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My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Bucharest, Romania
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My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Greetings everyone,

I'm currently planning my very first trip to Ireland and, surprise, surprise I've got a couple (OK, more than a couple, I'll admit it) of points where I would really appreciate your help.

What I'm planning for: 8 full days + 2 half-days in Ireland, flying in and out of Dublin, from 29 September to 8 October 2010.

I'm not looking to hire a car, I actually like to rely on public transport, both at home and abroad. Also, I'd rather "move house" as little as possible.

What I've come up with: a two-base trip, staying in Galway and Dublin.

I'm thinking about 4 days + 2 half-days for Dublin, with a day trip to Brú na Bóinne and 4 days staying in Galway, hoping to enjoy the city, explore just a little bit of Connemara and see the Cliffs of Moher and, maybe, the Aran Island.

Is the the National Museum of Country Life in Castlebar a destination worth working a schedule around?

So, what dou you fine folks think- did I get it all wrong, would you choose an entirely different introduction to Ireland or can I go on planning and dreaming? I'd love any kind of feedback.

California
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1. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

We did a trip of about that length last year. We stayed in Dublin for a few days and then took the GoBus to Galway (I am pretty sure that GoBusis the name of the company). It was very quick and efficient. It was a clean bus (nicer than I would expect here in the states) and was only 10 euros. We were in Galway a few days. We stayed in a B&B close enough to town that we could easily walk in. From Galway, we took public transportation (a bus) to Westport. From Westport we returned to Dublin via train. Both my wife and I really loved Westport. It is a small, very attractive town that was easy to get around in. While there we climbed Croagh Patrick. I would like to say we took a bus or a taxi from Westport to get there, but, upon recommendations of some local people, we just hitch hiked out there and back. - We are both in our 50's so needless to say any hitch hiking we had done was long ago in our past.

You mentioned Castlebar. I know that it is not real far from Westport and I believe that there is a bus that goes there from Westport, but I would not swear to it.

Anyway, we used public transportation or the GoBus (other than hitch hiking) and I was very happy with how it all worked out.

Good luck.

Grayslake, Illinois
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2. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Hi, The Museum of Country Life is worth the trouble of getting there! ....if you are interested in Irish culture. I myself spent an entire day there. The museum is located in Turlough, which is a few miles east of Castlebar, which is 7 miles east of Westport. As Brendan mentioned, you may want to spend a day or two in Westport. You can take the No. 66 bus from Westport to the museum. On the way back to Westport, you may have to change buses in Castlebar, but no problem - there are frequent buses between Castlebar & Westport.

Manchester, United...
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3. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

You've got a very sensible two-centre split there :-)

Country Life is certainly worth a visit (it's one of our top 'must do' places in Ireland and it really compliments a trip to the Aran Islands well) but since it's rural, by public transport, it's a bit complicated and is going to be at least two buses from Galway so we'd probably advise you to maybe give it a miss. You've already got some nice plans pencilled in for your four days in the west and trekking up to Turlough might just make it all a bit too crowded an itinerary? If you really did want to include it we'd suggest that you take a night off either Dublin or Galway and make it a three centre trip and spend that night in Westport - one such route, to include Country Life without any back-tracking, could then be: Dublin - Turlough (Country Life) - Castlebar/Westport (overnight) - Galway (on a public bus through Connemara maybe) to proceed with the rest of the itinerary...

ireland
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4. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

sounds like a good sensible plan cosmo, and don't worry about public transportation - it is very good both in the towns and cross country. Galway is a 'walking town" anyway and you have the best of both worlds - Galway Bay and the town right beside you - just pick a good centrally located b and b and you will be flying.

GoGus is a GREAT service from Dublin non stop to Galway. Very comfy buses. highly recommended.

Scunthorpe, United...
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5. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Another vote for the Museum of Country Life. We found it fascinating - especially the videos showing life 50 years ago. Some of the old folk traditions were almost pagan in a Catholic Country. It will also give you an understanding of how the past has influenced the present landscape and way of life.

