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Trip List by Sarnia G

Ireland Itinerary: 9+Nts Shannon-Dublin, visiting Clare, Kerry, Cork + Kilkenny

14 Feb 2010  by SarniaG : I "Heart" Ireland
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 6 votes

A 9+ Night fly-drive itinerary, arriving at Shannon, co. Clare, and visiting Clare, Kerry, Cork, Kilkenny and Dublin.

All distances and drive-times are taken from the aa routeplanner. Drive times are the Minimum it will take to cover a given route. Please factor in extra time to allow for traffic delays: roadworks, diversions, sheep on the road . . .

Also, please factor in adequate time to stop and visit sites en-route, plus time for lunch, restroom stop etc.

  • 1. County Clare
    County Clare

    Day 1: Arrive Shannon airport.

    If arriving from the USA, you'll probably be feeling tired and maybe jetlagged after your flight.

    Suggest you collect your rental car and head towards the coast, maybe stopping at the Cliffs of Moher, where you can park the car (parking fee payable) and stretch your legs. The Cliffs are quite spectacular, and are on many visitors lists of "must-see" sites.

    Depending on how tired you are, you might like to drive to Kilfenora to visit the ruined Cathedral and the Burren Centre, where you will find information about this fascinating limestone landscape, which is renowned for its unique flora.

    If you want to experience some traditional music in the pubs, consider staying in Doolin which lies a few miles north of the Cliffs of Moher. There is a good selection of hotels, guest houses and b&bs, plus several pubs: McGann's, McDermott's and O'Connors.

    Note: pubs can get extremely busy (and noisy) at weekends, so if you feel this isn't what you're looking for, think about staying in Ballyvaughan, which is a quieter village on the north coast of Clare, approximately 30 minutes drive from Doolin.

    Overnight Clare for 2 nights.

  • 2. The Burren

    Day 2

    Spend the day exploring the fascinating Burren. Full details on the above link.
    Consider visiting a Cave (Aillwee or Doolin), or taking a Hawk for a walk (Burren Birds of Prey).

    Stop by Burren Perfumery (near Carron) to pick up some scented gifts and souvenirs made in co. Clare. Or, take a guided walk of the area to fully appreciate the diverse nature of this area.

    Alternatively, if you are visiting Clare between Easter and October, you could catch a ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands. This would be a full day-trip, and is weather dependent.

    Overnight in co. Clare.

  • 3. Ballyvaughan or Doolin to Dingle - a day's journey

    Day 3
    Ballyvaughan (or Doolin) - Loop Head - Connor Pass - Dingle (approx. 255km, 6hrs)

    Take a full day to travel down the west coast of Clare, stopping at Loop Head, a beautiful unspoilt headland where you can watch seabirds nesting on the cliffs, and dolphins swimming offshore - if you're lucky!

    From Loop Head drive to Killimer where you can put the car on the drive-on, drive-off ferry and take the short journey across the Shannon to Tarbert, co. Kerry.

    Drive via Listowel and Tralee (N69) then towards Camp (N86). If it's a nice clear day, leave the N86 just before Camp, and head towards Stradbally on the R560. This route will take you along the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula and over the stunning Connor Pass to Dingle town. Only to be attempted on a clear day! If it's misty/raining, then stay on the N86 through Camp, Anascaul and Lispole to Dingle town (this is a slightly shorter route than driving via Connor Pass).

    (Note: if you are pushed for time, drive Ballyvaughan - Killimer-Tarbert( Shannon ferry) - Listowel - Tralee - Anascaul - Dingle. This should take approx. 3.5hrs)

    Spend two nights in Dingle. The town boasts some superb guest houses: Castlewood House; Heaton's; Pax Guest House; Emlagh Country House (to name a few), plus some superb restaurants: the Chart House; Global Village; Fenton's. Check reviews here on Tripadvisor to find one to suit your taste.

  • 4. Dingle Peninsula

    Day 4

    Spend the day exploring Dingle town, and taking the breath-taking drive around Slea Head.
    The above link gives you full details of places to see.

    2nd night in Dingle.

  • 5. Kenmare

    Day 5

    Time to leave Dingle and head towards Kenmare, a small, pretty town on the Ring of Kerry, which is also gateway to the lesser-known Beara Peninsula.

    You might like to spend this day exploring places along your route: the Gap of Dunloe; Killarney town; Muckross House and Gardens; Killarney National Park. You should have time to visit 2 of the afore-mentioned before driving over Moll's Gap and down into Kenmare town.

