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Old 09-06-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
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Default Heading to Ireland in a month...any sightseeing suggestions?

My gf moved to Ireland back in May for a year (to Thomastown, County Kilkenny), and this is our conjugal visit lol. When we're not entwined and makin' sweet love we'll be out exploring the country. I've watched a shitload of travel vids and have a list of what looks interesting to me, and my gf of course has a list, too. I know there are a few Irish members here, so I'm looking for suggestions from you guys, and from anyone else here who's traveled there. We'll have a car the whole time so no worries about getting anywhere, and I'll be there for 2 weeks so there should be plenty of time to see/do a lot. Spent 3 weeks in Great Britain/Scotland/Wales a couple years ago, so I don't need or want to head that direction for anything.

Here's my list thus far of what I'm interested in doing/seeing. My gf laughed and said "you going to stay a year?" when I sent it to her. I know I won't be able to hit all of it, so tell me if some of these places aren't all they seem to be. Mostly interested in historical and natural sites, not so much staying in larger cities for too long.


Glendalough Monastic Site/Wicklow mountains

Co Kerry/Dingle Peninsula/Beehive huts/Conor Pass/Gallarus Oratory

Glenveagh Gardens/Nat'l Park/Lough Veagh

Marble Arch Caves Nat'l Geopark

Skellig Michael

Aran Islands

Killarney Nat'l Park, sp. the woodlands

Burren

Newgrange

Drink mass quantities of Beamish straight from the teat

Garnish Island tropical garden

Kinsale

Cork/St Marys Church of Ireland/River Lee

Tipperary/Rock of Cashel

Kenmare

Cobh

Dublin
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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I was 7 the last time I visited, but I remember there where some cool castles and old ruins to look at. Also, be sure to bring a camera.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:09 PM   #3
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Been there twice and did pretty much all that stuff. Things you might want to add are checking out the Guinness factory and Waterford Castle. When at Waterford, load up on trinkets for your family, and glasses for yourself if desired. I overall found the country very pleasant, just not the food so much except for the potatoes.

Flights to London are pretty inexpensive from Dublin. Might be a good time to check out the UK if desired.

Wherever you go, be sure to drive! It's a trip to be on the wrong side of the road.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:36 AM   #4
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Will definitely be taking pics. In the 3 weeks I was in the UK I shot about 1800 lol.

My gf lives about 45 minutes from Waterford, so I'm sure I'll hit that place. And I'll skip the Guiness brewery for Beamish...I really miss being able to get that here at home. Checked out the UK a couple years ago so no need to go there again. And I drove all over that island when I was there, for sure a unique experience. Only drove into oncoming traffic once Now it's my gf's turn to drive me around.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:49 AM   #5
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Dublin.

Notes:
  • The Irish police force is called the Garda (plural = Gardai or simply Gards). You'll see officers everywhere, often in bright yellow raincoats and walking around in pairs. They're very friendly and will help you with directions and stuff.
  • The river Liffey separates Dublin into N. Dublin and S. Dublin. The north side of town can be quite rough (my friend got robbed at knifepoint and another night two teenagers tried to sell me a horse) but it's not all that bad during the day. If you must be in the N. side of town at night, don't venture off O'Connell Street, Gardai patrol the area but it isn't safe at all. I hate to harp on the N. side being unsafe, but it simply is.
  • Irish dudes are make-out fanatics. They'll buy you a drink and then go in for the kill.
  • Street names change after a few feet. Don't be afraid to just cab somewhere or ask for directions to avoid wandering around for four hours trying to find a chip shop.

Transportation:
  • Buses are a cheap and easy way to get around. I'm not sure if there's a map or anything at the stops but I don't remember having any trouble figuring the system out.
  • Taxis are expensive but they're everywhere and the most direct way to get places. Expect a 5 Euro minimum and 1 Euro for each extra passenger.
  • Walking around Dublin is great. I'm not sure where you're staying but you can easily spend an entire day in the Temple Bar/Grafton Street/Camden Street/O'Connell Street area
.

