Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I know a decent number of the folks here have been to Ireland -  I even thought there was already a post on things to do when visiting, but I can't find it - and since some friends and I are going to the Emerald Isle at the end of August and I thought I'd ask for advice. We'll be in Dublin Friday through at least lunch Sunday, then we have no set itinerary until our flights out the follow Friday. Any suggestions of must-visit sights, great places to stay outside of Dublin or anything else would be greatly appreciated.


  1. Joseph J, Finn8:26 AM

    The campus of Trinity and especially the Old Library there are essentials, then take a nice walk in St. Stephen's Greem a few blocks south.  Take a train to something outside of Dublin, depending on your timetable, like a overnight trip to Tralee or Limerick or somewhere else in Kerry or Glasgow (my grandparents were from Kerry and it's a magnificent area).

  2. Maggie8:37 AM

    You can take the train (or drive) to Galway for a few days, which might serve as a good jumping off point for the Cliffs of Moher, which are fantastic and have the distinction of featuring in The Princess Bride, or for a ferry ride to the Aran Islands.  We went to the largest (Inishmore) and spent the day biking around the island and climbing up Dún Eochla. 

  3. I should have mentioned that we are renting a car, so we should be able to get to anywhere. Thanks, guys.

  4. Stevie9:55 AM

    We rented a car a few years ago and drove around Ireland, tramping through ruins. My must-sees outside of Dublin are Kilkenny, Clonmacnoise, and Hill of Tara. My favorite part of the trip was the two days we spent in County Clare (we stayed in Doolin; great music at the pubs and easy access to the Cliffs of Moher). We didn't get to the Aran Islands, but I wish we would have. In Doolin, we stayed at Cullinans, which was centrally located (we could walk to all the pubs) and has a great restaurant too.

    I found a lot of our housing through the Lonely Planet guidebook, and a number of towns have a tourist office, where you pay a couple of euros (we paid 3 but it was six years ago) and they book you an accomodation, if you want some flexibility.

  5. I drove around Ireland with my mom (a very nervous passenger) in the passenger seat, and it was a learning experience in patience and dealing with my temper. I liked Kilkenny a lot, but I would say a don't miss is Kenmare. The Ring of Kerry is gorgeous, if you catch it on a beautiful, sunny day like we did, but it gets very crowded with gigantic coaches that like to take up lots of the road. My mom was really fond of telling me not to hit the coaches. That was fun.

    But the town of Kenmare is what I think of as a "typical" Irish town--row houses in bright colors, lots of pubs and restaurants and friendly people. The shopping's not too bad either.

    One last thing: Get the GPS for your car! It was a life-saver for us because there had been so much road construction during the boom that our map was out of date. Plus, the GPS voice is a soothing, woman's voice with a British accent.

    Have fun!

  6. Definitely visit Newgrange, an ancient temple older than Stonehenge, which is amazing. I second the Ring of Kerry. My brother and sister went to Ireland last year and their favorite "quintessential" Irish small town was Dingle. Having a car there is great, but defnitely get the GPS as Jen mentioned, and allow extra time to drive places -- getting stuck on a small road behind a tractor is not an unlikely occurence.

  7. I spent a few days in Limerick on business in 2009.  Unless you're huge fans of Angela's Ashes, there's no need to visit.  It's got a cool old castle, but I'm sure you can see better elsewhere. 

  8. michelle m rosecrans12:24 PM

    it's a bit touristy, but i'd still recommend the guinness museum in dublin.  cool building, great view of the city from the top floor, and beer.

  9. Mandee12:28 PM

    It's been 11 years and I was a poor law student studying at Trinity, but my favorites from my three weeks in Ireland were Galway and the weekend trip 8 of us took in two cars driving down the East Coast from Dublin all the way to Dingle.  Loved Dingle as well as many of the other places mentioned above. 

