Author Topic: Trip to Southern Ireland  (Read 1870 times)

WranglerBowman

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Trip to Southern Ireland
« on: April 04, 2018, 10:45:03 AM »
Hi All, my wife and I are planning a trip to Ireland in June and flying into Dublin.  We've never been there and have 7 days where we're trying to see as much of Southern Ireland as we can. I was wondering if the MMM's could help us out with things that are not to be missed.  I have an interest in history, ancestry (Wexford for us), beer, and whiskey and have been planning the trip around that so far.  I'm sure my wife would like to see the history, as well beautiful scenery.  Already booked plane tickets.  Please provide some recommendations for us as we are trying to see a lot but also be frugal and smart about the trip.  Thanks.
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2lazy2retire

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 11:09:46 AM »
If you are planning around beer and whisky - then I assume you have added the Guinness and Jameson factory tours in Dublin - these you could knockout on your first day in after the overnight flight :).
Lots of history in Dublin - see GPO, Trinity, Cathedrals, Joyce tours, Literary pub crawls etc. As you are heading down the coast to Wexford - its well worth checking out Glendalough in Co Wicklow if you fancy a bit of scenery and a hike ( more history too circa 500AD :))
Waterford is a cool little city close to Wexford and some nice beaches around those parts ( Tramore) .
For scenery you best bet is the west coast - recently rebranded the Wild Atlantic WAY - lots of drives and bike rides etc.
With 7 days getting up to Northern Ireland might be a stretch as you already somewhat committed to the South with heading to Wexford - but NI also has some stunning scenery up around the Antrim coast and more history ( more recent ) than anyone can take on board on a day trip :)
As regards money it will not be the cheapest place - but plenty of airbnb's and B&B's which may offer loads of local info. One bit of advice that is somewhat unique to Ireland is car rental - in that most US cc's will not cover CDW - this can add a substantial cost to your rental, I keep MC World just for this benefit alone- also if you need automatic you will pay a premium

force majeure

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 12:04:57 PM »
Send me a PM - I am on the ground.
p.s. I get this from friends a lot

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2lazy2retire

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 12:19:00 PM »
Send me a PM - I am on the ground.

Is Ireland top secret ;)

eddie

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 02:00:44 PM »
I did the same trip about 8 years ago. 

Public transportation isn't great. Rent a car.  Most rental cars were standards, car insurance wasn't covered by my credit card and the rental insurance I purchased from the rental company was as expensive as the rental itself.  I got an automatic transmission because I never learned how to drive a stick.  Driving on the wrong side of the road on those narrow country lanes with 4-8 foot tall stone walls on either side while trying not to slam head on into a truck was very mentally taxing the first couple days.  An hour into my first day of driving I literally had to pull over for 30 minutes to calm down and relax.

That being said, the country is beautiful.  There is lots to see and do in Dublin itself.  Tours, a museum of two, pubs... There are lots of small towns with castles and history things.  We went to a few, but I don't remember many of the specifics. Kilkenny was very nice. The western half of the country is the prettiest.  Fewer people, mountains, lots of sheep.  So many shades of green.  I wish I would have been able to go on some hikes in the mountains, but my girlfriend at the time sprained her ankle the second day of the trip so we didn't do any of that.  I also wish we would have taken more pictures.  We stayed in a mix of hostels, BnBs, and a night or two in a hotel.  We didn't have much $.  I liked the BnBs the best.  You have a local person tell you about the area and cook you breakfast.


runbikerun

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 03:11:14 PM »
On beer and whiskey: the Guinness and Jameson tours are a little expensive for what you get, and there are other options. The Teeling distillery in Dublin 8 offers a very decent tour, and if you pay 20 euro for the Trinity tasting tour, you get three different Teeling whiskies at the end, each with their own flavour profile. Outside of tours, I have bad news: drinking in Ireland is a fairly expensive affair. You're talking about five euro or so per drink, with very narrow deviation - where in the US you might pay nine dollars for a fancy beer in a classy bar near the financial district, and two dollars for a PBR in a dive, in Ireland it's four euro for a pint at the cheapest and around six at the top end unless you go for craft beer. Go for quality over quantity.

On history: Kilmainham gaol has a very strong reputation as a historical attraction, although I haven't been since it was revamped a couple of years ago. It's a little awkward to get to (just far enough outside the city for walking to be a bit much). Trinity College is beautiful, and while the queue for the Book of Kells might be long, current students may be able to bring in guests while skipping the queue itself - so if you know anyone who knows anyone who's studying there, contacting them might be a good bet.

I'm conscious that the stuff above is a bit Dublin-centric: I was born here and have lived my whole life in the city, so it's what I know.

If you want your history as historical as possible, Newgrange is genuinely one of the most astonishing places on earth. It's a passage tomb over five thousand years old, and is built in such a way that the first light on the dawn of the winter solstice pierces directly to the heart of the tomb, while leaving it dark the rest of the year. There are other passage tombs in the area, designed so that their interiors light up at the equinox or the summer solstice: they're older than the pyramids.

