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Post Info TOPIC: Irish ITINERARY needs massaging! Please help...FIRST trip! by Melissa2Ireland


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Irish ITINERARY needs massaging! Please help...FIRST trip! by Melissa2Ireland
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Registered User
Posts: 1
(7/29/05 1:09 am)

Irish ITINERARY needs massaging! Please help...FIRST trip!

I'm SO EXCITED about planning our FIRST family trip to Ireland!

My beloved Irish grandmother was born and raised in Northern Ireland before emigrating to Philadelphia. :) Hubby and I and our 2 young adult daughters will spend 15 nights in Ireland next summer 2006 (June/July). We will rent a car.

I welcome any advice on my itinerary. We want to go slow enough to discover HIDDEN TREASURES and chat with the locals. :hat Also need things LIVELY enough for young adult daughters. Here are the plans so far, but I am mystified about which order to do this in, and whether to fly into/out of Shannon or Dublin.


Lisdoonvarna: 2 nights
- The Burren
- The Cliffs of Moher
- Dunguaire Castle medieval banquet
- pub music


Dingle: 3 nights
- Dingle Peninsula
- Great Blasket Island day-trip
- pub music

Kenmare: 3 nights
- Killarney National Park (nature walk)
- Muckross House
- Derrynane House
- Beara Peninsula
- Mizen Head
- Ceim Hill Museum (little cottage museum near
- pub music


Trim: 4 nights
- Trim Castle
- Newgrange (Bru na Boinne)
- Dublin: choose two of these: National Museum;
Killmainham Gaol; Book of Kells; Grafton St.;
Dublin Writer's Museum; pub music;


Belfast or Bangor: 3 nights
- Visit Belfast where my Irish grandmother grew up
- Visit Lurgan where my Irish grandmother was born
(Tannaghmore W.? Derry Macash?)
- Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (between
Belfast and Bangor)

DO YOU ALL THINK THIS IS A GOOD BALANCE FOR A FIRST TRIP? I want everyone to be happy: my biologist husband, my 2 young adult daughters, and interests include Irish people, story-telling, Irish writers, Irish music, history, and culture.

I couldn't fit in Connemara or the Aran Islands or Rock of Cashel or Glendalough or County Donegal. :(

OH YEAH...where is a good place to see some Irish dancing? THANKS SO MUCH FOR ANY ADVISE!

Edited by: Melissa2Ireland at: 7/29/05 10:54 pm

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3286
(7/30/05 1:29 am)

Re: Irish ITINERARY needs massaging! Please help...FIRST tri


Welcome to my forum and I'm glad you finally got the posting to work. I agree that it is extremely exciting to plan your first trip to Ireland. I remember way back decades ago when I planned my first trip. You certainly have plenty of time for your planning.

Looking over your itinerary I think it looks very good. Had you thought of starting in Shannon and departing from Dublin...or vice versa? That would cut out a long cross-country drive. I do think that you will need a transition overnight between Northern Ireland and the west & southwest (or whatever order you end up with).

Are you planning to do Dublin as a day trip from Trim? Had you thought of two days in Trim and two in Dublin?

For a more rural Northern Ireland stay you might also consider Newtownards (just south of Bangor) and not far from Belfast. I know of an excellent B&B there that will knock your socks off.

I think you are wise to not plan too much even though there are many other places in Ireland you want to see. If you are like many people this will not be your only trip to the Emerald Isle. You can save the other places for your next trip.

What type of Irish dancing are you looking for? Riverdance type performances, set dancing with locals, etc.?


Registered User
Posts: 5
(7/30/05 6:51 pm)

Re: Irish ITINERARY needs massaging! Please help...FIRST tri

Michele, thanks for your helpful comments! I sent an order for your BOOK and can't wait to receive it.

ANYBODY who wants to jump in and advise me, the more the merrier!

Michele, starting in SHANNON and departing from DUBLIN is a good suggestion. I am leaning towards that. It sounds like it will be easier to learn how to drive on Irish roads by starting in Shannon.

mmaloney has a great TRIP REPORT on your web-site, where I enjoyed a hilarious preview of DRIVING on the left in Ireland! :rollin (It won't be as hilarious when I'm actually in the car!!!) :eek

Yes, I was thinking about doing DUBLIN as a day-trip from TRIM. But I'm open to other suggestions. Instead of having 4 nights in Trim I guess I could have 2 nights in Trim and 2 nights in Dublin. But I am trying to avoid having to tour sites like NEWGRANGE with a car full of luggage. (Risk of theft.)

