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The Answer to THE Question ...

... What Should I Do On My Vacation In Ireland? ... No, the answer is not 42! (that's for the other "old guys" out there, who like me, have read the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe).

Since moving to Ireland I am constantly asked: “What should I see in Ireland?” … even from my own daughter. This blog attempts to answer this question by outlining a two week holiday or vacation in Ireland … yes two weeks, despite what you may have heard form some of the cynical … many of them Irishmen, you can spend two packed weeks visiting Ireland 😉

This blog will be an outline of a couple of two week vacations in Ireland and the following blogs will add some more details to each of the places on the itinerary by describing specific places to see, as well as places to eat, drink, and stay. We've had several visitors this summer and have really enjoyed ourselves, but I’ve fallen behind on my blogs, and have not kept up with the avalanche of new places that we've experienced. The follow-on blogs will give me a forum to write about some of our newest travel experiences and revisit some of our first experiences.

The itineraries below are not for everyone … there is no one-size-fits-all itinerary. The itinerary reflects my interests: history, music, food, cycling and hiking, and Irish culture … not necessarily in the same order all the time. Your interests may be different, but you can pick and choose from my itinerary, or others that you might find on the web. Or you can email me, and I can help you develop a personalized itinerary.

Here is Irish Vacation Itinerary I (The Southern Loop):

Day 1 - Arrive in Dublin (or Shannon) after leaving America the day before. Continue traveling to Galway and start your holiday. You can travel from Dublin to Galway via bus or train and you can travel from Shannon via bus. Try to keep moving(and hydrating) until "a proper bed time for a young child”.

CPO - Scene of the Easter Rising

River Liffey in Dublin

Christ Church in Dublin

Day 1 & 2 - Take an historic tour of Galway, see “Trad on the Prom”, Galway Bay, and the Spanish Arch district.

Galway Medieval Wall

Galway Cathedral

Galway Bay

Day 3 & 4 - Visit one of the Aran Islands, ideally Inishmore, and hike to Dún Aonghasa and/or the “Black Fort”. Experience the Inishmore pubs and music.

Inishmore Harbor

Scene on Inishmore

Day 5 - Visit the Connemara area of County Galway and be sure to cruise Killary Harbor and see Kylemore Abbey.

Day 6 & 7 - Visit and stay in County Clare, stay the night in Doolin and/or Bunratty, experience the scenery of County Clare, and walk to the Cliffs of Moher.

Prehistoric Tomb in County Clare

Music in Doolin

Music All Over Ireland

Day 8 - Drive to/through County Kerry and Cork. View the Ring of Kerry, View or bike ride or hike, the Ring of Berra.

Day 9 & 10 - Travel to Waterford and See the Viking Triangle and the Waterford Crystal Factory. A possible stop at Cashel for some blue cheese and/or visit the Rock of Cashel while going to or from Waterford.

Waterford Factory Tour

Reginald's Tour in Waterford

Day 11, 12, & 13 - Visit Dublin. One day of Medieval history, one day of Modern Irish History, and one day to experience miscellaneous cultural and entertainment venues, possibly New Grange.

Day 14 - Fly Home

This is an action packed two weeks. I can’t imagine doing this itinerary in less than two weeks. I can easily imagine doing this itinerary in three weeks without getting bored. I know the Americans reading this blog can't imagine a three week vacation .... but it can be done ... a little bit of a pain in the $%^ for people like me who make their living managing projects ... but it can be done.

After putting the previous itinerary together, I felt compelled to do a variation that includes the more northern Counties of the Republic and Northern Ireland (part of the UK). Itinerary II is the same through Day 7. Day 8 and beyond diverges.

And here is Irish Vacation Itinerary II (The Northern Loop):

Day 8 & 9 - Visit Westport, Sligo, and Donegal for the Music. Take advantage of the "hike and bike" trails.

Downtown Sligo

Coast of Northern Ireland

Day 10 & 11 - Visit the Coast or Northern Ireland and Belfast and experience the Giants Causeway, The Bushmill distillery and the Titanic Museum.

Knowth - Just North of Dublin

Day 12 & 13 - Dublin

Day 14 - Fly Home

It looks like I have my work cut out for me for the next nine or ten blogs.

Any previous visitors to Ireland have an opinion? Did I leave something out that should definitely be in a 14-day tour of Ireland? Did I put something into the itinerary that shouldn’t be there? Should I have allotted more time?

See you in the Pub!

Jet Lag Jack

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