On food and drink: there are several rules here. The first is simple: don't eat traditional Irish fare for dinner. Outside of the tourist-trap areas, you'll find decent Mexican, Indian, Brazilian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and all sorts of other cuisines. You will, as a rule, not see anyone Irish eating boxty, because life is too short to eat bloody boxty. The second is simpler still: eat an Irish breakfast every chance you get, because it's bloody delicious unless you're a vegetarian or an observant Muslim or Jew. Lastly, be aware that if someone offers you tea, they will quite literally not believe you don't actually want a cup.

Do hit the west coast, because as much as it kills me to admit it, there are views in the west of Ireland that you just can't find the equal of in the east. Westport may be a little off the beaten track, but it's an absolutely lovely town and Croagh Patrick, with its scree slopes and the ancient church on top, is both alien and beautiful and is a few miles outside the town itself. Drink Mescan beer if you go to Westport, it's lovely stuff.

Dave1442397

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2018, 04:35:40 PM »
I'll post this email I sent to friends last year:

Where you spend time depends on your interests. I prefer the scenic sights over the cities, so I wouldn't spend a lot of time there.

Having said that, Dublin has plenty of things to see.

1)   The Guinness factory tour is always good - https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en
2)   The Irish Distillers tour - https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/ie/visit-us
The Midleton (Cork) tour is probably better if you want to see the actual production process. I never took the official tour, but my dad used to take me there sometimes.
3)   Ireland's oldest pub - http://www.brazenhead.com/
4)   Kilmainham Gaol - http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie/
5)   This is only if you're interested in Irish sports - https://crokepark.ie/gaa-museum-tours
6)   Shopping the nicest shopping area is around Grafton Street, with plenty of nice stores hidden in some of the side streets branching off it, and an indoor shopping center at the south end of the street.
7)   St. Stephen's Green a nice park at the south end of Grafton Street. Small, well worth a look.
8)   This is probably one of my favorites The Book of Kells, and the Trinity College library in general - https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/
9)   This one was fun - https://www.littlemuseum.ie/

   If you have time to take a couple of side trips from Dublin city, you can drive or take the DART (train) to Howth, a fishing village with some great seafood restaurants - http://www.visitdublin.com/hooked-on-howth-dublin
   Another cool place is Malahide Castle, also easy to get to by car, bus or train - https://www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie/

If you plan on doing the Irish Distillers tour, let me know. My dad worked there for a long time, and he may still be able to arrange some perks.

Ok, once you're out of Dublin, I think my priorities would be the West/Southwest and North of the country.

The West:
   For a taste of old Ireland, the only place left where people still speak Irish as a first language is the Aran Islands. The scenery is stark, but stunning. The rain and wind can howl in from the Atlantic Ocean, so bring your rain gear!
o   You can take a boat or fly out there - http://www.aranislandferries.com/ or http://aerarannislands.ie/
o   Inis Meain is the least populated island, but probably the most traditional. We spent a couple of nights there and loved it - http://www.aranislands.ie/inis-meain-inishmaan/
o   I bought an Aran sweater from these guys when I was there many years ago - http://inismeain.ie/about
   Back on the mainland, and in the same area, we have more to see.
o   The Cliffs of Moher just spectacular - https://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/
o   The Burren this is a rocky, but beautiful, part of the country. One of my favorites - http://www.burrennationalpark.ie/
o   After this many years away, I'm not up on the bar scene any more, but some of the local bars have great food and traditional music at night - https://anoige.ie/top-5-traditional-irish-music-pubs-in-clare/
o   Bunratty Castle is nice. My mom has taken some of their gourmet cooking lessons, and loved it - https://www.shannonheritage.com/BunrattyCastleAndFolkPark/
o   Galway is a nice place to visit too.

The Northwest:
   If you happen to be in the area and want a hike, I've always liked this one - http://www.sligowalks.ie/?pagid=knocknarea&menu1_topicid=walks
   And if you want to stay in one of the coolest places, try Temple House - http://templehouse.ie/

The Southwest:
   Heading more to the Southwest, the Ring of Kerry is a nice way to see the sights, and will be a lot less crowded in October.
o   https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/ring-around-the-ring-of-kerry
o   Muckross House - http://www.muckross-house.ie/
o   And the Dingle Peninsula is beautiful - https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/dingle-peninsula-pure-ireland

o   If you have time to poke around, there are some nice villages in West Cork that are worth a look.
   http://www.schull.ie/category/what-to-do/
   http://www.crookhaven.ie/


The North:
   The Giant's Causeway is amazing, and you can easily see everything in a couple of hours if in a hurry. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway
   There's the Bushmills Distillery tour (again, let me know if going there): http://www.bushmills.com/distillery/
   I'm not all that familiar with the rest of Northern Ireland, but this link has some good suggestions - https://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/northern-ireland/travel-tips-and-articles/top-10-northern-ireland-experiences



ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 08:01:17 PM »
We were there for three weeks last Aug-Sep. and had an absolutely great trip!