There is also the choice of 3 nights in TRIM (to see Trim Castle and Newgrange) and only 1 night in DUBLIN, maybe putting Dublin at the end of the trip. But then we wouldn't get a full day in Dublin before we had to fly away. Yeah, everywhere I look in my itinerary, I need to put 1 more night someplace, but we only have 15 nights to divide among many awesome sights! :p

I would definitely be interested in hearing about your excellent B&B that will knock my socks off in NEWTOWNARDS. There is no information in any of my pile of guidebooks on Newtownards. I assume this is part of the appeal? Must be nice and non-touristy. What's it like?

I am also considering staying in BANGOR because it seems to be conveniently on the train route between Bangor and Belfast. We'll have a car but driving in cities usually stinks, so we might want to take the train into Belfast.

Would there be convenient public transportation available from NEWTOWNARDS into BELFAST as well?

IRISH DANCING: You asked what type am I looking for? I'm not an expert on Irish dancing, but I did see RIVERDANCE when it came to San Diego and I was enthralled. Would love to see something like that in Ireland. But also, if there is dancing that gets us to meet the locals, like the SET DANCING you have mentioned, that is equally appealing. I guess I want to experience something that is authentically Irish in some way, and not something that is merely there to sell to tourists.

You have a great web-site here and more people should know about it. I'll have to include your site in my trip report when I return from Ireland...I post trip reports on and also on And of course I have to post on your web-site now too!

Thanks a million for your help. Sorry I am so wordy! Now I'm going to attempt to put the above itinerary in order. All comments are welcome!

In the updated itinerary below, is the drive from KENMARE to TRIM too far? (see bottom of this post.)

Also, I have it plotted with only 1 night in DUBLIN now, which means we'll see very little of Dublin. :\ Would you suggest moving a day from somewhere else to Dublin? Or keeping it the way it is?

From what mmaloney says, the weather may affect our plans in DINGLE and KENMARE? So it's better to plan extra time there? Is that true for The BURREN and the CLIFFS OF MOHER as well?

Under the plan below, I have 2 nights in Lisdoonvarna which only gives us 1 full day...hubby will be very disappointed if the weather prevents him from seeing THE BURREN...Also don't want to be standing in a lightening storm on the CLIFFS OF MOHER! Gosh, maybe I should add an extra night in Lisdoon and take a night away from Kenmare...


ARRIVE: Shannon airport. Rent car. Drive to Lisdoonvarna.

2 nights: Lisdoonvarna

3 nights: Dingle

3 nights: Kenmare

3 nights: Trim

3 nights: Northern Ireland (Belfast, Bangor or Newtownards)

1 night: Dublin

(FLY home from Dublin!)

THANKS A MILLION, MICHELE, and anybody else who wants to repond!

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3287
(7/30/05 11:55 pm)



Thanks for your kind words about my website (now that it's downloading properly!) ;)

Learning to drive on the left is always easier in Shannon. It is much more rural and you can ease into it. I think the most dangerous part is exiting the rental car parking lot and airport. You must be on the lookout for other tourists who are also learning to drive. :eek

There are lots of great trip reports on my forum. Unfortunately, all the forums hosted on Ezboard were hacked around Memorial Day and much info was destroyed. Some other trip reports and postings were lost forever because of that. I am fortunate that some did survive the attack.

The B&B outside Newtownards in the countryside is Edenvale (see my Lodgings page). It is was actually once part of the Mount Stewart estate. You should really put Mount Stewart on your must see list. Gorgeous gardens and excellent historic house. Anyway, you will have complete descriptions of both when my book arrives. There is bus service from N'ards to Belfast. Actually driving in Belfast is much better than driving in Dublin.

For dancing I recommend that you ask locally when you are in each town because things like set dancing are not publicized way ahead of time. The locals will know what's up in their area. You might find it in Dingle. You will not really be in an area where there are shows on. I would recommend Bunratty Traditional Irish Night for music and dancing but you are not staying the night nearby. As you get closer to your date you can check what's on in Dublin and Belfast.

Your idea of spending your last night around Dublin is good. Since you are only going in for the day and then will be leaving the next day, you might consider staying in Malahide (north suburbs). From there you can take DART right into Dublin's city center and back again that evening. Then you will be nearby the airport for your departure day.

From Kenmare to Trim will probably take around 7 hours, depending on your route. I really think you should break it up with an overnight enroute. The tough decision is where to steal the day from. I think I would steal it from Trim.

Weather can always mess up your plans in Ireland. However, much of the time the weather is showery. Meaning it rains for a while and then clears up for a while. Then rains again and repeats the cycle all day. That means you can do things when it stops. Or else take good rain gear if you plan on hiking and other outdoor activities. As the Irish say: "There is no bad weather, only people who are not dressed right."