  10. Jessica1:58 PM

    My parents and I spent a week in Ireland last August and loved every minute.  Our goal was to avoid the absolute most touristy places (since it was still high season there) and get off the beaten path a little.  We flew into Dublin then immediately drove down to Kilkenny, which I highly recommend.  It's a medieval town (landlocked, not coast) that is so picturesque, and the surrounding countryside is beautiful.  Then we drove through Cashel (didn't stop at the Rock but saw from afar) and down to Sheeps Head peninsula, which was deserted and kind of haunting.  The next day, using Kenmare as a base, we did the Beara peninsula, which may have been our overall favorite day.  The following day we did the Dingle peninsula which was breathtaking and a good Ring of Kerry alternative.  Our last non-Dublin day we went up to Kilkee and to the Loop Head lighthouse--a good Cliffs of Moher alternative.  On our way back to Dublin we stopped at the ruins of Clonmacnoise, then spent about a day and a half walking around Dublin.

    We overnighted in Kilkenny, Kenmare (2 nights), Kilkee, and Dublin (2 nights).  All the B&Bs we stayed in were amazing and budget-friendly, and the hotel we stayed at in Dublin was great as well.  Happy to provide details if you're interested.

  11. Becca2:29 PM

    Was the dolphin still there?

    We took the train out to Houth for a few hours to walk around, and it was very pretty and rocky, but there wasn't much else to see. I highly recommend a visit to Christ Church Cathedral. The Medieval crypt is amazing, and has lots of original surviving features. 

  12. I loved Newgrange! That was the final stop on the clockwise driving tour of Ireland (Dublin to Kilkenny to Kenmare to Galway to Sligo to County Tyrone and Belfast back to Dublin). We left Belfast early because we were done and kind of decided to stop at Newgrange on a spur of the moment. What an amazing temple! Not as grand on the outside as Chichen Itza but definitely a "how did people without engineering degrees figure this one out" kinda place.

  13. I was just talking with some friends who were in Dublin last week. They decided not to go there, but I found it very interesting. My favorite part (aside from the incredibly fresh Guinnes in the awesome bar) was the gallery of advertising. I don't know if it's a permanent fixture, but I really liked it. 

    Plus, did I mention the fresh Guinness in the 360-degree window bar overlooking the city?

  14. Jessica, I would love B&B details, along with any other tips. christopherwilson13 at gmail.com.

    Thanks to everyone, this is some great stuff.

  15. littleredyarn5:25 PM

    I loved the Guinness Storehouse tour! I wasn't going to go because, you know, it's not cool to do the tourist thing but we said "what the hell" and went anyway.

    Great fun...and the beer's not too shabby, either.

  16. Hannah Lee7:52 PM

    If you've got time to explore different areas, Kinsale, on the south coast in County Cork, is worth checking out as well.

    Very scenic, with a beautiful harbor and lots of winding streets to get lost in.  It's got good pubs and restaurants, beaches, boating.  (And it's not far from Blarney Castle, if kissing the Blarney Stone is your kind of thing)

  17. Joseph J, Finn10:42 PM

    Indeed, the advertising section is the best part.  Well, that and the beer.  But seriously, the gallery of art by John Gilrory is definitely is worth seeing.

  18. chris h11:18 PM

    I lived in Galway for a couple years. If you make it to the west coast, I recommend Conamara (Kylemore Abbey, Ashford Castle, the area where The Quiet Man was filmed) over the Aran islands or cliffs of mohar.

    In Dublin, make sure you go to Kilmainham jail on the west side. It has a great tour that gives a nice overview of the revolution.

    If you drive, remember to allow extra time. You won't average better than 45 mph (safely).

  19. Stevie7:46 AM

    We did go up to the ruins in Cashel, and they were phenomenal. Cashel also has terrific blue cheese.

  20. littleredyarn12:08 PM

    I bought a rugby shirt (complete with rubber buttons and thread) with the iconic Gilroy toucan at the Storehouse. I still wear it since it's such a great souvenir.

    Adam, that might make a great topic idea...souvenirs. What did you buy on your travels and where are they now?

  21. I got a postcard with the old "Guiness Is Good For You!" slogan.  The FTC would be all over their Irish asses.

  22. Nicole4:45 PM

    In my opinion, the Giant's Causeway is worth a visit.

  23. Nicole4:47 PM

    I suspect it was no accident that we were ushered to the gift shop AFTER enjoying our pints atop the city.  My slightly buzzing self found all sorts of things I obviously *had* to have.