Depends on what coast you’re on.
Will you be doing Dublin, Galway, Cork, Northern Ireland?
We’re not entirely sure yet how much we’ll be traveling within the island, but we will initially be flying into Dublin and will undoubtedly be staying there for a significant portion of our vacation.
I’d highlight Newgrange (near Drogheda) and the whole west of Ireland, to be honest. (Donegal’s my favourite part of Ireland, WB Yeats is buried in County Sligo, Galway city has always had an excellent reputation for a night out, the Cliffs of Moher and the Dingle peninsula are always popular…)
Newgrange is amazing. I’d second that too.
Excellent. Thanks! We looked a little bit into each of those and they all sound great.
New York City
I agree with the previous respondent. Ireland may seem small by Texas standards, but unless you’re there for a while, even the “must-sees” will be too many to see. I presume you’ll be in Dublin; I’d take a look at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/dublin and see what kind of stuff you usually like. One don’t miss there is Kilmainham Gaol, which played such a huge role in Irish history.
Outside of Dublin, again it depends on what you like and which regional or directional choices you make. I spent a few days in Doolin and enjoyed the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands; your preferences may differ. I’d guess you’ll want to spend a lot of time outside though, as it’s quite beautiful and I think summer is usually very pleasant. Good luck!
I agree that Kilmainham Gaol is a must see while in Dublin along with the National Museum. The on off bus tours are great in Dublin to get a feel for the city and get your bearings. We stayed at Isaacs Hostel and it was nice, clean and inexpensive, this was with a family of four, two grown women and us rents. A good way to meet people from everywhere. Hostels are not just for youth. Derry in Northern Ireland is nice, an historic walled city, nice traditional pub and fewer tourists at least in April. Giants Causeway and Bushmills distillery are closeby. The Ulster American Folkpark is really well done. Nice thatched houses and a good history of the famine and emigration.
All great info—thanks! We’re getting some good, solid ideas now. I really appreciate the suggestions. :)
Cliffs of Moher
Blarney (both castle and town)
My friends and I flew into Shannon airport, and basically followed the coast from Galway to Dublin.
All of the above look interesting. Thanks.
Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney and of course Dublin are definitely on the list. Is there anything in specific you can recommend about Killarney or Kilkinney? What are those areas known for?
Killarney is a great starting point for the Ring of Kerry (http://www.ringofkerrytourism.com). You can hike or bike it (although it takes a long time, and you need to be fit to do it), or you can take a bus tour (that’s what we did). There’s also the Killarney National Park you can walk through. At the end of trail there’s Ross Castle you can tour. The castle is next to a lake, and you can take a boat tour out to a little island where the ruins of a monastery are (we had a great time exploring there!).
Kilkenny has many cathedrals and a castle to tour, along with the castle grounds. Also, I don’t know what y’all are planning for accommodations, but our favorite campground is in Kilkenny, the Tree Grove campground. Oh, and our two favorite hostels are in Cork (Aaran House) and Killarney (Neptunes Town Hostel).
Excellent. Thank you!
Not so much must see as must do:
•Hot whiskey at the pub, better on a chilly day
•Market day in Meeting House Square
•Guinness brewery tour (but I’m partial to the stuff)
•Wandering around Dublin with no destination
Must see in and near Dublin:
•"Newgrange":http://www.43places.com/places/view/220295/newgrange-bend-of-the-boyne-county-meath (aka Bru na Boinne), about an hour northwest of Dublin. Amazing archeological site.
•"The Book of Kells":http://www.43places.com/places/view/599618/the-book-of-kells-trinity-college-dublin is amazing.
•"National Museum of Ireland":http://www.43places.com/places/view/819379/national-museum-of-ireland-dublin-county-dublin if the weather is bad. Or even if it isn’t and you’re into archeology.
Things to miss (unless they really appeal to you):
•Hill of Tara unless you’re way into Irish history.
•Dublin Castle, though it is interesting enough. But if you’re going to go to a lot of other castles, this is a skip.
•Temple Bar, but I should put it on the must see too. I’ve got mixed feelings about the place.
Awesome—we really appreciate all the suggestions.
What’s the scoop on Temple Bar? Several have mentioned that they didn’t think it was worth their time.
Also, is Dublin Castle just not very interesting by comparison to others?
Dublin Castle was the seat of English government and has that bad history from the Irish perspective. If you go to Giants Causeway there is Dunluce castle ruins on the same road. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2c__ggJOVk
It is a beautiful place with the high cliffs overlooking the sea.
Wear warm clothes and forget the umbrella, it would be blown away. Temple Bar is an area of the city where there are pubs and clubs. The locals were few and tourists a plenty. It was still fun doing a pub crawl there.
Ok. That makes sense.
Thanks again for all the info!
It probably depends on what you like best, but I agree with cluricaune about the west! (I think Frommer’s had a good quote about how Galway would beat Clare in a beauty contest, and promptly lose to Donegal, haha).
It’s gorgeous in Donegal, Connemara, Dingle, etc… but Galway and Cork would be better for city fun.
Sliabh Liag, for impressive cliffs! I really want to go back to the area for some serious hiking.
Also, if you’re doing your own driving, you can find random (and sometimes secluded) country abbeys by following some of the brown road signs.
ALSO, you should definitely look up festivals, especially since you’ll be there in the summer!
Yeah, there’s definitely too much to do :D
Are you going north, too?
All of those are great tips. Thanks so much!
We’re not so sure about Northern Ireland for this trip, simply because there does seem to be SO much to do already. Would you recommend trying to fit it in for the same trip? We’ll only be there for a total of ten days or so.
If you ask me, the must sees are Blarney Castle (near Cork), the Giant’s Causeway (in Northern Ireland) and the Book of Kells in Dublin. WHile youre in Dublin, check out the Guinness brewery too. Depending on how much time you have and the weather, I’d also go to the Cliffs of Moher (west coast) and the Ring of Kerry (SW Ireland). Warning: bring an umbrella. It rained every day I was there, and those last two may seem less spectacular with bad weather.
Much appreciated. We’ll be sure to bring an umbrella. The Ring of Kerry sounds amazing. So does everything else. There’s so much to choose from!
Agree with all above -
Dublin – enjoy the atmosphere & go to the Book of Kells & if you’re into literature, theatre & beer, you MUST consider doing the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. It’s excellent & the guys who run it are fantastic. Great funn. See the website: www.dublinpubcrawl.com
Kinsale – is a beautiful fishing village on the coast, south of Cork. It’s a great place to spend a night and soak up some traditional Irish folk friendliness
Ring of Kerry beautiful scenery
Galway fantastic town…great people!
Belfast is a great city too!
Enjoy the planning and moreso, enjoy the journey.
The Literary Pub Crawl sounds like a whole lot of fun. I definitely think we’ll be doing that.
We really appreciate the info!
Ive been to Ireland a dozen times and the best tour I have ever taken was by this company http://www.overthetoptours.com/
I took the celtic experience tour and it was just the most amazing thing ever!
I think its the american standard to do the Blarney castle tour. Cliffs of Moher are beautiful and worth it if you can get over on that side of the country.
In Dublin Kilmainham Gaol is a a great site and gives you some good history of dublin. Have a Guinness at the Arlington and see the show one night. Stay away from temple bar unless you want to meet up with the rest of the Americans! You could stay in dublin your whole stay and just take day tours out. I usually use Viator.com for my day tours. Hope it helps!
Thanks so much for the info. We’ve been trying to figure out how to schedule everything—whether we should circumvent the island and stay in a new town every few days or what. Staying in Dublin the whole time while taking day tours to other parts of the island is really starting to sound like the easiest way to do it.
Answer this question