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Suggestions for first timer?

Suggestions for first timer?

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Group: Community Member Last Active: Fri 31 Jan 2020 11:54 AM Visits: 56
Hello all! I'll be visiting Ireland for the first time in October and have 12 days to explore. I have hired a car and will have a friend with me for the first part of the trip,  but after that I'm on my own. This being my first visit, I am completely overwhelmed trying to decide where to go so I thought I'd ask for your opinions. Would LOVE any tips on not so touristy stops as well!
Thursday- arrive in Dublin Explore the city and County Wicklow
Monday- my friend departs Dublin- my roadtrip begins, I depart from Cork the following Monday.

So here are my ideas so far. Dublin to Galway. Galway to Doolin for the Aran Island ferry.  After that, I'm lost. I would love to visit Dingle and definitely want to see Killarney national park before heading to Cork for my flight out, but am I being too ambitious here? Also, this will be my first time driving on the left side of the road, so I'm sure there will be a few pit stops for mini panic attacks 😂
Posted Fri 6 Sep 2019 2:20 PM
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Hi Gina, 

Welcome to our little community! I'm so excited to be able to help fill out your itinerary. 

Before that, though, I just wanted to assure you that driving on the left side of the road is nothing to fear. It might seem just a bit odd at first, but once you're used to thinking left, we're sure you'll feel right at home. A few other wonderful members of our community have been just a bit nervous about driving on the left as well, and I'd suggest taking a peek at this thread about travel here in Ireland, as there are some tips and tricks offered that you might find useful.

That said, it sounds like you have a wonderful itinerary planned so far! Since you mentioned stopping by Killarney National Park, you might also like to take a look at the Ring of Kerry. This path includes beaches to visit, mountain passes, and even more sights to see. If you do add it to your itinerary, do bear in mind that buses tend to run anti-clockwise. I'd suggest doing the same if you plan to drive, to avoid meeting a bus head-on or possibly having to make room on the road. It's also said that the views are better driving this way!

Finally, to take you a bit more off the beaten track, I'd love to mention these secret spots between Dublin and Galway. There are some lovely stops that certainly aren't touristy at all. You may have to pick just a few of your favourites to add to your itinerary, though, as seeing them all might take a bit long.

I do hope that this is a helpful start! If anything sticks out to you, please do let us know. I'd love to give a bit more tailored advice as we learn more about what you'd love to see.
Posted Fri 6 Sep 2019 3:49 PM
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Thanks so much for the helpful links Rochelle! Great tips for driving and I loved the Off the Beaten Path ideas from Dublin to Galway. I'm especially interested in Clonmacnoise and Lough Boora Parklands! Historical sites, castles, monasteries and beautiful hikes and scenery suggestions are all perfect for me! And I'm debating the Ring of Kerry. I just worry that if I'm driving I wont be able to really appreciate it, especially if its busy and there are tour buses everywhere! 

If I do a full day exploring Doolin and the Aran Islands, should I head for Killarney for a night next or try to drive straight to Dingle first? I really want to see everything, but I know there isn't time for that and I worry that I'll be rushing myself!


Posted Sat 7 Sep 2019 3:41 AM
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Hi Gina, 

Your plans look wonderful so far! October is a great time of year to explore the Emerald Isle. :)

If you'd rather sit back and relax to enjoy the view of the Ring of Kerry, you could choose to go on a day tour by coach. This way you won't have to think about anything other than sightseeing. If you'd like to find out more about the options, take a look here for available and recommended tours

If you'd like to go a bit more off the beaten track, you could also travel around the Ring of Beara. It is not as well known as the Ring of Kerry, but at least as beautiful. This also means you'll mostly have the view and the road all to yourself. :)

With regards to staying in Killarney for a night, it really depends on what you would like to see there. Is there anything you absolutely wouldn't want to miss? It takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes to drive from Doolin to Killarney, and about 3 hours and 20 minutes from Doolin to Dingle. 
Posted Sat 7 Sep 2019 2:27 PM
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Thanks so much for the tips Melin! I'd really like to see Killarney National Park but the Ring of Beara looks idyllic, so I'm definitely adding that to the itinerary. Maybe I'll drive to Dingle from Doolin then hit the Ring of Beara before heading to Cork. This is finally coming together in my head, thank you all so much for your help! To say I'm excited is an understatement 😍
Posted Sat 7 Sep 2019 2:40 PM
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I'm so happy everything is coming together, Gina! :) It's very exciting that your trip will start soon, and we are always here if there is anything else you'd like to know.

Keep us posted on your plans, and we'd love to hear more about your adventures once you've seen everything! 
Posted Sun 8 Sep 2019 3:04 PM
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Hi Gina, sounds like your trip is coming together nicely for you :)
I'm delighted to hear you are including a trip to the Aran Islands from Doolin - I would recommend the combination trip to you (Inis Oirr for the morning and cruise back under the Cliffs of Moher in the afternoon, back in Doolin for 3pm). That way if you wanted to, you can drive to Dingle after your boat trip.



If possible, I would recommend getting to Doolin the night before your sailing, just to give yourself a chance to catch your breath, that's a lot of driving on our little roads for a first-timer to take on in one day ;)
Let me know if you have any other questions, and I would be happy to help!

All the best Joan
Posted Mon 9 Sep 2019 10:13 AM
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Hi Joan! That actually looks perfect and would give me plenty of time to explore the island. I was definitely planning on spending the night in Doolin before sailing so I have time to explore that area as well. Is it normally busy mid-October? I was thinking of maybe not reserving rooms ahead of time so I have flexibility,  but now I'm a little worried (I'm normally a planner, so it makes me anxious to go with the flow 😊). My goodness, I'm so excited. Thank you everyone for all of your help ❤
Posted Mon 9 Sep 2019 2:21 PM
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Hi Gina,
I'm SO glad to hear you are staying the night before, didnt want to stress you out by insisting on it but you will thank yourself when you get here and can rest and recharge :laugh:  Mid October is less busy, so you should be ok to get accommodation, but if you have any problems, just call into the Tourist Office in Hotel Doolin and Clare or John will be glad to help you find a lovely place to stay.  
https://d2b4i25io5fq3v.cloudfront.net/10-09-2019/d5682b64-df1b-4ea6-a351-82b6.png

Then all you have to do is pick one of the famous Doolin Irish Music pubs and let some of Ireland's best musicians entertain you, not too bad...
All the best, Joan

Posted Tue 10 Sep 2019 9:18 AM
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As October approaches, it is great to hear that you are firming up some of your itineraries!

Many thanks as always to Joan for her helpful information and suggestions, taking a relaxing night before your trip over to the Aran Islands is a perfect way to experience the west coast.

Reservations in October should be easier to find but if there is somewhere where you need to be on a certain date then booking ahead would still be advisable. First and last locations are always a good idea, takes the stress out of not knowing where you will be after a long trip and before going back home.

We would love to hear your final plan, even if it will be a little flexible as you travel.

Martin

Posted Tue 10 Sep 2019 9:32 AM
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