Your itinerary looks good except for the extra day you need for gettting from Kenmare to Trim.


Edited by: Michele Erdvig at: 7/31/05 12:03 am

Unregistered User
(8/1/05 8:48 pm)

You'll love it1

I was you back in September 2002 except I was planning a trip for myself, my husband and his parents. We love adventure...this was their first trip out of the country. I planned for over a year..reading everything I could get my hands on about Ireland till I knew exactly where we were going, where we were staying etc. Michele, her book and the people on this site were extremely helpful. I read everyone's likes and dislikes and tried to read between the lines because, of course, we all have different tastes. We had an awesome time, fell in love with the island and now we are headed back again THIS September for trip #2. We flew into and out of Shannon and enjoyed the trip across the country because we took lots of back roads. I would recommend the Mag subscription "Ireland of the Welcomes". I think you can order it from the Ireland Tourism Bureau or on-line. There is a great section called "Back Roads"...I will use them again for some "out of the way" spots you wouldn't see otherwise like an 8th Century Celtic Cross back in a field below a run down castle. I really wasn't interested in Dublin so flying out of there didn't appeal to me. I booked every B & B we stayed in from Michele's books and was very happy with all of them. This time, however, we are winging it since it is just the two of us. We plan to stay a couple of days on the Aran Islands to explore if we can get a B & B that has vacancy. High spots of our last trip: the Ring of Dingle, B & B in Wexford from Michele's book, the food, Sea lions we played with (from afar)near an old light house, hidden lake we found when we climbed rocks up a small mountain, ....I could go on. Things I would do different: I packed light but I would pack lighter...follow what Michele says to a "t". It is a pain to haul your suitcases up and down stairs at each B & B...pack for a week and then take it to a laundry. They will have it back in a day or so. Things I will do again: brought a compass and we used it everyday...their signage is NOT like it is in US. Brought a small's REALLY dark at night! Brought a good map...imperative! My biggest word of advice is: Be Flexible! Enjoy every second of every day! It's not about "getting there" but about the journey! Plan to get lost! You will and that makes it even more fun...the Irish are wonderful and so helpful. If I can be of any other help! Let me know!

Registered User
Posts: 158
(8/1/05 9:25 pm)

first trip

I will say - we were nerveous about our first trip and the driving. Michele suggested Shannon and it was SO good - plane always lands about 7am and not much traffic and out in the country. We stayed our first night in Bunratty- it was so close to the airport and we could get there and try out the driving without having to worry about getting to where we were staying that night. Also, Bunratty castle has a great Ceili where you have irish dancing, music and song - a great way to start off the trip. It's the only place we saw the Irish dancing so i'm so glad we did that!
The only bad thing about going to Bunratty that early is that nothing is open yet....
We brought 2 suitases each (bad idea) but we had an overnight bag that we had our toletries in and traded out clothes every day or two from the trunck. DON'T over pack (big lesson i learned). I guess you won't be able to with all those people....

Unregistered User
(8/1/05 10:02 pm)

first trip

I think 15 days is a good amount of time and wish I had that many days. I was curious about how you came up w/ your schedule and what books you read to get to the point that you are now.

Registered User
Posts: 6
(8/2/05 3:01 am)

Re: Itinerary

Michele, thanks for taking the time to give me such great suggestions! I have updated my itinerary, with your suggestions in mind. I'm getting excited! :) What do you think of this:

FLY into Shannon
Rent car. Drive to Lisdoonvarna.

--(Day trips: Cliffs of Moher; The Burren; Dunguaire castle medieval banquet).

3 nights: DINGLE
--(Day trips: Dingle Peninsula; Great Blasket Island).

1 night: KILLARNEY
--Carriglea House B&B, across from entrance to Killarney National Park.
--(Activities: Killarney National Park nature walk; Muckross House and Gardens).

2 nights: GALWAY or CASHEL?
--POSSIBLE Galway Activities: step-dancing show at Siamsa; Kenny's Bookshop; Connemara day-trip.
--POSSIBLE Cashel Activities: Rock of Cashel; day-trip to Cahir Castle.

2 nights: TRIM
--Activities: Trim Castle; Newgrange day-trip.

--Activities: Visit Belfast and Lurgan where my Irish grandmother lived; Belfast Botanic Gardens; Ulster Folk and Transport Museum; Mount Stewart Gardens.

--(Activities: Book of Kells or National Museum or Killmainham Gaol or Dublin Writer's Museum or Grafton St.)