A few tips:

Watch out for pickpockets in Dublin, especially the touristy areas on/near O'Connell St., Henry St., Grafton St., Trinity College, etc. They are extremely slick. Don't carry much cash or many cards, keep them close to you (money belt), and try not to look like a rich, confused tourist!

With the rental car, get the waiver, insurance, etc. Mostlikely you will not be covered on your own insurance policy, and if you refuse, they may charge you several thousand Euros up front, refunded if you return the car with no damage. You very likely WILL damage the car, as roads are very narrow, windy, and, as someone used to left-hand drive in a right hand drive car, it is VERY easy to scrape the left side of the car! Also, there are very few automatics--I've heard that many rental car agencies will give you whatever they have, regardless if you reserved an automatic. We rented with Dan Dooley and had no problems; we were very happy with them. Also, remember, at the petrol station, the colors of the nozzles are reversed from the U.S: GREEN is petrol and BLACK is diesel. If you put the wrong fuel in the car, you will not be covered by any insurance or waiver. Driving is fairly easy, but some of the roundabouts and cities can be confusing. People are generally very friendly and helpful if you need directions.

Also, I would not step off of a long-haul flight and rent a car in Ireland. There is enough to get used to driving there for the first time, without having to fight fatigue! I also would not have a car in Dublin. Like most large European cities, it is very confusing, streetsigns are old, decrepit, faded, and encrusted with lichens, and some streets change names every hundred meters. Nearly all of the motorways, national roads, and regional roads are very clearly signposted.

If you are into history, I highly recommend a trip to the Hill of Tara and  Newgrange. Go on a tour where they guarantee you entry (not all do, and entry is limited!). We highly recommend Mary Gibbons Tours.

Glendalough is unbelievably beautiful. A two hour bus trip south of Dublin.

Guinness Storehouse is worth it if you like the beer. My great-grandfather worked for them (I have several generations of Irish ancestors on both mother's and father's sides).

Hugh Lane Gallery and Chester Beatty Library are both spectacular if you are into art.

National Museum (Archaeology): Incredible collection of artifacts, especially gold ornnaments, broochs, Cong Cross, Viking stuff...

Book of Kells (At Trinity College) A MUST-SEE!!!

We also stayed in Kilkenny, Cork (Cork Butter House--Owner Martin is extremely nice person), Dingle (Emlagh Lodge), Kenmare (Watersedge), and Ennis (Newpark House). On the Dingle peninsula, of course drive the Wild Atlantic Way. If you stay at Emlagh Lodge, Maggie, the owner, can arrange a wonderful half-day tour with an archaeologist.


« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 08:49:46 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2018, 08:13:52 PM »
Restaurant recommendations

DUBLIN: Murray's Pub at O'Connell and Parnell. Great live music (Celtic Gypsies) and Murray's Irish Dancers. Very good food; Diwali (Indian)

KILKENNY: Kytler's Pub. Great food and live music. Very old, historic pub

CORK: Four-Faced Liar not cheap but great continental/Italian food. Very quiet and away from all the racket of the city centre.

KENMARE: Tom Crean (not cheap!, but with outstanding seafood)

ENNIS: Broghan's Pub; Great food, live music


The following are also must-sees:

Lakes of Killarney (Killarney City itself is incredibly touristy)

Ring of Kerry (as much of it as you can--easier if you stay in Kenmare)

Wild Atlantic Way on the Dingle Peninsula (Beehive huts, Gallarus Oratory)

Blasket Centre (One of the BEST museums I've ever visited!)
http://www.heritageireland.ie/ga/ionadanb/

Cliffs of Moher (if very foggy, go to Bunratty Castle instead)

Poulnabrone Dolmen


Cobh (but take a bus, driving from Cork is very confusing)

Blarney Castle


Our favorite Irish Whiskey was/is Paddy, FWIW.

Have fun.


« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 08:57:19 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

Trifele

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2018, 05:14:07 AM »
Posting to follow.  We are headed to Ireland for at least a month next year on my FIRE-moon trip.  :)

My people came from Kilkenny, so we are starting there.  Will check out Kytler's -- thanks.  Hoping to do lots of hiking (visiting as many parks as we can) and beer drinking.  I've never drunk whiskey, but I'm totally teachable!  Cannot. Wait.

KatitaBlaze

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2018, 06:19:11 AM »
This website for free events happening each week in and around Dublin is definitely worth a mention:http://www.dublineventguide.com/. It's also available as a free app and is great for checking out markets, festivals and live music happening for free each day.

I recently took a trip along the Wild Atlantic Way and if you're looking for spectacular cliffs, rugged scenery & pristine beaches then west is definitely the direction to go.

The cliff walk from Doolin up to the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre is simply incredible and you can really experience the cliffs away from the crowds that gather up at the visitor centre.

Try the seaweed baths in Strandhill (Co. Sligo) or Killary (Co. Galway) for an interesting experience! You literally soak in a bath of seaweed freshly plucked from the Atlantic.

