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A ten day tour of Ireland

November 19, 2008

An interesting question today. I am in Ballymena working on a training/experimental project for the health sector. A question arise earlier today as to where you would take people who had never been to Ireland (the island) before and who had ten days free. Now aside from the fact that you can't see anywhere in ten days its a good question and various options were tossed around. My suggested itinerary is set out below.

  • Day one: start early with breakfast at Bewleys in Dublin then drive out over the Military Road through the WIcklow hills to Glendalough. From thence through wonderful scenery to the Rock of Cashel and thence to Bantry for an overnight stop and good food, if you are lucky music as well. That's about six hours of driving so its a full day.
  • Day two is all coastal and mountain scenery. Take the mountain road to Kenmare after an early morning walk in Bantry, and then follow the Ring Of Kerry (Ideally anti-clockwise although that involves more driving). Everytime you round a corner the scenery just keeps getting better. If you can fit in a trip to the Skellig Isles do, but book in advance and watch for the weather. Its one of the most unforgettable experiences anywhere in Europe. Stay in Killarney to study the tourists.
  • Day three sees us on the Dingle peninsula, lunch in Doyles in Dingle town and just explore the whole peninsula with the constant presence of Mount Brandon. End up in Limerick for the evening, if you are lucky Munster may be playing at home.
  • Day four, an early start takes us to the Cliffs of Mohr but only if you have a head for heights then explore the Burren before an evening in the most friendly city in Ireland, Galway.
  • Day five is devoted to the Aran Islands. Fly over with Arran Air, hire a bike and just loose yourself. Ideally stay on the islands that evening and fly back early morning the next day.
  • Day six you explore Connemara ending up with the sunset drive around the skyroad at Clifden, visit the national park before then and just enjoy the pubs!
  • Day seven head for Sligo and Yeats country. Take your time getting there and make sure you take the long route via Achill Island before you visit The Lake Isle of Innisfree which does live up to expectations.
  • Day eight takes you into the wilds of Donegal, follow the coast as far as you can, don't miss the Poison Glen and aim to arrive in Derry to walk the walls at dusk. If you can visit the Flying Boat Museum and the nearby town of Enniskillin
  • Day nine you drive back the the River Shannon to visit Clonmacnois one of the most peaceful places in Ireland and thence to New Grange which is a fitting climax to our journey
  • Day ten, you recover in Dublin. A day is not enough for Dublin, but the centre, the Book of Kells and St Stephen's Green are musts as well as a walk along the Liffy, a Guiness or two and an evening at the Abbey Theatre.

Of course of you have more time, you could add in the North Antrim Coast, spend an extra day in Donegal and wander around Belfast Loch. If you want to walk (seriously) then a day on Carrauntoohil, the highest mountain in Ireland is a must. Do the full Macgillicuddy's Reeks ridge walk, a long rewarding day and not to be taken lightly ending at Carrauntoohil from the Killarney end. The 12 Pins of Connemara is another big walk and worth the effort.

For entertainment, buy several Clannad CDs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macgillicuddy's_Reeks

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