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Planning a Trip to Ireland in September

My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Ireland… and as for the boyfriend, by planning I mean smiling and nodding as I run ideas by him as I do long hours of research hehe.

We are planning to go in September for two weeks, for many reasons. It’s my birthday, it’s relatively cheaper, and did I mention my birthday?

Our original plan was to land in Dublin, stay there a night or two in a hostel and then rent a car and drive to Doolin where we would rent a self catering cottage or stay in a hostel for a few days. Then not sure where else to go, but that was the plan so far!

Now I’m considering staying in Ireland for THREE weeks and to spend almost a full week in Doolin at a lovely little rustic cabin I found for relatively cheap. From Doolin, we could travel to Limerick and Shannon for day trips, and spend lots of time roaming the countryside near our cottage, visit the Cliffs of Moher, Burren, etc.

Just wondering if anyone has any must see tourist spots on the west coast or anywhere else. We are probably not going to Northern Ireland, but anywhere else! We are definitely going to be visiting the Hills of Tara so I’m planning on making a whole drive of the island to end up there OR start there.

Whew… I hope I haven’t confused anyone.

I guess my question is… what would a good route/itenerary be landing in Shannon and ending up in Dublin? OR starting in Dublin, driving around the map, and then ending back up in Dublin? Any advice on good spots to visit? (btw our budget is fairly small) Is it a bad idea to stay in such a small town for a week?

P.S If anyone is looking for travelling buddies in September, let me know. maybe we can work something out! We are looking for a couple to travel with at least for a portion of the way.

 

What Others Say

  1. DoChara Mar 22, 2007 at 11:07 am

    Hi Dixie and welcome!

    Three weeks – certainly opens up a lot of possibilities. I like the idea of staying for a week in one spot, it makes sense.

    First of all Doolin – it may be a good place for a week, or not. It really depends how you want to spend the week.

    Doolin does not always turn out to be as people. It isn’t a village even, much less a town. It’s basically a long row of buildings, mostly pubs with excellent music and good food. In the surround are there is a scattering of various types of tourist accommodation. It will be pretty much ALL tourists there and there will be lots and lots of them, even in September.

    If you want to listen to music and drink it is a really fun place to do it – you will be in the company of some Irish people but mainly visitors there for the music and the ‘craic’.

    And that’s really it. There is nothing at all else in the place. I think if I was staying for a week in Clare, which is a good plan, I might look at places like Corofin, Ballyvaughan or even just over the county border with Galway in Kinvara, which would be quite central for touring both Clare and Galway and also an easy trip into Galway city.

    They are proper little towns, with a good local population, still with excellent pubs and music and lots of visitors but they don’t exist solely for tourists in the way Doolin does nowadays.

    I’d start in Dublin, for one main reason – budget! Even staying in a hostel it is an expensive place to be and I know from many travels on a tight budget that ending up in the most expensive place can be a disaster! If you can leave from Shannon all to the good, if not, then just getting back to Dublin to fly home isn’t a biggie.

    I’m not going to go into detailed itinerary ideas as I know you are at an early stage here, but I’d kind of look at something like this.

    - a couple of days in Dublin.
    - Rent car and loop up via Tara and Newgrange, then over via Cavan to Sligo
    - Down the West coast from Sligo, via Mayo, to spend about a week in Clare/Galway area
    - Travel on down to Kerry/Cork for a few days
    - Make your way over a few days back to Dublin via Waterford, Kilkenny, Wicklow

    That may or may not be something like what you have in mind – but it’s some sort of basis to start from, come back and ask as many more questions as you like!

    Katherine

  2. IrishFlair Mar 22, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Dixie,

    I am green with envy that you are going to Ireland for three weeks. Good for you! I know you will have a wonderful time.

    If you will be there for that length of time you may want to consider staying in Dublin for your last few days. I say this not to contradict Katherine (because that would be folly) but it just may be cheaper by the 3rd week because 1) All Ireland Finals in Dublin are over so more places may have availability and 2) tourist numbers on the decline means prices are starting to drop. Of course this is subject to how popular Dublin is at the time this year so some research on your part right now is the important bit! I may be way off the mark here but logically the end of September shold be less busy than the beginning and you may get a break if you can reserve the days you need now. If that happens then I suggest you fly into Shannon and out Dublin and do a big loop of Ireland duirng your trip there. This is typical of a First Timer Itinerary.

