Thurs. 11th

Clifden / Kylemore Abbey (finish)
couple miles to
Connemare National Park
(2 hours walk/sightsee)
96 miles / 4+ hrs. to
past Killybegs to Slieve League Cliffs
(1 hour sightsee/walk)

Strabane (overnight – friends)

-----------------------

Again, way way way too much driving - bear in mind it will take at least an hour (maybe two) to get from Slieve League to Strabane.

-----------------------

Fri. 12th

Strabane
55 miles / 2 hrs. to
past Portsalon to Fanad Head
(1 hour walk/sightsee)
57 miles / 2 hrs. to
Dunluce Castle (not open in March - just drive by to photograph)
couple miles to
Giant’s Causeway
(1 hour walk/sightsee)

-------------------------

You're doing an absolutely massive circle here. I would suggest you stay somewhere in the West/Centre of Donegal on the previous night, and do Portsalon, etc. from there, then spend *this* night in Strabane.

Then from Strabane, the following day do Derry, Downhill, the Giants Causeway, etc., ending up in Rasharkin (this would also take care of your extra day)




Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 2108
(2/4/04 2:03 am)

Impossible Dreams


Hi Sylvia,

You are using computer generated driving estimates. These computers have never driven on these roads. I have -- many, many, many times. As a real human I must tell you that what you are planning is not within the realms of possibility. Not long ago I had a paying client who refused to believe me and refused to take my advice. He, too, wanted to see all Ireland in a few days. I sent his money back to him and wished him luck. There was no way I could convince him that what he wanted to do was impossible. Perhaps some of the other comments here will make it sink in. Re-think your trip. Slow down. In Ireland less is more.

Michele



syv
Unregistered User
(2/4/04 9:03 am)

sheesh!


What a "negative" forum!

My original plan to head down to Dublin and Ring of Kerry as well was "revised" from the many recommendations on the FODORS forum. The only thing they suggested different from above was that I skip the drive down to Cliffs of Moher.

Hope not to be jetlagged since spending a day in London first before continuing on to Belfast.

Driving 10 hours/day at 35 mph seems pretty "casual" to me. I'm used to driving 12-14 hours/day at 60 mph on vacations.

Like I say, I added extra time to all the driving distances (ex. 1 hr Belleek to Omagh) to help cover the "stops for fuel, wrong info from route planners, etc." We won't be stopping "for a pint" since neither of us drink. :p

The only reason I switched Strabane / Portsalon around was to save on 1 night's cost of accommodations. Originally I had it the other way round. I realize it is "backwards".

Also - do remember that I have a whole extra day (Sat.) still in the above route not used. If I just leave that as "leeway" to stretch things out, THEN does the above become more reasonable?



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 2110
(2/4/04 6:03 pm)

Negative Comments from Positive People


Hi Sylvia,

I realize that when people do not agree with you it may seem negative. I just went to the Fodors message board and there were many negative comments about your proposed trip. However, I don't think that they were meant to be "negative" but just informative. These people were sharing their own experiences in Ireland. Also, many times people post info on forums that is just meant to provoke others. Perhaps some people thought that your posting was one of these and not for real. The fact that they thought it was not a real itinerary may speak for itself.

A note about driving in Ireland. The roads there can be small, winding and bumpy. There can be animals on the roads, obstructions like roadworks, other drivers to contend with, etc. As my husband frequently comments: "The roads in Ireland really can beat you up." You must be very alert at all times because you never know what will be around the next bend and it is not like any driving that you have likely done before. So driving 20 miles in Ireland might be the equivilent of driving 60 miles somewhere else. Driving in Ireland can be exhausting. However, Northern Ireland does tend to have better roads than the Republic.

Sunrise will be around 7am and sunset around 6:15pm. You won't want to do any driving after dark as you won't see anything then. So that is a consideration.

I still stand by my original comments about concentrating on Northern Ireland. To add more driving time in Donegal is about as far as you will want to go.

But it is your trip and as such only you can determine what is right for you. If you want to do all that driving then more power to you. In March you can certainly "wing it" and just see how far you get each day. I don't believe that you can see all you have outlined or even come close to it. However, time will tell. We would enjoy hearing how far you actually do get on your trip.

Michele


Edited by: Michele Erdvig at: 2/4/04 6:13 pm


Syv
Unregistered User
(2/4/04 6:19 pm)

thanks


Thanks Michele.

Still just a rough itinerary. Will keep tweaking it this month. Am reading through everyone's opinions and looking at maps, library books, etc.

Also asking a couple N.I. friends who've lived there most of their life. One says yes. One says no. :\



DarrenA
Registered User
Posts: 51
(2/4/04 9:20 pm)




Bear in mind that the one who says 'yes' may never actually have been to some of the places you're hoping to go to in the South (it's not uncommon).



Ande
Unregistered User
(2/4/04 11:58 pm)

Another Vote


Hi,
Can I add my vote that this itinerary is too much? I don't mind driving myself, but I do know from personal experience that the roads are real slow, and the beautiful natural and historic sites slow you down even further. It's wonderful to be able to leisurely drive and not have to race the clock to meet another trip deadline.

Well, no matter what, Ireland is the ultimate destination, whether leisurely, or at the "green blur" pace. I can't wait for my next trip.

