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Old 09-27-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: NC
13 posts, read 28,439 times
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My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this July and we want to travel to Ireland. Spending at least one night in a castle is on my must-do list. We are thinking that renting a car is the best way to go. I would appreciate any feedback from those of you who have done this trip. Where to go,stay and what to do? Thanks .
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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How long will you be there?
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:21 PM
 
Location: on an island
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We never stayed here, but I have heard wonderful things abut:

Adare Manor

We did drive by and it looked lovely.
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
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Yes! Definitely rent a car. It's just too hard to get around most parts of the country via public transportation (and sorta boring to do a bus tour). It'll take a bit of getting used to driving on the left but it's all part of the adventure!

Depending on how long you'll be staying, I'd recommend sticking to one general area/province (like the West Coast/South West Coast/Northwest Coast etc.) since the country is larger(and takes forever on the windy roads) than it looks. Traveling the length of the country isn't that doable or enjoyable in a short two week visit, imo. If you want to see some spectacular landscape albeit more "touristy" do Co Kerry (Dingle Peninsula, Moll's Gap etc) and/or Co Clare (Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, etc) All well worth seeing.

One of my favorite parts of the country is also West Cork. You could stick to this area and visit Kinsale (a very posh beautiful yet touristy town) and Clonakilty, and then drive on to the gorgeous towns of Union Hall/Glandore, pass through Skibberreen, visit Glengarriff then onto Kenmare (some of the best restaurants in the country are here). A particularly special restaurant for an Anniversary dinner would be a little place called the Lime Tree in Kenmare. I've got a few more in mind as well if you need tips..

As for accommodation I can't help you offhand w/ the castle option but most of the B&Bs are very good and pretty affordable. There is a very nice hotel at Bunratty Castle, but you wouldn't be actually staying IN the castle itself since it's falling apart over its age!). The model village there is pretty fun for a day out, however.

I particularly like renting out houses/townhouses for a week or so and doing a lot of my own cooking to save money (eating and hotels, in Ireland is VERY expensive and not something you want to do every night, imo). If you pick a good spot, you can do day trips to many of the towns I've mentioned. I used to live in Ireland and can help you more with some ideas if you'd like..too much to go on about here! Tell me what kind of trip you'd like to have (touristy, more activity oriented, looking at ruins and such, dining, or more of a romantic sort of thing) I might be able to help with more ideas!



I
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:05 PM
 
Location: NC
13 posts, read 28,439 times
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clongirl,
Thank you so much. You have some wonderful information and have given us lots to consider. We'll definitely do some more thinking and post some questions soon. I would prefer ruins and romance and we can do approx. 8-10 days I think. I like the idea of sticking to one area- maybe the West coast.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
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Think about Ballymaloe House,near Cork. Part of the structure is an ancient keep but the accommodations and FOOD are superb. (They have an onsite cooking school,raise a lot of their own food.) "Castle" is a term or art. Some "castles" like Ashford Castle are actually 19th century mansions. You'll have a wonderful time. Just be prepared for aching necks and shoulders the first couple days of driving on the left!
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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I don't know if you've picked an area to stick to or not so I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in.

I liked visiting the Giant's Causeway. It's in Northern Ireland. I also liked going to Wicklow Mtns National Park (http://homepage.eircom.net/%7Eknp/wicklow/index.htm - broken link).

Dublin was good, too...seeing a part of the Book of Kells, National Museum, walking across the Ha' Penny bridge, learning about the Easter Uprising and seeing the remnants of it and people watching at the park or in the Temple Bar area.

Powerscourt Garden
was touristy but still nice and relaxing. I loved loved loved all the flowers, the roses especially.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Aloverton
6,437 posts, read 10,906,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davis Creek View Post
My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this July and we want to travel to Ireland. Spending at least one night in a castle is on my must-do list. We are thinking that renting a car is the best way to go. I would appreciate any feedback from those of you who have done this trip. Where to go,stay and what to do? Thanks .
Ireland has a lot of castles. Unfortunately, you chose to get married at the busy tourist time. That could be a capacity issue in many situations. Next time you get married, try to pick a wedding date in the off-season.

What I would do is find a really intelligent travel agent who has been to Ireland. We lucked out and got an actual Irishwoman. Must-dos:

--Fly into Shannon, not Dublin.
--Don't plan big driving on your day of arrival because the jetlag combined with left-side driving is a recipe for a bad event. Driving in Ireland is hard enough without that. Probably just book the motel across the parking lot from Shannon airport.
--Rent an economy car with automatic trannie. You don't want to do manual, even if you live by it in the States.
--Bring a Michelin map of Ireland as well as the highly detailed Frommer's Road Atlas Ireland.

Then you have to decide if you want to go from B&B to B&B, or if you want to rent a cottage and fare forth, and if there are any cities where you want to reserve a hotel. Same applies for castle stays. That's why you have a travel agent, to find stuff like that. For example, we flew into Shannon, B&Bed our way clockwise to Dublin, two hotel nights there, then B&Bed our way clockwise again toward Shannon. Next time we will probably do the cottage thing.

If it's a cottage, your agent should be able to find one and make good arrangements. If it's B&Bs, what you do is buy a voucher book for the number of nights you want to stay in B&Bs. They give you a reference book (an inch thick) listing all the Irish B&Bs that take the vouchers, plus a smaller one with farmhouse B&Bs. Buy a phone card at Shannon. Every day, decide where you want to end up and phone the B&B of your choice, and make arrangements. In the busy season you might have to make several calls. Then you have all day to wander your way there. And it may take all day if Fergus up the road has decided this is the day he must use the road to move his flock of sheep from one pasture to another, or if the O'Neills are all going to town in Da O'Neill's tractor (enclosed cab) at 15 mph and there is no way to pass them without rolling the dice with your lives.
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