Day 1 - Dublin, Ireland August 20, 2016
Our flight was supposed to get in around 10 am, instead we arrived at 3:30 pm. We ended up missing a walking tour of Dublin that I had originally scheduled. So we simply walked around Dublin streets.
The first night we stayed at the Ashling Hotel, which was conveniently located across the street from the Guinness factory and within walking distance to all the major attractions.
We visited Dublin Castle, Dublin's cultural quarter and Grafton Street Saturday night. We ended up having dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe Dublin. Jen and I wanted traditional Irish pub food, but the kids are too picky so we settled on Hard Rock. The weather was rainy as predicted. However, we actually lucked out the rest of the week with plenty of sunshine.
I rented a minivan for the week from Hertz (tip: get full insurance most traditional insurance with credit cards are not covered (example: AMEX, personal auto). We kept the car parked at the hotel garage (fee). Surprisingly, I only filled up twice the whole 8 days. The diesel minivan we rented was awesome on gas.
Other Tips: I used United MileagePlus Explorer Card, exchange fees waived, so pay in Euro. Take cash out from ATMs, easier for exchange fees.
Packing: we packed light (3 suitcases for a family of 6). Bring enough underwear, socks for each day and pack 2-3 pants or shorts (2-day use per pants).
Also we purchased Prepay SIM cards for Ireland at Tesco ($25 USD for the week) for internet, text and phone.
Day 2 - Galway, Ireland August 21, 2016
We decided to spend the morning into the afternoon in Dublin to finish up our sites. We visited St Patrick’s Cathedral, Spire of Dublin, Trinity College and Merrion Square.
We drove to Galway, which is about a 2 ½ hour drive and stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa
The hotel was convenient to all the shops on Shop Street & Quay Street. We ate at Pizza Dough Bros (best pizza in Ireland – for families). I bought Emily her first claddagh ring.
Day 3 - Limerick, Ireland August 22, 2016
The next morning, we drove to Dunguaire Castle. I suggest when visiting Castles be sure to ask if there is a guided tour. Castles pretty much look the same throughout Ireland, it’s the history tour that makes them fun.
After Dunguare Castle, we drove to The Burrens. Don’t get too excited as its basically landscape of bedrock limestone. One spot within the burrens is the Poulnabrone Dolmen (a small scale stonehenge looking portal tomb).
Finally, we drove to one of the highlights of Ireland, Cliffs of Moher. Its natural beauty is one of those natural wonders one must visit to experience in life (similar to Grand Canyon). The full trail from Doolin to Liscannor is about 5 miles long and takes about 2 hrs each way.
We drove to Limerick and stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa. Limerick was more of a tradition suburban town, rather than the quant traditional Irish town (had more of a US feel).
For dinner, we ate at coqbull restaurant.
Day 4 - Killarney, Ireland August 23, 2016
Day 4 we headed out to the Dingle Peninsula loop or Slea Head Loop , one of my favorite drives. Although Conor Pass is not for the faint of heart, however, the view was breathtaking. The pass is a single lane most of the way, but there are some outlets for passing. This is an area where you want your car insurance J. Cars get so close and when you have a minivan, its very tight. Even with the narrow and winding roads, i managed to get through it unscathed. I did get a lot of Sunday driving screams from my passengers in the car.
Later that night we checked into International Hotel (we originally had reservations for the Best Western Eviston House Hotel, but there was a flood in the room from the previous tenant so they upgraded us to the International Hotel).
Day 5 - Waterville, Ireland August 24, 2016
The next morning, we walked from the hotel to Ross Castle (a 2 mile walk). Then we started our Ring of Kerry drive going counter clockwise. Later that day we drove to Kerry Cliffs Portmagee, the second most spectacular cliff viewing. After spending a few hours site seeing, walking and taking pictures, we headed over to Ballinskelligs Castle (situated on the western shore of Ballinskelligs Bay). There we were able to starch our legs and let the kids play on the beach. Later that evening we checked into the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville.
Day 6 - Cork, Ireland August 25, 2016
The next morning we head out to Derrynane Beach, a spectacular beach, sights are stunning.
From Derrynane Beach we drove to Blarney Castle about a 2 and half hour drive. The kids kept saying they wouldn’t kiss the Blarney Stone (but all of them did). Beautiful grounds, we ended up waling the trails 2.5 miles.
From Blarney Castle, we ended up driving to Clarion Hotel - Cork, Ireland.
We had dinner at The Oliver Plunkett Pub, live Irish music and great food. Cork was very much like Dublin, city feel. Although truthfully it was not our favorite city, but neat to visit at least once.
Day 7 - Kilkenny, Ireland August 26, 2016
The next morning after some breakfast, we headed out to Cahir Castle. This was the cleanest and best shape castle we visited and we enjoyed the guided tour.
Across the street, we ate some soft served Ice Cream. I told the kids when I was a kid, that was the one treat my sister Eileen and I ate daily when we visited back in 1980. Things have not changed, where each town they still serve up the soft serve ice cream for 2 euro (you can’t miss the display outside of stores and gas stations.)
Later that afternoon we drove to Rock of Cashel. This was perched up on a hill and you cannot miss the castle in town. It was great to walk around the grounds, across the street, there was a temple that had livestock where the kids and I walked down to see.
Later that night we drove to the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel. We had dinner at the Kyteler's Inn Pub (the boys went their own way for pizza)
Day 8 - Dublin, Ireland August 27, 2016
The last day we did a guided bike tour of Kilkenny. You get to see the Kilkenny Castle, St. Mary’s Church, Rothe House & Gardens, The Courthouse (Grace’s Castle), St. Francis’ Abbey, The Black Abbey and St. Canice’s Cathedral and other attractions.
Later in the afternoon, we drove to Clayton Hotel by the airport. I dropped the rental car off and took the shuttle back to the hotel.
Day 9 - Dublin, Ireland August 28, 2016
Early morning flight back to New jerysey.
Family man living in New Jersey. I currently work for Cisco Systems as a Service Sales Executive managing the US Eastern territory for healthcare enterprise accounts. I enjoy traveling, scuba diving, Skiing, golfing, camping and biking.