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Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

Washington DC...
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Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

We will be driving to Belfast from the Scottish Highlands in a rental car after a busy self drive tour. Travel dates probably in late September 2014.

Day 10 - Oban to Troon to the Ferry

no plans for the evening yet.

Day 11

HOHO bus

Belfast Castle - only outside and the garden

Glenarm castle

John Hewitt Bar

Planning to stay at Tara Lodge

Day 12 - Giants Causeway scenic drive with stops- i have a good map of stops but it is on a website. I need to find a good paper map or audio tour cd

Day 13 - Travel from Belfast to Dublin.

Thank you so much for your help.

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Washington DC...
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1. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

One final note - I have a very poor sense of judging time and driving distance. (real life not google maps) I have read three guidebooks and poured over the forums here and fodors and frommers. Plus some tour company websites. Sometimes the advice from one who has actually been there done that is worth far more than all the guidebooks put together. Thank you again

North Coast, N...
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2. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

Ok, a couple of points:

1) I have always found AA routeplanner to be very accurate for travel times. As a tourist, you will want to add at least 10% to the given time to allow for not knowing the roads and some say up to 20% to allow for traffic issues, photostops etc. I haven't used it in Scotland but the Ireland section is excellent for both North and South (NI and RoI).

2) Have you investigated the cost and possibility of taking one hire from GB to Ireland? There are some threads on this but I know not all hire companies allow it and if they do, it may be prohibitively expensive.

Right onto your suggestions:

What time are you arriving in Larne? Why I'm saying this is because Larne is halfway along the famous Scenic Causeway Coastal Route so it might actually make sense for you instead of going to Belfast to head north following the scenic route and then overnight in the Glens or Causeway area.

Tara Lodge is a good choice in Belfast with a car. A 15 minute easy walk to the city hall.

Day 11

HOHO tour is fine but I think you need to explore some of the city as well. The Free guided city hall tour (at set times), Crumlin Road Gaol, Titanic Experience/Nomadic, a drink in the famous Crown Liquor Saloon are just a few things worth considering.

Belfast Castle - to be honest, this would be low on my list of things to do. If you enjoy hiking and it's good weather, a hike around Cavehill area above the castle gives good views over the city but aside from that.....

Glenarm Castle - This just doesn't work. It is nowhere near Belfast. It's about a 20 minute or so drive north of Larne.

I'm honestly not sure of any audio guides but the Causeway Coastal Route is well signed.

These websites are useful:



Edited: 2:43 am, August 21, 2013
Groomsport, United...
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3. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

Have you considered the Cairnryan to Belfast ferry route? (Stena) save that extra drive from Larne

Belfast, United...
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4. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

The others have given you good advice, especially relating to car hire - get it in writing that you can take your rental car over on the ferry - I know from personal experience the panic that ensues when they tell you at the rental desk that they won't allow you to do that after all, even if they've previously told you that you can. If the rental car option doesn't work out, you could always fly to Belfast from Scotland and hire a car at the airport, or if you're dedicated to the ferry idea, go as a foot passenger/public transport on the NI side to Belfast city centre and then hire a car there.

If you want to stick close to your original plan, do the HOHO bus tour and Belfast Castle the first day but take in Glenarm on your way up the coast on the second day instead - you'll pass through it on the coastal route anyway. Belfast Castle does have good views over Belfast Lough and a nice (but small) garden, but if your interest is in more historical castles, Carrickfergus Castle could be a better option. It's actually on the way from Larne to Belfast anyway so if you do end up driving down that way, you could visit on the way.

Washington DC...
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5. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

ponaire - i will look into AA routeplanner. As to your point 2 - i had not considered this before TA advisors pointed it out. I will have to change my travel plans accordingly - thank you. As to my time in Larne - i have no idea. My knowledge of the causeway driving tour is very limited. My guidebooks don't give times and details to stops. Thank you so much for your information about the castles. i will make some changes to that part of the itinerary. Thank you for the links!

cats - no i haven't. i think this is the first i have heard of it.

Bridget - thank you for the castle recommendation. I will look into carrickfergus!

6. Re: Itinerary suggestions and travel help requested

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