My husband and I are traveling with my parents to Ireland from 17 May until 24 May 2005 (next week!). We fly into Shannon and out of Dublin. We are renting a car, and have set up accomodations in the following areas: First night Galway, second:Adare Manor (Limerick?), third: Kinsale, fourth: Kilkenny and the last 2 Nights in Dublin. The trip is being given to my mom for her 65th b-day, whose family is originally from the County Cork, and has always wanted to see Ireland. Based on our itinerary, any suggestions of must-sees and must-dos while we are there? We also love local restaurants/pubs (my mom loves to sing) and any thoughts on special places you would recommend for fun as well. Thanks for your help!
Driving eh, brave. The irish know two types of drivers, the slow-almost-backwards and the blind-bend-no-problem-100mph-overtaker (I've spent many years in and around Galway as a child up to my teens although I'm english ) I am of course exagerating before I get kiboshed by the irish regulars, but maybe some will back me up?
Galway and connemara is one of the finest places on the planet though...
It depends how much time you want to be in the car I guess.
West of Galway is a place called Clifden, its maybe an hour, hour and a half's drive but it is the heart of connemara, set against the 12 bens (pins). It's a nice town to stop in for lunch, there is a road, roundstone to clifden that is a "scenic" route, very picturesque (but will take longer to drive than the direct route)
If you drive out that way, Oughterard is on the way, a nice little town on a river, my family used to live there...its also a nice place to stop for food
The cliffs of moher in county clare (where Shannon is) are some quality 700ft cliffs on the atlantic, it's not really on the way but you could go via there to Galway.
West Coast is very scenery/geographical orientated for me, I did all these as a kid with my parents. There are of course many Catholic sites to visit if that is your thing, I'm a ...well...non practicing catholic shall we say
On a culinary note, Connemara lamb is the finest in the world
Where in Cork is your mom's family from? Are you planning to meet up with any?
Kinsale is probably the best place in Ireland when it comes to a town as a whole re. restaurants and food. It is also very beautiful and interesting with it's narrow winding streets and of course it's on the waterfront so should be really lovely this month. Any restaurant you go into will be great!
Are you planning on kissing the Blarney Stone?
Adare Manor and Kilkenny Castle are also interesting.
What do you consider as fun things to do and maybe I can be of more help..I'm from Ireland, living in Egypt now.
I think you will have a great trip while you are here. It is true that the Irish drivers are terrible but don't let that put you off, you will still enjoy it.
In Galway, there is a great restaurant in the city called Periwinkles. It is close to the bottom of the street up on the second level and the food is excellent. Alternatively you could go across to Salthill which is very nice and there are some great seafood pubs there. One in particular which I cannot remember the name of but the locals will know, it is a pub renowned for its excellent seafood.
Adare is also a really beautiful town, we were only there last week and there are many restaurants in the village which are great - we had lunch at the Adare Golf Club (not the Adare Manor golf club - very Irish situation where the Adare Golf club has the manor on it's grounds yet the other golf club, without the manor, is called Adare Manor golf club!!) and that was lovely - and in a beautiful setting. If you are not worried about money then having diner in the Adare Manor would be spectacular, the setting (golf course grounds) is really beautiful and the Manor is also beautiful.
Maram is right about Kinsale, it is the culinary capital of Ireland and pretty much any place you go will be great. I would say it would be worth asking the locals for a recommendation though anyway (just ask you B&B owner).
In Kilkenny, there is a pub called Langtons which is excellent, it has great food and a great atmosphere and it is on the main road leading up to the bridge. It is worth a trip there if even just for a pint. Kilkenny castle is also beautiful and worth a trip although you may need to book in advance.
In Dublin the choice is endless, although it isn't all great! Temple Bar would be the most famous spot in Dublin and is probably worth a trip for a pint but i would not recommend eating anywhere there as it is extremely touristy and not really a true view of Ireland. The Arlington hotel (on the north quays) is famous for its Irish dancing and singing every night of the week so although this is also quite touristy, you are guaranteed to see some good Irish dancing and your mum can have a sing along! there really are so many places to eat in Dublin that it would really depend on where your staying or if you want to go out in the city centre or not? On Baggot st (south city area) there is a restaurant called Bang which does great gourmet bangers & mash and is worth a trip. There is also a restaurant / pub called The bank on Dame st which is beautiful inside (used to be an old bank!) and has great food - would be a good lunch spot. Cafe Boulevard in the city on Exchequer st is good craic (lots of laughs) and the waiters readily encourage you to get up on the tables to sing and dance!