There's a really interesting Poison Garden in the grounds of Blarney castle (famous for the stone that you can kiss and according to legend will give you the 'gift of the gab').

I second the suggestion of Newgrange in Co. Meath... it's older than Stonehenge and is a true feat of engineering!

Also, a visit to the Aran Islands is like stepping back in time! I'd recommend flying there in a tiny commuter plane from Connemara Airport. Slightly more expensive than the ferry but so much shorter with none of the seasickness and... one lucky passenger gets to sit beside the pilot! (They'll weigh everyone and assign seats to balance out the plane...)

Someone already mentioned Waterford (the county right next to Wexford). A few friends of mine have been raving about the new greenway cycle path that goes from a town called Dungarven into the city http://www.deisegreenway.com/. Dungarven is also somewhat of a foodie hotspot too. You can rent bikes and arrange for bus transfers at either end of the route. There's a similar initiative in Co. Mayo where you can cycle on a designated bike path from Westport to Achill Island. http://www.greenway.ie/

If you're into camping and brave enough to face the changeable weather in Ireland I'd recommend the eco campsite in Clifden Co. Galway http://www.actonsbeachsidecamping.com/. Being here you'll feel like you're really at the edge of the continent! I can make some more campsite suggestions from my own travels on teh west coast if this is of interest... I'll just need to dig up some old emails.

Be prepared for every type of weather imaginable! In the summer the weather can actually be pretty good but it's the changeability that can really suck. Always have a warm jumper (sweater) and a rain coat to hand because you just never know...

tralfamadorian

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2018, 07:12:56 AM »
Saving this thread for a future trip. Thanks to everyone who gave all the generous suggestions!
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ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2018, 12:20:44 PM »
Indeed a very informative thread. My wife and I are likely headed back to see the north in 2020 (2019 is France, and this year Sonoma/Mendocino, CA). Because of my Irish ancestry, I am told that it is pretty straightforward to apply for citizenship. We may retire there, but that is a subject for another thread...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 12:22:50 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

2lazy2retire

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2018, 12:28:25 PM »
Indeed a very informative thread. My wife and I are likely headed back to see the north in 2020 (2019 is France, and this year Sonoma/Mendocino, CA). Because of my Irish ancestry, I am told that it is pretty straightforward to apply for citizenship. We may retire there, but that is a subject for another thread...

"Unless at least one parent or an Irish-born grandparent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis of extended previous ancestry (that is, ancestors other than your parents or grandparents"

goatmom

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2018, 12:43:44 PM »
Take this for what it is worth:

Favorites -  Kilmainham Gaol
                  Crough Patrick - I was a slow climber and it took me most of the day but was really wonderful.
                  Horseback riding on the beach in Mayo
                   Aran Islands
                    St. Kevin's Monastery in Glendalough
                    Pubs
                     Horse Races

Would not do again - Guinness Factory - too commercial
                               
Enjoy your trip!!

                               
                               

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2018, 01:06:11 PM »
Indeed a very informative thread. My wife and I are likely headed back to see the north in 2020 (2019 is France, and this year Sonoma/Mendocino, CA). Because of my Irish ancestry, I am told that it is pretty straightforward to apply for citizenship. We may retire there, but that is a subject for another thread...

"Unless at least one parent or an Irish-born grandparent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, you cannot claim Irish citizenship on the basis of extended previous ancestry (that is, ancestors other than your parents or grandparents"

Right, Grandmother born in Dublin in 1911, Irish citizen alive when I was a kid (she died in 1995).
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 01:10:25 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

WranglerBowman

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2018, 08:23:33 AM »
You guys are awesome!!! Dave and NotAGolfer those lists are great!  I'm making a list of every place recommended and then going to map it all out and see what I "think" we can get to without overcommitting ourselves.  I've heard plenty of stories about driving over there and about the rentals.  I'm 6'2" and most of the rentals are super tiny so we'll see how that goes.  I'm a huge fan of breakfast and plan to eat traditional Irish breakfasts the whole time we're there.  Guinness and Jameson breweries are planned with Jameson being a requirement for me since that's one of my favorite whisky's.  Honestly I'm more excited about the beer and whiskey than probably anything else, sounds sad but it's hard to find good beers on tap in your average bar in the US, I'm big on stouts, porters, dunkels, and bocks.  Trying to set the trip up so we do all the site seeing and driving during the day and then park for the night around 5 or 6, eat, drink, and be merry.  What do you all think the max amount of driving you should do in a day is, giving the driving conditions over there?
Livin off the fat of the land is the life for me.

