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First time in Ireland Advice

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Frisco, Colorado
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First time in Ireland Advice

Hi, my family(husband and 8 year old son) are going to Ireland in March of 2014. Never been and this is my son't first trip overseas. Excited and a bit scared. We are coming in and leaving out of Dublin Airport and we have approximately 8 full days. We love exploring medieval towns, architecture, historic places and hiking. I know that March isn't the ideal weather for hiking or exploring outdoors but if you all could just give me some pointers, I would be appreciate it. Also, kind of scared driving on the left side. I'm getting an automatic so one less thing to worry about. Should I get insurance, a big car or smaller? Again, thank you for all info. that you could give me to make this trip go smoothly and fun.

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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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1. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

Can you tell us what kind of pointers you're looking for with some more detail? Have you decided where you're staying yet, or booked any hotels, or is that part of what you're asking?

No reason to be scared of anything, it's a vacation ,right, they're supposed to be fun! :)

Driving in Ireland, like anywhere else, needs attention to the road and not fear. Thousands and thousands of visitors from all over the world rent cars in Ireland every year and drive on the "wrong" side of the road and they do just fine 99% of the time.

I would get a car that's comfortable for you, if you're going to drive around for 8 days you don't want to be crammed into a small car. And yes, you'd want insurance!

Waterford, Ireland
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2. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

Spend your first day in Dublin, get aclimatised and over jet lag. Your son might enjoy the Viking Splash tour. Lots of other places to explore in Dublin, maybe Kilmainham jail. Don't get your car until you are ready to leave Dublin, then you will not have to drive in the city centre. You will not have any choice about insurance and it is a whole topic on its own! After that, places I would suggest would be Glendalough, Kilkenny, Cashel, Cahir (for your son, great castle to explore!) Not necessarily in that order. You need to look at a map and guide books and see what you feel you would like to see. Lots of places in Wexford (the famine ship at New Ross), Waterford (Mahon Falls, if the weather is good), West Cork. Will you be here for St Patrick's Day?

Edited: 12:28 pm, January 19, 2014
Arlington, Virginia
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3. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

I agree that you want a comfortable car for an 8-day drive, but on both of our trips to Ireland, we found that the trunks of the cars we rented were much smaller than advertised. For example, our first car was a "full size" and easily accommodated 4 adults for 8 days, but the car rental website advertised that the trunk would hold 2 large suitcases and 2 small suitcases. We were only able to fit 3 carry-on bags (not large bags in any sense) and a small duffle-type bag in the trunk. On our second trip, we encountered a similar problem with a economy-sized car. It was comfortable for 2 adults, but only one carry-on bag fit in the trunk; the other we had to carry in the back seat. So, go for a comfortable car, but pack lightly!

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4. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

car hire expensive so get opel astra or ford focus fine for 3 people with full insurance road network has improved since 2010 with

most cities and towns connected by new motorway network travel times reduced Dublin to killarney (County Kerry 4 hours (Used to be 5.5 hours before motorway) dublin to galway 2.5 hours Dublin to Cork City 2.5 hours

Driving on motorway fine safe well signposted Dublin City can be confusing with one way systems Where are

you staying in Dublin If want advice on hotels or areas in Dublin contact me and I will try and advice you

recommend visiting West Cork , Kerry Clare Galway and Mayo Wicklow and Dublin. Donegal also nice but long journey as not connected as well to motorway network Alllow 4/5 hours Hotels etc all on websites and no need to book so much advance Be aware that 17th March (monday) is a bank holiday and is a long weekend

so hotels will be busy and many people from say Dublin will take a weekend break in popular resorts There

will be st patricks day parades in most towns so avoid travelling on this date as traffic will be heavy and town

centres will have traffic diversions please contact me with any particular queries you may have Gerard Ryan

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

The above members have given some great tips for places to visit. You should also consider taking one of the paddywagon tours which have a wide range of tours all over the country to choose from and will take the pressure off driving on unfamiliar country roads in Ireland. They are also great fun and means yourself and your husband can enjoy a drink or two over lunch.

Their website is www.paddywagontours.com

I'm sure they also have plenty of reviews on TA.

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6. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

My tip would be not to try to cover too much. Definitely one full day in Dublin and i agree the viking splash tour will amuse your boy(s). then pick one area of the country maybe Galway/clare or Kerry /cork and take your time to enjoy the area. There are plenty of places to explore and the Irish Times run a series of articles on nice walks many of which would be suitable for your son. Dont be afraid to ask the locals for guidance and remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate dress.


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7. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

I agree with Doneraile : spend your first day in Dublin, get over the jet lag and travel. My children enjoyed Dublinia and the Archaeology Museum (free entry to the museum), and were particularly impressed by the display of "gold treasure" dating back to the Bronze Age:



Next month, my daughter and I will be visiting here for the first time ; in my experience some children like this sort of "scary" thing :


The HoHo bus is a great way of travelling to the various sites, although you may find the places you're interested in are within walking distance of each other.


If you enjoy historic sites, then I think these two are two of the very best to visit :





You could visit both as guided tours from the city; there are several companies that offer such and you can find details here :


Or, you could visit independently, if you have time to include them in your itinerary.

You won't want/need a rental car until you leave the city. Most folk return to the airport to collect their car. If you have a look at the following companies to compare and contrast, they both offer "all -inclusive" rates that cover all insurances, tax, unlimited mileage. The only possible extras would be GPS or a car seat for your 8-year old (if required):




I strongly believe that "less" is "more" when visiting Ireland : there's no need to rush around the country trying to see everything, when most areas offer such a variety of sites, sights and activities. I suggest you choose two areas to visit once you leave Dublin, as ostan has also recommended.

Galway and Clare will give you great options for walking/hiking, plus a range of prehistoric sites, and many other outdoor pursuits.

Galway :












Cork/Kerry also makes a good combination :















Kerry : you could use Killarney as a base from which to see the following :






Dingle Peninsula is a 1-hr drive from Killarney, and is a fabulous area to explore for a day (or more!):



As I hope you can see from above, each county has a wealth of sights and sites to discover; in fact, you could easily spend 4-5 nights after Dublin in any 1 location, rather than move around. Bear in mind that it will take several hours to drive from Dublin across to Connemara or Clare, and slightly longer if you're driving down to the south-west, say Killarney : about 4.5hrs.

As most flights from Dublin transatlantic depart in the morning, and require 3-hr check-in, you'll probably need to spend your final night near the airport. If you spent final 2 nights near Dublin airport you could spend a full day visiting places like Newgrange, and Trim Castle. Have a look at Malahide, or Swords if you don't want an airport hotel.


Frisco City, Alabama
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8. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

Thank you so much for your very informative advice Sarnia. I know that I should stay in Dublin after my flight but I really want to be back for St. Patrick's day festivals. My itinerary is(so far):

Day 1 - Go to Kilkenny from Dublin. Stay the night.

Day 2 -Visit Rock of Cashel and Cahir Castle then drive to Kenmare for the 2 nights.

Day 3- Kenmare

Day 4-5 = Killarney

Day 6-County Clare (Cliffs of Moher and sight see, stay the night)

Day 7-Galway (stay the night)

Day 8-Head back to Dublin

Is this itinerary a feasible one or too many stops??

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9. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

It's busy, but do-able. Remember the days will be shorter and the weather may not be great though, so have a few plan Bs ready!

10. Re: First time in Ireland Advice

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