FLY HOME from Dublin!


What is the best base for seeing the Killarney National Park? This is a must-see for hubby the biologist. I want to avoid spending a lot of time at the Ring of Kerry in the summer crowds, however.

So, we could add an extra night at Dingle and do Killarney National Park as a day-tour. But then I'd be afraid of getting lost in the fog on the way back to Dingle to our hotel.

Or, we could spend the night at Carriglea House B&B, right across from the entrance to the Killarney National Park.

Or, we could spend 1 night in Kenmare and do Killarney National Park as a day-tour. But this seems out of the way for a 1-night stay. WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK? :rolleyes


Which is better for our stopover, Galway or Cashel? If we spend 2 nights at Galway or Cashel, then Dublin only gets 1 night. But if we spend only 1 night at Galway or Cashel, then Dublin gets 2 nights. Which do you all suggest is worth more time, Galway, Cashel, or Dublin?!

HAVE I PUT ANYONE TO SLEEP YET?! |I Thanks for your patience with me, Michele. You are awesome!

Registered User
Posts: 7
(8/2/05 3:14 am)

Re: You'll love it1

Robin, thanks for your reply, I'm loving Ireland already, and I haven't even been there yet!

:D How cool that you are planning your second trip. Enjoy the Aran Islands and tell us all about it. I'm hoping the weather will be nice so that we can visit the Great Blasket Island.

I appreciate the suggeston about the magazine subscription for "Ireland of the Welcomes"...I would love to see the Back Roads section.

I wouldn't have thought of bringing a compass. It's easy to get disoriented in a new country. I'm getting a compass...good idea.

Wishing us both a fantastic Irish journey! :hat

Registered User
Posts: 8
(8/2/05 3:26 am)

Re: first trip

stannseniors, why can't I overpack? :( Just kidding! I totally agree, it's a big hassle to overpack. Yeah, I've learned that too.

I'm so glad to hear you thought Shannon was a good place to start driving...Hubby will drive and I'm nervous :eek about it. Hubby :evil can't wait to drive on the left. I'm kidding (half kidding)!

Does anybody know how is the drive from Shannon airport to Lisdoonvarna? I want to stay in Lisdoonvarna for our first 3 that a good or bad idea, as far as the driving goes?

Stannseniors, thanks for your reply.

Registered User
Posts: 9
(8/2/05 3:57 am)

Re: first trip

irisheyes, I'd love to tell you how I got to the point I'm at now in my planning. :p Trip-planning is my hobby now...I spend all my free time planning trips and I really enjoy the process. Plus my family gets great trips out of all my work!

First, choose a travel book on Ireland and read it cover to cover. 8o This organizes your brain into nice neat compartments into which you will sort and store all the rest of the information that you will gather!

What is the best travel book? It's whichever one intrigues you enough to read the entire book!

Then, you gather several other books to use as a cross-reference. If you can't afford a whole pile of travel books, borrow some from your friends. But you need to own at least 1.

After you have read 1 book cover to cover, you are ready to tackle the internet. Check out Michele's web-site here frequently, and also travel talk, plus Read other people's trip reports...print them out and highlight them. That's what I do. Post questions on-line. If nobody answers them, reword them in a catchy way.

You need folders to sort your info into, otherwise you will end up with a huge disorganized pile of everything, and it will drive you insane. :x

I started out by reading National Geographic Traveller's Ireland, with color photos. Interesting book, it says everything in Ireland is hauntingly beautiful. It includes some places that are less touristy.

Then, I read Rick Steves Ireland 2005. I like his style a lot. We used his Italy guidebook too. But he skips a lot, he only includes his favorite places.

Then, I bought Wild Ireland to help me plan a trip that hubby the biologist will enjoy too. However this book isn't so user friendly. But there is nothing else like it that I have found. This book I skimmed, didn't read it all.

I also have Fodors Ireland 2005, also for skimming as a cross-reference. Same for Karen Brown's Ireland Charming Inns & Itineraries. I also bought Frommers Ireland 2005 but I regret buying that one. (For Costa Rica I found that Fodors is more accurate than Frommers so I think I won't buy Frommers any more.)

AND I am really looking forward to my copy of Michele's Best Little Guide to Ireland, which I ordered! A person cannot ever have too many guidebooks. I just love them, I am totally learning all my history and geography from travel books, as I clearly never learned it in school. Until I was 30, I still thought that Alaska was an kids laughed at me... :lol

Sometimes you can also get somebody to e-mail you who has taken numerous trips to your destination. Several people I "met" on-line wrote to me about Italy last year. I e-mail people if they want more help than can be posted on-line. (As you can see I can write a whole novel on-line...) :b

AND I post questions on-line, like "Your treasured memories of IRELAND, and your BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS?" By reading what turns on other people and what turns them off, you begin to get a fuller picture of the real Ireland. It helps you to build an itinerary that is just right for you.