Dave1442397

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2018, 01:08:54 PM »
You guys are awesome!!! Dave and NotAGolfer those lists are great!  I'm making a list of every place recommended and then going to map it all out and see what I "think" we can get to without overcommitting ourselves.  I've heard plenty of stories about driving over there and about the rentals.  I'm 6'2" and most of the rentals are super tiny so we'll see how that goes.  I'm a huge fan of breakfast and plan to eat traditional Irish breakfasts the whole time we're there.  Guinness and Jameson breweries are planned with Jameson being a requirement for me since that's one of my favorite whisky's.  Honestly I'm more excited about the beer and whiskey than probably anything else, sounds sad but it's hard to find good beers on tap in your average bar in the US, I'm big on stouts, porters, dunkels, and bocks.  Trying to set the trip up so we do all the site seeing and driving during the day and then park for the night around 5 or 6, eat, drink, and be merry.  What do you all think the max amount of driving you should do in a day is, giving the driving conditions over there?

The driving over there isn't that bad. Speed cameras and better roads have calmed things down a lot from when I lived there. If you're traveling on the major roads, it's not bad at all. Driving on tiny back roads is something most Americans aren't used to, but, as they say in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Don't panic! Take it easy, don't fly around blind curves, be prepared to pull over if you're on basically a one lane road and meet an oncoming vehicle. Whoever has space to pull over usually does, whether onto the grass verge, into a gateway, whatever's handy.

I would say don't drive like a typical American. People around here tend to swing around corners as if they're driving a tractor trailer, and casually cruise in the middle of the road instead of staying right. That kind of crap can get you killed in Ireland. Expect the locals on small country roads to be driving like rally drivers, zipping around curves at twice the speed you'd expect. Stay on your own side of the road and you'll be fine. Once I came to the US and saw how people drive here, I was no longer surprised at how many Americans barely made it out of Shannon airport :)

As to how far you can drive in a day, it's a tiny country. You can easily go from east coast to west coast in three hours, and Belfast to Cork is around five hours. Basically, you can get just about anywhere in a day.

As for Jameson, you can visit the old distillery in Dublin, but you can also visit the Midleton distillery, which is where they make the whiskey these days - https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/us/visit-us/jameson-distillery-midleton/jdm-our-experiences/jameson-experience

If you're up north, you can also visit the Bushmills distillery - https://www.bushmills.com/stories/visit-the-distillery/

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2018, 05:04:24 PM »
You guys are awesome!!! Dave and NotAGolfer those lists are great!  I'm making a list of every place recommended and then going to map it all out and see what I "think" we can get to without overcommitting ourselves.  I've heard plenty of stories about driving over there and about the rentals.  I'm 6'2" and most of the rentals are super tiny so we'll see how that goes.  I'm a huge fan of breakfast and plan to eat traditional Irish breakfasts the whole time we're there.  Guinness and Jameson breweries are planned with Jameson being a requirement for me since that's one of my favorite whisky's.  Honestly I'm more excited about the beer and whiskey than probably anything else, sounds sad but it's hard to find good beers on tap in your average bar in the US, I'm big on stouts, porters, dunkels, and bocks.  Trying to set the trip up so we do all the site seeing and driving during the day and then park for the night around 5 or 6, eat, drink, and be merry.  What do you all think the max amount of driving you should do in a day is, giving the driving conditions over there?

A few comments: I'm over 6' and was perfectly comfortable in a mid-sized sedan (Skoda Superb). I think you would be fine in a decent-sized car. SUVs and pickups--especially the larger ones--are a rarity in the country, and you really don't want to drive a large vehicle due to the size and windiness of many of the smaller roads. This can also be an issue in the cities. In order to reach our hotel in Cork, I had to drive up the street with my two left tires on the sidewalk!

Max amount of driving in a day? In Dublin City: Zero! On the motorways and some national roads, it would be limited by your own level of alertness, comfort and weather. Don't try to cover too much ground in a day. Even though the country is small, speeds are (or should be!) slow on many of the smaller roads, weather is always a consideration, and you lack experience. Sheep or cattle crossing the road can also be a factor!! On my first day, after picking up the car at Dublin Airport, I headed directly to the M50 and then on to Kilkenny--about 90 minutes total. That was comfortable for the first day, but I could have done more.

Driving on the left is not that hard to remember, since your steering wheel is on the right, and everyone else is doing the same. The little things that go along with it are not so easy to remember. For one remember to look RIGHT first when you are moving from a minor road to a major road or pulling out of a driveway. Oncoming traffic will be on your RIGHT first--before your left--the opposite of the situation in a country in which they drive on the right. Also, for those of us used to left-hand drive, there is only a few inches of vehicle on your left. In a right-hand drive vehicle, it's a few feet! As such, it is really easy to misgauge distance and scrape the left hand side of the car.

ALSO, IMPORTANT!! Before passing someone on the right, make sure you know for sure whether you are on a two lane or one lane road. Lane and shoulder markings can be confusing and are different than in the U.S. !!

BOOZE: Blood alcohol limits are lower than in the U.S., and you will be in a lot of trouble if you are found guilty of driving over the limit!

In addition to Guinness, try Tom Crean, Smithwick's (pronounced SMITH-ick) red ale, and ST. Kevin's Ale. For whisky, try Paddy, our favorite.

Also, don't waste your money on shamrock or flower seeds--U.S. Customs will confiscate them from you (you terrorist!)!!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2018, 05:18:27 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

Sharkey

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2018, 03:43:33 AM »
Lots of great advice here.

