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Post Info TOPIC: 9 day 8 night West, northwest, and norther ireland Itinerary


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9 day 8 night West, northwest, and norther ireland Itinerary


Hi all. I was looking for some advice with a very tentative 9 day 8 night trip itinerary I put together. It will be my wife and I along with her parents. We will have a car. It will be her parents first trip, but we have been to the west and south along with Dublin before and have experience driving on the left both in Ireland and England. We will be travelling in late August-September. I am mainly interested in feedback on if the itinerary looks too rushed and if any days don't seem practical. I am most concerned about days 5 and 6.  The drives definitely seem doable, but back to back days of a lot of driving without much time for anything else.  Aran Islands and the Antrim coast are the two top things on my wife's list, so not sure where we could cut in order to save some time to cover less ground.

We love the country side and like to take the slower local roads and stick to the coastal route when possible, although obviously time doesn't allow for this in a lot of cases. We mostly prefer small towns to cities.  Will be staying in BnB's throughout the trip other than in Dublin.

Day 1- Fly into Shannon arrive early, pick up car- Cliffs of Moher, to Galway for the night. Would love to head down to check out Loop head lighthouse and that peninsula, but think that would be way too much driving for the first day.

Day 2- Drive to Ashford Castle for falconry.  Drive down to Connemara airport for filght to Innes Moir and spend the afternoon/night there.

Day 3- Explore Innes Moir in the morning, drive through Connemara region via coastal route to Clifden for the night.

Day 4- Drive Sky road, Tour Klyemore abbey, drive Achill island, stay somewhere on Achill (open to suggestions)

Day 5- To Donegal via Sligo. Donegal for the night.

Day 6. Slieve league (day 5 or 6 depending on timing), drive to Derry for lunch and quick tour of the town if time allows. To Portrush area for the night. Where would you recommend staying this night? Portrush seems a bit touristy for us. Open to suggestions.

Day 7- Early start to Dunluce Castle, Giants Causeway, carrick-a-rede rope bridge, dark hedges, Antrim coast road to Ballygalley for the night (or suggestions in the area)

Day 8- Tour Carrickfergus castle, Drive to Dublin. Drop off car. Dublin for the night

Day 9- AM in Dublin- late afternoon flight home.

Open to any suggestions, criticisms, or any major sights or details that I missed.

Thanks!

Joe, Jessica, Daniel and Teresa.



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Well it definitely is a rushed itinerary but too each their own. Some people like it that way. Although I can't help but wonder how old your wife's parents are and whether or not they'd enjoy being whizzed around Ireland on this whirlwind tour.

Some food for thought:

Would it be easier to cut out staying in Galway for the first night and instead stay somewhere near the Cliffs of Moher and then you can take the ferry from Doolin to the Aran Island on the morning of day two and then come back the third day and drive onto Connemara? Seems like you'll have more time that way to spend on one of your wife's priorities. For me driving to Ashford Castle from Galway for falconry (falconry takes time btw) and then driving back down to Connemara airport to fly to Inishmore not only seems rushed but just about impossible or at the very least a very stressful day.

I can't speak much to days 5 through 8 as I'm most familiar with Counties Clare, Galway, and Mayo but I'm sure others will chime in on all that. I love Connemara, Achill Island, other parts of Co. Mayo, etc. and can't help but feel like you're blowing through them way too quickly. Maybe you've been there before but the parents have not. Anyhow, so much to do and never enough time I suppose.


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Markan,

Thanks for the input.  The more I think about it I tend to agree with your assessment.  My wife and I took a trip seeing the southwest and south a few years ago and our favorite part was being able to take our time, mostly stick to the coast and take frequent detours and not really care how long the drives took.  This itinerary was a pretty rough draft, but definitely seems too packed. Will have to do some more research and see how to best make use of our time.

Thanks again!



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As for the Galway to Falconry-Connemara airport day my thinking was.. 

Looking up directions for the loop give about a 2 hour 15 minute driving time (so figure closer to 3 1/2 real time).  Falconry there is advertised as 60 minutes (so if plan on being there for 2-2.5 hours total), then it should be pretty straight forward to get back to the Connemara airport for a mid afternoon flight.  This would leave us a bit of time to explore the island that evening, but leave most of the sightseeing for the following morning.  

Originally this was actually one of the days that I wasn't concerned about.  Does the above seem inaccurate?

 

Thanks again!



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Well based on the Falconry only taking 60 minutes it sounds better to me. I had done Falconry at Kinnitty Castle years ago and it was a 3 hour experience complete with bringing Hawks out to field to hunt rabbit (oh man I sound like Elmer Fudd). I would also mention that while you're visiting Ashford Castle you're going to be passing through some really lovely countryside (as I'm sure you know - and some of the possible roads (i.e. scenic detours) you perhaps don't know about that go off the beaten path) and also may want to spend some time also in the village of Cong itself. Not trying to talk you out of it by the way, just playing the Devil's Advocate.

Enjoy the planning!

