We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
59 posts
10 reviews
7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

Hi there,

My husband and I are planning on going to Ireland the last week in March. I have visited Ireland a few times, but I was young and my father always planned the trip. This trip will be for my 30th birthday, we have no children yet, and we are the type of fun-loving travelers who like go for the entire cultural experience, but on a reasonable budget.

This trip will also end the long marriage debate: who's heritage is better, my Irish dual citizenship or his Scottish heritage. The answer is obvious, but this battle breaks down to even having wedding rings written in Irish (his) or Scottish Gaelic (mine).

We have a few goals: 3 days in Dublin (for art, history, shopping, fun), 1-2 days in Sligo to visit my cousins, and 2 days elsewhere.

I have a few questions:

1. Is the obvious third choice to visit Galway? If so, should we make day trips from there? Where would be good day trips.

2. Is there anywhere else we MUST go experience? :)

3. If we go the Sligo route, is it best to visit Galway and then return to Dublin to fly out or Shannon? Does it cost more on Aer Lingus to use both airports?

4. What is the most memorable, wonderful, fun time you experienced in Ireland?

THANKS, for all your help!!


Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
540 posts
1. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.


I'd love to be a fly in the car listening to you and your husband argue over who has the better heritage :)

A couple of tips:

- Driving distances are deceptive in Ireland. It will take you the best part of a day to get from Ireland to Sligo. So you will only have max one full day there before heading out on the road again.

- Flying into Dublin and out of Shannon is the way to go from advice I've seen on the forum. You don't want the stress of having to race back to Dublin airport through the car-park of the M50.

- You don't need a car to "do" Dublin. Take a taxi/bus into the city and do your sightseeing and shopping and then pick the car up at the airport before heading to Sligo. Plenty of advice on the forum on things to do in Dublin (or open a second thread on the topic).

- There's no extra charge for using both airports; in fact the flights typically do a loop. However, the Aer Lingus flight to Dulles departs Dublin only. So you will end up flying Shannon-Dublin-Dulles on your return leg home. Fares are looking pretty low right now, even with that routing.

- Be sure to book at least your first and last night's accommodation ahead of time as it will ease your mind. You can be foot-loose-and-fancy-free in the intervening portion of your trip. Staying in B&Bs is highly recommended as a good way to gain local knowledge and get to meet Irish people.

Other forum experts know the Galway/Shannon area better than me so I'll leave the other answers to them. If you want to plan day trips around Dublin let me know.


Guernsey, United...
Level Contributor
5,199 posts
155 reviews
2. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.


Following on from Mark's post, you might find the following site useful for planning your journeys; the AA web-site now offers a useful map of the route, plus directions and journey time. Just be aware that the journey time tends to be a bit optimistic; add on a further 15%, and you'll get a better idea of the time it will take:


Galway would certainly be the logical place to visit after Sligo if you're flying out of Shannon (allow min. 1.5hrs Galway-Shannon).

On your journey down from Sligo, you could head into Connemara and see some of the region:


Have you ever visited the Aran Islands? That would be a super and most memorable day out for you both, I'm sure. You can fly, or take the ferry:




A favourite area of mine is the Burren in north part of co. Clare; this area is approx 1hr's drive from Galway, and 1hr's drive from Shannon airport:


Here are a few of my personal favourite places in the area:






And of course, you've got the Cliffs of Moher nearby:


Now, not suggesting that you have time for all of the above during your visit, but just giving you some ideas :-)

If you have an early morning departure from Shannon (if that's where you leave from) and bearing in mind that you need to be at the airport 2hrs before departure, you might like to think about staying in Bunratty village on your last night, as it is just a 15-minute drive to the airport.

There's a choice of accommodation, whether you're looking for a hotel or b&b, and some good restaurants and pubs, plus shopping. And of course, Bunratty Castle:


Have a look here on TA for accommodation recommendations, plus here's a link to ferdia35's page for eating recommendations in Bunratty:


Well, hope this gives you some ideas - and hopefully you'll receive other suggestions, too.


Washington DC...
Level Contributor
59 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

Such amazing suggestions! They are great because I can mix in places I have not seen (in the Aran Islands) so that we can experience something new together. Sadly, I remember Dublin much better then when we traveled through Dingle and Galway, so it will be new to me! Usually by then we were exhausted from too many family members in a car, with a mother who was afraid of heights and small roads. Family fun had by all!

I am going to sort through the websites over the next couple of days. Thank you so much for the ideas around Shannon, I was a little clueless about where to stay the night before the early flight. I will check out Bunratty.

Thanks so much! More advice welcome :)

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
16,992 posts
27 reviews
4. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

just and old lady's opinion but if i only had 7 days i wouldn't spend 3 of them in dublin....but that's me....

i would only do day 1 to get time adjusted then head to the western side of the country...and yes i would recommend flying into dublin if you must see dublin and out of shannon to meet your other needs.....in fact i would say skip dublin this trip and fly in and out of shannon...you could see sligo, galway, one of the arans, connemara, the burren, doolin, the cliffs of moher,and end in dunratty and you wouldn't lose precious time driving across the entire country......

just some thoughts....

Mount Holly, New...
Level Contributor
15 posts
18 reviews
5. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

I can understand why folks want to visit Dublin on an Ireland trip and it's not a bad thing. There are some great sites to see. We flew out of Dublin for the first time this past October and it wasn't that bad. We stayed in Malahide and it was fairly easy to get to our car drop off, except for the road work nearly right out front of the place.

But if you are going to the west coast anyway, then you may want to consider just flying in and out of Shannon. That is our normal route in and out. Easier and more laid back then Dublin.

If I were going up to Sligo again, I would also go back up to Donegal. We really loved that area, and Sleeve-League was awesome. In fact that is still one of my most favorite days I've spent in Ireland.

6. Re: 7 Days in Ireland- Early Planning Stages.

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:17 am, August 21, 2009