Re car insurance - you might want to get the basic insurance with the car rental place, with high excess, then use a third party for excess insurance, this is what I do. Having said that, I've never needed to claim.

I would probably rent a car for the portions of your trip when you're not in Dublin, and not while in Dublin city itself - a car in the centre of the city is a bit of a pain with parking. Central Dublin is very walkable, everything between say the Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College.

Uber works here but it uses only professional taxi drivers so it will be more expensive than in the US.

Amex cards are not accepted in lots of places, so have a Mastercard or a Visa. There are tons of ATMs everywhere around Dublin, particularly inside most Spar convenience stores (and it is probably a little safer to be inside getting cash, not that Dublin is unsafe by any standards).

For another distillery recommendation - Teelings Distillery in Dublin (not far from Guinness Storehouse) is great, lovely tour of the working stillroom etc, and tasting room.
While you're there, pop by nearby St Patrick's Cathedral and the beautiful park beside it, and the historic Marsh's Library (down one of the most amazingly beautiful old streets in Dublin), then pass Kevin St Garda station (police station) - note the very old columns in front (from a medieval abbey AFAIR) and spot the old red British Police lamp beside the blue Garda one.
This is one of the most historic parts of Dublin (and my own backyard). Still very much in a Medieval street layout.
Ship St Little behind Dublin Castle and the Dubh Linn gardens are also nearby and really amazingly well-kept secrets.

If you want to drink whisky - avoid tourist trap Irish Whisky Museum and the whisky bar on Nassau St, go to Bowes Pub on Fleet Street as the locals do :)

If this crowd are running a tasting while you're here, try to go (order tickets well in advance though, they always sell out). Excellent value tastings, always interesting.
https://www.celticwhiskeyshop.com/Tastings-and-Tours

Beer: The Black Sheep on Capel St, also has nice gastropub food and much more local than say The Porterhouse, which is quite tourist oriented.
If you're going there, Mary's Abbey is another well-kept Dublin secret and very nearby: http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/stmarysabbeydublin/

I also second the Newgrange recommendation, it's like nothing else on the planet, and the Howth walk is unmissable too. Get the DART train there, do the cliff walk, dinner at the Summit Inn, and bus back to the city centre.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 03:46:03 AM by Sharkey »

ashleyinchs

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2018, 07:16:22 AM »
How we did Ireland on the cheap last summer:

- stayed exclusively in Airbnbs
- only stayed 1 night in Dublin (we prefered the country anyways, and the hotels were really expensive in June)

Our favorite places:
- Slea Head Drive on Dingle Peninsula
- Boat tour to the Aran Islands
- Cliffs of Moher

People have already covered this in depth, but renting a car in Ireland is pricey. And there will be a lot of hidden fees once you get to the rental car office. Negotiate with them. They will try to give you a much larger or luxury vehicle. Also, don't pack a ton of stuff because the cheaper cars have tiny trunks.

Trifele

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2018, 08:28:36 AM »
Thank you @Sharkey for the detailed Dublin recommendations!  I am ashamed to say that we were leaning toward skipping Dublin when we come, partly to keep costs down and partly because we have two kids (12 and 15) and I wasn't sure they would appreciate/enjoy it.   You have convinced me to come.  Though sad to say it looks like St. Mary's is closed.  Hopefully will reopen in 2019?

Sharkey

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2018, 11:16:46 AM »
Dublin has a lot of great things going on! Kids that age will probably appreciate the Dublinia exhibit, BTW, and Newgrange's visitor centre is pitched well at that age group.

Sorry about Mary's Abbey, I hadn't spotted it was closed :(

skibum

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2018, 11:48:16 AM »
Did 3 weeks in Ireland last September. We rented a car and drove. Well, I drove. We had a fantastic time, although the driving was occasionally hair raising. (I still have nightmares about the Conor Pass.) I've also rented a car in the last few years in France and Italy, and Ireland was about 4x the cost of those places. Crazy expensive, and I was able to drive a stick just fine. If you needed automatic I would say stuff it.

With 7 days I'm just not sure it would be worth it to rent a car. If I only had 7 days I would:
- Focus on Dublin. You've been given some great suggestions there. I personally thought the Guinness storehouse tour was WAY overpriced and kinda meh, but others seemed to enjoy it.
- Christchurch Cathedral was a really cool tour, and they actually let you ring the bells which was fun. St. Patricks was good too.
- The Book of Kells and the History museums were really cool. (The Natural History one though was a bit out of date and creepy.)
- Day tours - you can get to Glendalough (AMAZING), and Newgrange (DOUBLE AMAZING) through day coaches - I would do that in a heartbeat.
- Tara hill was cool too, but see if someone offers a tour.
- Other tours were offered from Dublin to some highlights of our trip - Kilkenney, Galway and Belfast.
- The ring of Kerry was gorgeous and amazing, but as the driver I didn't get to see all that much - I wished I'd been on a coach.