    Also of note, most cottages are rented from Saturday to Saturday so a “few days stay” may not be in the cards for you. If you really only want a few days stay then it’s best to contact the owners of the places in question and ask them directly about it. The worst they can say is NO and you just may be able to rent a place for 3 – 5 days rather than a whole week but still save money by doing so. Again, I think you will have better luck with this as the month progresses as fewer tourist are around.

    I am so looking forward to hearing how your trip shapes up. So come on back with questions! We’ll help out as much as we can.

    Safe travels,

    Wendy

  3. DoChara Mar 22, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I know Wendy that it’s a few years since you were in Dublin – you are going to be stunned when you visit again, even in that time there are a LOT more people, a LOT more traffic and it continues to get busier and busier.

    There really is no off season or even quieter season in Dublin now – in the Autumn the Europeans start coming in numbers on weekend breaks and there are loads of conferences and that sort of thing on during the week. It really never lets up.

    I would make note of the days of the All Ireland finals, but they don’t put that much pressure on Dublin as far as accommodation is concerned, partly because a lot of people don’t stay overnight for them, put travel up and down in the same day and partly because is a city as large as Dublin has become it is no longer that big a deal to absorb those who do stay.

    Also it really only affects the larger hotels and those in the city centre which may be hard to get a room in. It won’t have any effect at all on hostel accommodation.

    Katherine

  4. IrishFlair Mar 22, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    See? I just need to get back there and see for myself! Good thing I have a trip scheduled for later this year.

    Cheers,

  5. Dixie Mar 23, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!

    Your sample itinerary looks perfect. I guess what I have to think about as well, do I want to start off in the hustle and bustle of Dublin or start in a somewhat smaller, quieter town and end there. I’ve found the prices of a few hostels in Dublin, and the B&B’s seem to be a bit more expensive there so we would probably stick to a hostel.

    My original plan was to go see Tara and Newgrange first. I found a self catering cottage but it might be too expensive for us. The weekly rates are good, but paying per night seems to be a somewhat expensive alternative.

    I’m definitely doing my research! I’ve sent out lots of inquiries so far.

    Maybe staying in a cottage for a week in the middle of the trip is a better idea. If anyone knows of any decently priced accommodations in the Galway (or any other area!) please let me know.

    Okay I’m off to do research on those areas you named, DoChara. Thank you!

  6. DoChara Mar 23, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Self-catering is really only a viable option if you stay for at least 5 days to a full week.

    Short-term it is invariably more expensive than the alternatives – which makes sense if you think about it, the owners price based on a weekly turnaround, and the cost of the turnaround is identical whether someone is there for 1 day or 6 days, and has to be factored into the price.

    Don’t overlook hostels around the country as well as in Dublin, there are some really very, very good ones that have double rooms that are of a pretty good standard. And they save a lot of money. When people have a tight budget for accommodation I always reckon it’s a good idea to save by staying in good but inexpensive places most of the time with the occasional ‘treat’ night in place that you couldn’t otherwise afford.

    Sleepzone in Galway for example is really very good. There is a terrific hostel in Allihies on the Beara Peninsula, Killarney International Hostel is in a huge country house and is amazing value. (Photos here, but they’re on Flickr which has suddenly become weird about Yahoo ids and stuff, so I hope the link works for you.)

  7. Dixie Mar 24, 2007 at 6:24 am

    The Killarney hostel is 46 euro per room? That is a very good price from what I’ve seen! I think we will most definitely end up staying there, it looks really nice and is close to the Ring of Kerry. We will NOT be staying in any hotels, it will be B&B’s or hostels.

    I think we will end up staying for a week at one of these places in Doolin: http://www.doolincottages.com/ or http://homepage.eircom.net/~glenlosh/ and just touring Galway and area from there. It will be nice to have some time to just relax, write, and enjoy the scenery!

    You guys have been SO helpful. A million thanks!

    A question about petrol: Just how expensive is it there? We go by litre in Canada, I *think* you have the same in Ireland? How much should I budget per day for gas expensives. I budgeted 20, not sure if this is too high or too low.

    Oh and here is what I have sort of decided on for an itinerary:

    Land in Dublin.

    From Dublin, head straight to County Meath. Visit Newgrange, Tara. Stay for 3 nights, 4 days.

    From Meath, to Sligo. Sightsee around Sligo. 2 Nights, 2 days.