Oh yeah, I also found a beautiful big picture book of Ireland on sale in the bookstore this year...

HOW DO YOU ALL PLAN YOUR TRIPS? Is anybody as obsessive as me? :rollin I love it!!!


"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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Unregistered User
(8/2/05 10:47 am)

first trip...

Thanks Melissa! I will save your info and start my travel planning book. You must have started planning for Ireland months/years ago! I'm so impressed. I guess I better get cracking, I only have 10 more months to go. Ours will need to be a trip that is also enjoyable to a teen daughter and 10 yr. old son too. I'm not so sure about The Burren. From the looks of my travel guide, it looks like a big boulder?? It does say this is the place for different types of plants and birds.. so I guess this is perfect for your biologist husband.

Registered User
Posts: 11
(8/2/05 1:46 pm)

Re: first trip...

irisheyes, I LOVE travel planning, and love chatting to other travellers! Don't worry, for NORMAL people like you, 10 months is plenty of time to plan the trip! :lol

I confess I did start a while ago and I'm a more obsessive planner than is normal... However, since I enjoy it I think of it as my hobby, it's how I spend my free time when I have some time alone.

In June 2005 we went to beautiful Costa Rica. Before we went, I was planning 2 trips at once...Costa Rica 2005 and Ireland 2006!

Now I can focus entirely on Ireland.

Ireland is especially meaningful for me to work on because my beloved Irish grandmother came from Ireland!

Keep us posted on how your travel plans are coming. Sometimes your family will get tired of hearing about it...Not Ireland again! But here on Michele's web-site, WE NEVER get tired of talking about Ireland! Thanks, Michele! :p

Have your teens help you plan. When you develop your itinerary let them have some input. Tell them you are the planner but everybody in the family can vote on their favorite choices and you will try to incorporate some of those, but you're NOT promising all of those choices!

Best way to get teens involved is e-mail them links with photos. Also buy a book with photos and leave it on the breakfast table on the weekend when you're having breakfast together. (Or dinner?) Eyewitness and Insight guides both have photos plus info. I didn't buy those books for Ireland but I had them for Italy.

Best of luck! Nice chatting with you.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3293
(8/2/05 11:52 pm)

Re: first trip...


Your itinerary is shaping up nicely. A few comments and answers to your questions:

1. Lisdoonvarna is a very small place. You mentioned that your husband likes activities, etc. You might find Lahinch more to your liking instead. It is a larger town than Lisdoon overlooking the ocean yet still in the general vicinity of all you want to see and do. Drive time from Shannon to Lisdoon/Lahinch is about 1 1/2 hours.

2. Galway vs. Cashel: I think I must vote for Cashel because it has you headed in the right direction. There is also plenty of sightseeing to do along the way. Depending on the night you will be in Cashel you should consider the Bru Boru show, which will give you a great performance of Irish music and dance. This year it is closed on Sunday & Monday. I think you are trying very hard to have two days for Dublin so if you spend only one in Cashel you can accomplish that.

3. Trim is also a very small town. Navan has twice the population. Drogheda has a population of around 23,000. All are in the general area you want to be in.

4. Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine: The column you want is "Byways Rather Than Highways".

5. Two other books that I recommend are Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Ireland & Portrait of Ireland. They are coffee-table sized books so definitely are too large to take to Ireland with you. Your library may have them.


Unregistered User
(8/3/05 12:36 pm)


Melissa, I think we are twins separated at birth!! I, too, love the planning as much as the trip and adore traveling out of the U.S. I scoured everything I could get my hands on...but also started with a giant map of Ireland. As I found things I wanted to see I started charting the direction of travel. Once I narrowed down an area, I started booking a B & B in that area for 2-3 days stay. It worked great. I usually dont want to go back to the same place twice because there are so many other places to see before I "check out" but fell in love with Ireland. We are already talking about a third trip and bringing out kids and grandkids since we are seeing that our last trip and this one coming in September is just no enough to see everything we want to see. That will be in 10 years or so since our grandkids are toddlers....THAT would NOT be fun! I just now made our reservations at Headley Court, Bunratty (Micheles suggestion) for our last night since we stayed there in 2002 and were very comfortable. I highly recomment 'Kathleen Browne' as a hostess. She was very nice and her B & B is spotless. Just hearing the accent heightens my excitment.

