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Self Driving Tour- West

Self Driving Tour- West

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Hello-
We are planning a self drive tour of Ireland in September. We will be starting in Dublin for 2 nights,
spending a night in Kilkenny and then 1 night in West Cork at the Ballymaloe House. We would like recommendations for
places to stay (either hotels or B&Bs) in Cork City, for 1 night, as we make our way to Killarney. Also, Is the Brehon Hotel in Killarney, a nice place and a good location to explore the nearby attractions etc? If not, where would you recommend? We then will be spending 2 nights in Galway and would like some recommendations of where to stay and things to do in the surrounding areas.
Looking forward to your responses! Thank you!

Posted Mon 19 Feb 2018 8:44 PM
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Hi Randee,

The Brehon is lovely, a really nice hotel and loads of great facilities, really close to the town of Killarney and right beside the entrance to Killarney National Park and close to Torc waterfall (it's a lovely walk to the top!) There are so many great hotels and B&Bs in Killarney, you are really spoiled for choice and The Brehon is a good one. It's very popular with families and there is a concert venue next door, so depending on when you are staying there, there might be a good musical act or show on. 
I also love the Killarney Park Hotel, right in the town, it's a five star boutique hotel feel and very homely.
In terms of activities, I love taking a boat trip on one of the lakes and a jarvey (horse and carriage) tour when I am in Killarney and a self guided walk through the park is lovely - there's a cute cafe (Dinis Cottage) with home baked cakes and treats across the lake, you can take a boat out, enjoy a cup of coffee and cake and boat trip home. Delightful!! Killarney also has loads of lovely souvenir shops with high quality traditional gifts and if you are travelling around the area then Avoca in Moll's Gap also has lovely Irish products and the cafe there is great too.  (You can probably tell that I love good food!!) 
 
Ballymaloe is fabulous, you will love it! It is in East Cork though, close to Cork City, rather than West Cork. Just in case you are planning excursions in the West. Midleton is a lovely town with loads of great cafes and you'll have the famous distillery close by as well as Cobh, a maritime town associated with the Titanic. 

Galway is amazing, plenty to do for 2 nights and there's always something going on. I like to stay in The Galmont Hotel & Spa (formally the Radisson) as it's very close walking distance to Eyre Square and Shop Street and has great facilities but away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Not sure what night you are staying there but they usually have a pianist and singer there on a Friday night and a sing song takes place often including residents! It's lovely and inclusive. Of course there will be loads of live traditional music going on in pubs around the city too.  Connemara is breathtaking, really epic scenery and a must visit while you are in Galway. 

I hope this is helpful to you. Just  thinking about it again has made me nostalgic and decide to plan new trips to Killarney and The Ring of Kerry and Galway for myself this year!! 

Have a wonderful trip, and a safe journey over and around Ireland!

Áine 


Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 12:16 PM
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Hi Aine-
Thank you so very much for your response. This is so incredibly helpful. I love your recommendations! And we also love good food. Have you been to the Burren? Flaggy Shore?
Is that closer to Galway or Killarney? Do you have any suggestions of somewhere to have an overnight between
Ballymaloe and Brehon? Is there much to do around Skibnereen or Bantry? Also do you have a suggestion for a link for
a map that may show various attractions/sites up the west coast?
Thanks!
Randee
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 5:33 PM
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#1 Doolin Pier, Co Clare, Ireland
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Hello Randee, 
I'm very familiar with the Burren and the Flaggy shore which is a stunning beach and circular route on the north coast of our lovely county Clare.  If you like local made ice cream...made for the cows milk you'll see in the fields around the Flaggy shore...drop into my friend Brid at cafe Linalla  I'll give you a few links here but please feel free to ask me any questions you want on the area.  There are super good places to eat and stay here too and we are only 1 - 2 hours from Galway city.
Happy planning, Bill  
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 5:43 PM
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Hi Bill!
I will be staying in Killarney and then Galway. Which location, to use as our home base, is closer to the Burren/Flaggy Shore?
Funny you should mention ice cream! I travel all over the world and look for the best, freshest, natural ice cream! So excited to now
know about this place!
Thanks,
Randee 
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 5:46 PM
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#1 Doolin Pier, Co Clare, Ireland
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Excellent!  Think about your planning as you will probably be driving up/north to Galway from Killarney ....driving through the Burren.  This would be along the costal route = our Wild Atlantic Way.  

OR if you take the main roads up and go straight to Galway its more direct and on bigger roads ...tough honestly you will wonder!!!  You can then visit the Burren the next day from Galway driving south for 1-2 hours.  

In short Galway is a much closer base to explore the Burren from.
Bill
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 5:55 PM
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So, we could drive north from Killarney on the wild atlantic way, on our way to Galway, and spend the day in Burren?
What other sites/not miss places do you recommend that we see in Galway?



Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 6:05 PM
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#1 Doolin Pier, Co Clare, Ireland
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YES...it will be a long day but this is an iconic tourist route.  You will probably want to see the Cliffs of Moher?  You can do that with me by boat if you like?  We run hourly cliffs cruises on the hour every hour from 12 noon daily.  

Galway is a great place and a small very self contained city...how much time have you?  You can visit the Aran Islands again with me..half day trip and combine this with the cliffs ...or go west to Connemara from Galway city...visit Kylemore Abbey?  
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 6:10 PM
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Actually I have been considering the Aran Islands-weather permitting. I don't really want to go if it is not a beautiful day.
 Do you disembark from your cruise? And get to walk around?
I definitely would like to explore Connemara as well. And Cliffs of Moher is on my list. We have 2 nights in Galway and then we head back to Dublin.
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 6:15 PM
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Galway is a better base for exploring the Burren - way closer - and they have an amazing food trail  in The Burren too. The website is not yet updated for 2018 yet but will give you an idea of all the wonderful food producers in the region. Gregan's Castle Hotel would be a wonderful place to stop for a night between Killarney and Galway if you wanted to do that. Amazing food and hospitality there and the village of Ballyvaughan and the area around it is so wild and rugged on the Wild Atlantic Way.  

It's only an hour and a half's drive from Midleton to Killarney so I would advise either heading straight to Killarney and spending extra time there exploring Kerry. Or alternatively do the scenic drive along the coast of West Cork and stay somewhere like Liss Ard or Blairscove en route - they are in the Blue Book group so offer a more charming and romantic accommodation experience.  Skibereen and Bantry are cute little market towns, nice to explore and on a very scenic driving route including the awesome Beara Peninsula. 

If you decide to spend more time in Kerry, it would be lovely to head out to Dingle, Ventry and the Dingle Peninsula, and to Portmagee on the Ring of Kerry (where Star Wars was filmed recently) and see Moll's Gap, Lady's view and just completely breathtaking scenery! Great seafood restaurants in Dingle too..totally spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out in Dingle. I love Castletown House and Heatons to stay in if you wanted to overnight there...they are B&B/Guesthouses run by a local family and I think they're truly special in terms of hospitality and the Irish welcome. Their breakfasts are incredible too! 

If you are an ice-cream appreciator - Murphy's ice-cream in Killarney & Dingle is fab. Their brown bread ice-cream...oh my god!! 

I hope this helps and hasn't confused you! Ask me anything. I love this part of the country :-) 

Áine 
Posted Tue 20 Feb 2018 6:19 PM
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