How to round off our trip to Ireland (travel by public transit with Mom)
March 25, 2017 5:38 PM   Subscribe

My Mom & will be arriving in Dublin in early June - staying in nearby Howth for a couple of nights, then going on this tour. We will be leaving Dublin at the end of the month and will have about 5 days to fill in between.

Originally we were thinking about the Aran Islands and retracing our steps a little from our tour to spend a bit more time in Dingle & a day in Kenmare. With the Aran Islands we're not sure if it's worth it, have heard generally good things, but nothing specific about what to see and do. And the public transit is not great to Dingle & Kenmare - even worse if we want to travel between them and the Aran Islands.

We are looking generally for quiet, friendly places. As I said accessible by public transit where once there we can do some wandering / walking in the town & area and where there's a few things to do in town. Local walking tours/tour guides would be great too. Also is the Aran Islands worth it, what should we do? What should we do. How's Cork? Is it a must see?

Thanks in advance!
posted by My Kryptonite is Worry to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How old/mobile are the persons involved? The Aran islands are beautiful, but in my mind without the walk to Dun Aengus on Innishmore it's not really much more than a van ride and a gift shop. With that walk, it's totally worth it.

I have mentioned before my feelings re: Newgrange before, which are basically that everyone should visit. If they're not on public transit, there's enough tours to make getting there from Dublin both relatively painless and worthwhile.
posted by theweasel at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Update: Actually going to book this tour. So Aran Islands and Dingle are included. Leaning towards a stay in Cork for a few days - so advice there would be appreciated, including local walking tours/clubs and things to do in the area...
posted by My Kryptonite is Worry at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

There's a ferry by shuttle from Galway to Inis Mór, which is met at the dock by private minibuses and pony traps that tour the island.

I liked Cork; 10 years ago I went to the history and art museums and made a day trip to Cobh (fka Queenstown). The local stouts taste much better to me than Guinness.
posted by brujita at 6:14 PM on March 25, 2017

You can get a boat from Galway City to the Aran Islands, and they are well worth seeing in my opinion. There is a 3000 year old stone fort high up on a hill if you do not mind some walking, and tours of the island you can take, and you can still hear Irish spoken by those who live there. It is a bleak yet beautiful place.

Galway City is interesting and friendly with lots to do, lots of pedestrian mall streets, performers, many students and young people. There are walking tours, and there are also the on and off buses that take you around to some interesting spots and if you want to stay at one, you just wait for the next bus to come along. We found this a good way to see some of both Galway and Dublin.

If you want to explore around East Galway there is a train that leaves from the city and goes all the way to Dublin. I have relatives in Athenry 10 miles east of Galway City, first stop off the train, and there is a medieval castle there you can visit, an ancient market cross and city gate, and the ruins of a medieval monastery. There are ruins and castles everywhere you go in Ireland and a deep sense of history.

For some of more grim bits of Irish history, we visited an poor house that is being restored, I forget what town it was in but I think County Clare, and Kilmainham Jail in Dublin where the heroes of the Easter Rising were held and executed, also the famine memorial and famine ship in Dublin.

If you are wanting to stay over in Co Galway we stayed at a fabulous B&B in near Athenry
called Bookeen Hall. It was an old church abandoned for years and converted to a lovely residence, and every morning we got an huge, amazing and healthy breakfast prepared by the lady of the house. Very highly recommended.
posted by mermayd at 6:23 PM on March 25, 2017

Cork is my home town but I haven't lived there for 30 yrs. That said I've hear great things about the Historic walking tour that leaves from the Tourist office & certainly the trip advisor recs are good.

The nearby town of Kinsale is an important historic site and easily walkable, it is also the gourmet capital of the south.

Cobh has the Titanic experience which I loved, it was incredible poignant that you could follow the information around about named individuals but you only discover at the end if they lived or died.
posted by Wilder at 3:49 AM on March 26, 2017

Don't be afraid to head north of the border. Belfast is a lovely city and, like most cities, quite safe if you stick to the main areas. The scenery along the northern coast is fantastic, and if you go to Giant's Causeway you can see Scotland across the water! We did this trip as a weekend away from Dublin without our own transportation...took the train to Belfast and then a bus tour of the coast. Plus while in Belfast be sure to check out the Titanic museum, it is very well done.
posted by slmorri at 8:32 AM on March 26, 2017

Cobh was wonderful and I highly recommend it...I also loved Dingle. Cork wasn't a highlight for me, but I was there on a Sunday and it was very quiet, especially in the evening. I stayed a lovely and inexpensive manor house and the host was great. If you can get out to Waterford, I found that to be a very friendly town. I agree the Belfast is worth the trek, too, and easily reachable via train.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 10:33 AM on March 26, 2017

Also recommending the train to Belfast and bus tour to Giant's Causeway and other sights in the area. There is nothing like it, amazing natural wonder. We had the best salmon ever at a little restaurant in Belfast that the locals pointed us to after finding that all the pubs in the area did not serve food after a certain hour.

We never got to Cork so cannot say anything about that.
posted by mermayd at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Belfast and the Antrim coast. While in Belfast, get a black cab tour. It was the best 30 pounds (for two people) we spent! I'd take the train or bus up to Belfast for a few days and get a bus tour to the coast from there. Some tours try to take you from Dublin to Belfast and the coast all in one day and you don't want that. At Giant's Causeway, make sure you have several pound coins for the bus. Many people walk down to the shore from the visitor's center and take the bus back up, but you can take the bus both ways.

Newgrange would be an easy day trip from Dublin on a local bus tour (this one includes Tara). We ended up going to Knowth which is in the same complex but you just enter a room in the tomb instead of walking through a tunnel. You can also climb on top of it.
posted by soelo at 8:04 AM on March 27, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks all. Some great tips & suggestions here. Cheers
posted by My Kryptonite is Worry at 7:21 PM on March 27, 2017

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