My grandmother, who is 76 years old, has had a life long dream of seeing Ireland. Her ancestor's are Irish, her maiden name was Lynch. We (my 2 aunts, my sister, and myself) are making this dream come true. (Along with some help of friends and other family)
We have booked our flights. We arrive in Dublin on March 17 at 7am . We have a hotel booked (along the parade route) for 2 nights. We are staying at the Jurys Inn Christchurch. We will leave Dublin on the 19th with a rental car. We have to be back in Dublin on the 25th (11:50 am) to catch the flight back to the US.
We have no plans in between. We know we want to stay in a castle 1 night. We also know we are getting B&B vouchers for the other nights. We would like some advice on what is a must see for my Grandma both in Dublin and elsewhere. We want to "Kiss the Blarney Stone" (I know a little touristy!). *
What towns should we stay in?
Do you have lodging suggestions for the towns suggested?
Any help or advice is appreciated. Our main concern is making sure Grandmas has the time of her life!!
Thanks in advance!
Does she know where did they come from exactly?
Those things that I've liked the most in Ireland are: The landscape of the Donegal and Mayo coast, Galway and Cork town, the Rock of Cashel and the High Crosses that you can find everywhere in the country.
So you only have 6 days outside Dublin so you won't get to see everything. In Dublin make sure you head out to Howth a small fishing village just outside the city. You could get the train for city centre takes about 20 mins.
My favourite part of Ireland is Donegal. It's so rugged, amazing landscapes and the people are so friendly.
But if you really want to go to Blarney you might be best to sticking to Munster, so Cork, Kerry and Clare. You could try and fit in Galway too (in connaught) but it would probably be very rushed.
So in Cork I'd suggest staying in Kinsale and Blarney and maybe visit Cork city during the day. It's a great city but if you've already had a few nights in Dublin you'll probably prefer to see more of the countryside. Not sure about castles but you could also stay the night in a lighthouse in Galley head near clonakilty http://www.irishlandmark.com/PropertyInformation.aspx?propertyid=3 I stayed here before at halloween with a bunch of friends and it was so much fun.
From Kinsale you could drive out to West cork on the N71 and cross over into Kerry and stay in Kenmare. Kenmare is a great little town on the ring of kerry, personally I prefer it to Killarney it's smaller and some great pubs and restaurants, from there you could drive the ring of Kerry and stay in Killarney for a night at the end.
After that depending on how much time you've spent in Cork and Kerry you could always try and make it up to West Clare to Lahinch and Doolin and go visit the famous cliffs of moher, but to be honest some of the scenery around west cork and kerry is as impressive. The Sliabh Liag in Donegal are way better than cliffs of moher anyway so you could see them on your next visit
I would also recommend that you stay in B&Bs for a few nights. You get a true Irish experience and a yummy Irish breakfast. This site has a great range and you can book online www.bedandbreakfastworld.com.
Do let me know if you've any other specific questions, I'm glad to help.
Enjoy your trip!
what a great gift to give your grandmother and I really wish that everything in Ireland turns out to be as special as she has hoped for. The St Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin will be something she won't ever forget I think.
Firstly, you want to stay in a castle so here's the link for castle accommodation - http://www.hotel-ireland.com/castles/
The way I've figured it is that you have about five days away from Dublin, so I would suggest leaving Dublin and driving straight to Galway (approx 2 hours). Galway is a great city with some wonderful places to visit on its doorstep, connemara by the sea, the Aran islands, and lots of great Irish music. Also I believe that the name Lynch has it roots in Galway. You can get more details on the Lynch name here: http://www.houseofnames.com/xq/asp.fc/qx/lynch-family-crest.htm
After Galway, as has been smartly recommended by Suziehol, you could head South towards Kerry. I would suggest you travel the coast road through Ennistimon and then Kilkee. You can take a tiny ferry across the mouth of the Shannon and on into County Kerry where the mountains at that time of year should be stunning. You can then drive towards Killarney, where I suggest you spend a day or so.
Once you leave Killarney I suggest the short trip to wonderfully quaint town of Bantry and a drive around the 'Sheeps Head penisula for some remarkable scenery. If you get a chance in Bantry drop in to Ma Murphys pub for a glass of Guinness and a unique experience, the owner Billy is a great man.
After Bantry aim towards Cork city where you spend a night or in one of the other smaller seaside towns of Youghal or Kinsale, both worth a visit.
From Cork you can travel towards either the Mediaeval city of Kilkenny or visit the town Cashel in County Tipperary with its Castles and Churches set high on a rock above the town. The history of the 'Rock of Cashel' is quite remarkable and it was once a centre of learning envied across all of Europe - and that was a thousand years ago.
After either Kilkenny or Cashel you can travel back toward Dublin either directly or through the County Wicklow Mountains - which I personally adore. You should have seen a lot of what Ireland has to offer in this small circuit. It's not the whole country but I think your grandmother will love what she sees in this small fragment.
Most of all I would say, if you have a question, ask a local. Generally they will go out of their way to help you or at least point you in the right direction. Some of the best experiences friends of mine have had are in unexpected little villages by asking a local what they should see in the area.
Please feel free to contact by personal mail here on TP and ask me anything you like about your trip; I'll do my best to answer.
And by the way, you'll find Bed and Breakfasts dotted all over the place, this address should help: http://www.bedandbreakfastireland.net/
Also the Discover Ireland website is a great place to start: http://www.discoverireland.ie/Home.aspx
I hope this has been of some help to you and as I've said above, please feel free to ask any specific questions you may have.
Enjoy planning your trip
[ Edit: Edited on 15-Jan-2010, at 05:27 by zaksame ]
I'd agree that with only 6 days you should not try and pack too much in, if the Blarney stone is a must then stick to the South/South West. I would recommend staying somewhere in Cork city when you want to visit Blarney castle, no point staying outside the city and coming back in. Or else visit it on your way through the city.
West Cork (west of the city) is amazing. Kinsale (about 30 mins drive from the city) is a lovely village to base yourself for at least one night/day, and then drive out west, take it nice and easy and appreciate the scenery. You could spend a night in Baltimore (the Irish one!) a tiny fishing village from which you can visit some of the islands off the coast (Sherkin island probably the best known). You can drive to the ring of Kerry from somewhere around there.
In Dublin, Glendalough is probably a must as well, a drive outside the city. Trinity college and the book of Kells is definitely worth a visit, right in the middle of the city.
Though do bear in mind that in March it will be windy...and the rain and wind (especially in exposed areas i.e. the west coast) coming from the Atlantic is bitter at best, especially for an older person not used to it. Don't let the rain affect your trip! Have good rain gear, wrap up well and make sure you know good places to stop for a nice bowl of seafood chowder!
Ps. Dublin on St. Patrick's Day might be quite a lot to take in, be prepared for lots of people and quite a bit of craziness...don't judge the city based on that one day!
Plenty of great advices above so I won't try to chime in much and add further confusion/dilemma, but I certainly agree on the suggestion that you should check where your grandma's ancestors are from, because I think a visit that includes her place of heritage, that'll be very meaningful for her.
Ps: if you're planning a trip to the Guinness Storehouse (it's not just about drinking Guinness - it also has a great view of the city from the Gravity Bar at the top), book the tickets online as you'll get 10% discount plus you won't need to queue when you get there