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Dublin to... Galway? Dingle? Kinsale? Penciling in a potential 4-5 day itinerary

Dublin to... Galway? Dingle? Kinsale? Penciling in a potential 4-5 day itinerary

Old Oct 28, 19, 9:51 am
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Dublin to... Galway? Dingle? Kinsale? Penciling in a potential 4-5 day itinerary

Good morning!

Taking a trip to Ireland next May, arriving (Dublin) first thing on a Saturday and heading back the morning of the following Sunday. Figuring out what goes in between! I'm tentatively planning on spending a day or two on the tail end of it popping over to Glasgow to see a friend, but should have a solid 4-5 mostly full days in Ireland.

Currently working under the following assumptions:
  1. I'll be renting a car
  2. Probably don't need to spend much more than a day or so in Dublin
  3. I'd be crazy to not see the Cliffs of Moher, especially if it's "on the way" somewhere or in the area of a stay
If those are fair assumptions, I'm trying to think of what a good place to stay would be for a couple days, after Dublin. Ideally on the coast, nice views, some good food to be had, something like that.

Galway seems like maybe it'd be a good spot...? Could check out the cliffs while in the area. Maybe some good stops to make on the drive between Dublin and Galway as well?

Alternatively, would it be crazy to do a full day road trip... leave Dublin in the morning, check out the cliffs mid day, and proceed down to somewhere like Dingle or Kinsale for the afternoon / evening? The internet says good things about Dingle and Kinsale, but maybe a heavy bit of driving - especially if I need to get back up to Dublin a couple days later.

Open to thoughts, suggestions, or anything I may not be considering. Thanks!
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Old Oct 28, 19, 6:50 pm
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Do not plan on driving too much is one day
Have you driven right hand drive before?

Dingle Peninsula is popular & busy
Galway is close to Doolin/Cliff of Moher
Map https://goo.gl/maps/HoA8qsWBr5S3djNA7

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Oct 28, 19 at 6:57 pm
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Old Oct 29, 19, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Have you driven right hand drive before?
Well, admittedly... no

Probably justification enough to keep the driving to a moderate amount!
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Old Oct 29, 19, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Well, admittedly... no

Probably justification enough to keep the driving to a moderate amount!
Though Dublin to Galway is a very easy drive on straight and boring motorway.
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Old Oct 29, 19, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Scots_Al View Post
Though Dublin to Galway is a very easy drive on straight and boring motorway.
However once you get off the motorway things get a bit slower, though once you get down to one lane knowing which side to drive on is less important. Dublin to Galway is an easy train ride fwiw and cars can be rented in Galway. OP should locate and read the threads on car rental in Eire as there are a number of issues. There is quite a bit to see in Dublin and area but avoid taking a car into Dublin, public transport is good and parking is not. The west coast would be a good two day trip even without much time there. A side trip to Glasgow would really eat into seeing Ireland. At least May should be a reasonably quiet time!
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Old Nov 13, 19, 2:32 pm
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I'm going back for second trip this March. Went 5 years ago and rented a car. Besides almost getting hit by a bus at the roundabout leaving Shannon airport, it was pretty easy driving. Stayed a few nights in Killarney, 2 in Dublin and 3 in Galway. This trip we are staying only in Galway before heading to Scotland. As big as Ireland seems on a map it's really not that difficult to transverse across by car in a few hours. Just have to get lucky with the Cliffs of Moher, we got up there on a postcard perfect day in Galway (55 and sunny) and it was complete fog up there. Went to Aran Islands instead which was a fun and easy boat ride from near Galway.

Dingle/Ring of Kerry is very long. We stayed in Killarney and drove out to Dingle past Inch beach. Very fun drive and not terrible far. Cork was like Philly, Dublin was ok, but the charm of Ireland is in the smaller towns and Galway is like the Nashville of Ireland.
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Old Nov 14, 19, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by JTE458 View Post
Cork was like Philly
Wow, that bad huh?