    Sligo to Doolin. Week stay in Doolin. Cliffs of Moher, Burren, etc.

    From Doolin to County Kerry, Killarney area. 2 nights, 2 days. See Dingle Bay, etc.

    Killarney to Wexford (or even Cork) 2 nights, 3 days.

    Back to Dublin. Hostel stay for 2 nights, 3 days

  8. DoChara Mar 24, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Petrol is about 97-99c per litre. So, it’s very expensive. It’s even more expensive in Northern Ireland, so if any journey happens to take you over the border, go with a full tank.

    On your itinerary. No disrespect to the people who live in Meath, but I’m not sure I’d want to spend 4 days of a vacation there, or even 3. Quite honestly one night/2 days there would be enough to see all you will want to see.

    From there to Doolin works, and you will then have extra days to spend in Kerry, where 2 nights is a minimum. I’d take an extra day there and spend it in the Beara Peninsula, or maybe even use that day to travel from Kerry to somewhere in West Cork for a night or two.

    That would give you an easier toute into the South East and a less hurried second half to your tour.

    I’m interested to know what Wendy thinks – she’s got a great head for itineraries.

    Katherine

  9. Dixie Mar 24, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks again DoChara!

    The only reason I’m budgeting so much for Meath is because the first day or so we are going to probably be jet lagged and possibly not up for touring. And there is a lot I want to see in this area. I’m waiting on a confirmation from my father, but I believe my family came from these parts so I also might want to spend some time doing some research on my heritage.

    I like your idea of the Beara Peninsula. Might be wise to spend more time in Kerry because I really want to see the Ring of Kerry amongst other things.

    Thanks for the info on petrol. That’s just how much our gas is as well, 99-1.03 $CDN. I hear food is relatively expensive as well. Your ‘Eat’ Section is very helpful for finding some inexpensive places. How much do you suggest I budget for two people for food each day?

  10. IrishFlair Mar 25, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Dixie,

    I can see your thoughts about staying in Meath but Katherine is correct and there’s really not 4 days worth of stuff to do in the area. If you arrive early you will be unable to check in to your accommodations in Meath (or anywhere else) for a bit, even if they know you are coming early. You will get a second wind when you land in Ireland – for a while anyway.

    Let your B&B (or hostel) know when you are due to arrive and they will in turn let you know how early you can check in. It’ll be difficult but try as hard as you can to stay awake that first day; the best way to do this is to be out and about so figure that you need to do at least some sight seeing even if it’s just walking around the area where you are staying. Where are you thinking of staying?

    If you can manage it, Kerry most definitely deserves more of your time, especially if you plan on making a trip out to Dingle. The drive from Killarney to Dingle is a two hour drive so figure 4 hours there and back plus exploring Dingle and the peninsula… well, it’s an all day affair as you can tell. Beara also deserves plenty of attention

    A web friend recently went with her family of 4. They ate a good bit in pubs for their dinners, had breakfast at the B&Bs and still managed to fit in a few nice restaurants during their two week trip. She kept really good records of their food costs and figured that €50 per person per day will get you by.

    There’s plenty you can do to keep this number lower like picnics, pub grub, eating your biggest meal in the middle of day or eating at restaurants that offer Early Bird Specials or a Value Menu.
    Value Menu

    Hope this helps!

  11. Dixie Mar 28, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you so much irishflair.

    Still trying to budget, to see if we can actually afford it. Thinking maybe of going in October. Is there a big weather difference between September and October? It would be a lot cheaper hotel/hostel/B&B wise to go in October. Hmmm.

  12. DoChara Mar 28, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    It would be a fair bit cheaper in October if you were staying in hotels. It will probably be a little cheaper in self-catering and they may be more willing to rent for shorter periods. Prices in the bed and breakfasts and hostels stay much the same or change very marginally.

    Prices in Dublin accommodation tend to change less than elsewhere. Prices in restaurants, for entry to attractions, for entertainment and so on won’t change at all.

    So there will be a difference, but not a massive one. Ireland is very expensive all year round and becoming more so, there is no escaping it and anyone who lives here will tell you that.

    The weather is likely to be wetter and colder in October, but it’s always unpredictable here, you never really know. It could rain every day in September, the sun could shine every day in October. But based on historic averages you are likely to get more rain, less sun and it will be colder in October.

    Katherine

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