Bucharest, Romania
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6. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Thank you so much everybody, you are nothing short of fantastic!

So, I'm pretty much sold on the idea of going to the Country Life museum now; we will arrive in Dublin on the afternoon of September 29 and I was originally thinking of getting a morning bus to Galway on the 30th. Now, it looks like we could get a bus to Turlough, visit the museum and catch a bus that will have us in Galway by 20:45.

Admittedly, this would mean spending 9 hours on busses and only around 4.5 hours at the site - is it a sensible idea?

The other thing to consider is that we would have luggage with us; the museum's site mentions that they offer a cloakroom; does anybody know if we could leave our luggage there - nothing major, mostly carry-on size yet more substantial that a day bag?

The alternative is doing it as a day trip from Galway - which comes with around 1.5 hours less on or waiting for the bus but the time spent at the museum proper is the same.

On the other hand, could I ask you how would you approach a day out in Connemara without a car? Is an organised tour my only option? :-(

I have to mention I'm an overly outdoorsy type but a huge history buff.

And just one more question, if I may: in terms of it being less crowded, what day would be preferable for a daytrip to Newgrange -out of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?

All right, thanks again for taking the time to read through all this and your help.

Dublin, Ireland
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7. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Newgrange might be busier at weekends but weekdays are pretty much the same.

Manchester, United...
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8. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

"I have to mention I'm an overly outdoorsy type but a huge history buff. "

You'll LOVE the Country Life museum then :-)

"Admittedly, this would mean spending 9 hours on busses and only around 4.5 hours at the site - is it a sensible idea?"

Not one that we would personally go for as we're not too keen on bus travel in any country (we're too tall for comfort on those things) but why not! 4.5 hours at the museum will be ample time to see and absorb everything. The only other option with this idea is to just take the bus from Country Life to Westport and spend that second (?) night there before heading down to Galway...

"the museum's site mentions that they offer a cloakroom; does anybody know if we could leave our luggage there"

There should be no problem at all with that - there's also a nice cafe if you want/need refreshments and of course a gift shop too but one that is actually quite good with some excellent postcards of Irish times gone by...

"On the other hand, could I ask you how would you approach a day out in Connemara without a car? Is an organised tour my only option?"

Do have a look at the Top Questions about Connemara on the Connemara Forum where you'll find some discussions and options for touring Connemara - without a car it is definitely problematic but if you picked just one or two destinations and worked out the bus routes to/from them then it could be done as an independent day trip from Galway no problem. We'd suggest Clifden (largest town) and Roundstone (small harbour village) as two such destinations and you would certainly see some amazing scenery from the bus window when travelling between the two and Galway - if you wanted to include an 'attraction' such as Kylemore Abbey then it's probably easier to go by escorted tour to be honest though...

:-)

Grayslake, Illinois
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9. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Hi, Regarding Museum of Country Life - I'm sure you'll be able to leave your bags with the museum staff. Like Ragoora says, be sure to visit the gift shop - I bought a small poster of an old photograph - an Aran Island man sitting at the edge of a 300-ft. cliff, holding his fishing line.....I love it!

Bucharest, Romania
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10. Re: My first Irish experience - I'd love your input

Thank tou so much again, I have no idea how I'd be able to plan this trip without TA forum.

Because I've been so spoiled :-) by your helpful replies, I have one more question, about Kylemore Abbey.

From the fact that their own website mentions nothing about it and from some failed searches, I understand that there is no way of getting to Kylemore Abbey by public transport. However, there is a regular Citylink bus going from Galway to Letterfrack. Now, is there any way of getting from Letterfrack to Kylemore Abbey - like could we rent bikes there and cycle to the Abbey or could we hire a taxi in Letterfrack?

I did notice that Kylemore Abbey is included in most of the day bus tours offered from Galway but I'm finding it a bit difficult to muster up the enthusiasm for another bus tour (we'll take one to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher).

Or should I just give in an rent a car for a couple of days - but this is really at the very bottom of my "things I'd like to do in Ireland" list-.