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Going to Ireland. Never been. What should I do? I mean, other than the obvious whiskey stuff, although I will take recs on that too, especially if they double distill (not triple).

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if you’re at a bar in belfast make you sure you order an irish car bomb.  they love it when americans do that. 

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7 minutes ago, Thetexashammer said:

I plan to go snake hunting.

Try snipe hunting while you're at it. They have a package deal.

 

Rent a car and do a lap of the country if possible. Dublin down south and west and up to Galway is a great trip. Blarney castle, The ring for Kerry, cliffs of Mohr, Cork, Killarney, Countless ruins to see.  

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Wife and I did the SW last summer (Killarney, Ring of Kerry, etc.).  Cliffs of Mohr are impressive, but a little hard to get to.  If you make it to Killarney you must hike the Gap of Dunloe.  Blarney Castle was "meh" to me but wife liked the gardens.  Driving was an experience.  Be prepared for lots of Americans.

We stayed at Cahernane House in Killarney.  It's very popular...book early if possible.

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2 minutes ago, gecko said:

Wife and I did the SW last summer (Killarney, Ring of Kerry, etc.).  Cliffs of Mohr are impressive, but a little hard to get to.  If you make it to Killarney you must hike the Gap of Dunloe.  Blarney Castle was "meh" to me but wife liked the gardens.  Driving was an experience.  Be prepared for lots of Americans.

We stayed at Cahernane House in Killarney.  It's very popular...book early if possible.

Blarney castle as an architectural ruin is pretty cool, but we were definitely loving the gardens around it, especially the poison garden.  Caherane house is a definite must. The back yard is basically the full on view back into the Ring of Kerry thru Killarney national park, cigars and whisky were had.

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Posted (edited)

2 days max in Dublin. It's just a big city IMO. Spend some time in the smaller towns and cities. We did a loop basically starting in Dublin ->train to Galway. From Galway we took day trips to Cliffs of Mohr and some surrounding national parks. Then went south and drove to Kilarney. Spent time in Kilarney national park (wish we would have spent longer there, it was incredible for hiking/outdoors stuff). THat was probably my top spot on the trip. Few days there, then drove east to Cork. Stopped at Blarney on the way, pretty cool but a bit touristy.

I recommend renting a car and going out on your own. Once you get used to it, the driving isn't terrible excepting perhaps the drive up to the cliffs. There's lots of small backroads with hedges or stone fences one each side, and big ass tour buses full of olds careening around the corners of the one way dirt roads. Other than that it was easy. 

Enjoy the trip. I would go back in a second and just spend time in the rural areas.

Edited by 936horn

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Everything 936horn just said, its like he read my mind...

Killarney Nat'l Park is a real jewel.  Cahernane House sits right on the edge of the park.  You can literally walk or bike into the park from CH.  Our greatest regret from our Ireland trip was not devoting enough time to the park.

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Also going for a week in August. Driving the country starting with Dublin - Cork - Killarney - Dingle - Galway - Dublin. But debating whether to do 2 nights in Killarney or Dingle. Sounds like the group here prefers Killarney over Dingle? 

 

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14 minutes ago, 6th Street said:

Also going for a week in August. Driving the country starting with Dublin - Cork - Killarney - Dingle - Galway - Dublin. But debating whether to do 2 nights in Killarney or Dingle. Sounds like the group here prefers Killarney over Dingle? 

 

Definitely Killarney.  Get out in the national park there for a day by yourself at least.  And a night doing the pubs in Killarney.

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Definitely do the bus tour of the Ring of Kerry.  A bit touristy, but the tour guides are excellent, and give you a fantastic history, culture, and geography lesson about Ireland, and a really good explanation of the potato famine. That and it's nice just being able to ride, and take in the sights along the way.  

The green there is like no other green in the world.  It's like it's electrified when the sun breaks thru a cloud as the weather changes every 5 minutes it seems.

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I hired a private driver through the Cahernane House to drive me and the wife around the Ring of Kerry.  He cost Euro 100 for the entire day.  He was very knowledgeable of the history and locations.  Wife and I debated this but ultimately felt it was worthwhile as we thought we'd miss too much trying to navigate the narrow roads ourselves - I'm not a bus rider.  Also, the driver knew how to avoid the buses....they are a major pain in the ass.

ps: the buses are full of olds.....