Good info, I appreciate it. 2-3 hour drives don't seem bad to me at all especially if there's anything cool or scenic along the way to check out. Gives me some stuff to think about.
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Old Nov 14, 19, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Good info, I appreciate it. 2-3 hour drives don't seem bad to me at all especially if there's anything cool or scenic along the way to check out. Gives me some stuff to think about.
If you get onto small roads beware of road bowling in some areas
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Old Nov 14, 19, 5:01 pm
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I've done about ten trips to Ireland. First, having a car in Dublin is a waste--the city was not built for cars, there is too much congestion inside the city, other than leaving the city, you won't be on any roads that look similar to American interstates, and parking rates for hotels in the city center can be extremely expensive. Either rent at Dublin airport when you're ready to leave the city (the Airlink bus to and from the airport can be a convenient and inexpensive way to travel, especially compared with cabs or ride services and especially if your hotel is close to an Airlink stop) or take the train to Galway and rent from there--although that means paying extra to return the car to Dublin airport or returning to Galway and then taking a train back to Dublin, which is a lot of extra steps for such a short trip. In addition, unlike many areas in the US, do not assume parking, whether on a street or in a shopping center parking lot, is free. A lot of parking is governed by "pay and display" where you find a kiosk on the street or in the parking lot, pay a certain amount of money for parking, and then put the ticket you receive from the machine on the windshield or dashboard of the car. And in a lot of small towns, paying for parking is required, even at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning--check the street signs carefully.

I started going to Ireland in 2000, and the road system now is a whole lot better in comparison, but only if you use Dublin as a hub and just stay on the motorways/national (N) roads to other parts of the country. Once you're on the fringes, it can get a bit dicey getting between places like Cork and Killarney or Galway and Sligo. The roads aren't bad, but I've said for years that unlike the US, where, ignoring speed limits for the moment and assuming no other traffic on the road, you could literally drive twice the speed limit without much concern other than how well your car and you perform with a vehicle going over 100 mph, in Ireland, there are certain stretches of roads where the speed limit, assuming as above, is just about as fast as you should ever go--think ridiculous curves that have been smoothed out on all but the most scenic coastal roads in the US or small country lanes and the occasional stone wall that literally borders a road without a shoulder. Those conditions may not pop up much, but you won't know where they will as you're unfamiliar with the roads as well as right-side driving. On top of that, there can be long stretches of one-lane roads in certain areas when you turn off the main roads--I'm talking more than 10-15 miles in some instances. Other than the motorways where you can maintain something close to 70 mph, figure on an average of 35 mph. It's fortunate you're going in May as you'll have plenty of daylight to make driving easier. I would not suggest driving after dark over there to a newbie.

Here's the Ireland car rental thread: Car Rental Insurance in Ireland -- Very Confused. This video provides an excellent summary of the issues to consider: #155 - Tips for choosing a rental car in Ireland - VIDEO - Irish Fireside Travel and Culture. Here's the TL;DR version: don't assume that you can stroll up to a rental counter in Ireland as you would in the US and waive local insurance so you can rely on insurance offered by your credit card. You can use insurance afforded by your credit card, but it's almost certain the rental car company in Ireland will require written proof of the coverage afforded. The thread and video cover that issue and more. Although I generally waive coverage when I rent cars in the US or the UK, I tend to pay for what is called "super cover" which covers damage to the entire car, except for the tires and windshield (or as they say in Ireland, tyres and windscreen). It's all too easy to damage a car in Ireland even when you think you're driving carefully.

In deciding where to tour in Ireland, keep in mind that Dublin is the population and cultural center (I think 40% of the entire Irish population lives in the metro area) while the Ireland that makes up the stuff of stories and legend is mostly in the small towns. I like Dublin, but even I think the max you'd need to see most of the city is three days. If you stay only for one, you can hit some high spots and then move on to your next stops. I think your schedule will allow you to hit two more major places. You can put Cliffs of Moher in the direct line of travel between Galway and the southwest, especially the Dingle Peninsula, but trying to throw in Kinsale or Cork is probably asking too much--you can either do Cork/Kinsale or the Dingle in addition to Galway but no more or else you're spending too much time driving and not enough enjoying Ireland. On a ten-day trip next April, I'll be in Dublin, Dingle, and Kinsale, and that's it. Dingle is scenic and Dingle Town has a disproportionate amount of restaurants/pubs for a small town of 2000: I just read an article off the Saveur website that said it has 36 restaurants and 50 pubs. Driving around the Dingle Peninsula (as with the Ring of Kerry) can be difficult at times simply because of the narrow roads and the huge tour buses that ply that route.

On a trip in September 2018, my group actually liked Cork better than Dublin and none of them were from Philadelphia. It's a town that's apparently undergoing some urban improvement, and the pub scene was very good. Kinsale is another foodie town. Galway is more of a pub and music town. Assuming you're flying in and out of Dublin, it's about 3.5 hours to the Cork/Kinsale area, 4.5 to Dingle, and 2.5 to Galway.