Registered User
Posts: 12
(8/3/05 1:46 pm)

Re: first trip...

Hi Michele, you're an angel! Hope I'm not driving you crazy with questions. :o I will check out the larger towns that you suggested as bases, to keep hubby busy. But since we will have a car on this trip, it is acceptable also to stay in a small town with interesting places within short driving distance.

When we went to Italy we didn't have a car and I had to make sure there was plenty for hubby to do within WALKING distance! He is 50 and still full of energy, very driven.

I love your web-site, and feel very fortunate to have your sound advice! :)

CASHEL: I think you're right, I'm leaning towards Cashel rather than Galway for the stopover too. Cashel is a slightly shorter drive, and seems to lend itself to a 1-night stay. I am excited to see that Bru Boru show, so I have to make sure we're not in Cashel on Sunday and Monday! Thanks very much for the info about that.

Michele, if I do 1 night in Killarney followed by 1 night in Cashel, that's two 1-nighters in a row. >D It fits so well in the schedule though and does free up an extra night for Dublin, you are right, I AM trying very hard to get 2 nights for Dublin!

QUESTION #1: If this were your schedule, would you put up with two 1-nighters in a row?

QUESTION #2: Is it better to keep the 1-nighter at Killarney National Park to make hubby's nature exploration of the park most convenient? Or is it better to take that night and add it onto Dingle, and do the Killarney National Park as a day-trip from Dingle? (And worry about getting lost in the fog driving back to the Dingle hotel from the park :eek

Thanks so much for the link to Ireland of the Welcomes Magazine! I haven't heard of that anywhere else except for on your excellent web-site here.

Michele, I have my great-grandmother's passport! I'm so thrilled to hold it in my hands. It is on loan to me from another relative. She and all 9 of her sons and daughters emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia in the 1900's, one at a time.

Registered User
Posts: 13
(8/3/05 1:56 pm)


Robin, YES, I always wanted a twin! Here's a picture of me. 0] Hopefully we're not identical and you have inherited the good looks. ;) Just kidding! I'm not really green.

How fun to find a kindred spirit! Robin, my hubby is like you, he usually doesn't want to go back to the same place twice because he wants to explore the world. BUT I know I'm going to want return trips to Ireland after our first trip, because my Irish grandmother with her wonderful Irish brogue passed on a love of Ireland to me.

If I have to, I'll return to Ireland on my own without hubby. I'll take somebody else with me. But maybe I can get hubby to love it enough on this first trip so he'll be willing to return with me.

I would love to see your trip reports for your previous trip. Are they on-line here somewhere?

Robin, what are your favorite treasured memories of Ireland?

Unregistered User
(8/3/05 4:53 pm)

Ireland itinerary

A tiny village in Clare, not far from Lisdoonvarna, Kilfanora has set dancing in the barn at Vaughan's pub. This is very authentic. Local folk who are very serious about their dancing...very complex sets. Some seating for those who want to drop in to watch. It's great as, by the way, is the food at Vaughan's pub.

Registered User
Posts: 16
(8/3/05 5:19 pm)

Re: set dancing in barn

cavan97, thanks for the great tip about set dancing in the barn at Vaughan's pub in Kilfenora! :D That's exactly the kind of thing I am hoping to experience, finding places where the locals are enjoying themselves. That's the reason I prefer 3 nights in one hotel, because then you have time to explore different activities in the surrounding areas.

Do you know if the set dancing is only on the weekend, or only on certain nights? If I am really looking forward to something I try to plan the itinerary so I can be in town on the right nights.

Unregistered User
(8/3/05 11:19 pm)

Trip Report

Melissa, I thought the trip report was gone but I found it on page 2 of "We're Back" is in 4 parts. I loved the way we did it. I would write my thoughts and then my husband would write. I suggest journaling every day. So much happens, you can't possibly remember it all. This time, I am going to download the pictures from that day onto that day's journals too. It became hard, when we got home, to remember what picture went with what little village.

Hint: be sure and check on the VAT charges and how to get that returned to you. I still dont completely understand what we are spose to get when purchasing things in Ireland. You are spose to ask each merchant for some kind of form but everytime I did that they looked at me like I was green. When we went to the airport to fly out...we were too late to do anything and everyone said if you try to get it mailed to you, it is almost dont know. I need to check with Michele about that again. I just ended up dismissing the VAT charges but dont want to do that this is something like 17% so can be hefty if you do lots of shopping.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3295
(8/4/05 12:42 am)



You are not driving me crazy at all. If I didn't like doing this I would just have the website and not the forum. I actually love giving advice about my favorite place on earth. My forum is designed to be a great meeting place for those who love Ireland and are planning trips. I see that you have found a kindred sprit already! So glad you are enjoying it.