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1 minute ago, gecko said:

I hired a private driver through the Cahernane House to drive me and the wife around the Ring of Kerry.  He cost Euro 100 for the entire day.  He was very knowledgeable of the history and locations.  Wife and I debated this but ultimately felt it was worthwhile as we thought we'd miss too much trying to navigate the narrow roads ourselves - I'm not a bus rider.  Also, the driver knew how to avoid the buses....they are a major pain in the ass.

ps: the buses are full of olds.....

True on the olds for the most part, but to be honest me and the son met a couple very cool olds we hung with and drank a few beers at the stops along the way.

100 Euros sounds like a decent deal if it was for 2.  There are many coastal roads where you just can't avoid buses, but you can make sure you're between their stops.  Those roads are narrow as shit, but the drivers are the most polite, rules followers I've ever encountered.  They'd think we're the biggest assholes in the world if they drove our streets.

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Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk 
Of a day-I-ay-I-ay 
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk 
Of a fine soft day-I-ay-I-ay 
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do?
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue 
And I knew right then I'd be takin' a whirl 
'Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl

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5 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Try snipe hunting while you're at it. They have a package deal.

 

Rent a car and do a lap of the country if possible. Dublin down south and west and up to Galway is a great trip. Blarney castle, The ring for Kerry, cliffs of Mohr, Cork, Killarney, Countless ruins to see.  

Nice!  Wanting to go do this before I kickoff.

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Thank for the advice. Pretty much doing the loop and what you guys suggested. I thought it would be crappy but it looks pretty cool because of the nature and whisky stuff.

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We stayed in Dingle at a nice place on the water, and drove to the park. Drove the Gap, which was interesting...the hired horsecarts try to intimidate you into not driving, to protect their business. Freaked the wife out....

Good Oysters. Dingle distillery tour was good, too. Tour guides are very knowledgable, learned a lot, especially how prohibition forever changed Scotch distribution in the world.

Buses....they all drive the same direction on the various "Rings." Hotel lady told us to be sure to go 'anti-clockwise' so as to not meet the buses head on  - she had it backwards. So everytime we met a bus, I had to back up in my new, racy German sportscar that has a wing, which means you can't see shit where you are backing to, and the road is as wide as a horsecart trail, with one side of it plunging down to the sea. Guiness wasn't strong enough after this drive.

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Posted (edited)

Hike the Gap of Dunloe, don't drive it.....its a great hike (more of a walk).  Avoid the horse carts.  They're cool to look at but aren't very comfortable (at least they didn't appear to be so).

Take a rain jacket (not an umbrella).  Walking the gap we encountered practically all 4 seasons.

Pro tip for the Gap:  Have your hotel arrange a package that drops you at the jump off point and retrieves you on the small dock at Loch Leane.  Take a guide boat across the Loch to Ross Castle.  The package will also include pick up at Ross Castle and delivery to your hotel.  Just ask about a package like this, the hotel will know what you're trying to do and arrange it through the locals.

As for driving, in general, Otis is correct.  I've never encountered more courteous drivers in my life.  Wife and I would joke that when we encountered cars coming the other way on a one lane road it's almost like they new we were Americans and they made an effort to get out of our way.  As said above, watch the hedges....behind the shrubbery is a stone wall.

Don't be intimidated by all the warnings in this thread.  Heed them, but don't freak.  Just do it....

Edited by gecko

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if you want a really cool, relaxing place to stay for a couple days I highly recommend The Strand Inn (I think they may have changed it the Seafront Inn) on Inch Beach. We did stayed in Dublin, Galway, Inch Beach, and Cork on our trip a few years ago and staying at that place was probably my favorite. Stay there and relax on the beach, then go into Dingle (lulz) and do some shopping and sightseeing.  

https://www.visitinch.com/

 

 

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rent a car... hit the Brazen Head in Dublin for a Guinness... avoid the Guinness Storehouse unless you love the cruise ship vibe (Jameson Distillery would be better)... hit O'Neill's pub (near Trinity university) for the food on the ground level...walk the Gap of Dunloe... check out the cliffs of Moher... Drive the Dingle Peninsula... stop an Inch Beach for a coffee ... find and check out Minard Castle (what's left of it)... stop in Dingle for some seafood chowder... drive up through the Conor Pass... If you have more time... hit Galway and Connemara/Kylemore Abbey on the west coast or head down south to Cork ... If you get a chance to catch a boat out to Skellig Michael, do it.

