It worked out well for us to fly into Shannon airport and out of Dublin. We spent about 1 week in Ennis – a 20-min ride from Shannon airport and a good location – right in the downtown walkable to many restaurants. Great location for adventuring around the west coast. We stayed at Temple Gate Hotel and organized day trips from there. We visited in July and since the weather was exceptionally warm we enjoyed touring many of the coastal villages (we would have done different things if the weather wasn’t so nice). We then took the Dublin Coach luxury bus line to Dublin and stayed there for a few days- it was an easy 3 hr ride and picked up directly in front of our hotel!
Day trips from Ennis:
Spanish Point: scenic coastal village on the west coast
Lahinch: small town on Liscannor Bay, on the northwest coast
Cliffs of Moher: unreal hiking experience along the sea cliffs (we were dropped off a few miles south of the main entrance and hiked north to avoid the crowds!)
Ballyvaughan: small harbor village on Galway Bay. Eat at Monks – amazing seafood and live music!
Ross Errilly Friary: medieval Franciscan friary nearby Galway city
Cong: small village on the borders of County Galway and County Mayo. We stopped here on our way to Galway
Galway: a beautiful coastal city – my favorite stop in Ireland! Lots of cafes, shops, live music – great vibes!
Dromoland Castle: amazing castle, which is now a 5-star hotel. Beautiful estate to wander around
Kilee Beach: coastal town with scenic beach vistas. Must eat at The Pantry – delicious fresh food
Bunratty Castle: castle and folk park
Ennis Restaurants we loved:
Brogan’s and Poet’s Corner Bar: Irish pubs with amazing food
Mocha Coffee Co: the cutest coffee shop around the corner from Temple Gate hotel
Milano: Pizza, Italian style food – I know it’s strange eating Italian in Ireland, but it was really good!
Guinness Storehouse: brewery and rooftop bar. Book the VIP tasting experience – it was unreal!
Viking Splash: unique sightseeing tour in downtown Dublin
Johnnie Fox’s Pub: traditional pub in the mountains with live Irish music and hooley dancing. 20 ish minute taxi from downtown Dublin