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Post Info TOPIC: Need Suggestions for April '06 Ireland trip


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Need Suggestions for April '06 Ireland trip


Hello everyone, I desparately need the assistance of all of the seasoned travellers on this site. My wife and some friends will be in Scotland next March and when the girls go home, a buddy of mine and I are going to Ireland for a few days. We will be there from 4/1 and flying home on 4/5. I've already reserved lodgings at the Westin Dublin for our first night (4/1) and our last (4/4). We are renting a car so that we can see as much of the countryside as possible. The only requirement is that we go to Longford where my friends family is from. After that we are open and need some suggestions. Can you recommend some must see sites that we could hit during our short stay? Kerry? Kilkenny? Cork? Shannon? Our main goals are just to see the country, maybe a few castles and historical sites, and to get to know the locals. Any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated. Don't worry, I already know that I have going to have to come back and am already in process of planning another trip for '07!

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Rsqdvr,


That is a very tough question. Your time in Ireland is so short. You do realize that driving around takes a long time in Ireland? How much time you will have for meeting the locals is not much.


As I see it, you will most likely be spending the night in Longford on your second day. After that you have one full day for seeing something else. Since you are already more than halfway across the country you could drive to Galway and try to see part of Connemara. Or you could just stick to Galway City. Spending another night in Longford would enable you to interact more with locals and see some things around there. Alternatively, you could do some central inland things like Athlone Castle, Clonmacnoise, Birr Castle Gardens, Slieve Bloom Mountains, etc. That would be a lot closer.


I think you should save Cork, Kilkenny, Kerry and Shannon for your next trip when you have more time.


If anyone else has suggestions, feel free to chime in.


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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My suggestion is to cancel your 1st night in Dublin and go straight to Longford. That will give you an extra night to see some countryside. Jet lag won't be a problem. I agree with Michele that you won't be able to see a lot and any attempt to cover a great deal of ground will eliminate all chance to get to know the locals.


A couple of random thoughts that may or may not have any bearing on you and your friend based on you experience:


Seeking one's family roots in Ireland requires a diligent effort and a great deal of research. If your friend has done that or has a substantial amount of information on his family history, grave site location, etc, this can be a very moving experience. If not, it can be a wasted side trip. If he is just interested in seeing the general area that they were from, great!


"Getting to know" the locals is a popular requirement on a trip to Ireland and will happen when you least expect it. You probably won't "get to know" any of them, but you may have some interesting conversations. My suggestion is to always sit at the bar when you go into a pub. If you sit at a table, you will likely be left to yourself. As a side note, I often wonder if Europeans ever travel to the States with a desire to get to know the locals.


Castles: On the way to Longford you could take a side trip the Trim. Other possibilities would be Athlone south of Longfors and if you make it to the Galway area, you could stop and see, (but maybe not get into) Dunguaire. Not sure when they open for the season. Athenry Castle is just outside Galway (in Athenry of course). They are not open all year either.


Staying in B&Bs will help get you a little closer to the Irish people than staying in hotels. Consider rejecting the comfort of brand name hotels for something a bit more local and perhaps substantially smaller than the Westin. Outside of Dublin, use B&Bs only.


Good luck and have a blast.


Bill



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Hi Michele,


Thanks for the suggestions.  I probably will do as you suggest and skip the Southern part of the country this trip.  Probably stick to Dublin, Galway, Longford and anything close by those.  I'd love to see it all, but I don't want to run myself ragged trying to do that.  It's just so hard to narrow it all down and to make sure that you see what you can in the places you are going.



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Hi Bill,


Actually you aren't the firs to suggest skip Dublin on the first day and I would actually prefer to do that.  However, my wife will be staying over one night in Dublin because her flight home isn't until early the next morning.  I don't think she would be too pleased if we left her by herself in Dublin!  I think, though, we will be leaving Dublin immediately after dropping her off for her flight in the morning.


As for family connections, my friend has already spoken to his relatives in the area and they will be expecting us.  Apparently the Donlon's have been living there for quite some time.


Thanks for the suggestion about sitting at the bar.  I'm sure two guys traveling in ireland will have many opportunities to "Belly up to the Bar"!!


Dave



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Dave,


Glad to hear you are not going to try seeing the whole country in one day! You would be surprised at how many people would try just that. Hopefully, you will get to return for a much longer time after this trip. Your friend's family in Longford may just latch onto you two and keep you for the extra day. If so, be prepared for local fun and craic as they call it in Ireland. Go with the flow!


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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

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Galway was my favourite place in Ireland, you will love it. There is a lot to see in and around there. On the way to Galway from Dublin I would also suggest a stop at Clonmacnoise, which is just outside Athlone. If you want to spend a night in Athlone then you might visit the Athlone castle, it has an interesting historical display because the castle itself is sited in a very strategic location on the river, and has played an important part in some of Ireland's history. There is a pub in Athlone that claims to be the oldest in Ireland, and is worth a visit (can't recall the name right now, but Shane's comes to mind, Michelle?). I could easily have spent half a day at Clonmacnoise, a very old and important monastic site.


 


Anita.



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Anita,


Thanks for the suggestions. I agree that breaking up the drive from Galway to Dublin by seeing Clonmacnoise is an excellent idea. The pub in Athlone is Sean's Bar! You were very close.


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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Anita & Michele,


Thanks so much for the suggestions!  I think we will probably do as you suggest during the trip and skip the Southern end but go to Galway etc.  Thanks again and Merry Christmas!



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Dave,


I'm always happy to be of help. Let us know how it goes and how much you actually get to see. I look forward to helping with any future trips you make to Ireland too. Have fun!


Michele



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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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



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Hi Michele,


I'll be sure to post an update when we get back.  Apparently my sister-in-law has an uncle that lives in Galway so I am going to try to hook up with him.  I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.


 



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Dave,


Your trip is getting more interesting by the minute! By all means see if you can contact your sister-in-law's uncle. Maybe you can all do a Galway pub crawl. I definitely sense another trip in the making.


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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