8 nights in Ireland-In/Out Shannon-Itinerary advice?

October 24, 2011


Hello everybody! My husband and I are going to Ireland at the end of the month (very spur of the moment), and we are clueless!! I would really appreciate any advice people can give us on how to break down our trip.

We get into Shannon Saturday (10/29) and leave from Shannon on Sunday morning (11/6). We are renting a car, so we’ll have transportation.

The only thing we really know we want to see is Dublin. We are completely unfamiliar with the rest of Ireland. I realize now we should have booked our flight into Dublin (or booked out of Dublin) but, like I said, we are total noob travelers. Oh well, we’ll know for next time!

Does anybody have any suggestions for us? I was thinking we could meander our way to Dublin (maybe get there around Tuesday?), hitting some sights on the way, then weave our way back on Thursday or Friday, hitting a few more sights. Does this seem doable?

Also, should I book B&B’s before I get there, or is it ok to wing it and book B&B’s the same day?

I’m sorry if this post is overly long! I’m just excited but also overwhelmed. Thanks so much for all your help!! It is very appreciated

Map of Itinerary outlined below

7 Answers

  • I Believe that posting, “8 nights in Ireland-In/Out
    Shannon-Itinerary advice?” was in fact spot on! I reallycould not agree
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  • lilly says:

    i would definately recomend conemara and if you go to the cities you may not get the best ireland has to offer i would simply say stick to the countryside as much as possible maybe a boat to the aran islands?

  • Marainne Azimi says:

    Katherine, This is a wonderful website! My best friend and I have been planning this trip for the past two years (and saving money at the same time). We intentionally scheduled for the off season and don’t intend to do many of the touristy stops.

    We have chosen to book the first and last night in Ireland close to the airport. The rest of the time we will stay at recommended B&B’s. I am excited to go because my great grandfather immigrated over in the early 1900’s and I’ve heard there may be “family” in Northern Ireland (Antrim, Brown clan). On my mother’s side, I am Native American (Choctaw) and part of our history lessons was learning about the contribution our tribe made to the Irish people during the famine.

    Our 7 day trip has turned into a 10 day trip and who knows we may decide to stay a little longer because we may not get the chance to visit again. Thank you for giving out very good and useful information for us first time visitors.

  • Katherine says:

    Nancy has great suggestions there, and that would make a terrific itinerary also. Cork and Kinsale are really great places, if I didn’t live in Kilkenny I’d pick Cork for sure!

    The one caveat I’d have is that I suspect, sadly, you are not going to get great weather, and I think there is something to be said for  keeping to an itinerary with more towns and cities in it when you come at a wet time of year (yes, I know it can be wet any time, but it’s more likely as Winter sets in). It’s just much easier to be able to get indoors in a city or town and to find alternative things to do on those occasions where really being outdoors is just unpleasant.

    And you can always come back in May next year and do Nancy’s trip! 🙂


  • nancy says:

    I am envious.  I have been to Ireland 6 times since about 2002, and would go there again and again.  My first advice is, don’t try to cover too much territory.  You will end up driving yourself mad trying to make it from pt. A to pt. B, etc.  Been there, done that, and left wishing that we would have slowed it down.  Next bit of advice, try not to lock yourself in to reservations too much.  I would try reserving the first and last nights for sure.  If you reserve every night then your compelled to move on, even if you want to linger.  Your B&B host/hostess will usually make a reservation at the next B&B, or at the very least, give you advice. 

    Since you’re flying into Shannon, why don’t you consider covering the Southwest.  Keep Galway in there, it is a great town, lots to do and lots of fun (easier to navigate than Dublin, especially if you’re driving yourself.)  If you stay in the Southwest you can hit Killarney, another fun town (make sure you hit the Danny Mann pub), and it is right by the Ring of Kerry.  Then you can move south and hit Cork and Kinsale (Kinsale has great pubs and plenty of music). 

