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Ireland trip advice

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by three_bags_full, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Well, when my time here in Afghanistan is done, Mrs. t_b_f and I have planned a trip to Ireland to see an old college buddy who lives in Belfast.

    I got lucky and found tickets from Birmingham, which allows us to drop the kids off at the grandparents' and catch a ride to and from the airport, thus saving a couple hundred bucks in parking.

    We're flying into Dublin, where we'll spend a couple days with my friend and his wife. We'll knock out the Guinness tour and a couple of other things while we're there. Then, we're driving up to Belfast to see his town for three days. We'll see the Giant's Causeway and the Bushmill distillery while up there.

    From there, we'll rent a car and head northwest to County Donegal, where we'll spend a day and a half.

    From Donegal, we're heading south along the coast toward Galway with a possible stop in Sligo to see W.B. Yeats' grave and Maeve's Cairn.

    We'll stop in Galway for an afternoon and night, then head down to the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry the next day, time permitting (we won't miss either of those sites).

    We'll likely stay in Kerry that night and head to Cork, where we'll see the Blarney Castle, and then head back to Dublin to drop off the rental and catch a plane.

    In all, we're staying 10 days, and will pretty much have a personal tour guide for the first five. It's the second five -- when we're driving the west coast -- that worry me.

    I'm afraid we'll bite off more than we can chew and try to see too much, causing us to not see anything, if that makes any sense.

    Has anyone here ever driven the west coast? Maybe lend some advice?
  2. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    This is just off the top of my head ...

    It took us an entire day to drive the Ring of Kerry. The sights were amazing. They advise, especially in peak season, that passenger cars drive it clockwise, so you don't get stuck behind tour buses. We did it counter-clockwise and I'm glad we did. The sights progressively got better as we drove along. We started outside Tralee and ended up in Killarney, and we took a small detour over to Valencia Island. The views will blow your mind.

    I also hear good things about the Dingle peninsula, in western Kerry. Our B&B hostess tried to get us to go there instead of the ring. I wish we had time for both since in Dingle there's a lot less touristy stuff, and it's a big Gaelic-speaking area apparently.

    I don't think the driving is that big of an issue. There are a lot of new motorways -- I don't know so much about the northwest, but you still shouldn't be too worn out from the drive. I drove from Downpatrick to Tralee in one day (about eight to 10 hours), then drove from Limerick back to Downpatrick on the way back, about the same travel time. I didn't feel too overwhelmed.

    If you have the time going from Belfast to Giant's Causeway, go up the coastal route (I think it's the A2). You'll see a lot of neat sights, including the castle in Carrickfergus, which is right on the water.

    I don't know how soon you're going, but go on Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge if it's open. It's about 20 minutes from Giant's Causeway, which is as good as advertised.

    And the Guinness tour was about 14 euro when we looked into it. Fair enough, you get a pint, but I can think of better ways to spend the money (that is, if you're not getting free tickets). I do recommend the Dublin double-decker bus tour (I hear the Belfast one is good, too).

    Of course, feel free to PM me for more.
  3. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    Driving can get dicey off the main roads. Make sure you have an automatic. Manual can be weird with your left hand.
    And there is so much to see. Don't rush yourself trying to get everything in. If the weather is even just a bit foggy skip the cliffs. Of moher.

    And get a GPS.
  4. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    Can't argue with any of the advice so far.

    I've been there twice, and the second time, we definitely made an effort to spend less time in the car. It's just really hard not to want to cram all the good stuff in, and that means a certain amount of driving, which can cut into you're appreciation of things.

    Big thumbs up on Dingle. The Ring of Kerry is amazing, but Dingle is similar and less crowded. Cork is a really cool city; Limerick, not so much.

    Belfast: Crown Bar Liquor Saloon
    Galway: The Quays
  5. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    Also we got a deal when we went. $150 a day got us the car (automatic) and almost any B and B. If you want my travel agents info to get that deal let me know.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Anyone else see irony in going from Afghanistan to Belfast?
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Oh... and will you get me a shot glass?
  8. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    When you get to Sligo, tell the locals that one of these days (more likely, one of these decades) the legendary Starman will be returning to reclaim his ancestral home. While you're in Cork, you can drop in on my mother's side of the family.

    I am sure they'll be suitably impressed.
  9. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Do you golf, three bags? If so, email the club secretaries at Lahinch and Ballybunion ASAP and see if you can set up a tee time. Of course, since you're going with your wife, I guess I should ask if she golfs, too. If so, playing either one of those courses is a lifelong memory treat.
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I was there in 1995 and a friend and I were watching a soccer game in a pub. Coventry City was playing somebody and Cobi Jones scored a goal. My friend and I cheered because he was the only player playing that we had ever heard of.

    The bar went silent and everybody was looking at us like they were ready to kill us. We got out of there as quickly as humanly possible.

    Belfast is amazing. The Giant Walkway is pretty cool as well.
  11. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    It's high season in Mogadishu so all the rooms were probably already booked.
  12. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Belfast nowadays is fine. I would stay out of the loyalist areas at night if you have Dublin tags, though.

    Also, if you're doing the golf thing, see if you can play at Ardglass Golf Course. It's about 15 minutes from Downpatrick and less than an hour from Belfast. Some amazing views there. My dad's uncle lives right above the course, with the best window view of anyone I know. Google the course for more info.
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