Things to do during the day:
  • Croke Park - a very interesting place to visit. Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) matches are played there and it was the site of a massacre during the Irish War of Independence in 1920 (pretty historic if you ask me).
  • Phoenix Park - Breathtaking and I recommend a visit.
  • Guinness Storehouse - Be sure to visit the storehouse while you're in town. I believe tours are 10 Euro and you get a 'free' pint afterward in the Skybar (I think the tallest point in the city).
  • The Jameson Distillery – It's pretty cool and you can try your hand at distinguishing different brands of whiskey from good ol' Jame-o.
  • Grafton Street – I really like shopping so I spent a lot of time here. There are plenty of little cool stores and you can visit Molly Malone, everyone's favorite fish monger statue. It's not uncommon to find all kinds of musicians, fake-statue dudes and other types of street performers. St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre is at the top of Grafton Street, there are lots of little mall shops in there but it's a maze and VERY confusing.
  • Temple Bar – Not actually a single bar. It's a bar district in Dublin between Grafton Street and the Liffey (on the south side of town). There are a lot of great 'touristy' restaurants and bars here, I really like the Vat House for midday pints and whiskeys. There's also a great nightlife scene which I'll touch on later.
  • St. Stephen's Green – It puts Central Park to shame. It's gorgeous in the spring (not sure how it'll be in the beginning of January but It'll be cold so don't be worried about shirtless, pale Irish people sunning themselves.
  • O'Connell Street – On the N. side of town and can be very dangerous at night but there's a lot of good shopping and there's the Spire which is just a huge silver spike coming out of the street. Look for bullet holes in the O'Connell Monument from the Easter Rising in 1916, one of the women in the monument even caught one in the nipple-area (a favorite comment of cab drivers as they pass it).
  • Trinity College – The campus is open and you can wonder around. Check out the Book of Kells, one of the oldest and most ornate Bibles in the world. It's really beautiful.
  • Dublin Castle – It's pretty cool.
  • Kilmainham Gaol – This is very near to where I lived. It's a very old prison and is very eerie to visit. I had goosebumps during my entire “stay.” Visit it if you're the kind of person who would take a ghost tour, it's very macabre.

Nightlife:

I'm not really sure how to go about this one. I'm sure it hasn't changed too much, but I'll try to give you the best recommendations I can. It will be very expensive everywhere you go. Don't be surprised when you have to pay 6 Euro for a pint of beer. Also, there's no tipping. Seriously, the barman will look at you funny if you tell him to keep the change. I'd really recommend that you guys just around Temple Bar and look for places playing good music. Most places will be three-story units with a pub setting on the bottom floor and club-like stuff upstairs.
  • Citi Bar – Located near Temple Bar. It's a pretty cool place, the upstairs can be pretty chill.
  • Purty Kitchen – Weird name, pretty cool bar. It's in Temple Bar.
  • The Bleeding Horse – Located at the top of Camden Street, few blocks from where I lived. This is a really cool pub and has been there for many years.
  • Copper Face Jack's – Known as “Coppers” or the place where it is impossible to go home alone. It's like fishing with dynamite.

Dining:

Expect to pay ~10 Euro or more for a sit-down meal in a good restaurant. Irish food is generally terrible as a rule, but I'll try my best to recommend some places to eat. Don't be surprised to find a Subway that has corn as a topping option and doesn't take credit cards. Also, if you don't specifically say not to, people will put butter on a sandwich. It's kind of weird.

There a thousand places, but I'll try to just give you the highlights. Don't be afraid to try somewhere new.
  • Spar – 7-11 in the US gives mini grocery stores a bad rap, but Spar has really good pre-made sandwiches and baked goods. Some are open late, others are not. I recommend the chicken baguette in the deli section, it's a few Euro but it's pretty good. Also, the baguettes alone are really good.
  • Leo Burdock – The best fish and chips in Dublin, hands down. It took us awhile to find this place, but we went there with some locals one night and it was fantastic. You can't sit inside, so we'd walk a few blocks until we found a nice place to sit. You also get a huge amount of chips (french fries). Located on Werburgh Street in Christchurch.
  • Gallagher's Boxty House – Located in Temple Bar, it's a really good restaurant but it's a little touristy. Boxty is like a potato pancake thing and it's really good.
  • Diwali – A good Indian place on Great Georges St. I still have a coupon in my wallet, send me a pic of your gf's **** and I'll mail it to you.
  • Bewley's – A GREAT place for meals, tea or cakes. I really recommend this place and it's on Grafton Street so it's not difficult to find.
  • Subway/Quizno's – These are everywhere and Quizno's serves french fries, it's kind of weird. I highly recommend the BLT at Quizno's.
  • The Brazen Head – Claims to be Europe's oldest pub. I'm not sure about this, but it is REALLY old and has fantastic food. I recommend the Guinness Stew or Bangers and Mash.
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Old 09-07-2011, 03:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewdesigns View Post
Dingle Peninsula
I woke up to this every morning for a few months:

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I've difficulty describing it, sometimes you just have to see.
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:07 PM   #7
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Thanks for the extensive Dublin list...that'll go a long way to keeping me busy there. And the general air of that photo above is one of the reasons my gf moved over. This month is going to drag by while waiting for that landscape to appear in person!
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Old 09-07-2011, 04:34 PM   #8
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I spent a long weekend on the Dingle Peninsula just before heading over here to Afghan-land. Definitely add Brandon Point to your list of things to see while you're in that area. The whole peninsula is pretty incredible, from the people to the scenery and everything in between. I can't wait to get back and take my 30 days and travel the rest of the country. Enjoy.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewdesigns View Post
Thanks for the extensive Dublin list...that'll go a long way to keeping me busy there. And the general air of that photo above is one of the reasons my gf moved over. This month is going to drag by while waiting for that landscape to appear in person!
no problem. I'd never live there again. it's a **** country.
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:19 AM   #10
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Yeah, she's ready to come back but is obliged to stay til next May.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:48 AM   #11
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Can you make it over to the UK? London had a bunch to see. You could take a couple of days. Lots of cheap flights from where you are.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:59 PM   #12
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Did London/UK/Scotland/Wales 2 yrs ago. Thanks though!
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:10 PM   #13
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Have you thought about going to see London? There's quite a bit to do there.



















...jk
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:48 PM   #14
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It's been over a decade since my visit, and even then it was a bit of a blur (thanks to lack of sleep, lack of food, and abundance of drink), but the two bits of Ireland that made the biggest impressions on me were Killarney Natl Park and the Cliffs of Moher. Killarney Natl Park was kind of like the platonic ideal of a fairytale landscape. It was absolutely stunning.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:29 PM   #15
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I did the Glenveagh Gardens/Park/Castle/Lough about 5 years ago. It was very nice - we passed on the buses and walked(quite a lot).

Only drawback is that it's in Donegal, which is a surprising trek from the rest of the places you mention. It's a small country, but it seems to take forever to cover 100 miles - I think they measure distances as the crow flies, not as the roads twist.

If you're going to spend some time up north there, I know a few places to go.

The people in general are very cool, and the Guiness is far better than here.
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:40 AM   #16
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Is this a regular Irish weekend?


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Old 09-12-2011, 12:44 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner
I did the Glenveagh Gardens/Park/Castle/Lough about 5 years ago. It was very nice - we passed on the buses and walked(quite a lot).

Only drawback is that it's in Donegal, which is a surprising trek from the rest of the places you mention. It's a small country, but it seems to take forever to cover 100 miles - I think they measure distances as the crow flies, not as the roads twist.

If you're going to spend some time up north there, I know a few places to go.

The people in general are very cool, and the Guiness is far better than here.
Funny, I was talking to my gf today, checking out a map of Ireland and where my to-see list falls in the country it seems like 90% of what I want to do is in the southern half, so I might pass on Donegal/Glenveagh/etc. And to back up what you are saying about getting around, while checking everything out on Google maps I said "that country is tiny, we can get anywhere in 3 hours". She laughed and said the roads are nowhere near the condition to get anywhere that quickly.


"**** your Mitsubishi, I've a horse outside"...love that video lol.
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Old 09-12-2011, 01:05 AM   #18
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WTF is up with the Emerald Isle?
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:20 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewdesigns View Post
Funny, I was talking to my gf today, checking out a map of Ireland and where my to-see list falls in the country it seems like 90% of what I want to do is in the southern half, so I might pass on Donegal/Glenveagh/etc. And to back up what you are saying about getting around, while checking everything out on Google maps I said "that country is tiny, we can get anywhere in 3 hours". She laughed and said the roads are nowhere near the condition to get anywhere that quickly.
If you pass on Donegal, you're truly whacked. It's easily the most beautiful place in the world.

As far as travel goes, it's a huge pain in the *** but don't forget to visit Donegal. Trust me, give up Dingle for Donegal if anything.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:21 AM   #20
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WTF is up with the Emerald Isle?
A history of being oppressed and I'm not trying to start some debate and I don't condone actions by either side. It's fact and if you can't see it, then you're blind.
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