I'm a newbie when it comes to planning a major trip, so don't worry about pointing out what might seem obvious or simple. I won't mind at all! I'll be very grateful for your time in assisting me. I am using a current Fodor's travel book and a detailed map of Ireland for my information, as well as the Internet.
I read the post about answering some basic trip questions first - so I'm including those answers here along with my first impressions/choices of what and where I would like to go. I'm pretty flexible and open-minded to all ideas and information. Please keep in mind I have no idea what the logistics are in regards to time vs location. I'm hoping the experts here can help with that :-)
DATE: May 2014.
TOUR TIME: My friend only has 7-8 days for touring, which is very short. My time is fairly open-ended so it'll depend on how far I can stretch my budget. I would like to stay longer because I'm pretty sure I'm going to fall in love with Ireland and not want to leave, but not sure if I'll feel comfortable being there on my own. Only because it's an unfamiliar place.
TRANSPORTATION: Buses and Trains. No rental car. I do have a concern whether the bus will take us to the smaller villages and if that might also "eat" up our time.
$$$ - I am not sure how much to budget, but we would like to keep it conservative. Say under $2000 US dollars, not including airfare. I like simple but good food, we are non-drinkers and don't want to buy a lot of stuff. We prefer to stay in local spots - B&B's maybe - that are clean and reasonably priced. I won't be spending much time inside.
MAIN INTERESTS: outdoor beauty, charming villages and rural areas (no big cities), coastal landscape, lakes and gardens, walking and gentle hiking, local arts and crafts, cafes and markets, local music (specially Celtic!), history. Everyday life in a local village or town. A pub or two is great too.
The following is a VERY rough itinerary:
Fly into Dublin in the morning and leave right away for Castletown House and/or Russborough House. Then make our way to Kilkenny for the first night. Maybe see Rothe House and Kilkenny Castle the next day.
After this I'm not sure how to plan the time in each place to coordinate with travel time and the bus or train schedules. Or even which mode of transport is best to use. And do we need to purchase any tickets before we get there? How do I know what I need? (Yes, you hear a thread of panic about now!)
Below are all the places I picked out of Fodor's and by looking at the map. I realize there may be a lot more places than time to fit into 7 days. I would like to see how far my friend and I can go before her time is up and without filling too much in each day. It's better to enjoy the moment without rushing around. And if I have a good idea of how much time is needed, realistically, it will help me decide if I really do need to extend my stay to finish my list.
Lismore village and the Castle
Kilmore Quay - charming cottages and bird watching
Ballyhack (is there a castle here too?)
Ardmore - I understand there's a great craft shop here.
Cobh -Titanic history AND my Great Grandmother departed for America possibly here.
Kinsale - Old Head of Kinsale
Killarney - Walk around. Enjoy the lake and country. Stay long enough to see Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula. We would take an organized tour of the Ring of Kerry. Should this be reserved ahead?
I'm OPEN to suggestions. If we only see one castle which would be the BEST choice? Is it "seen one seen them all" or are they different in their own ways? I can cut out a village or two to see Dingle and Kerry area.
Wow, this is really long. If you are still with me, then thank you, thank you!!!
NOTE: I wonder if we can arrive in Dublin and depart out of Shannon so there isn't any doubling back to catch a plane to the US (for both of us). Just travel southerly from Dublin to Shannon. Is that a reasonable idea?
I really appreciate any and all help offered.
DebiEdited: 2:23 pm, October 15, 2013