In Dublin, we had an Air BnB that was reasonable. Outside Dublin we stayed mostly at B&Bs booked locally by the tourist office, which worked but apparently is dying - many places have decided not to pay the fee to get listed with tourist offices, and just have bookings online.



Trifele

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2018, 04:13:09 PM »
Dublin has a lot of great things going on! Kids that age will probably appreciate the Dublinia exhibit, BTW, and Newgrange's visitor centre is pitched well at that age group.

Sorry about Mary's Abbey, I hadn't spotted it was closed :(

Yes!  Newgrange was already on our radar screen.  We tend to focus on parks and heritage sites.  And we're not coming til  next year, so with any luck the Abbey will be open again.  :)

sfb

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2018, 06:57:02 AM »
I spent 10 days in Ireland in August 2016.  We flew into Dublin and took the bus to town and spent 2 nights there.  I also recommend the Teelings tour.  Order a Tipperary at the bar after the tasting (sort of like a Manhattan.)

We took the bus back to the airport and picked up a rental car for the rest of the trip.  We went clockwise heading to Kilkenny first.  I really enjoyed Portmagee where you can take a boat ride to Skellig Michael (the islands where Luke was living in the Last Jedi.)  We were not able to get on the islands (there is limited access and its highly weather dependent) but it was still worth seeing them from the boat.  The water can be pretty rough so seasickness may be an issue.

I also enjoyed Bunratty castle, Dingle, and Kylemore Abbey next to Connemara National Park.  Malahide is a nice place to spend the night near the Dublin airport.

Zola.

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2018, 07:20:29 AM »
Go West

And go up to North to Belfast etc!

Ireland is a wonderful place, North, South, East and West!

Many good recommendations so far.

ENJOY!
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 07:22:15 AM by Zola. »

WranglerBowman

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2018, 01:32:34 PM »
All, I've written down every recommendation so far of where people recommend to go, the specifics places to eat/drink, and even people to contact for lodging.  We had planned to rent a car when we land, but rethinking this now based on everyone saying NOT to drive in Dublin.  First 2 days will be in Dublin staying with a friend.  I already drive a manual trans and live in a rural area with lots of amish and tight winding roads, so there shouldn't really be much of a learning curve...except the whole driving on the left side thing...  It looks like most of the towns we plan to visit aren't more than 120 mile drive per day, which doesn't sound bad at all to me, 5 hours of driving? 

Definitely not planning to start drinking until I know we've stopped the car for the day, but I love the drink recommendations you all have provided and I wrote them all down with the locations and hope to try them all!

I'll start mapping things out the rest of the week and try to put together a "not too ambitious" itinerary, since this is also supposed to be a vacation.  I'll post the itinerary when we get it together and let you all tell me it's too much to do in too short of a time.  Thanks again for all the great suggestions and recommendations, huge help.
Livin off the fat of the land is the life for me.

Zola.

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2018, 05:15:13 AM »
Please note that the only roads similar to American roads are the freeways. Many of the roads out west and such are narrow and windy, but thats all part of the adventure.

I cant recommend Galway and the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare enough. Kerry is also great.

Dublin is overrated!

mjdh1957

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2018, 04:02:45 AM »


Dublin is overrated!

I love Dublin and could easily spend a week there

runbikerun

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2018, 01:30:02 AM »
Some more specific recommendations of things to do in Dublin and Ireland, with an eye on the free/cheap aspect:

-The Natural History Museum (aka the Dead Zoo) has barely changed in a hundred years, to the extent that it's one of the last surviving examples of a Victorian-style museum. As a result, the exhibits are only part of its appeal; the museum itself is an object of interest. Plus it's free to enter.

-The Archaeological Museum of Ireland is around the corner, and displays exhibits covering nine thousand years of human habitation in Ireland. The bog bodies (corpses preserved after falling into bogs) are particularly impressive/creepy. And it's also free.

-The Museum of Decorative Arts is on the opposite side of the river to the Guinness site, and is also free, being the third National Museum of Ireland site based in Dublin (after the two above). If you keep an eye on their schedule, you might get to see some really fascinating stuff - the last time I was there, during Heritage Week in August, we got to see several staff members talking us through the restoration process involved in their work, which was utterly absorbing for a nerd like me. If you're in Ireland for Heritage Week (18th-26th August), keep an eye on the listings. Plus Heritage Week will have a bunch of other stuff going on as well - also for free.

-The National Gallery, the Chester Beatty and the Hugh Lane Gallery are all free, and the National Gallery is on the same block as the Dead Zoo and the Decorative Arts museum. There are some spectacular works, and there may be visiting exhibitions at a pretty reasonable price. See also the Irish Museum of Modern Art, across the road from Kilmainham Gaol.

-All OPW (Office of Public Works) sites are very reasonably priced, and if you're planning on visiting more than a couple, it may be worth buying OPW heritage cards, which give unlimited admission to OPW heritage sites for a year. These are dotted around the country (and in fact are more common outside Dublin), so if you're thinking of visiting a few, take a look at the pricing.

