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Ireland perhaps?

BEERMAN

10+ Posts
We are deciding on where to travel for 10 nights in April. We seem to always finalize plans on short notice, Ireland is currently top of the list. We have not been to Ireland, so your advise and suggestions are appreciated! We would fly into Dublin and rent a car. We did 10 nights circumnavigating Icelands Ring Road (AWESOME) and I think circumnavigating Ireland would be as impressive. Any suggestions on all aspects is appreciated!
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Not too much I can offer, as whilst I was working there for a while, it was a weekly commute from England, so I saw a fair bit of Dublin, but not much else.

The car is the way to go and whilst you could take the train from Dublin to somewhere else to then hire a car, I'm guessing you'll fly out of Dublin as well, so a round trip will make more sense... even if only to know for sure where the car needs to be dropped off.

If you do spend time in Dublin itself, then:
- Rush hour traffic is quite bad, so try to avoid 8-10am / 4-6pm
- Against the Grain is a cracking real ale pub, with a massive range of national and international beers.
- The standard of beer / stout is high.
- The standard of food impressed (and surprised) as well, and there are also bargains to be had via early evening deals (say 5:30-7:30pm)
- Generally, avoid the Temple Bar area. They're rather touristy pubs and beer touristy can sometimes get messy.

One final thought - don't discount Northern Ireland, and the border should still be pretty seamless.
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
If you are expecting the scenery in Ireland to be like that on Iceland's ring road, then you will be in for a surprise... It is much gentler and very green. Ireland is a place to slow down and enjoy. With ten days, don't try and circumnavigate the whole Island unless you just want to enjoy through a car windscreen. There is much more to make you stop and want to explore.

There is so much it is difficult to know where to begin - perhaps you need to buy a guide book and start to look at possible itineraries? Eye witness ireland is a good place to start. What sort of things are you wanting to do/see while in Ireland?

Places to consider are Galway (Connemara) for scenery and possible trip to the Arran Islands. Do the short Sky Drive from Clifden. On a sunny day this must rank as one of the best short drives in the world. Make sure you spend some time in the Burren area to the south of Galway. This is limestone scenery and completely different to elsewhere in Ireland.

Think about Donegal - not as many visitors but mountainous scenery. There are attractive small villages and some good coastal scenery. The cliffs at Slieve League are much more impressive than the more popular Cliffs of Moher (the driverup then is hairy and reminiscent of Iceland in some ways!) Glenveagh House and National Park are also good.

Alternatively, if you don't fancy Donegal, there is Dingle and Kilarney to the south of Galway. This is very popular with tourists, especially the Slea Head drive and Ring of Kerry.

Around Dublin - think of a day trip to the neolithic site of Newgrange (tie in with Hill of Tar or Trim castle). Alternatively spend a day visiting Powerscourt Houswe and Gardens and Glendalough (early Christina site) in the Wicklow Mountains....

This is only just scratching the surface - I've not mentioned Kilkenny with its castle or Cahir castle, Rock of Cashel... This again would be another suitable base.

Begin in Dublin and spend 2-4 days (depending on how many day trips you do) and then choose a couple of other bases for 3 days each. Remeber to allow time to travel between destinations as this can easily 'lose' half a day.

You don't say when you are planning to arrive. Easter and the week on either side is likely to be busier than the end of the month. You may need to get accommodation booked soon.
 
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BEERMAN

10+ Posts
Eleanor, the more I research the more I feel that circumnavigating might not be a good goal with just 10 nights. Late April is cooler of course and most videos I’ve watched show rain as very likely, we are starting to wonder if Ireland would fit better in early summer or early fall? This conflicted process of choosing a destination is normal for us . FYI, the Iceland Ring Road is about 900 miles, at the end of the trip we put 2000 miles on the rental, loved every mile!
 

Eleanor

1000+ Posts
We only did the eastern half of the Ring road in Iceland as we'd caught the ferry into Seydisfjordur- took 16 days to do it with plenty of stops to explore and walk. We loved it and rapidly ran out of superlatives to describe the scenery.

Don't be put off by videos showing a lot of rain. Doing a google search indicated that April is one of the driest months... It can rain quite a lot in Ireland - that is why it is so green! Depending on the year, April may still feel cold and late winter rather than spring. Alternatively it could feel very spring like. May might be better, but I wouldn't let that put you off.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
We spent 2+ weeks in Ireland several years ago. We flew into Dublin and rented an apartment just off O'Connell St - we stayed at least 5 nights, and took a day trip to Newgrange with Mary Gibbons.

We then went back to the airport to pick up a rental car (why is the airport NEVER in the direction we're traveling???). We basically used Rick Steves tour of Ireland as a general guide, except we stayed two nights in most places, ended our tour in Galway, and drove back across Ireland to spend our last night at a Dublin airport hotel. Between Galway and Dublin we stopped the Irish National Stud, which, as horse-loving Kentuckians we found fascinating.