BTW, I received your book order today and it will be in the mail to you on Thursday. I hope it helps with your planning.

As far as two one-night stays in a row, I don't see a problem with this. Sometimes it makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of things. Rather than do Killarney and backtrack to Dingle, just spend the night in Killarney. I know of a great guesthouse surrounded by Killarney National Park. You might even see some deer.

Do get the subscription on the Ireland of the Welcomes website because the subscription rate is much cheaper if you order online. It is a lovely magazine with glossy photos, excellent articles and interesting columns. I have subscribed to it for decades. You will have to let us know how you like your first issue.

I can't believe that you actually have your gg-mother's passport. What a treasure! I have a photo of my gg-mother and I have her gold thimble with her initals on it. But a passport is a great family document. You will have to make copies of it. Are you into genealogy? I have yet to make time for that as I'm too busy with everything else.


P.S. Robin: Generally VAT is not given back unless you spend over 10 euro in one place. It is really not worthwhile claiming it on small amounts. However, if you make large purchases you will definitely want to collect your VAT forms and get your money back. Then it is worth the time filling out the forms. I always suggest making copies of them before handing them in so that you have records. That way if you don't get it back you can complain.

Registered User
Posts: 24
(8/5/05 2:43 am)

Reply to Robin Re: Trip Report...thanks!

Robin: Are you "the other Robin"? If so, I found your trip report and printed out the 4 "chapters" so I can read them and highlight them. Thanks!

Uh-oh, my stack of Ireland folders is starting to tip precariously on my desk...I need more in-baskets! (My current in-baskets are full of Italy and Costa Rica and Maui...previous trips).

If there's a way to get back 17% of purchases hubby will be intrigued.

Registered User
Posts: 25
(8/5/05 2:56 am)

Reply to Michele Re: Killarney guest-house

Hi Michele! I can understand how special it is to have a photo and gold thimble with initials from your great-grandmother (ancestors!) Doesn't it give you a sense of women passing on their strengths through the generations? It's where we came from...

I haven't copied my great-grandmother's passport because I'm almost afraid it will disintegrate if I handle it too much! But I'm going to do it tomorrow. Great-grandmother had 9 children and so there is a huge family of descendants who might like a copy of that passport. I'm wondering how many copies to make actually! The passort has her photo...passport issued in 1901, I think.

Yes, I want to do geneology research. I tried to do some, but you can spend hours and hours and just come up with tantalizing clues that tell you you can't get any more without paying for it!

So I'm going to pay for a 1-year subscription to which hubby's uncle used to research his side of the family. He recommends it. You have to have some facts to start with to plug into it, then they do the research for you.

But I'd sure enjoy verifying that research for myself in Ireland, that would be cool seeing the facts for myself!

QUESTION: Almost forgot, yes, I'd love to hear about the Killarney guesthouse surrounded by Killarney National Park!

I think you're right, in my itinerary it makes no sense to back-track to Dingle after Killarney National park. So onward!

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3306
(8/6/05 12:48 am)

Re: Reply to Michele Re: Killarney guest-house


The guesthouse is Friar's Glen in Killarney. You can click through to it from my "Lodgings" page.


Registered User
Posts: 30
(8/6/05 1:37 am)

To: Michele; Re: Friar's Glen and Yew woodlands

Michele, thanks for the tip on Friar's Glen guesthouse. It says on their web-site they are within walking distance to the main sites such as Muckross House and Garden. Just the kind of place I'm looking for, as a 1-night stay is so short, I will want to be conveniently located for exploring Killarney National park.

Have you stayed there? Is it an Irish couple who runs it? (Because of my Irish grandmother I'm hoping to stay in as many B&Bs run by the Irish as I am able to find in suitable locations.)

Michele, do you just happen to know where the ancient Yew woodlands are within Killarney national park? It is almost impossible to figure out just where exactly the oldest Yew woodlands in the park are located, though I have read about them, it never says exactly where they are! I'm trying to put us near them, for hubby. He wants his walk in the woods, and is likely to even get up early the next morning before we leave for a second walk while the rest of us are snoozing before breakfast.

A big Irish thanks for all your help.

Unregistered User
(8/6/05 7:19 am)

killarney national park

Might I also suggest doing a photo op. standing in front of Lady's View just down the road.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3313
(8/7/05 2:05 am)

Yew Woods


Yes, I have stayed at Friar's Glen. It is lovely and they do a wonderful breakfast. It is owned by Irish people. In fact the husband owns the local garden center. Maybe he can point you directly to the best woods.