    I don’t mean to change your whole itinerary, but look at this trip as the first of your trips there.  Before I ever leave Ireland, I’m conniving about how and when the next trip will take place.  If you slow yourselves down a little, you’ll be able to stop and talk to folks and immerse yourselves in the culture. 

  • Katherine says:

    I like that you’ve used words like ‘meander’ and ‘weave’- because that’s the best way to do this, unrushed and taking time to enjoy the places you have time to see. I am suggesting an itinerary staying in 4 different places, so you are not chopping and changing accommodation every night. The days are for nights spent in each location.

    1. Saturday and Sunday: Galway

    If your flight arrives in the morning, you could follow this itinerary from Shannon to Galway, which will keep you awake during the day and give you a chance to reset your internal clock – it’s very easy to just fall into bed exhausted, but if you can fill your day till a normal bedtime you’ll get in gear much more quickly. If your flight is later in the day, just head straight to Galway and have a nice dinner.

    There is a Comedy Festival in Galway that weekend, so it will be lively and fun with plenty going on in the evenings. On Sunday you could go on a tour of Connermara, and you’ll also have time to have a good look around the city itself.

    You probably should book accommodation, because of the festival.

    Galway to Dublin
    Head for Dublin some time on Monday morning. It is a bank holiday in Ireland – for Halloween – so the roads will be quite busy later on Monday, but it does mean the city won’t have its usual rush hour traffic when you arrive in the evening. Recommended stops on the way are Athlone, which is a good place to break for lunch, and Clonmacnoise, a monastic settlement on the banks of the River Shannon, which is well worth seeing.

    2. Monday – Wednesday: Dublin

    Three nights in Dublin will give you two full days and lots of time to explore. I’ll not even begin to make suggestions about what to do – there are so many options it’s really a matter of following your own interests. Again, I’d recommend booking accommodation (Dublin is always kind of busy, but DO search for deals) and trying to get somewhere either in the city centre or with good transport so you can just park up your car, which really will be just a liability.

    3. Thursday: Kilkenny

    Leave Dublin mid morning on Thursday and you’ll be in Kilkenny by lunchtime with plenty of time to take a look around the city and maybe even to take a drive out to Inistioge. The city is compact and while there is quite a lot to see, everything is within walking distance. You’ll be fine looking for accommodation on arrival. I live in Kilkenny 🙂

    4. Friday and Saturday: Ennis

    The drive from Kilkenny to Ennis is long, but with lots to see along the way. Take a route through Cashel (to see the Rock of Cashel) and Cahir (to see the castle) to Limerick. You could stay in Limerick, but I’d recommend heading on to Ennis for your last two nights. Ennis is a great town for traditional music, and as it’s the weekend again you are likely to have lots of pubs with live music to choose from. Again, there will be plenty of accommodation so no need to book.

    On Saturday, tour either the Burren or Loop Head, both go through wonderful scenic areas and have lots to see, so it’s really a matter of choice. If you’ve a late flight on Sunday, a visit to Bunratty, which is only a couple of minutes from the airport, is a good option.

    As I write this there it is pouring rain and Dublin is flooded – the city has just put a major emergency plan into action. Hopefully it will be better when you get here but at this time of year be sure to bring your waterproofs, you’ll almost certainly need them.

    Have a great time – and do call back and let us know how it all went!

    • Chris Wink says:

      Hi Katherine,

      Your advice is greatly appreciated. Could you please suggest an itinerary for our 8 night stay in Ireland this May 5 -13. We are a family of 4 with 2 college age kids. We will be arriving and departing from Shannon and renting a car.

      I’m thinking of staying in the more scenic areas and maybe not visiting Dublin. Where do you think is the best use of our time and any accommodations you would recommend. I’m thinking of staying mostly in BNB and maybe a castle or 2. I’m wondering if stay in a hotel makes sense when staying in a city area like Galway or Killarney.

      Kind regards,


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