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Post Info TOPIC: Third Trip, Donegal and multi-day base dilemmas


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Third Trip, Donegal and multi-day base dilemmas


Hello,

My husband, son (will be nearly 9) and I are traveling to Ireland, arriving July 12 in Shannon, departing July 31 from Shannon. First night in Ennis. Refuse to drive too far on arrival! Plus have to see if we can make the Tesco phone from last trip work...Trip no. 3 for husband and me and no. 2 for our son. Last trip was a month long self-drive with 3 week-long stays in Clifden, Killaloe, and Ballydehob/Skib area, with time in Cork City and Galway as well as a zip up to the Curragh for the Irish Derby. Loved, loved, loved it all.

We want to repeat the longish stays so we can avoid constant pack/unpack. Key goal this trip is Donegal - Slieve Liag (going to try for boat trip out of Teelin), Glenveagh NP, some music if we happen to make it happen/can make it happen with child in tow, Glencolumbcille, and a drive to some other area with beautiful coastal offering (so many options not too picky about detail on which). Here is the rub. Ardara/Glenties would be a good base for most of these. Could it work also for Enniskillen, NI - which hits all sorts of marks - buildings, boat trips, traipsing, town, lake, caves. Bundoran (water park to keep the child happy!)? Also of interest, Sligo's megalithic ruins (which we could do on way from Ennis north, maybe staying between Sligo and Bundoran so we can hit each direction or could do on the way back south...).

Inishowen P - Malin Head (for parents and child, the rocks and the Star Was connection), Grianan of Aileach (a bit off but close enough), Fort Dunree. And, did I mention beaches? Those are in abundance on the way here and there, so we will get those in. Then there is the whole Northern Ireland (Derry/Causeway/Belfast (Titanic, kid...)) pull. We obviously have a problem.hmmhmm Husband says pick a couple of spots, stay put, see what we can see, and fly home yearning for the next trip and revel in memories of the trip we have, and I agree. Just having a hard time getting a realistic sense of where we could plop down yet have "easy" reach (1-1.5 hours one way) to the interests. And, if we are not doing full weeks and want self catering, Air B&B is an obvious option but I have seen the comments on its "status." Given our visit time frame though we need to start making reservations so that we have choices.

Thank you for guidance via prior posts, answers here and elsewhere, and any responses to this post.

 



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SusanM


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Welcome back -- and glad to hear that another trip to Ireland is in the works!  biggrin

AirB&B 'status' is likely only apt to change in metropolitan areas (Like Dublin) that have chronic housing availability.  Even then, it is mostly the 'Illegal' (Unregistered) sites that are being "threatened".  Regardless, self-catering stays of less than a full week will likely be hard to come by in July, no matter what -- as that is well within 'Peak Season'.

Here's ONE idea ---

But, lets recap -- You arrive on Friday, 12 May and plan to stay in Ennis.  Beyond that, you have two full weeks (Sat - Friday) and then finish up with 3 'spare' nights (27-29) -- although, the night of 29 July needs to be based near Shannon for your flight home on the 30th.

So -- If your 'First Base' is around Ballyshannon, you are within that 1 1/2 hour range (each way) of Sligo, Enniskillem, and Glencolmbcille.  That includes areas like Ardara, the Cliffs, Beleek and even the Ulster-American Folk Park.

'Second Base' might be in the vicinity of Burt (Grianan of Aileach) as the 1 1/2 hour 'rule' puts you within range of Glenveagh, Dunfanaghy, pretty much any part of Inishowen -- and as far East as the Giant's Causeway.

That leaves you with two nights in Belfast or, nearby -- and then, a bit of a 'dash' back to Ennis or Bunratty for your final night.  That's a longish one-day drive -- and WELL beyond your 1 1/2 hour parameter -- but it IS within the realm of possibility.   An alternative might be to 'steal' a night from 'Second Base' and shift along your Belfast area stay so that you can split the drive with an over-night somewhere mid-point.



