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Suggestions for a Trip to Ireland

Corey McGlone
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Joined: Dec 20, 2001
Posts: 3271
Hi everyone,

My wife and I are headed off on a vacation to Ireland tomorrow. We'll be there for 2 weeks. I was just wondering if anyone had any good ideas about things to see. We've got a lot of the big things lined up - major castles, cliffs, giant's causeway, etc. Perhaps, though, someone has some ideas of other things we might take in.

Over the two weeks, we'll be travelling around the outer edge of the country. Here's our path (roughly):

Kilkenny (Southeast) - 2 Days
Cork (Southwest) - 1 Day
Ennis (Southwest) - 3 Days
Galway (West) - 2 Days
Belfast (Northeast) - 2 Days
Dublin (East) - 3 Days

If you have any ideas of things we should check out along that route, let me know.

Thanks,
Corey


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Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
I've only been to Dublin, so I can't speak of the rest of the country, but I loved it there. Luckily the centre of Dublin is quite closely packed together, so over a couple of days you can see most of it by foot. My favourite places there were Trinity College, and the cathedrals. The college is a gorgeous old building that is great to have a wonder around. The cathedrals are also nice and interesting (also a bit sombre, with lots of reminders of the wars).

I'd also recommend wondering through Temple Bar and along the river - lots to see. Above any of the buildings, the best bit was the people - you'll rarely meet people as friendly as the Irish.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Belfast, I believe, is buzzing since "the troubles". An exciting time for tourists. They are starting to think of preserving landmarks for heritage under the onslaught of rebuilding.


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"God who creates and is nature is very difficult to understand, but he is not arbitrary or malicious." OR "God does not play dice." - Einstein
John Dunn
slicker
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Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
Go to Cork City or Dublin and ask the Irish. They'll send you to the non-touristy cool places. (That's how I'd do it.) Otherwise, you'll get to places that have busloads of tourists, so you'll never get a real idea of Ireland.

p.s. You should try the Guinness as well.


"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
Joe King
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Joined: Sep 02, 2003
Posts: 820
Originally posted by John Dunn:

p.s. You should try the Guinness as well.


Why is it that the Guinness in Ireland tastes so much better than the Guinness elsewhere? Maybe they're keeping the best for themselves and letting the rest of us have the rejects!

A word of warning - people whose only experience of beer is lager (i.e. a lot of people from the US and parts of Europe) could find Guinness...well... interesting. It is an exaggeration that you need a knife and fork to consume it*, but it is very strong and a very different texture to lagers.

Oh, and its very expensive to drink in the touristy areas. Don't order red bulls unless you have a sizable overdraft - my girlfriend has quite a taste for these, and I nearly bankrupted myself buying a round of drinks.

* Everyone knows a fork on its own will be fine.
John Dunn
slicker
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Joined: Jan 30, 2003
Posts: 1108
A good Guinness depends on well clean taps and correctly working taps. AND the person pouring it has to know how to do it. (Notice a good pint of Guinness is poured about 3/4 at one tap setting; and then finished off at the other tap setting. This produces a nice head on the Guinness.)

If you like Guinness, then you'll be happy in Ireland. There's no shortage of it. In NYC I first decide if I'm in a bar that sells a lot of Guinness, then I order it. Bad Guinness can keep you up all night. Good Guinness on the other hand can keep you from feeling that I-don't-want-to-do-anything-today hangover, b/c it doesn't have so much junk in it. It's a pretty wholesome drink.

My recommendation: Find a good Irish bar, force a few down in next few bar visits, and get your palate acquainted with the Guinness.

When in Rome, do as the Romans...
Steve Wink
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Joined: May 13, 2002
Posts: 223
I've been there a few times. Here are my highlights:

Connemara in County Galway - absolutely breathtaking mountains and lakes. Quite a well developed backpacker type tourist industry - lots of walks etc.

The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare - its wierd looking over a cliff and seeing seagulls flying 200 feet below you, but spectacular as well. There are also lots of stone circles around there

The Mourne Mountains, County Down - beautiful mountains, rolling hills in the middle with farmland almost untouched by modern times, and a realy nice coast.

The Antrim coast including the Giants Causeway - absolutely spectacular

Clonakilty, County Cork - OK I was there for a wedding, and there was also the Contakilty Country and Western festival. A lot of fun, and Cork has soft rolling, wooded countryside. A lot of towns have festivals - Cork town has a jazz festival - basically its an excuse for a party.

Somewhere in the middle, can't remember where, seeing miles and miles of bog flat is quite amazing. Like being in a desert, albeit a very soggy one.

Dublin has some very nice Georgian architecture and a lot of history so its a nice city to look at. Beware, drinks have become very expensive in Ireland for some reason. Also if you're in Dublin you won't get a taxi after 11pm as everyone else wants one.

Oh, and the people - really friendly and with a great sense of humour.
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Steve, you could be a travel writer. Splendidly descriptive, it makes one want to get on their bike.

For light reading take along Joseph O'Connor's collection of comic journalism.
The Secret World of the Irish Male.

Joseph is Sinead O'Connor's brother but he doesn't claim the kinship. He's talented enough on his own.

Indeed, Irish literature has become "almost a natural resource," writes Joseph O'Connor in "The Secret World of the Irish Male," a collection of essays on 1990s Ireland. "It is the literary-historical version of offshore gas."
From Yeats onwards - Irish Art & Lit Traditionally, Irish literature was rooted in a near-sacred sense of place. James Joyce's "Ulysses" is an epic mapped out on Dublin streets; Yeats's and Synge's works are tied tightly to the Irish landscape. Yeats declared "romantic Ireland's dead and gone,"
Helen Thomas
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Joined: Jan 13, 2004
Posts: 1759
Ireland has a ban on smoking in all public places. There are 400 'Smoke Police' to enforce the ban.
Ashok Mash
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Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Steve Wink:
Also if you're in Dublin you won't get a taxi after 11pm as everyone else wants one.


Recently, it�s not as bad as it used to be. Recently there are thousands of new taxis on the road and there�s almost always a taxi around when you need one, except after 0245 when clubs close and bouncers throw the crowd out into the streets.

Cliffs of Mohre is a must see here in Ireland, and a trip to Aran Islands is something nice to do if you have another day in Galway. Its an hour away from Galway by sea, and is perfect for renting a bike and riding around the island. The market street in Galway is another not-to-be-missed and it�s at its best on a Saturday afternoon.

Dublin�s wax museum wouldn�t be too amusing if you have been to Madam Tussad�s of London or New York, but the National Art Gallery (near Trinity College and Merion Square) has interesting items on display.

You can find most of the travel information (if you are not renting a car) at www.cie.ie, and let me know if you need more information, I live here in Dublin.

Enjoy your trip!


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