Here is the general itinerary of our trip to Ireland. Hope you like the looks of it.
After having been to Ireland several times and seen the reactions of those I have brought with me (about 40 people at this point), these are the things I think you’ll like the most. But remember, this is your trip, so if you would like to make adjustments, add things, or remove things, let me know and we can do that.
With that said, here’s the day-by-day list, with some pictures so you can visualize things as well.
Saturday, July 2 - Depart
You will depart from Dallas or Austin in the evening. Virtually all flights to Ireland are overnight flights that leave in the evening and arrive the next morning. I have picked suggested flights for you and you can see them here or by clicking on this button:
Sunday, July 3 - Arrival
Assuming you take the suggested flights, you will arrive in Shannon at 10 am or 11 am. I will be there to get you, along with our driver from Butlers Tours, who will be with us the whole way.
We will take you to the Killarney International Hotel to settle in. You will spend the next 4 nights here (see the hotels list for the trip if you haven’t already). If you feel up to it, we can spend some time exploring Killarney. We are not going to plan much though, as it is likely you will be jet lagged.
Monday, July 4 - Ring of Kerry
Today we will begin our tour in earnest with a tour around the Ring of Kerry, one of the most scenic drives in the world. Along the way, we will stop in Portmagee and catch a boat that tours the Skelligs. On the way back, we’ll see everything from ancient ruins, to scenic overlooks, to quaint Irish towns. We will stop in many of them.
Tuesday, July 5 - Killarney National Park
We will spend this day in Killarney National Park. We’ll start at Ross Castle (pictured just above, left) and take a boat tour through the scenic lakes of the park.
We’ll conclude our boat tour at Lord Brandon’s Cottage where we can have coffee/tea and snacks. At this point, there will be horse-carts waiting for us to take us through the Gap of Dunloe (pictured below) to Kate Kearney’s Cottage, a famous restaurant and pub in the area.
Wednesday, July 6 - Sheen Falls Lodge
Today we’ll spend the morning in the town of Kenmare, a charming Irish village. Wednesday is their market day, so we can go through that in addition to checking out the shops. After that, we will spend the afternoon at Sheen Falls Lodge. Here you will be introduced to falconing. After that, Sheen Falls has a variety of activities for you, such as archery, horse riding, and salmon fishing. Or you can relax and have tea or a pint in the bar.
Thursday, July 7 - Dingle Peninsula
Today we will move on from Killarney and go to Dingle (which is both a peninsula and a town). We’ll explore the incredibly scenic Dingle Peninsula and then go into everyone’s favorite town, Dingle. We’ll enjoy dinner, music, and drink in the pubs. We’ll begin our two-night stay in Dingle Skellig Hotel, the top hotel in Dingle.
Friday, July 8 - Dingle
In the morning, we will head out to the Blasket Islands, which are islands that were abandoned 70 years ago. After that, you’ll have a free afternoon to check out the shops, restaurants, and pubs of Dingle.
Saturday, July 9 - Cliffs of Moher
We’ll head north to Galway today, but along the way we will go through the scenic Conor Pass and take a ferry across the Shannon River. We’ll also stop at the mighty Cliffs of Moher (aka the Cliffs of Insanity if you have seen The Princess Bride). This is a showstopper attraction. After taking in the cliffs, we will press on to Galway, which everyone likes, and check out its restaurants, shops, and pubs. We’ll begin our 2-night stay at the centrally located Park House Hotel.
Sunday, July 10 - Galway
Monday, July 11 - Tour of Connemara
We will tour the scenic area of Connemara, just outside Galway. This is perhaps the most scenic area in all of Ireland, full of mountains and lakes. We’ll also check out Clifden, the unofficial capital of Connemara.
Finally, we’ll end our day at Ballynahinch Castle Hotel, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Tuesday, July 12 - Connemara Activities
After breakfast at Ballynahinch, we will check out a small preserved famine cottage formerly owned by Dan O’Hara. The current owner is quite a character and gives great tours of the homestead site with a lot of insight into traditional Irish culture.
After that, we’ll have a free afternoon to enjoy Connemara the way you would like. For some that might include hiking or fishing. For others, that might include taking in the shops and restaurants of Clifden. There are a lot of other possibilities as well, as the Connemara region lends itself to all sorts of activities. We’ll talk more later about what sounds best to you.
Wednesday, July 13 - Ballynahinch
You probably won’t want to leave Ballynahinch. The hotel and grounds are incredibly scenic. We are going to leave this day for enjoying it.
For some that might mean relaxing and taking in the grounds (which are extensive). But they also have plenty of things to do, notably fly fishing for salmon in the local streams. There is hiking in the 12 Bens (the local mountain range) if anyone is interested. A prior highlight has been a boat ride in the bay to an abandoned island with a little fishing included (last time we caught enough fish to feed a group of 20 in an hour).
We’ll spend the afternoon and our final evening at Ballynahinch having dinner in the Owenmore Restaurant as well.
Thursday, July 14 - Dublin
We’ll head into Dublin today and say goodbye to our driver from Butlers.
But we aren’t done! First, we’ll tour the Guinness Storehouse in the afternoon. We will have our farewall dinner that evening. I will also introduce you to some of the best pubs in Dublin, a topic that I can assure you I have researched and tested extensively.
That night we’ll spend the night at the historic Gresham Hotel in central Dublin.
Friday, July 15 - Return Home
We will arrange cabs for you to head to Dublin Airport in time for your flights. Your flights will leave in the early afternoon (1:00 for Dallas and 2:45 for Austin) if you choose my suggested flights, so we will have you to the airport in the late morning after a good breakfast.