We spent 3 nights in Galway and took a daytrip to the Cliffs of Mohr. We did RS drive north of Galway but ran out of time at the end of the day and din't get to visit Kylemore Abbey, which broke my heart. (We finally got back last near and I got to see all of Kylemore Abbey!)

We spluged on the Ring of Kerry and hired a RS recommended driver so that we could both sit back and enjoy the scenery. Take a look at some tours of Ireland to see where they go - and why. We skipped Waterford because all the info I read made parking seem like a nightmare, and neither the Titanic nor the crystal connection was important, so we just skipped it.

We did go back last year and traveled north from Dublin, thru Belfast, along the coast, then down to Galway and back to Dublin, so we completed our loop.
 
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drummer

10+ Posts
Circumnavigating Ireland in 10days would leave you experiencing very little, I feel.
If you're happy just viewing the island through the windscreen, go for it. However I feel you should choose a region and aim to do that.
Preliminary suggestions:
  • For traditional thatch cottage, donkey & cart Ireland, head to the West. Aim for locatons along the Western seaboard between Galway and Kerry.
  • For a more contemporary experience of Ireland, go to East. This would allow you to experience Dublin and also Wicklow, whch features much of what the West can offer too. You know, quaint villages etc.
  • For the whole British end of things, aim for Northern Ireland. The main points of interest I believe, are Derry / Londonderry, Belfast and the Giants Causeway.
 

BEERMAN

10+ Posts
Sound advice drummer! We have decided against the circumnavigation...and we are literally all over the map deciding on a destination, even which country!!! All we know as of today. the plan is 10 days in April somewhere! Sorry to water down this thread, but does anyone else go through this whole indecision process when choosing a destination? :)
 

drummer

10+ Posts
Yes. We go through a rake of itieraries before settling on something.
To help you decide, perhaps list the top three experiences you wish to have in Ireland. Not attractions, but experiences.
For example, if you want green scenery, whiskey distilleries and fine dining, there are various options.

However, if you want a historical insight into the Anglo-Irish affair, then Northern Ireland might be your best option.

Then again, if you want to see Star Trek filming locations, then the West of Ireland might be better.

Give us your top three experiences you seek and I'll try to throw a few ideas at you.
 
Some great tips from people above, especially the advice concerning taking your time. This website has a good idea about pacing and visiting - the Munster tour will give you an idea of timings and how to enjoy the slow pace and reduce your aims:
http://www.hidden-dublin.com/tours/tour_index.html

I believe that the extraordinary cable car to Dursey Island is not working at present - hopefully might be ready for the summer.
April is often a very good month for weather but, being Ireland, it is by no means guaranteed.
Northern Ireland is also a great idea and we spent a fantastic five days in Fermanagh and the lakes (and popped over to Sligo and Donegal quite easily too).
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
Sound advice drummer! We have decided against the circumnavigation...and we are literally all over the map deciding on a destination, even which country!!! All we know as of today. the plan is 10 days in April somewhere! Sorry to water down this thread, but does anyone else go through this whole indecision process when choosing a destination? :)

Our process has often been to settle on a single place / region that interests, and then I'll check the flights / flight options (or indeed other options e.g. train)

As long as they're viable, it's often then working out what's viable as a 2nd and perhaps a 3rd base that works logistically. Sometimes it's in and out of the same airport, but sometimes I'll note that one of those other flights back works. Reading a little about the places might help, but generally we've been open to trusting less obvious / untouristy places to reward us. Probably only Forli let us down in that respect. It doesn't seem to take too long to identify possible bases.

Some of those 'considered as bases but rejected', may still figure on a list of potential day trips, or put off for another trip.

i.e. logistics play a large part, as does wanting enough of a transition to have each base feel different, even if as in the case of Ravello to Pogerola, it was a modest taxi ride away, or as for Lago Molveno to Trento, a bus ride.

We'll actively avoid long transfers, and try to avoid transfers with many connections. What's doable travelling light, is less appealing with heavy luggage, and I still want to enjoy that transfer... or have it short enough that it's over quickly.
 

Ian Sutton

1000+ Posts
As an example, when first going to Trentino, we combined Bologna, (nr. Verona in a rural setting) and Molveno.

Verona was the starting point to the plans, but we knew we wanted 3 places. Bologna slotted in easily as the friends we were travelling with loved their food, and we'd been before, making it a good starting location. The mountains offered an appeal of something different, and by choosing Bologna and Verona, it gave us an opportunity for Trentino, which isn't served by international flights.
The logistics were
- Bologna airport to central Bologna apartment (taxi - modest cost / time)
- Bologna apartment to Bologna station (taxi - cheap & fast)
- Bologna to Verona train station (train - modest cost / time)
- Verona to Mezzane di Sotto (car hire)
- Mezzane di Sotto to Molveno (reasonably long drive for us)
- Molveno to Verona airport (reasonably long drive for us)

We visited Molveno again on another trip, combining it with Bologna and Trento, the prior experience allowing us to recognise the train from Bologna to Trento (and back) was good, so fitting Trento in to break the return leg up was going to work well (and we liked our day trip to Trento enough to decide to stay there next time).
 

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