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Trip List by Sarnia G

Ireland Itinerary: 6+ Nts Shannon-Dublin visiting Clare, Galway and Dublin.

14 Feb 2010  by SarniaG : I "Heart" Ireland
4.0 of 5 bubbles based on 2 votes

A 6+ Night Fly-drive Itinerary visiting counties Clare (for Cliffs of Moher and the Burren) and Galway (for Connemara and/or Aran Islands) and Dublin City.

All distances and drive times are taken from the aa routeplanner. Please factor in extra time to allow for possible travel delays (roadworks, diversions, inclement weather etc). Please also allow adequate time to visit sites along the route, plus lunch break, restroom break.

  • 1. Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
    Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Bunratty

    Day 1

    Arrive Shannon Airport; collect rental car.
    You'll probably feel tired and jetlagged after your long flight (assuming you're flying in from America). Bunratty Village lies a short drive from Shannon airport. You will find cafes and restaurants, and also Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.
    Spend a couple of hours exploring the Folk Park and Castle (check web-site for opening times).

    Then drive across to the west coast and visit the impressive Cliffs of Moher; the journey should take approx. 1hr, 15 min. Note: there is a charge for parking at the Cliffs. There is also a Visitor Centre where you can learn more about the area; you can also eat and drink at the Centre.
    Note: it is only worth visiting the Cliffs if the weather is clear: don't bother if it's raining or foggy.

    Drive north from the Cliffs to Doolin (approx. 5 minutes drive), where you can check into your accommodation and catch up with your sleep before heading out to the pubs for a bite to eat and to hear some traditional music.
    I've stayed twice in Doolin at Rivervale/Roadford end of the village where McGann's and McDermott's pubs are located. I suspect this is slightly quieter than the Fisherstreet end, where you'll find O'Connor's pub.
    Note: Doolin does get extremely busy at weekends and during tourist season, and the pubs can be packed out with stag/hen parties, and large(r) groups, which makes it difficult to hear conversation/music.

    If you feel this isn't your scene, then drive up to Ballyvaughan on the north coast of Clare. It's a pretty little village with good choice of accommodation and some nice pubs and restaurants. Should take approx. 40 minutes to reach from the Cliffs.
    Overnight Doolin (or Ballyvaughan) for 2 nights.

  • 2. The Burren

    Day 2.

    Spend the day exploring the Burren region of north Clare. This is a fascinating limestone landscape where alpine and mediterranean flowers grow side by side: a unique and unusual combination! You have to get out and walk across the Burren to discover these hidden treasures. Best time to see the flowers: April-June.

    The Burren has been inhabited since prehistoric times and you will find prehistoric burial sites and ring forts lying next to ruins of medieval churches and abbeys.

    Click on the above link to read about my favourite places in the Burren.

    2nd night in Doolin or Ballyvaughan.

  • 3. Galway

    Day 3

    Clare to Galway (city) : approx. 75km, 1.5hrs

    Time to leave Clare and head for Galway city.
    Your route will take you through Kinvarra, a pretty village on the coast. Just outside Kinvarra you will see Dunguaire Castle by the sea. Well worth visiting, if open. Do check opening hours.

    Spend a few hours exploring this small, bustling city before heading out to one of Galway's famous pubs to enjoy some music and a bite to eat. Popular pubs include: Monroes, the Crane Bar, Ti Coli and Taffees.

    Overnight in Galway for 2 nights.

  • 4. Connemara
    County Galway

    Day 4

    Drive west from Galway into beautiful Connemara through pretty towns and villages (Oughterard, Roundstone, Clifden) and visit Kylemore Abbey, Killary Harbour and Connemara National Park, before heading back to Galway for the night.

    Alternative option: take a full day excursion to one of the Aran Islands. Ferries leave from Rossaveel port, which is approx. 1hr's drive from the city. The ferry service offers a shuttle from the city to the port if you don't want to drive yourself. There are also flights from Connemara airport to the Islands.

    2nd night in Galway.

  • 5. Dublin

    Day 5

    Galway - Clonmacnoise - Dublin Airport : 235km, approx. 3.5-4hrs drive.

    You might like to break your journey across to Dublin at Clonmacnoise, which is a peaceful monastic settlement, now in ruins, overlooking the river Shannon.

    Drop the car back at Dublin airport and take the aircoach into the City.

    Overnight in Dublin for 2 nights.

    Day 6 - Dublin city.

    Spend the day exploring the City.
    Please do read the Top Questions Section on the Dublin Forum, where you will find a wealth of information about places to stay, see, eat and drink.

    If you have an extra night, you might like to spend 3 nights in Dublin and take a day-trip to either Newgrange or Glendalough.
    Newgrange is one of the most important and interesting prehistoric sites in Europe.
    Glendalough is a beautiful monastic settlement hidden away in the Wicklow mountains.
    You need a full day to visit either site.

    Day 7 (or 8)

    Time to head to Dublin airport for your flight home; factor in a 3-hr check-in for transatlantic flights.