Last edited by lwildernorva; Nov 14, 19 at 6:05 pm
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Old Nov 16, 19, 6:08 pm
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Come up 'North'!
A very easy 2 hr drive takes you Dublin-Belfast.
Take a day and night in Belfast, then tour up the North Coast of NI with a night in Bushmills and a coastal lap of Donegal over 3 days, just fabulous in May!
So many very pretty towns and villages to pass through and stay in, a lot less 'touristy' than doing the Dingle thing.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 6:38 am
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Have you driven right hand drive before?
Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Well, admittedly... no

Probably justification enough to keep the driving to a moderate amount!
Originally Posted by lwildernorva View Post
It's all too easy to damage a car in Ireland even when you think you're driving carefully.
Iwildernorva raises a number of very important points about the car rental, insurance and driving. You owe it to yourself to research this very thoroughly indeed. Let me add a couple of tips. When you collect the rental car, make sure that any bad scratches or scrapes on the hub-caps are documented on the pre-existing damage report. The narrow, wall- or hedge-bordered roads can be a big challenge for a first-timer. You might even want to employ a trick the locals use: secure the hub-cap to the wheel with a couple of twisty-ties. That way, if one pops out you won't lose it and have to pay the rental company some absurd amount of money to replace it.
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Old Nov 17, 19, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by henry999 View Post
Iwildernorva raises a number of very important points about the car rental, insurance and driving. You owe it to yourself to research this very thoroughly indeed. Let me add a couple of tips. When you collect the rental car, make sure that any bad scratches or scrapes on the hub-caps are documented on the pre-existing damage report. The narrow, wall- or hedge-bordered roads can be a big challenge for a first-timer. You might even want to employ a trick the locals use: secure the hub-cap to the wheel with a couple of twisty-ties. That way, if one pops out you won't lose it and have to pay the rental company some absurd amount of money to replace it.
I'm definitely stealing the twist tie/hubcap idea!
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Old Nov 17, 19, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by noniron View Post
Come up 'North'!
A very easy 2 hr drive takes you Dublin-Belfast.
Take a day and night in Belfast, then tour up the North Coast of NI with a night in Bushmills and a coastal lap of Donegal over 3 days, just fabulous in May!
So many very pretty towns and villages to pass through and stay in, a lot less 'touristy' than doing the Dingle thing.
The OP limited his trip to 4-5 days and indicated a strong desire to go to the Cliffs of Moher. Without those limitations, I'd second your suggestion. I've done Northern Ireland on every trip since 2010 and wish I'd gone earlier--the scenery is as fantastic as it is in the Republic but there are fewer crowds. EDITED TO ADD: And, having seen both, I believe that the Giant's Causeway is every bit as spectacular as the Cliffs of Moher. Given the parameters of the OP's trip, he'll have to choose one or the other though because the amount of driving needed to go from Dublin to Belfast to the Giant's Causeway to the west coast down to the Cliffs really is more time in a car than I'd prefer to spend with 4-5 days in Ireland/NI.

And while Dingle/Dingle Town may be touristy, it's still less so than Ring of Kerry/Killarney.

Last edited by lwildernorva; Nov 18, 19 at 4:21 pm
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Old Nov 18, 19, 8:14 pm
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I'm also planning a trip to Ireland during May 2020, only with two weeks' worth of time instead of 4-5 days. Some stuff to keep in mind:
  • Beware of timezones. Depending on when you arrive, your arrival day in Ireland may very well be shot*. Given your constraints I'd assume that you'll see a lot less of Dublin than you think.
  • Car rental: get an automatic--even if you know how to drive manual--if it's your first time driving in a LHD country and/or Ireland. Sure, it's a lot more money, but it's also one less thing to need to get right while you're driving (and thus less likelihood of something going wrong).
Also, based on the other comments here and elsewhere, I'm thinking that we're going to do one attraction a day between stops and may very well end up basing out of one or two cities for the second half of the trip. Of course, time constraints may make that unrealistic without cutting stuff out.

* We're doing a LAX-CDG-DUB award routing which arrives at DUB in the late afternoon so YMMV.
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Old Dec 4, 19, 3:54 pm
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Late on this topic, but noticed when we were in Ireland earlier this year that the Garda have discovered the money that can be made from speed camera vans usually hidden away which you dont notice the last moment. So try and keep to the posted limit.
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