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20 hours ago, Post Oak said:

Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk 
Of a day-I-ay-I-ay 
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk 
Of a fine soft day-I-ay-I-ay 
And I ask you, friend, what's a fella to do?
'Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue 
And I knew right then I'd be takin' a whirl 
'Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl

People to this day are still stunned that this song was not written by an Irishman, but by our very own Steve Earle.

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Many good recs here.....I'll add a few:

Spend some time in Galway....not only is it a great base for exploring the Burren and the Connemara, but the town is basically Ireland's version of Austin (imho). The downtown area has a lot of good pubs and several feature traditional Irish music (trad). Generally, the Western side of the island from Kerry up into Donegal has better trad than say Dublin and Galway is a great point to start. Only downside to Galway (and the West of Ireland in general) can be the weather.....tends to be wetter and cooler than say Dublin and the Southeast of Ireland. If you really want to do the medieval banquet thing, the one at Dunguaire castle just south of Galway is much smaller and has better food than the massive one at Bunratty castle. 

Speaking of Bunratty Castle, if you have kids, that is a great place to spend a half day. Mine loved the castle and walking the grounds. Bunratty is right outside Limerick, which can be a good stopping off point between Kerry and Galway (or Cork and Galway). 

Cork is cool city to spend a day in. Go to the Franciscan Well Brewery.....they are churning out some good craft beer. Even if you can't get to the brewery, most places in Cork have some Franciscan Well on tap. Also, the distillery where Jameson (and several other brands, like Redbreast & Green Spot) are actually distilled is in Midleton, which is probably 1/2 hour drive from Cork City Centre. 

Between Cork & Dublin, there are some good spots to stop. The Rock of Cashel (in Cashel, County Tipperary) is a cool old church fortress and Cashel is a nice little town. If you hit the rock, stop in for a drink or some food at Feehan's pub which is just a block or 2 from the parking for the Rock. Spent some time there watching hurling and rugby with the locals.  Kilkenny is also a cool little town further up that has a cool vibe to it. 

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Smaller is better....getting off of the beaten track, and away from the tourists, will get you a more authentic experience.  Hard to do, though - most of southwest Ireland is a tourist economy.

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

The green there is like no other green in the world.  It's like it's electrified when the sun breaks thru a cloud as the weather changes every 5 minutes it seems.

This sounds dumb but it's the absolute truth. I went to Ireland when I was a kid and saw it myself but when I try to explain it to my wife, I sound like an idiot because it's just hard to convey. It's the greenest place I've ever seen. 

Edited by Sandman

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8 hours ago, 4th and 5 said:

If a fella (with wife and 2 teens) had 24 hours in Dublin what should he do?

Depends if the teens are family or party favors. 

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12 hours ago, 4th and 5 said:

If a fella (with wife and 2 teens) had 24 hours in Dublin what should he do?

National museum:  Cool as shit ancient gold exhibit, bog mummies, and lots of Viking shit.  What kid doesn't like bog mummies, and viking shit at any age ?

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So two years ago my wife and I went to Ireland for the first time.  Flew into Shannon and drove through Killarney National Park, did some hikes and spent the night in Kenmare.  Drove Ring of Kerry the next day to Dingle and spent three nights in Dingle.  Drove the next day through Cliffs of Moher and the Burren to Galway and spent a night there.  Next day drove through the Connemara and spent the night in Westport.  Next day back to Shannon and spent the night at hotel next to the airport for flight out next morning (all these days driving involved stops and checking out ruins, etc.)  Loved the trip, but felt it was too much driving.  Even though the distances aren't that much, it is definitely slower driving and mentally tiring, but not impossible.

Last month we went back, again flew into Shannon and drove directly to Dingle.  Spent three nights there, then three nights in Ballyferriter, a village of about 200 people 5 miles from Dingle.  Trip was incredible.  Got to know many people in the pubs, particularly in Ballyferriter, explored all of the Dingle Peninsula, played a few rounds of golf at Ceann Sibeal, and just had a great relaxing time.  Talked to people about Gaelic football in the pub--so cool how these tiny villages have their own team.  Mentioned that I wanted to get a jersey from the local Ballyferriter team (Gallarus), and a young guy at the pub said he would drop off one of his game-worn jerseys at our hotel.  The trip was incredible.