A lot of these sites are clustered to a certain extent - as I mentioned, the archaeology museum, the natural history museum and the national gallery are all on the same block, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (or at least its front gate) is about fifty metres from Kilmainham Gaol. There's also a very nice pub called the Royal Oak around the corner from that gate, which is old-school Irish-style and offers a pretty respectable selection of whiskies. If you're inclined towards military memorials, the War Memorial Gardens, commemorating the Irishmen who fought and died in WWI and WWII, are down the hill from IMMA and the Gaol as well.

Western_sean

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #31 on: April 18, 2018, 02:09:42 AM »
Some great recommendations there - if you are into sports I would definitely try to catch a hurling game there will be one on somewhere while you are in Ireland. You can usually get tickets on the day. Games list here http://www.gaa.ie/wallchart/hurling/2018. It's a uniquely Irish experience.

runningthroughFIRE

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #32 on: April 18, 2018, 09:01:05 AM »
Wow, these are some great recommendations.  I'm posting to follow - my sister and I will be spending about 2.5 weeks in Europe this June, with a week dedicated to Ireland.

Bruinguy

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2018, 12:43:26 PM »
My recommendations:

1.  Get the automatic car. It was probably just me, but the clutches over there seemed different than the ones I was used to here.  I burned it out before I got out of Dublin.  I did get to meet the nice gentleman whose house we broke down in front of and enjoy a cup of tea with him while I waited for my replacement car (automatic).
2.  Use your AmEx for the rental.  It provides insurance and dispute resolution.
3.  Find places to stay in convenient locations to other places you want to visit.  When we went, we started in Dublin, drove south, then west around the coast, then cut back through to Dublin.  We ended up staying in a new place every night.  We would have enjoyed it more if we stayed 2-3 nights in the same place and made day trips to see what we wanted to see.

There are probably more options now, (this was pre-AirBNB) but we had good success with the "bed and breakfast" network that they had. 

Have fun!


Moonwaves

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2018, 02:08:28 AM »
Re car rentals, Ive been using autoeurope.com for a few years now and it has consistently found me the cheapest options. I rarely even bother doing comparison searches directly with the various companies anymore. Do see if you can get third-party insurance to cover the excess so that you dont need to pay for the (usually expensive) extra insurance from the car rental place. I use insurance4carhire and pay around 50 for an annual policy but its only available to residents of some European countries. Im sure there are equivalents in the States. If you dont buy the extra insurance from the car rental place, do make sure to have a credit card with you that has 2,000-2,500 of credit available. They will put a block on your card for that amount (i.e. the excess/deductible) until you have returned the car in good condition.

I learned to drive in Dublin so I dont find it the worst place to be driving in but parking is really expensive so even just from that point of view, its probably better to not have a car for the time youre there. There is a bike rental scheme in Dublin now that is very popular. That happened after I had moved though, so heres the link to their website for more information. Also since I moved, the Leap card has become the public transport multi-use solution and it seems like they also have an option for visitors, so that would be worth checking out: https://about.leapcard.ie/leap-visitor-card

Otherwise, all the stuff people said above. Chester Beatty Library is fab. For my 40th birthday I did the Viking Splash Tour, which I'd been saying for years, I'd like to do. We had a fantastic time. Our tour guide was Barry the Brutal and he was hilarious. It's a whole lot silly but you still do get a decent tour.

Id add a recommendation for the Kingfisher on the corner of Parnell Street and Parnell Square for good chips (of the fish and chips variety). Assuming its still there. Hmm, just checked and they seem to have gone a bit fancy Our restaurant has recently undergone a total makeover while still retaining the traditional, family run feel that has made us the most popular place in Dublin for fresh fish, home cooked breads and hearty Irish breakfasts! still, might be worth checking out.

Keshk restaurant beside Baggot St. bridge is also fantastic. Its a BYOB place so in case you wanted to go in the evening, dont forget to pick up some beer or wine to bring with you.

If you like classical music, the National Concert Hall is a lovely venue (some other concerts take place there, too, not just classical) and they often have very reasonably-priced lunchtime concerts in the summertime.

Howth is lovely but Id also recommend heading south on the dart (which should actually be DART, it stands for Dublin Area Rapid Transit and when it first opened there was much a running gag and much giggling when people wondered whether Fermanagh would also be getting a similar system). You can go all the way to Greystones and walk about along the cliff walk to Bray, or get out in Bray and walk to Greystones. The amusements in Bray were a staple summer childhood treat and although I suspect its all a bit dated (slot machines and video games) now, your kids might enjoy it.

Finally, Ive heard really good things from some online friends who visited Dublin and stayed at Ariel House - total coincidence that two different sets of people both happened to stay there and loved it so I made a note of it in case anyone ever asked for a recommendation.


dj

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2018, 07:54:39 AM »
What's a fair priced plane ticket cost to that area?

caseyzee

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Re: Trip to Southern Ireland
« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2018, 10:04:54 AM »
Saving, planning ahead for April, 2019 trip.