You might enjoy this article about the woods:

Go to this site: click on "Map" & "Lake District" for the location of Tomies Woods. For the yew woods near Muckross House click on "Map" & "Muckross".

There is also a very old, large yew in the cloister of Muckross Abbey.

This link might also be of interest:

Happy yew wood hunting!


Registered User
Posts: 37
(8/7/05 4:59 pm)

Re: Yew Woods

Michele, I think the Friar's Glen guesthouse sounds perfect. Thanks for the tip. And the links on Killarney National park are great! They will help give hubby a realistic idea of what his biology walks will be like in Killarney area so he won't be disappointed. If he doesn't like the sound of them we can always go somewhere else.

But so far he still wants to go to Killarney National Park so that makes Friar's Glen perfect for a 1-night stop for us.

I received your book and am eagerly highlighting it! Pretty soon the entire text will be yellow-highlighted! I especially love how you have included a sense of the hosts, what they are like. You give enough details to give a "sense" of the "personality" of each B&B. :)

Appreciate you telling me the Friar's Glen is owned by Irish people...this is a bonus for me as talking to Irish people tends to evoke fond memories of my Irish grandmother and her Irish sisters with that fascinating Irish brogue...Also since the husband at Friar's Glen owns the local garden center, as you say, he and my hubby will have something in common.

Unregistered User
(8/7/05 9:45 pm)

trip planning

Just was curious why you chose NOT to stay in Shannon for the first three days of your journey. We will have a 10 hour flight so will most probably need a place very close to the airport.

Unregistered User
(8/7/05 9:56 pm)


We stayed near Shannon after flying into Shannon, stayed a second night there and then also ended back at the same B & B before we flew out. We're leaving in one month and staying at the same B & B when we fly out. It is near Bunratty..."The Headley House" and Kathleen Brown is the hostess. The B & B was recommended by Michele and she was right. Very clean and nice people. We were so jet lagged when we got there that we fell asleep in her parking lot waiting for her to get there. ....easy to find too

Registered User
Posts: 39
(8/7/05 11:10 pm)

Re: trip planning

irisheyes, you asked why we are choosing NOT to stay in Shannon for our first 3 nights. We will have a long flight too...San Diego to Los Angeles, then Los Angeles to Shannon!

I haven't booked our flights yet. If we arrive early in the day, I think I would rather rent the car and drive to our first destination, which is Lisdoonvarna (near the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.) It's about a 90-minute drive I believe. I don't want to "waste" any of our vacation time, and I think this isn't city driving, it's more out in the country.

But if it turns out that our flight arrives in the evening, we may spend 1 night near the airport, maybe in Ennis, and then drive to Lisdoonvarna the next morning and stay only 2 nights in Lisdoonvarna.

We don't like to change hotels frequently, as it involves some packing and unpacking which is annoying.

Also it's better to acclimate to the time right away when you arrive.

But I think it's a fine decision if you don't want to drive on the day of arrival. When we went to Italy, I didn't want us to have to deal with transportation in Rome. I had someone pick us up at the airport and take us to our Rome hotel. We didn't sleep for several hours, though.

If we were arriving in Dublin, I for sure wouldn't want to drive on the first day, because of the city traffic.

I wouldn't want to spend 3 nights near the airport as there isn't anything I want to see nearby. So the most I would spend is 1 night near the airport.

Registered User
Posts: 40
(8/7/05 11:18 pm)

To: Robin; Re: sleep at Headley near Shannon

Robin: Thank you for recommending the Headley House, in case we decide to have 1 night near the airport. Hubby and I will vote on this, it will partly depend on what time of day we arrive. Hubby can sleep anywhere and he will sleep at least 5 hours on the plane. Probably we will choose to drive 90-minutes to Lisdoonvarna. But you never know. Good to have an option.

Unregistered User
(8/7/05 11:32 pm)

trip plannning

Robin - Is the house near Shannon the one that is the working farm? I don't have my book....yet! <P>
Melissa, Good comments... just wondered if there was any reason I shouldn't be considering Shannon.

Michele Erdvig
Posts: 3320
(8/8/05 1:35 am)

Re: trip plannning


Glad to hear the book arrived. You should get different color highlighters so the book will look like a rainbow! Pink, blue, yellow, violet. :lol


Headley Court is not a working farm. If you want a farmhouse near Shannon I suggest Cahergal Farmhouse. It is on my "Lodgings" page.



"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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