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Bob

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Bob,

Thank you for the thoughtful and quick response! Good news is we get an extra extra night, with the last night being the 30th. Yay for our crazy wishes. My husband reminded me we also want to go back to the Connemara....I am still not seeing that on this trip, but maybe he can find time on the map. (Crazy laugh emoji here...we don't mind a long drive here and there. We drive 8+hours to see my family, sometimes with short stays.) In any event, one option that could work is shifting further north for long stop 1, then doing Enniskillen on the way back across from Belfast. Of course the fastest route from Belfast toward shannon is not through Enniskillen. I am a bit fixated on Enniskillen though after reading comments from Michele and from you in other posts that truly make Enniskillen seem a great spot all the way around. In any event, on the way back across we even could spin through Armagh (can do lots of things, not that we ought...) for pilgrimage purposes. Quick stop, keep moving. In any event, you have me thinking a bit differently on having the two long stops be in Donegal.

I will add that the son commented that he'd like to stay "in the country" or by the beach but NOT in a town since we live in a town. He wants something different from home! Fair point for sure.

On Ballyshannon area, are the areas around there/ Rossnowlagh "built up"? In other words, are they a Myrtle beach Ireland style or just more people but not crazy excess/built up? Not sure I am expressing myself well here, but anyway. I mean, after all I a the one who mentioned a water park...you don't have those without potential for a crowd.

Thanks and enjoy planning your own trip back.

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SusanM


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Rossnowlagh is a very small beach community. Ballyshannon is more built up. I think your son might enjoy the Ulster American Folk Park. You could spend an entire day there. In the park you start in Ireland and see how the ancestors lived in cottages, schools and towns, then board a sailing ship to the new world and see what awaits you there! 



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Keep in mind that Donegal town (very small) is near Ballyshannon. Killybegs is quite small and you could choose a B&B overlooking the ocean.

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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Michele,

Thanks for the suggestion on the Ulster-American Folk Park. It had intrigued me already, and the "crossing" feature sounds like a great way to tell the story.

Now we are thinking of re-ordering going
- Ennis
- Athlone (really just so we can honor my dear octogenarian mother/history/odd things lover request for a FaceTime call from Sean's Bar- well and the husband wants to see Sean's too, one of the only specific requests he has made!) and the castle
- Rathmullan or Burt (Bob's note above) or thereabouts for about 5 days ( day trips, maybe to Giant's Causeway even since we would be"so close")
- Glenties area for 7 (may make for a longer drive to Enniskillen, but we will survive or go somewhere else instead)
- then 3 more nights as we make our way to the last night by the airport.

So while the Athlone to northern Donegal will be a long driving day (4 hours by Google, which I assume will mean about 5.5 without stops), we work our way back down. There will be some repeat roads (through Sligo), but also non-repeat options, and maybe we will go crazy and "zip" back over Clifden or just plunk down somewhere in Mayo. Thanks for the opportunity to think out loud.

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SusanM


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How about something like this for the return to Shannon from Belfast:  https://goo.gl/maps/g7eqP4qqpnK2    That M6 / M18 route intersects with Athlone and would make it an excellent 'mid-point'.   It also routes you through Trim -- which is home to a terrific Castle!  If time allows in Athlone, maybe a 'Viking' ship cruise down to Clonmacnoise?    http://vikingtoursireland.ie/

It's good that you are saving the North for the last, as Marching Season hits it's 'Peak' on 12 July.  It's NOT as bad as many seem to think, but it can certainly impact traffic flow, if you get 'caught up' in a March.   https://www.solaceglobal.com/report/northern-ireland-2018-summer-marching-season/  is a BIT out of date, but gives a decent 'over-view'.

 

 



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Bob

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Bob, thank you much. We had deliberately adjusted our order due to marching season peak! Love the Viking ship idea. The son loves the idea too (although maybe the shorter journey up to Loch Ree). Meanwhile I need to figure out the cool map tricks you and Tony work on Google maps....I have purely functional/rudimentary skills with with it.

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