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No absolutely. Greatly appreciate the advice. Like I said this was a real rough draft of an itinerary. We will very likely cut some stuff in order to slow down (or ideally add a couple of days to both fit everything and still slow down). It's such a beautiful,place with so much to see, always takes a ton of planning to keep a balance of seeing as much as possible while keeping a reasonable pace.

Thanks again for the help!



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You don't have to do falconry at Ashford Castle. Instead you could see the COM and then head to Aillwee Cave for the Birds of Prey center. They have demos and also private falconry lessons: http://www.aillweecave.ie/birds-of-prey That would save you a day for use elsewhere. Stay in Galway, Barna or Spiddal your first night for ease of getting to the airport for the Aran Islands next day.

You need some fine-tuning on your itinerary and perhaps should drop Slieve League. That will give you more time for the Antrim Coast. Bushmills might be a better overnight for the extensive list you have in Northern Ireland. 

One drive I always enjoy is the Gleniff Horseshoe (signposted off the main Sligo/Donegal Road). If it is not foggy it is a wonderful off the beaten path drive.

 

 



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Will you be doing some sightseeing in Dublin City or just staying near the airport for your last night?

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If you used Lahinch/Doolin/Ballyvaughan for night 1 rather than Galway you could use Aillwee for the Hawk walk and the Cliffs before heading to Inverin for the Inis Mor flight.
Lots of options from Inverin to Clifden, I would though skip the first coastal section. You could call into Padraig Pearce's cottage and follow the bog road all the way across of drop a left at Cashel and go round via Roundstone.
Achill Island is too far aim for Westport or at most Newport and fit Achill and the North Mayo coast between there and Donegal.
Portrush is fine (I don't do tourist central places and I use Portrush), Avarest Guest house has started doing 2 night stays for key times but if you can get a night booking its ideally located.
Other comments.. Its busy, but its achievable.

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You seem to be getting some great advice, so I will add little to the conversation beyond the fact that I, too, find your pace a bit frenetic. Ordinarily, I would plot a similar route over 10 - 12 days (minimum), were it MY trip.  As has been said, though -- It IS 'doable' -- but, it's a lot more 'windshield time' then I would prefer.  It's very close to what Michele has termed a 'Green Blur' trip.

The drive from Achill to Donegal is 211 KM (131 miles).  Google says DRIVE time is right around 3 hours (I would say 4-4 1/2).  The drive from Donegal to Portrush via the Cliffs is around 230 Km (143 Miles) and Google calls IT at 4 - 4 1/4 hours -- I would think 5 -6.

Now, 4 - 6 hours per day is NOT a lot of driving.  On some longer days on some of my trips, we have sometimes spent 12 hours getting from 'A' to 'B' -- BUT -- Drive Time is only a small part of the equation.  How long did you plan to spend IN Sligo?  How long at the Cliffs?  What about the myriad of sites along or 'just off' the way during those drives?

And, What adjustments will you / can you make, if the weather proves uncooperative?  



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Hey all,

Thanks again to everyone for all of the amazing advice. It's awesome that you guys take the time to help people like us out. After reading all of your posts and doing some more route planning/research I think some consolidation is in order.

Haven't ironed out all of the details yet, but I think we will skip the northwest (and hopefully give it the time it deserves on a future trip) and spend six nights on only the Cliffs of Moher to Achill Island portion of the trip, then make the trek across to Dublin for the last two nights. Maybe on our last full day in Dublin we could take a day bus trip up to see at least some of the Antrim Coast sights.

Like you all have said, we don't mind spending a lot of time in the car on these trips, but prefer it to be on our terms, such as exploring side roads, small towns, unexpected sights. Having to skip those due to being on a time crunch takes away from the appeal of taking a road trip through Ireland.

Cheers and thanks again!

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6 nights between County Clare, Galway, and Mayo is a wonderful idea. You will definitely not regret it. So much to see and so may side roads, small towns, unexpected sights, and GREAT PUBS to explore. If you're like most of us on here it won't be your last trip to Ireland anyhow so the other bits will get their due in time.

Mark


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I agree with Mark.  We spent six nights in Moycullen in Oct - November of 2016 and didn't see 1/2 of what we intended to.

It's a good thing we try to go over once or twice a year!  biggrin  biggrin

Let us know if you are looking for ideas.  

Tony's old map might be a good start:  https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?msa=0&mid=1PzDDrrtHmP1sLhTs1AbrbcXjRx0&ll=53.57453741278458%2C-9.508224499999983&z=9

Don't mind all the 'Ferry' Icons -- Google mucked them up when they changed their mapping program . . .  hmm  hmm



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Now we are starting to get somewhere. You might enjoy your first night (or two) in Ballyvaughan. I have a couple of nice recs for B&Bs, if interested. On Achill Island The Bervie - right on the beach!



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Stayed on Achill in 2013 at:
Tel. 353 984 3297 stellamarisachill@gmail.com
www.stellamaris-achill.com/
on Achills main road R319. It's on the beach too.


You might try to get up to Newgrange early morning of your last day there.

 



-- Edited by chaika on Sunday 14th of January 2018 03:56:34 PM

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