Ande



Allison
Unregistered User
(2/5/04 8:44 pm)

Don't try to do it all in one trip


Hi Syv,

I too read your posts on Fodors and have to agree that you are trying to do the impossible. On our last trip we put 1300 miles on the car in about a week. We didn't rush around too much, but we did cover a lot of the northwest.

We have never been ones to look at miles between locations, we always have sort of estimated what the distance seemed to be on the map and took our time in getting there. Please don't think we poke along on the roads, if we can go 40 we will! For instance, we left Galway one morning after breakfast, so say we were on the road by 9:30. We headed into Connemara, stopping for photo ops along the way. We lunched in Maams Cross, then headed to Roundstone. We spent an hour or so there, had to see Malachy's studio. Then on toward Clifden, and don't you know, all of a sudden here is the most gorgeous beach (Dog's Strand, I think) and we just had to stop for a bit. (All this time we are watching out for numerous sheep on the road. On other trips we have come across cows and a donkey.) We arrived in Clifden around 6 and immediately phoned the B&B where we had previously arranged to stay. Well, don't you know, somehow we hadn't made it into her book, even though we had her emailed confirmation. So I guess what I am trying to say it that things take much longer than you might expect, and plans don't always turn out the way they were planned. If you plan to drive 10 hours in a day, you may not make it to your destination and will not have seen much of anything from the car window.

I have learned you can't hurry through Ireland. Good luck!



syv
Unregistered User
(2/6/04 9:54 pm)

REVISED


Tues. 9th

11:30 – 12:00 noon – leave Belfast Int’l Airport
89 miles, 2½ - 3 hrs. to (extra time allotted for our first driving on the left)

Marble Arch Caves, FLORENCE COURT (75-min. tour – closes or last tour 4:30)
1¾ hours at above


Marble Arch Caves to
35 miles, 1¼ - 1½ hrs. to
OMAGH (bit off route but overnight w/ friends)

Wed. 10th

8:00 a.m. OMAGH to
37 miles, 1¼ hrs. to
Belleek Pottery (first 30-min. tour is 9:30 a.m.)
1 hour at above


BELLEEK to
160 miles, 5½ - 6 hrs. to
Paddys DOOLIN Hostel overnight


Thurs. 11th

Doolin area – CLIFFS OF MOHER
& Burren area
2 – 3 hours - cliffs/burren area (sunrise till approx 10:00)
95 miles, 4+ hrs. to

CLIFDEN – Sky Drive
1 hour scenic drive
Kylemore Abbey
Just drive-by/stop to photograph it
10 miles, ½ hr. to
CONNEMARE National Park
View until dusk OR head straight to overnight

Hostel in CLIFDEN area (not yet confirmed)
Overnight


Fri. 12th

finish(?) Connemare National Park
sunrise till 8:30 OR start driving (see below)

165 miles, 5½ - 6 hours to

SLIEVE LEAGUE CLIFFS (past Carrick)
1 – 2 hours
65 miles, 2 hours to

STRABANE (Overnight w/ friends)


Sat. 13th

Strabane (8:00 a.m.)
60 miles, 2 hrs. to

Dunluce Castle (not open, just stop by to photograph)
GIANT’S CAUSEWAY
2 hours

60 miles, 1½ hours to

BELFAST (arrival approx. 2 p.m.)
3 hours here (just to use time before heading to Rasharkin)
meet friends who will take us to see Martyr’s Memorial Free P. church & whatever else they want to show us


40 miles, 1½ hrs.

RASHARKIN (Sat night, Sun, Mon - visiting friends)


(back to Belfast Airport on TUESDAY) 27 miles, 1¼ hrs.


I've added extra hours to driving distances (for food stops & to try to be more "actual" accurate driving times, etc.)
I've used Via Michelin instead of AA since Via Michelin seems much higher mileages than AA estimated.
Any nights that are visits with friends (i.e. Strabane can be changed / moved if necessary / skipped if necessary) The folks in Omagh & Strabane who are relatives of folks in our church who have offered to put us up for the night if we are passing through their area. Not people we "have" to see.




Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 2124
(2/8/04 11:55 pm)

Driving Trip


Hi Sylvia,

That is still a ton of driving. But I have come to the conclusion that what you really want to do in Ireland is drive all over the place. That's fine, if that is your style of traveling. We have all given our best opinions of that type of travel. But in the end it is entirely up to you as to what you want to do.

Enjoy your trip.

Michele

P.S. I suggest that you call Tourism Ireland and get a free map. Perhaps it will help you make your plans. 1-800-223-6470.




Syv
Unregistered User
(2/9/04 8:41 am)

thanks all!


I've revised the driving to Slieve League day. Am going to stop in Donegal for the night instead of driving right through.

Thanks for the info about where to get a map.

I'll post a trip report after.



wojazz3
Registered User
Posts: 361
(2/9/04 2:23 pm)

Re: thanks all!


Good luck Syv.

Bill



Syv
Unregistered User
(3/22/04 5:33 pm)

We're Back!


See my trip report under the I'm back - trip reports section - entitled "Did the impossible".

Thanks.



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 2336
(3/23/04 3:01 am)

Re: We're Back!


Hi Syv,

Welcome back! I'm glad to hear that you were able to see much of what you wanted and did the impossible. ;) It's not everyones idea of what a trip should be but if it suited you then that's all that matters. I'm out of time tonight but will read your trip report tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

Michele

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