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Central area to stay in Ireland

Dallas, Texas
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Central area to stay in Ireland

We are just beginning to plan our trip to Ireland and our first thought was to stay in Dublin but I keep hearing there is so much more to see. We are thinking of staying in a central location and striking our each day by car to different areas. Is this a good plan? Where would be a good central location to do so?

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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1. Re: Central area to stay in Ireland

Ireland may look small on paper but distances are deceptive here. The average speed off the motorways is about 35mph.

You would be better picking a couple of areas you are interested in and basing yourself there.

For example: Killarney or Kenmare in Kerry; Galway for the West Coast.

How long are you hoping to stay in the country for?

What are your interests?

What time of the year are you travelling?

Answers to the above questions will help people help you further.

Dallas, Texas
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24 posts
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2. Re: Central area to stay in Ireland

We are looking to go next April or May. I'm hoping that is a good time weather-wise? I love taking pictures, history, architecture, and castles. I'd like to get a good feel of the country. Many places we've travelled (London, Paris, Amsterdam) are so diverse and commercialized you don't get the authenticity of the culture.

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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3. Re: Central area to stay in Ireland

Generally April and May are brilliant months to visit and hopefully 2011 will provide us with a nice spring.

The country is sinking in history - in the nicest possible way. And even the bigger cities are more compact than London or Paris or Amsterdam. Furthermore, other than the 1916 rising - which happened in a limited location, you haven't had significant mass destruction of the cities.

The country also has a lot of castles.

When you say "architecture" are you interested in Modern or older?

One of the most wonderful pieces of architecture I think in the country at the moment is the Living Bridge in the University of Limerick. Its Ireland's longest pedestrian bridge and was designed by the Eiffel Engineering Company - yes the same Eiffel as the tower in Paris. The bridge spans two rivers, going from Co. Limerick to Co. Clare and links the health sciences buildings to the main part of the University.

lmkeating.ie/university_of_limerick_living_b…

www.youtube.com/watch…

The bridge also links to the new World Music Centre (unofficially known as the Taj Micheál after Micheál O'Suilleabhán who is head of the centre.)

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a restored castle but I think sensitively restored and gives a good representation of a 15th Century Castle. The folk park is a good representation of the lives of the "ordinary" people in times gone by.

April May is also a fabulous time to see the Rhododendrons in Muckross Gardens in Killarney. Actually to be honest, most of the country is looking fabulous at that time.

If you could fly into Dublin and out of Shannon or vice versa, that would give you a nice loop and a good overview of the country.

How long will you be staying?

Dublin, Ireland
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4. Re: Central area to stay in Ireland

If you do a search on the Ireland Forums, you'll see that May is one of the favourite months of Ireland Forum posters, both locals and visitors. Our climate is unpredictable and changeable throughout the year but in May the weather can often be a bit more settled. Days are long (at the end of May it's light until about 10pm) and the countryside is in full, heady bloom. All of the seasonal attractions have reopened by Easter but it's not high season until June, so accommodation prices are generally cheaper and it's not so busy at popular sights and attractions.

We'd recommend deciding on a number of 'hubs' for your trip and using them as a jumping off points to explore the partsof the country that interest you most. Which and how many locations you choose will depend to a large extent on how much time you have to spend here and what your interests and priorities are. By operating from a variety of hubs, you can maximise your time seeing and doing and minimising windscreen time, as well as being able to settle and unpack in one location for a few days at a time.

Dublin would be ideal as one of your hubs. Apart from being one of Europe's most compact, vibrant and friendly capital cities, it's steeped in history both ancient and modern, is the repository of the majority of Ireland's important museums and galleries and is an important centre for literature, theatre, culture and the arts (the city has provided no fewer than three Nobel literature laureates). It's located on a horseshoe-shaped bay between mountains and sea which provide a surprising number of attractive natural locations you wouldn't expect to find so close to a capital city.

Dublin is also an ideal base for visiting some of the most important cultural and historical heritage sights in all of Ireland as well as areas of stunning natural beauty in County Wicklow to the south of Dublin (in particular Glendalough) and in County Meath to the north of Dublin (Ireland's Valley of the Kings, site of Bru na Boinne/Newgrange World Heritage Site - megalithic tombs older than the pyramids in Egypt, the Hill of Tara - mythical seat of the High Kings of Ireland, Trim Castle, etc.). Day trips to locations such as Belfast and Kilkenny are also popular and easy from the capital.

You won't need a car in Dublin and it's really not a good idea for visitors - take a look at the Top Questions about Dublin and click on 'how can I get around Dublin?' to read more about why. We'd recommend staying in the city centre which is pretty compact and easy to get around on foot. Most of the popular sights and attractions as well as the best traditional pubs, restaurants, theatres, shopping etc. are within a short walking distance of each other in the city centre. For other journeys, there's a couple of hoho services and an extensive and relatively inexpensive public transport system covering Dublin city and county (bus, train tram). Dublin is also the main hub for all public transport routes (bus and train) so you can travel easily to a number of locations from the city on day trips.

There's also quite a few organised day tours from the city centre, which is how most visitors access the sights of County Wicklow and County Meath. Staying centrally also means you are conveniently located for tour pick up points.

Our advice would be to stay in Dublin for a few days on arrival and then return to Dublin Airport to pick up a rental/hire car (more choice, more flexible opening hours and easier access out of the city to destinations all over Ireland) when it's time to move on to your next 'hub'.

If you had four days to spend in Dublin, we'd recommend spending two exploring the city itself and then another two on day tours. You'll find tons of nformation about all aspects of visiting Dublin, including recommended day trips from the capital, in the Top Questions about Dublin section on the right hand side of the Dublin Forum. Check this out and then post again if you need any more help with your Dublin stay or with any day trips from the capital.

In terms of planning the rest of your trip, we'd recommend you also check out the Top Questions about Ireland section on the right hand side of the Ireland Forum for helpful general information, sample itineraries and useful tools for planning your Ireland trip. We'd also recommend getting a good guide book and map to use alongside these forums. Which guide book(s) you choose will depend on your own travel style but you'll find a number of recommendations in the Top Questions about Ireland.

This is a useful tool for calculating journey times, routes and distances. Just keep in mind that its estimated journey times for non-motorway (non-highway) routes tend to be a bit optimistic so don't take them too literally.

http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

Once you've had a chance to do some research on what you would like to see and where you would like to visit, post details here and people can advise you what would be the best bases for you. Don't forget to let us know how long you will have in Ireland as this will be crucial when working out an itinerary that doesn't leave you needing another holiday//vacation to recover once it's over!

To give you an idea, these would be popular bases for visiting specific geographical areas:

County Kerry - for exploring the south west

County Cork - for exploring the south and parts of the south west

County Galway - for exploring the west

County Clare - for exploring the west and parts of the south west

County Sligo - for exploring the north west

County Donegal - for exploring the north west and Northern Ireland.

Are you planning to visit Northern Ireland or will you confine your travels to the Republic of Ireland? If you do want to visit Northern Ireland, on TA it is actually listed under the United Kingdom Forums rather than the Ireland Forums and you'll find lots of information about Northern Ireland there. There's also a number of posters here who are also knowledgeable about Northern Ireland and some of the Northern Ireland Destination Experts and regulars also pop into the Ireland Forums from time to time to offer advice and help.

Hope this helps to move your planning process along a little. Happy planning!

5. Re: Central area to stay in Ireland

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