 

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"...distances aren't that much, it is definitely slower driving and mentally tiring..."

Well put...all the driving while concentrating on narrow roads and the need to "keep left" wears you out mentally.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, chitwood said:

So two years ago my wife and I went to Ireland for the first time.  Flew into Shannon and drove through Killarney National Park, did some hikes and spent the night in Kenmare.  Drove Ring of Kerry the next day to Dingle and spent three nights in Dingle.  Drove the next day through Cliffs of Moher and the Burren to Galway and spent a night there.  Next day drove through the Connemara and spent the night in Westport.  Next day back to Shannon and spent the night at hotel next to the airport for flight out next morning (all these days driving involved stops and checking out ruins, etc.)  Loved the trip, but felt it was too much driving.  Even though the distances aren't that much, it is definitely slower driving and mentally tiring, but not impossible.

Last month we went back, again flew into Shannon and drove directly to Dingle.  Spent three nights there, then three nights in Ballyferriter, a village of about 200 people 5 miles from Dingle.  Trip was incredible.  Got to know many people in the pubs, particularly in Ballyferriter, explored all of the Dingle Peninsula, played a few rounds of golf at Ceann Sibeal, and just had a great relaxing time.  Talked to people about Gaelic football in the pub--so cool how these tiny villages have their own team.  Mentioned that I wanted to get a jersey from the local Ballyferriter team (Gallarus), and a young guy at the pub said he would drop off one of his game-worn jerseys at our hotel.  The trip was incredible.

 

Man they love their Gaelic football.  The son and I were there in September of 16, during the national finals. The son put 50 Euro on the underdog.  They didn't win, but did tie the overwhelming favorite, and had to play a second game a week  later. Cool game, and the ladies (young and old) were going wild watching the game in the Galway pub where we were hanging.  

That was one of my favorite things about Ireland. All the local pubs were populated by people from 18 to 80, and everybody hung out, and talked, and drank together.  When ever John Denvers' Country Roads would come on the juke box every friggin' person in the bar would be singing it like their lives depended on it, and that was from Dublin, thru Cork, Killarney, and to Galway.  You could make a fortune doing a John Denver tribute act. You'd sell out every night.

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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My wife is half Irish, hailing on her mom’s side from Galway. We’ve been a bunch and love it. I have a fantasy of finding someone to run my day job and moving everyone to the outskirts of Galway for a few years before the kids get too old, actually.

Anyway, the Cliffs of Moher, on the right day with a bunch of rain, look like something out of a Star Wars movie. We walked to the edge of the European continent and looked over, basically. That was fucking cool.

There’s an old ruin called something like Clairnmcnois or something. It’s between Galway and Dublin off the main road by a bit and it’s a very cool place to visit. It sits on the River Shannon.

I agree with people talking up the pubs all over the place.

Dublin is a cool town, but being there beyond a few days starts to drag. 

It’s probably unlikely for most, but if you ever get a chance to attend an Irish wedding, do it. Alcoholism isn’t a known concept in Ireland and it’s never flaunted more obviously than at a wedding that starts one day and the party ends in daylight on the next. Been to a few and would recommend. Galway girls are pretty legit, too. 

If anyone can find the time, biking on the Aran Islands is awesome. There is a pub at the end of the trail there that serves the best beef stew in the fucking world. 

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CSB (short version)...a wedding was scheduled at Cahernane House on our departure day.  We'd heard a lot about Irish weddings and were looking forward to the arrival of the wedding party the night before (our last night at Cahernane).  Wife and I are hanging in the bar and here they come....the whole party was from Texas.  ferk.....

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Good shit - I booked 2 nights at the Cahernane in August. Little pricier than an Airbnb but figure my one-year Old will enjoy running around in the gardens. 

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3 minutes ago, 6th Street said:

Good shit - I booked 2 nights at the Cahernane in August. Little pricier than an Airbnb but figure my one-year Old will enjoy running around in the gardens. 

Have dinner there at least one night.  Small dining room, pretty good, but not amazing food, but a great atmosphere and then you can grab a few drinks down in their English basement pub

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