Anyone been to Ireland and would like to share some advise?
Ireland sound amazing, @sullivanc! Are you planning a trip to Ireland soon?
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Thinking about it for either 2018 or 2019.
You have hit upon one of my bucket list items, but unfortunately I haven’t been there yet. I have been told that Ireland is spectacular in Spring!
It’s on our bucket list as well. Hoping to go in 2018 or 2019.
My husband and I spent 8 days in Ireland in Oct 2016. This is truly a beautiful place. We decided to chart our own path and rented a car. If you do this – listen to all the advice out online! Smaller the car the better, they drive primarily manual, roads are narrow and speedy, and they drive on the left 🙂 We toured mostly the southern parts of Ireland and then we took a train to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Dublin ->Kilkenny ->Killarney -> Galway ->Dublin -> Belfast. We toured so many castles, churches, and other great standards like Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, and Guinness Storehouse! I’m happy to answer any questions you have or give you my perspective on visiting certain towns.
Ireland is an amazing place. Like @nreinardy I rented a car and drove- I would highly suggest renting a REALLY small car as the roads are very narrow. I went south and spent time in Wexford, Waterford (visited the crystal factory), and Dublin. I also really enjoyed the time I spent with local vendors in the small town of Howth. If I had it to do over I would have gone north to also visit Giant’s Causeway. More than happy to have coffee and share photos or additional travel details.
I have been to Ireland twice! The first time it was probably November during a study abroad trip in college. We did a PaddyWagon tour and stayed in hostels. I liked it so much I took my husband there for our honeymoon. This time it was in June….while the island is still green and beautiful in November, the flowers were blooming this time and it was even more amazing. We spent a little more and did a coach bus tour and stayed in nice hotels. Both trips pretty much visited the same places…Dublin, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher….. I would most definitely go back again, but this time I think I would rent a car and stay in bed-and-breakfasts. Happy travels!
My husband and I are going to Dublin in April 2018! What are your top three must do things?
If you’re going to be in the Dingle area and don’t mind a bit of suspense in your driving, the Conor Pass is gorgeous (and super narrow–one lane most of the way even though traffic can come from either direction). I really liked the Burren too.
If you rent a car and the car rental place offers cheaper insurance with a high deductible and a bit more expensive insurance with a lower deductible, go with the more expensive. I went there on my honeymoon and accidentally scraped the side of the car on a stone fence trying to get through an intersection with some kind of horse cart stopped in it. We were out 100 euros instead of 1000 because of the more expensive insurance. (Also, I spent a little more to get automatic transmission, because it’s enough extra brain work to drive on the other side; learning how to use a stick shift seemed like a bad idea.)
Ireland is a beautiful country and the people are even more amazing and very friendly. Most of my knowledge of Ireland is of the west coast because that’s where my wife is from. Most of the cars in Ireland are small in comparison to the US and renting is a good way to do your own thing around most anywhere. However, those taking kids will be happy to know you can still rent a 7 passenger vehicle. I wouldn’t recommend driving a car in Dublin though because of the congestion. Ireland has a very good public transportation system and you can get around most anywhere without a car.
The sites to see on the west coast (north to south) would be Galway and Connemara, Aran Islands, Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, and the Ring of Kerry. Galway is a somewhat more modern town, but still lots to see. The Aran Islands are amazing and there are a few accommodations on the islands but plan well in advance. There are regular ferries to the islands, but beware that side of Ireland can be windy and with rough seas. The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren are essentially in the same area. Be sure to stop at Aillwee Cave if you’re going to the Burren. As mentioned by others, the roads around Ireland and the Dingle Pass are narrow and some are single lane only with a few spots to pull aside to let other cars by. If you go around the Ring of Kerry, stop at the Gap of Dunloe. The views are breathtaking.
Dublin is a huge city for Ireland. I think I heard 3/4 of the population of the country lives there. I would recommend the hop-on hop-off busses that go around the city. It’s a nice way to see the cites and you don’t need to worry about parking to get around. They will take you around to most of the major sites including the Guinness Brewery which is an impressive place to go even if you don’t/can’t drink alcohol (e.g. kids). Also recommend going to Trinity College and seeing the Book of Kells.
As far as flights into Ireland, it will depend on where you’re planning to spend most of your time. Since we spend most of our time on the west coast, Shannon is very easy to fly in and out of. Not nearly as chaotic as Dublin. So, if you want to avoid the headache of Dublin airport, I’d recommend flying into Shannon.
I went for my niece’s destination wedding in August. My significant other and I chose to use “Groupon.” It worked out beautifully. We got 7 days (1 night in hotel and 6 nights in bed and breakfasts), car rental and round trip tickets for almost the same price as some paid for just the flight!! We marked our own destination after the wedding near Dublin. Rented a small electric/gas car and only filled once. Many many bed and breakfasts to choose from with Groupon. Went South to Cork and then up the West coast. We ended up not purchasing the Maps download through our phone company which we felt was a mistake, but we got by. Instead, we ended up downloading our destination for the day onto our phones through Google maps using internet at hotel/bed and breakfasts, and then set out for the day. It worked pretty well. Get insurance on car. Get advice on places to travel to from your bed and breakfast. We had a blast venturing out on our own and finding ourselves up in the mountains with the goats! Plan your destinations, but try and go by the seat of your pants a little. To save travel back to Dublin, you could book your flight back out of Shannon.
My wife and I are going to Ireland at the end of March/first 2 weeks in April. We’re flying into Dublin but going straight to Cork after we land. We’re renting a car, which will allow us to be more flexible where we go (and we won’t have to abide by train/bus schedules, etc.) Our plan is to spend 3 night in Cork, the travel up the west coast to Galway, then up to Bushmills (to see the Giant’s Causeway), over to Belfast for 3 nights and then spend the last 3 nights in Dublin. We’ll be doing some hiking trails around Cork/Dingle but we’re looking for possible suggestions on staying in a castle for a night or two (if anyone has stayed in one they really liked.)
I have been to Dublin in 2009 but this was the last city we visited on our European vacation after college (needless to say I was quite tired.) We stayed in the Four Courts Hostel, right across from the Four Courts, and we met an awesome independent tour guide there. We visited Trinity College, and stopped by the Chester Beatty Library (highly recommended if you’re looking for a place to see historical material.) We also stopped by the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery, and had lunch at the Brazen Head (oldest pub in Dublin.)
I’ll report back to this group after my trip with anything cool/exciting that we encounter on our trip in April!
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