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Three Day Trip from Dublin in Winter

Three Day Trip from Dublin in Winter

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Old Apr 27, 19, 10:57 am
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Three Day Trip from Dublin in Winter

I've read a lot of conflicting advice based on other folks' questions, so figured I'd throw out my specific situation and see people's thoughts.
I will be spending 5 nights in Ireland leading up to New Year's Day, flying in and out of Dublin, solo. I have been to Dublin before, but nowhere else in Ireland. (It's been 7 years, though.)
I arrive on Friday afternoon and my plan was to spend Friday night and Saturday night in Dublin, and then return on Tuesday (New Year's Eve) sometime in the afternoon before an early AM flight on New Year's Day.
I would like to spend Sunday to Tuesday exploring somewhere, and it seems I have a few options. Am I right that trying to do both Cork and Western Ireland is likely too much for 3 days/2 nights?
If I were to just do Western Ireland, does it make sense to train to Galway and then bus to Cliffs of Moher, with 2 nights in Galway, or is a car necessary? If I rent a car, should I add in Limerick, with 1 night there and 1 in Galway?
I intend the trip to be mostly just a little relaxation break, see some pretty things and rest.
Thoughts appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Apr 28, 19, 7:59 am
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You will arrive on Fri 27 Dec and be in what will be an extended holiday period with lots of places not bothering to reopen between the two holidays or only at very reduced "holiday service". Consequently you will need to check that anything you want to do or visit is actually open before going firm on your plans. You may find that buses and trains are on holiday timings throughout too, which will definitely impact your car rental option!
https://www.buseireann.ie/
Ireland rail travel information - Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail

Cork and western Ireland may be a bit much if you intend the trip to be a little relaxation break!

Galway to the Cliffs of Moher by bus is a 2hr 15min trip, buses run four times a day at the moment (-but Dec 29-30 may be different). After your visit you have the same journey back again. The car drive is 1hr 30min - traffic will be very light then! Daylight is 0850-1625hrs.
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Old Apr 28, 19, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by antichef View Post
You will arrive on Fri 27 Dec and be in what will be an extended holiday period with lots of places not bothering to reopen between the two holidays or only at very reduced "holiday service". Consequently you will need to check that anything you want to do or visit is actually open before going firm on your plans. You may find that buses and trains are on holiday timings throughout too, which will definitely impact your car rental option!
https://www.buseireann.ie/
Ireland rail travel information - Iarnród Éireann - Irish Rail

Cork and western Ireland may be a bit much if you intend the trip to be a little relaxation break!

Galway to the Cliffs of Moher by bus is a 2hr 15min trip, buses run four times a day at the moment (-but Dec 29-30 may be different). After your visit you have the same journey back again. The car drive is 1hr 30min - traffic will be very light then! Daylight is 0850-1625hrs.
Thanks! If renting a car is it worth splitting the nights between Limerick and Galway, or just staying in Galway both nights.
If I do the latter, I imagine it would be:
Day 1: Drive to Galway and explore the city
Day 2: Morning Cliffs of Maher and drive to Limerick
Day 3: Some more Limerick before driving back to Dublin
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Old Apr 28, 19, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
Thanks! If renting a car is it worth splitting the nights between Limerick and Galway, or just staying in Galway both nights.
If I do the latter, I imagine it would be:
Day 1: Drive to Galway and explore the city
Day 2: Morning Cliffs of Maher and drive to Limerick
Day 3: Some more Limerick before driving back to Dublin
If I had a choice--and I do since I'm currently on a trip to Ireland--I'd skip Limerick and go north from Galway to Sligo. I don't think much of Limerick as a city so you should take that into account. Sligo is a manageable town, has a focus on its local literary icon, William Butler Yeats, and allows an easy return to Dublin at under three hours.

You could also consider a trip into Northern Ireland. I think the Giant's Causeway is every bit as beautiful and maybe more interesting than the Cliffs of Moher, and Belfast is becoming a city that's certainly more interesting than when I first went there 10 years ago. Belfast is easy to reach from Dublin by train although a car is definitely the way to go if you decide to go further north.

But yes, daylight will be extremely short, and you'll want to check on whether your specific points of interest will be open. I was there in November four years ago, and at that time, the sun came up after 8 a.m. and was down well before 5 p.m. And outside of the motorways and N-roads near Dublin, I really wouldn't want to be driving in Ireland after dark--this is coming from someone who has been in Ireland almost a dozen times. The quick breakdown: here's the parallel to American roads--motorways are like the US Interstates; N-roads are the equivalent to US-designated roads in the USA; R-roads (regional) are like state highways, and L-roads are like city and county roads. Outside of the motorways and the N-roads within about 60 miles of Dublin, you might find narrow, twisty roads with stone fences or the corners of houses within three feet of the road.

Although US credit card supplemental insurance coverage in Ireland has expanded in the past several years, Irish insurance coverage still presents issues that most US renters have never considered. If you decide to rent a car, definitely take a look at this thread: Car Rental Insurance in Ireland -- Very Confused. No matter what you do about insurance, you'll want to be ready to drive as soon as the sun comes up and try to get back before the sun goes down. And keep in mind that DUI (called drink driving in Ireland) laws in Ireland are stricter than in the US.
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Old May 11, 19, 8:29 am
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Hi, Thanks for this article. I am also planning to travel to Ireland and England maybe end of the year I hope they are many places where I can enjoy with cultural and landscape with the beautiful view and more.
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Old May 13, 19, 1:46 pm
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There's so little daylight / warmth that time of the year, I would take the train Dublin --> Galway and have two nights there, and save Cork, etc. for later. In addition to the Moher tourist buses there's a good regional bus system that hubs at the railway station in Eyre Square and is fun to ride round on.
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