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Ireland, Dublin, Kilkenny, Galway, Belfast

12 days with Mom around Ireland

Taking my 79-yr-old Mom on her dream trip to Ireland in late October. I've been before, she has not. Landing into Dublin at 8 am on a Thursday, renting a car, and hitting the road. Flying home from Dublin 11 days later. Definitely stopping in Kilkenny to see her roots. Other than that probably do a loop south and up along the west coast (Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Connemara, etc) then up to Galway. Last 2 or 3 days in Dublin most likely. I still have never seen N. Ireland, and want to see Giant's Causeway and Belfast. Question is, will we have time for Northern Ireland without feeling too rushed?

5 Answers

top answer by

My suggestion would be to head straight up to Northern Ireland from Dublin. That way you will do an anti clockwise loop. 2/3 days there would suffice and head back to the Republic heading west for Galway City/ Clare and down this way towards Munster. Cork/Kerry/ Limerick and from here its about 1.5/2hrs to Kilkenny so your mam could really enjoy her roots before you head back to Dublin. Now thats all just a suggestion and I could do out a much better plan for you if you need it.

Update: Hi Mike. I can read your last question in my notifications but cant find it on the post so ill answer it here. Dublin to Belfast is roughly 2 hours. Donegal to Galway roughly 3. Galway to Belfast is roughly 4 hours. AA routeplanner ireland is a fantastic resource for you to use as you will be driving. Remember up North they use sterling not Euros okay. Be sure to go to Titanic Belfast Ltd.. Definitely the causeway. Have you a hotel in Dublin in mind? Let me know yout to do list and ill mull it over with you

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Northern Ireland (attraction)
  2. Dublin (attraction)
  3. Galway City (attraction)
  4. Clare (attraction)
  5. Munster (attraction)
  6. Cork (city)
  7. Kerry (city)
  8. Limerick (city)
  9. Kilkenny (attraction)
  10. Belfast (attraction)
  11. Donegal (attraction)
  12. Titanic Belfast Ltd. (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Lissa from Boston

Hi Mike, A friend and I had 9 days in Ireland where we spent 2 days in Dublin before driving south through Kilkenny and Waterford and staying at Castlemartyr for two nights while we toured the south (Blarney Castle, Cork and such). We then drove the Ring of Kerry and visited Bantry before spending two nights at Dromoland Castle Hotel to explore The Burren and Bunratty. We then drove back to Dublin for two more nights. If you are going to spend 11 days in Ireland and you skip the extra nights in Dublin, I think you could easily add Belfast and Northern Ireland. We did not feel like we were on too tight of a schedule and we made time to stop to see smaller sights along the way, shop and stop in small towns for lunch. The only day it was a little too much for us was driving from Cork to drive the Ring of Kerry and Dingle before heading up to Limerick. We should have stayed a night along the coast. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ireland (attraction)
  2. Dublin (attraction)
  3. Kilkenny (attraction)
  4. Waterford (city)
  5. Castlemartyr (city)
  6. Blarney Castle (attraction)
  7. Cork (city)
  8. Ring of Kerry (attraction)
  9. Bantry (city)
  10. Dromoland Castle Hotel (restaurant)
  11. The Burren (attraction)
  12. Bunratty (city)
  13. Dublin (attraction)
  14. Belfast (attraction)
  15. Northern Ireland (attraction)
  16. Dingle (attraction)
  17. Limerick (city)
4 thanks

answered by
Brian from Ohio

Remember, your mom is 79 years old. She doesn't want to be in the car the entire time. I'd skip the SW.

Start in Dublin, head to the North. Do Belfast, Giants Causeway, and Derry in 3 days.

Galway is a long way from Derry, so stop in Donegal and Sligo (or Belleek - mom would Love the pottery), then overnight in Westport (Ireland), a lovely town not too far from Galway City.

Stroll through Westport on the 5th morning, then head south on the N59, head toward Clifden, then towards Galway through Connemara. Lovely country.

Salthill is a lovely place to stay by Galway Bay or choose something closer to the Latin Quarter if mom has problems getting around. Jury's has a hotel just at the foot of Quay St.  just outside the Latin Quarter.

Take 2-3 days to see Galway and any of the following:
 The Burren, Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, etc. There are excursions available to all these attractions and most will pick you up at your B&B or hotel.

Lastly, head across the island toward Kilkenny. Spend a night or two there and head to Dublin the night before your plane leaves for the states.

Some people would still consider this aggressive.
Don't get caught up in trying to see everything.
 Ireland then becomes the Green Blur. When in doubt, cut destinations and spend more time in a few places.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dublin (attraction)
  2. Belfast (attraction)
  3. Giants Causeway (city)
  4. Derry (city)
  5. Donegal (attraction)
  6. Sligo (city)
  7. Belleek (city)
  8. Westport (Ireland) (city)
  9. Galway City (attraction)
  10. Clifden (city)
  11. Connemara (city)
  12. Salthill (attraction)
  13. Galway Bay (attraction)
  14. The Burren (attraction)
  15. Aran Islands (attraction)
  16. Cliffs of Moher (attraction)
  17. Kilkenny (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Betsy from Savusavu

We did a "lower loop" like you are contemplating: DublinKilkennyWaterfordCorkDingleNewmarket on FergusBruff and back to Dublin in six nights earlier this year. With another six, you can easily make it to Belfast and Giants Causeway as well as points in between, I would think. Consider staying more than one night in priority places so your Mother won't tire. We found it a rush to pack up and move each morning; would have preferred more time in our favorite places. You can check out our blog posts here: and you may be interested in this 'Best Places to Visit in Ireland' 

One of the best parts of our trip was staying at Dromoland Castle Hotel in Newmarket on Fergus. They will treat your mother like a queen, as she deserves. Truly a special experience, worth every penny. Make sure you stay in the castle itself, and don't be above alerting the staff ahead of time how important this trip is - they'll rise to the occasion in ways you may never have dreamed. Tir na nog!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dublin (attraction)
  2. Kilkenny (attraction)
  3. Waterford (city)
  4. Cork (city)
  5. Dingle (attraction)
  6. Newmarket on Fergus (city)
  7. Bruff (attraction)
  8. Belfast (attraction)
  9. Giants Causeway (city)
  10. Dromoland Castle Hotel (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Philip from Greenisland

Hi Mike, Belfast is 100 miles from Dublin, mostly on good highway, some toll to pay. Then its around 60 miles to the giants causeway on reasonably good second class roads. you could be at the giants causeway in 3-4 hours. Off course you might want to stay the night in Belfast , depends on how much driving your mom can handle, anyway its a nice day trip from Belfast and you could drive straight back to Dublin from giants causeway. 

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