My wife and I and another couple went on a trip to Ireland this August. It was great craic as they say in Ireland.
After several planning iterations, including advice from Pat Preston of IrelandExpert.com, we ended up with a hybrid trip that worked out really well. We flew into Dublin and spent some time in the city on our own. We then joined a tour to see some famous sites and get us to Galway. We left the tour in Galway and stayed there to visit the Aran Islands. We then rented a car and drove to the townlands where my grandmother and grandfather were from. We stayed in a B&B and met some wonderful, helpful people in small towns in Sligo and Leitrim. Many stories to tell when I get a chance.
Modes of transportation on this trip – plane, train, ferry, bus, car, and bicycle! Enjoyed the city, the famous sites, and the countryside. It seemed like a good compromise to keep the stress level down that we were afraid a full driving vacation might have brought.
Here’s a summary of the trip for anyone interested in doing something similar.
Day 0 – Aug 5 – depart Aer Lingus EI-104 from JFK at 5:45pm, overnight flight
Day 1 – Aug 6 – arrive at Dublin airport at 5:15am (Best Western Ashling Hotel)
Train to Kilkenny, back in Dublin for the evening
Day 2 – Aug 7 – Dublin, join 2009 Irish Discovery Tour at 7pm (Ashling Hotel)
St Patrick’s, Christ Church, Guinness tour, Kilmainham Gaol
Day 3 – Aug 8 – Tour Dublin (Ashling Hotel)
Trinity College/Book of Kells, Dublin Castle, Jameson dinner show
Day 4 – Aug 9 – Tour to Killarney (The Brehon Hotel in Killarney)
Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle
Day 5 – Aug 10 – Tour to Dingle Peninsula (Brehon)
Dingle, Blasket Centre, Dunquin
Day 6 – Aug 11 – Tour to Galway (Radisson SAS Hotel in Galway)
Tarbert, River Shannon by ferry, Lahinch to view Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay
Day 7 – Aug 12 – Exit Tour – stay in Galway (Radisson)
Aran Islands – bicycle around Inishmore
Day 8 – Aug 13 – Ballinamore (Buille Toll B&B)
Drive to Ballaghboy, Sligo then Gubnaveagh/Ballinamore, Leitrim
Day 9 – Aug 14 – drop car at Dublin airport (O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel)
Abbey Theatre to see The Rivals
Day 10 – Aug 15 – Dublin (O’Callaghan Alexander)
Train to Belfast, bus to Giant’s Causeway
Day 11 – Aug 16 – depart Aer Lingus EI-105 from Dublin airport at 10:30am, arrive at JFK at 1pm