That is about all i can think of nut if you have any more questions fire away! I am an Aussie living in Ireland (4 years now) and these are all my opinions so if anybody disagrees sorry!
Enjoy your trip... i am sure you will have a ball!
You simply CANNOT bring your (from what it sounds like-all singing all dancing) mum to Dublin without taking her up the mountains to Johnny Foxes Pub for some quality food (the mussles are devine), great Irish music & a mad hooley. It is very touristy but worth every penny as it is great craic!
Other interesting things to do in Dublin are the old faithfuls like visiting the Guinness store (geat panoramic views of the city) & Trinity College (books of kells etc).
I currently live in dublin but head west any second that I have free. As someone else said the cliffs of Moher are breathtaking (but can be a waste of time if the weatheris crap). Last year I was lucky enough to drive from Kerry all the way up the coast through clare, the burren, past the aran islands, galway, cliffs of moher, connemara and finally stopping in Clew bay in Mayo. It was the most stunningly beautiful drive as we got blue skies the whole way (even though it took 9hours!!). You obviously dont have time to do this but I would recommend doing half of it, from Adare to Kinsale along the coast.
This way you can fit the ring of Kerry in too. I visit Kerry several times a year and the drive is lovely. From Limerick go to Killarney & take in the beautiful drive around the lakes-from there head towards Killorglin (where the puck goat is king!!!), Caherciveen, Skelligs (home to puffins & an ancient monastry-not sure if boats running this time of year so will have to check this out), Waterville (Tiger woods favourite golf course!), Derrynane (my favourite place in the world-you can visit Daniel O'Connell the Liberators house & walk the tropical gardens-this place is a slice of heaven!), Kenmare (famous gastronomy), then on to Cork (capital of culture!) & Kinsale. Last time I was in cork I went to a great place called Scoozies but I havent been in Kinsale for about 10years.
Hope this helps - I know its biased towards Kerry but thats only because it is my second home! Have a great time!
I'm with Eefs.
Kerry is amazing. Dont miss it!! Even when its pouring rain it's great - big mysterious mountains rising up out of the mist. As long as you've the rain-gear in the boot of the car, you're sorted.
Everything has pretty much been covered in the previous posts. Lots of good advice in there. You've picked some of the best spots in the country, so you're going to have a great time!!
Adare Manor is fabulous! The grounds are beautiful and you really get the feeling like you're staying in an old castle. It's right on the the edge of Adare village so five minutes walk gets you into the "town".
I recommend the Dunraven Arms for a drink or two. And "The Wild Geese" restaurant for some food if youre getting outside the Manor for an evening.
Lots of great walks there and there's a pretty good tourist information centre there that can point you in the right direction for ways to fill your afternoons.
Have a great trip! You're coming at a good time of the year - there are some showers, but overall the weather is quite good right now. (Still not warm yet though....)
If you need any specific help with anything let us know.
By the way, I would just like to refute those earlier comment about Irish drivers.
We are the finest and most skilled in the world!
I agree with Eefs an most things except to give Johnnie Foxes pub a wide berth in Dublin - I found it over priced, over hyped and not the real thing at all. If you want to go to a traditional show, by far and away the best is in Taylors Three Rock pub in Rathfarnham where they run a show every night. The band are the Merry Ploughboys and are superb entertainers. I've played music in most of the trad pubs in Dublin so I know what really goes on behind the scenes at these venues, and Taylors is without doubt the best for authenticity and value (about Euro40 per person for dinner and show I think - they also do show only). It's a fairly new show - about 5 years running - in fact most people don't know it's there so it's a bit of a secret gem.
Enjoy the trip.
What great information....Thanks to all who have responded. I have two conflicting pieces of information on a great pub to see/particpate in good irish singing/dancing in Dublin. One person said Johnnie Fox's and the other Taylors Three Rock Traditional Irish Pub in Rathfarnham. Anyone else have any thoughts on this one? Any other fun places such as these in other parts of the country?
If you like seafood, in Kinsale there is an amazing restaurant called Fishy Fishy Cafe. It is perfect for lunch. Arrive at 11h30am because at noon there is already a big line up. I swear, this is one of best place to eat seafood. You will not be disappointed.