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21 Days in Ireland
I’ve been studying Ireland for months now because we would love to have a three week adventure in Ireland one day – to just rent a car and go and explore, how exciting is that? The more I study, plan and prepare the more I fall in love with Ireland, the history, its culture and of course the deep luscious green countryside, it has me mesmerized. Anyway, coming up with an itinerary for this little island is actually quite easy, you simple just do a loop around; the tricky part is knowing how much time to stay in one place.
With all my scribbled notes on paper and travel books, outlined maps, and searching through copious amounts of photos on the internet, I prioritized my favorite places to help with shorter trips to Ireland as well. But I still like the idea of really soaking in the country and taking my sweet time – 21 days is my goal. We shall see!
I personally would like to spend a good three days in Dublin because I used to live there when I was a little girl. I think I would spend some time searching for the house we used to live in and the school and church we attended and try to imagine what it was like for my parents who had four children and another one on the way! Of course, I will also be thoroughly absorbed in the beautiful Irish city that is so rich in history and culture; I think it will keep us busy for days.
Here are some sightseeing priorities – just in my opinion, but what do I know? I look forward to giving a full report one day!
Sightseeing priorities for Ireland:
3 Days: Dublin
5 Days add: Dingle Peninsula
9 Days add: Kinsale, Kenmare/Ring of Kerry
11 Days add: Galway, County Clare/Burren
13 Days add: Aran Islands, Kilkenny/Cashel
15 Days add: Belfast, Antrim Coast
19 Days add: Derry, Connemara, Wicklow Mountains/Valley of the Boyne
21 Days add: Waterford, Donegal
-This seems to be the best itinerary for a three week trip by car and it covers just about everything that Ireland has to offer.
Photo: Rick Steves tour Ireland map
After having my head buried in research for weeks, I actually found a lot of my notes were almost the same as Rick Steves itinerary for Ireland. Well, I couldn’t go too wrong; it really is just a loop around the island
Daily Plan: Sleep in:
Day 1 Fly into Dublin Dublin
Day 2 Dublin Dublin
Day 3 Dublin Dublin
Day 4 Rent Car – Glendalough Kilkenny
Day 5 Cashel Waterford
Day 6 Waterford Waterford
Day 7 Explore County Wexford, Cobh Kinsale
Day 8 Kinsale (Blarney Castle) Kinsale
Day 9 Muckross House and Farms Kenmare
Day 10 Ring of Kerry Dingle
Day 11 Dingle Peninsula Loop Dingle
Day 12 Blasket Island, Dingle town Dingle
Day 13 Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Galway
Dunguaire Castle banquet
Day 14 Aran Islands Galway
Day 15 Explore Connemara Westport
Day 16 Drive to Northern Ireland Derry
Day 17 Explore Derry Portrush
Day 18 Explore Antrim coast Portrush
Day 19 Belfast Belfast
Day 20 Drive to Valley of the Boyne sights Trim
Day 21 Return car and fly home from Dublin
A FEW TIPS:
ONE: Book hotels and car rental before your trip to Ireland. This trip is doable without a car too, there are trains and bus tours that can help you get around Ireland. This itinerary though is for a car, but I’ll try and add in some help with tours if I can.
TWO: If you’re coming from the airport, (only two terminals) there are two buses that run from Dublin’s airport to the city – Airlink - €6.90 and Aircoach - €8.50. You can buy a ticket at the airport TI. Both pick up from the street directly from airport arrivals. Ask the driver which stop is closest to your hotel. The City Bus is the cheapest way to get downtown but you do need the exact change, no change is given. Cost - €2.50. A taxi will run you around €25. (Bring around €200 euros with you or buy some at the airport ATM).
THREE: Approximate daily cost: $125 a day per person for room and board. This allows $20 for lunch $30 for dinner $65 - $75 for lodgings. This is for two people splitting a $130 double room that includes breakfast. Food could be cheaper some days by buying a picnic lunch from a grocery store or bakery and looking around for cheap dinners – ie: fish and chips.
FOUR: You’ll still need to budget for entertainment, sightseeing, bus tours, shopping/souvenirs. ($2 postcards/ice cream/ $6 pint of beer….etc.)
FIVE: The River Liffy cuts the town in two. The Southern half is where most of your sightseeing will take place and it’s all pretty much clustered together into a triangle form. There’s no need to rent a car until you leave Dublin, take the bus, taxi or walk. Parking will cost you at least €20 a day and driving is like any other chaotic city –and driving is on the left.
SIX: Hop-on/hop off bus tours are the best way to see a busy, unfamiliar city, it makes your sightseeing very efficient and the routes are geared around tourists so you can jump off at any given time at the touristy stops. There are two companies in Dublin – CITY SIGHTSEEING DUBLIN and DUBLIN BUS TOUR. Both pretty much have the same route which runs for one and half hours with around 20 stops. But with all the stops you make it could take a good part of your day. €19.00 for two days. Runs from 9am – 5pm/6:30pm for DBT. With your ticket, you will receive a map of the city and some discounts for some of Dublin’s sights. So take a bus tour before you do your sightseeing to take advantage of discounts.
(Remember to check out our RHODESIDE TRAVEL TIPS on the side bar too, it will help with packing tips/money matters/ electricity etc.)
Here are a few photos of some of the areas on this itinerary.
RING OF KERRY
GALWAY - Dunguaire Castle
ANTRIM COAST _ ROPE BRIDGE