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Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Palm Harbor, Florida
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Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

We will be staying in Coleraine for one night in mid-March. We planned on visiting Giants Causeway, check in to our hotel in Coleraine then head to Derry in the evening for a few hours. I'm wondering if we should wait and spend the whole next day there. We had planned to climb Knockarea that day instead. Advice? Thanks so much .BTW we will have our own car.

North Coast, N...
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1. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Can you fill in the gaps a little - where are you coming from?

Do you mean Knocknarea Mountain which is near Sligo - more than 3 hours drive away from Coleraine?

Re Derry You can walk the city walls and visit the Tower Museum in half a day if you want.

The reason I ask where you are coming from is to try and get an idea of how much driving you're doing on your first day and likely timeframe. You could easily go to Sligo via Derry (in fact I believe that is the recommended AA route) so it doesn't make much sense to drive from Coleraine to Derry, come back to overnight in Coleraine only to head to Sligo via Derry the next morning.

Palm Harbor, Florida
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2. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

We are heading to Galway from Coleraine. I wanted to stop in the town of Donegal for a short bit before heading to Sligo. I know we will be doing a lot of driving but wanted to fit in as much as possible on our way to Galway.

North Coast, N...
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3. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Donegal is a great county - any chance you could add another night in between Coleraine and Galway/Sligo?

That would mean you could have an early start to Derry, spend a few hours that morning in Derry, do a quick photostop at the ringfort at Grianán Ailigh between Derry and Letterkenny and then on to Donegal town. You could then head on to Sligo and do your climb the next morning?

Is Coleraine accommodation booked? I would be tempted to continue on to Derry given your itinerary. It would give you a head start the next morning.

Palm Harbor, Florida
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4. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

I wish we had another day. We only have 6 days. First night in Dublin, second in Coleraine (we had B&B vouchers to use and there were no available accomodations in Derry, otherwise we would have definitely stayed there). The third and fourth nights are in Galway because we wanted to be there for St. Patricks day plus have another day to explore that town. The fifth night is booked at Ashford Castle then the last night back in Dublin for an early flight out the next morning.

Thank you so much for your tips. I think we'll just get in the car from Coleraine (once we clean up a bit after Giants Causeway) and spend a few hours in Derry in the late afternoon and evening. It will be extra driving but we're used to on the go vacationing.

North Coast, N...
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5. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Ah right - yes, the folks on the Ireland forum don't like the B&B voucher system because they find it quite inflexible and have mentioned similar problems with availability so I understand your dilemma.

Ok, go for an early start from Dublin then - if you haven't already booked accommodation, try and get somewhere on the north side of the city so you don't have to drive through rush hour traffic..

Now you really want to follow the Antrim Coastal road as this is all part of the Causeway experience but if the weather is not good, as you are pushed for time, instead follow the M2 northbound and then take the A26 and turn off for Ballycastle and follow the coast round from there to see Carrick-a-Rede, Causeway and do at least a photo stop at Dunluce. Just note that even going on the motorway, it takes a good 3.5 hours minimum (that honestly is a conservative figure) to get from Dublin to the Causeway.

Again if you are still pushed for time, you can go from Coleraine to Derry inland and skip the Causeway Coastal route (which takes you round past Mussenden temple. The Coastal route really only adds maybe 20 minutes to your journey so if you have time, it is worth doing - stop briefly at Downhill and walk on the beach for photos of Mussenden.

Martin McCrossan does a guided tour of the city walls by request at 4pm

http://derrycitytours.com/

but you may want to see how tired you are - as it is a lot of driving from Dublin to the north coast and you honestly may end up deciding to stay in Coleraine and forego Derry in the late afternoon. I really do suspect you will feel this way but I could be wrong!

If you do stay in Coleraine, after dinner, go for a walk and explore some more of the lovely coastline (if it's dry!) - there are lovely walks/photo opps e.g. White Rocks, Portstewart Strand, Downhill beach.

You're cramming a lot into a little time and it really is a shame not to include at least a half day in Belfast but as long as you know you are doing an awful lot of driving and so will not get so much time to get a real feel for the place, that is fine. Hopefully it will whet your appetite and you'll come back one day:)

Palm Harbor, Florida
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6. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

What great information you provided! Let's hope our energy level is high! Thanks for all of the wonderful tips. It certainly is appreciated.

County Dublin...
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7. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Up there, listen to ponaire. She is the man.

North Coast, N...
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8. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Thanks lordkimmage!

@lovemytanner - have a look at the AA route planner for driving times and routes. These are reasonably accurate but most people recommend you add 10 - 20% to allow for slow traffic (we get a lot of agricultural vehicles on the roads!), roadworks and rest breaks.

http://www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp

Each day you will be doing a minimum (absolute minimum of 3.5 hours driving which is a lot as some of this will be on country roads). Don't forget that you can go to Sligo via Derry so you can park up centrally and even just spend an hour or so walking the city walls as a minimum. Yes, it's not doing the city justice but it is still something and it is saving you 2 hours driving on your first day....

Good luck with your trip!

Lisburn, United...
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9. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

Green Blur Alert!!!!

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10. Re: Is it worth spending a whole day visiting Derry?

I would not prioritise spending a whole day in Derry

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