We have been to Ireland three times. We love the Southwest area of Ireland - especially Killarney. The ring of Kerry is so beautiful, as is the Dingle Penninsula. I could easily skip Dublin. We pretty much did all we wanted to do there. Our first trip we used B & Bs and just meandered around. The second time we rented a cottage for a week up in Corofin and did B & Bs before and after that week. The third time we rented a castle, I think it was in Tuam (the largest big city was Limerick and that was a distance). We started in London (good price on car rental), went up to Scotland and crossed by car Ferry to Northern Ireland. After the week in the Castle, we did B & Bs for a few days and returned by car ferry again out of Wexford over to Wales. It was a great three weeks.
We spent time up in Northern Ireland on two trips. It is very beautiful. The Giant's Causeway is not to be missed.
I'm ready for another trip! It has been 10 years, so we are long overdue.
It's as quiet on the political front as it's ever been. Suggestion: To get a feel for what's going on (and, considering the awful history, what's *not* going on at present), read a couple of the Irish newspaper online before going there. You'll feel more "at home" right on arrival.
The Irish Times is at www.ireland.com; also http://www.unison.ie/ where you can read the news and find links to many more newspapers (use the selector on the right of the screen, below today's date).
What's with all the Dublin bashing?? It's a beautiful city. In my line of work I encounter many Americans who claim to have seen it all yet on any kind of examination they have not really seen anything i.e. Newgrange, GPO, National Museum, Glendalough, Natural History Museum, National Art Gallery, Hugh Lane Art Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Phoenix Park, DublinCastle, James Joyce Museum, Writers Museum, Kilmainham Gaol, Japanese Gardens, Powerscourt Gardens, Custom House, Four Courts, Dublinia, Christchurch, Dublin Zoo, Guinness Brewery, Garden of Rememberance, Leinster House, Botanic Gardens, Newbridge House, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, Book of Kells, Horse Racing in Fairyhouse and Leopardstown, Dog Racing in Shelbourne, a Hurling Match in Croke Park. These are just a few places to visit in Dublin-not to mention the abundance of restaurants, pubs and clubs. Enjoy your stay.
I agree that Dublin's a great city, and when visiting friends there I
always have an excellent time. Cultural and entertainment venues are superb, and the pub scene is always changing. However, it's getting to be like many large cities: you can waste a lot of time in traffic, crime is growing, and it's become a very expensive proposition to stay or eat there. In fact, from my point of view as a 'frequent flyer' between Ireland and the U.S., I think that since the conversion to the Euro, Irish citizens have been paying way too much for everything; food and consumer goods in particular.
For the best places in Ireland, I gravitate to the West: Cork and especially West Cork for wild scenery and wonderful people; Connemara and Mayo - high mountains, kayaking, walking and great pubs; Sligo & Donegal - distinctive towns and a different culture than the rest of Ireland; and the North - unspoiled areas of great beauty and hospitable people. Overall, the people are Ireland's greatest natural resource!
"If we had it to do again?" Fortunately, we are doing exactly that next year. Our first visit was our honeymoon in 1994 and we loved it. Wonderfully friendly people everywhere, drove ourselves and stayed in B&Bs where we were welcomed like long-lost family members back from the US.
What we'll do differently this time is plan more and keep more focused on the trip. (Well, we were newlyweds the first time!) I admit that I went with my rose colored glasses - make that shamrock colored - and went pretty much blindly seeking the Ireland I'd been told of by my parents.
This time, we have researched areas and events we want to see; the time of year (Oct-Nov); and how to manage our time better. We'll rent a cottage for two weeks in the south-east region, using it as a base to explore the Waterford/Cork areas (we live in Arkansas - everything here is 2 to 4 hours' drive, so Cork is in easy reach!). Then move to the west - outside Galway - for the next two weeks.
This way, we can mingle with locals who know the area, and get to know more than roads and places. My wife and I are both of Irish descent and we want to have time and availability to absorb the culture and nuances of our ancestors.
Granted, as some have pointed out in these forums, the Celtic Tiger is pretty far removed from The Quiet Man's quaintness, but I believe that hearts and souls don't fundamentally change, and it is that base character we are looking for. We'll take our time, not push anything, and follow our basic plans ... but with lots of free time to allow for surprises and new opportunities.
I would stay longer in Belfast, and most areas are good in that city in terms of things to see/do, places to shop, etc & an added plus for me was that my best friend who has lived there most of his life knows the city and wouldnt take me to any place he thought wasnt safe, and like most major cities has good & bad neighborhoods/areas... I'd also like to explore Dublin a bit more & see Cobh (as I am much into the Titanic history)
I am going to Ireland for my honeymoon, and cant wait to get there!
Any places to go off the beaten path?
My and my Fiance are getting married there next month.
Any Recommendations for us when we go?
We are using these people for out Wedding planning.
So far they Karen has been a great help.
Its not easy planning this from the other side of the pond. Ireland Wedding Planner Arkansas Insurance- My company
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