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castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Manchester, New...
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castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

We’re visiting Ireland in May, want to focus on nature (several days in KNP, eg), but want to see some history, too. I’m not sure if we are even going to go to Dublin as it looks too urban for us. (We really like quiet!) We may stay near Killarney and Kilkenny, with our final night near Shannon. Any thoughts on “must-see’s”, “wonderful to see if you come back”, and “nice but not as nice as others you’ll see”? Thank you.

1. Castles: Kilkenny tour, Ross tour, Rock of Cashel (view exterior only); Dromoland and view Dunguiare if time (is the Kinvara-Ballyvaughn drive worth the time since we'll spend so much time in the Dingle and Ring of Kerry area?).

2. Ruins: Quin, Muckross, Kells, Jerpoint, Glendalough; and Newgrange if it's open.

3. Estate Homes: Muckross House, and if time, Bantry House. Powerscourt is too touristy?

4. Cathedrals: St Canice, St Brigid’s.

Thank you!

14 replies to this topic
Limerick, Ireland
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1. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Add in King John's Castle and St Mary's Cathedral (1168) in Limerick. Both are really worth seeing and are only 5 minutes walk from each other.

Avoid Killarney during the weekend of the first Monday in May. The Rally of the Lakes is on that weekend and it unfortunately is uncomfortable there then.

Drogheda, Ireland
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2. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Pre-book Newgrange if you really want to see it, and go early in the day. Numbers limit for access to the passage tomb and it sells out quickly.

Powerscourt gardens magnificent, you could spend hours in fine weather. Detour to waterfall worthwhile.

Savannah, Georgia
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3. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

The gardens at Powerscourt are beautiful and well worth seeing. We also went to the Bantry House & actually stayed there one night. It was wonderful. The next day we took the boat to Garnish Island which is nearby & they also have beautiful gardens.

Manchester, New...
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4. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Thank you!

Venice, Florida
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5. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

I suggest you peruse the maps offered through the various links at:

http://www.megalithicireland.com/ and http://www.irelandtravelkit.com/

For example: Just off the N22 (near Ovens, Co Cork) between Cork city and Macroom is:

irelandtravelkit.com/majestic-kilcrea-abbey-…

People rushing by between Blarney and Killarney, seem to ignore this place and on every visit, We've had the place to ourselves.

Dublin
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6. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Unless things have changed, as an individual visitor, you cannot pre book Newgrange - it's a 'first come, first served' basis and I would recommend that you are there by at least 10.00AM.

Rock of Cashel is not a castle, it is an ecclesiastical ruin on a high rock outcrop. Cahir Castle and Ross Castle, as two different styles of castle, are both worth seeing, taking the guided tour that is included in the entrance fee. Kilkenny Castle is more chateau style rather than traditional castle.

Muckross House didn't appeal to me and while the Powerscourt Gardens are very nice, there is no access to Powerscourt House itself . Glendalough is well worth visiting especially if the weather is good - visit the monastic ruins and then walk up to the lakes.

If you are staying in Kilkenny, then the Dunmore Cave about 10Km from Kilkenny is worth visiting -http://www.heritageireland.ie/en/south-east/dunmorecave/

Western Ireland...
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7. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

Dromoland is not a castle , it's an expensive hotel , the same as Ashford. Save your time for real castles . Powerscourt is also a hotel, so for my money , worth avoiding though the gardens and nearby waterfall are worth the time .

The Rock of Cashel is more an ecclesiastical site than a castle - but very much worth time to explore instead of driving past . Nearby Cahir Castle should also go on the list.

If you will be near Newgrange , add in Trim Castle - one of the best in the country .

Western Ireland...
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8. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

By Kells , I assume you mean Kells Priory? That gets a lot less tourists than nearby Jerpoint . Kilkenny castle is not really a "castle " with all the alterations down the years, it's a Manor House at best , similar to Dromoland etc.

Manchester, New...
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9. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

I am so grateful to everybody who responded. I've perused several guidebooks, watched videos online and from the Library- and you've given me such important information! I think we'll add Trim and Cahir castles and the Dunmore Cave, but skip Powerscourt and Muckross House. Not sure about Kilcrea. And yes, Kells Priory is still on my list. As an aside, a video on Kilcrea begins with driving on the left- we'll need to watch this repeatedly before we go! Intersections are so discombobulating! Many thanks!

Western Ireland...
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10. Re: castles, ruins, estates, churches- need help selecting

As you will be in Kerry and especially in Dingle, I'm adding in Minard castle, which has a dramatic location on a boulder strewn beach looking over to the Iveragh peninsula. Rathinnane castle near Ventry, west of Dingle is unusual in that it is build inside a much older rath (fort)It's said the blood of the locals was mixed into the mortar to make the walls stronger and in my younger days, we never wanted to cycle part it at night-especially going up the hill as it took longer!

Gallarus Oratory gets the tourists but is well worth your time. It was built in the shape of an upturned naomhóg (a local boat , similar to a currach) and the walls are corbelled and still sound nearly 1,000 years layer. Nearby the ruins of Kilmalkeader needs to go on the (ever increasing ) list, too, I think. It has a narrow window known as "the eye of the needle" and tradition holds that if you can pass through it, you will go to heaven when you die. (And I have and I'm no size 6!) it has a sundial, an alphabet stone that would have been used to teach visiting scholars to read and once more spectacular views -this time sweeping right over to Ballyferriter and beyond , site of the filming some of the most recent "Star Wars " film.

www.megalithicireland.com/Kilmalkedar.htm

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