    You will find a good choice of accommodation: hotels, guest houses and b&bs, plus a variety of restaurants and pubs to suit all budgets.

    2 nights in Kenmare.

  • 6. Ring of Kerry
    Ring of Kerry, County Kerry

    Day 6

    Spend the day driving around the Ring of Kerry. There are pretty villages, hidden coves, breathtaking views to be enjoyed around every corner.

    Alternatively, if you want to visit a quieter but equally beautiful area, consider heading to the Beara Peninsula (which lies south of Kenmare), where you will discover a rugged landscape scattered with prehistoric remains; pretty villages with brightly coloured houses and deserted headlands.

    2nd night in Kenmare.

  • 7. Kenmare to Kinsale: a day's journey.

    Day 7

    Kenmare - Glengarriff - Bantry - Skibbereen - Glandore - Clonakilty - Timoleague - Kinsale: 145km, min 3.5hrs (non stop).

    Take a full day to travel from Kenmare to Kinsale, discovering delightful places along the route:

    Take the ferry across to Garnish Island, past basking seals. You will find a beautiful Italianate Garden on Garnish. Allow approx. 1.5-2hrs.

    If you like historic houses and gardens, be sure to stop at Bantry House, which lies on the outskirts of Bantry town. Nice tearoom if you need sustenance.

    Just before you reach Skibbereen, look out for Abbeystrowry Church and Cemetery where there is a very moving memorial to the 1,000s who perished in the famine and are buried in a huge pit.
    Skibbereen is a bustling market town; here you will find the Heritage Centre and Great Famine Commemoration Exhibition.

    Travel from Skibbereen via Union Hall (small fishing village) to Glandore. Hidden down quiet country lanes just outside Glandore (heading in direction of Ross Carbery on R597, look for lane on right-hand side of road) lies Drombeg Stone Circle: a fine prehistoric circle. NOT built by druids, but prehistoric man!! Nearby you will find the remains of a "fulacht fia" which it is believed was used to heat water.

    Visit the Model Railway Village and see life in Ireland in the 1940's.

    This tiny little village on the coast boasts a very fine Franciscan Friary on the shore.

    A pretty harbour village approx. 1hrs drive south of Cork city.
    Here you will find a good selection of guest houses and b&bs, plus pubs and restaurants. Allow enough time in Kinsale to wander its narrow winding streets, and browse in shops and galleries.

    Overnight Kinsale.

  • 8. Kinsale to Kilkenny, via Rock of Cashel

    Day 8
    Kinsale - Cahir Castle - Rock of Cashel - Kilkenny: 187km, min 3hrs.

    Leave Kinsale after breakfast and head towards Cahir, where there is a very fine Castle. Allow approx. 1hr to visit the Castle.

    From Cahir, it's approx. 25min. drive to Cashel, where you will find the impressive Rock of Cashel, Allow approx. 2hrs to visit the site. There are restaurants and tearooms in the town for refreshments.

    On to Kilkenny, which has a fine medieval centre. Highlights: Kilkenny Castle, St Canice's Cathedral; Kilkenny Design Centre; the Tholsel; Shee Alms House, Rothe House, the Black Abbey.

    If you're pushed for time, you may have to omit the stop at Cahir.

    Overnight Kilkenny.

  • 9. Dublin

    Day 9
    Kilkenny - Dublin airport: 136km, approx. 2hrs

    Drop the rental car at Dublin airport and take the aircoach into the City centre.
    Take the HoHo bus tour around the City, or visit the Guinness Storehouse and Gravity Bar.
    Please do have a look at the Top Quesitons section on the Dublin Forum where you will find a wealth of information about the City.

    Overnight Dublin.

    If you are lucky enough to have 10 nights to spend in Ireland, consider spending 2 nights in Dublin. Lots of sites/sights to see in the City, or consider taking an escorted tour to Newgrange, co Meath, or Glendalough, co. Wicklow.
    Newgrange is a prehistoric chamber older than the Pyramids in Egypt. On the shortest day of the year the rising sun shines through a lightbox at the entrance of the chamber, and strikes a stone deep within. This is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe.
    Glendalough is a beautiful monastic settlement in the hills of co. Wicklow. There are various historic buildings including a fine round tower.

    Day 10 or 11
    Time to head to the airport for your flight home.