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Visiting Ireland with Dogs

(25 Posts)
MagratGarlik Sat 28-Sep-13 23:02:59

Looking already at holidays for next summer (yes, I know....), we've been contemplating Ireland. I've been a few times on my own, but never with the dogs.

So, how dog (un)-friendly is it there? Where would you recommend for dog friendly beaches in summer? How is Ireland for eating out with dogs and other activities?

Thanks v. much

TakingTheStairs Sat 28-Sep-13 23:09:04

The UK is far more dog friendly tbh

Most beaches are fine and don't have no dog rules but eating out with your dogs is a lot harder. It's only mainly places with outdoor seating that allow dogs. Having said that I can recommend a couple of dog friendly hotels if you would like?

MagratGarlik Sat 28-Sep-13 23:16:43

Thanks. That is the impression I was getting.

We're looking for cottages, so looking more at areas/good dog friendly beaches ATM.

I noticed lots of beaches say dogs on leads only. Is this the norm? I can't find any that allow dogs to run on the beach.

TakingTheStairs Sat 28-Sep-13 23:17:29

Renvyle House Hotel in connemara is fantastic. Very friendly hotel. I've been back over and over again. Food is amazing. Dogs can go anywhere in hotel except main restaurant but food is served elsewhere too. Aghadoe Heights in Kerry is meant to be great too. I haven't been personally but friends speak very highly of it.

TakingTheStairs Sat 28-Sep-13 23:20:24

Sorry, missed your post

Let me have a think and see what I can recommend. I've never noticed signs saying dogs on leads at beaches, however there are so many beaches that it will be easy to find a deserted one.
What part of the country were you thinking off? South west is very popular with families so I can see that being an issue for dogs on the beach.

MagratGarlik Sat 28-Sep-13 23:26:20

I'm thinking of either west (Co. Clare) because it sounds pretty or south east because of ease of travel from England.

TakingTheStairs Sun 29-Sep-13 07:53:01

I would definitely head west if I were you. You'll have an abundance of little coves and beaches to choose from.
I meant to say south east is very popular with families in my above post, not south west. Sorry!

FurryDogMother Sun 29-Sep-13 08:07:26

I live in Co. Mayo, with 2 dogs (and a husband!). Around Clew Bay we have magnificent beaches, many of which are empty for large parts of the year. Our dogs run free on the beaches, although we do put them on leads if other people are around. In the summer we tend to go very early to the more popular beaches, to avoid people, and we always scoop our poop! There are a couple of beaches where we can't/won't/don't let the dogs run - those are the ones where sheep also have access to the beach - which is not always apparent, so best to keep dogs on leads until you're sure they won't come across livestock (I've met cows and horses as well as sheep on the beach).

Before we moved over, and used to holiday here, we'd get the ferry from Swansea to Cork overnight (get a cabin, there are (or were, when we did it) kennels on deck for the dogs), then spend a day driving up the west coast, overnighting at a campsite in Doolin, Co.Clare, before arriving in Mayo the following day. It's a lovely car journey with spectacular views, so we always considered the journey to be a part of the holiday rather than a means to it, if you see what I mean.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Sep-13 09:11:35

Thanks, that is really helpful, both of you.

I hadn't thought about overnight ferry, but it makes a lot of sense.

I'll look on the west coast then.

mintchocchick Sun 29-Sep-13 09:27:12

The Swansea cork ferry is no longer operating.

The shortest ferry is Holyhead to Dublin (2hrs) and really good road from Dublin to South West.

If you're heading to the south east the rosslare ferry is OK - 4 hrs.

FurryDogMother Sun 29-Sep-13 10:14:12

Oh,I didn't know that about Swansea/Cork - what a shame! The Rosslare route isn't bad either (have done that a couple of times), but the Swansea one was great for getting some rest before a day's drive.

moosemama Sun 29-Sep-13 11:54:28

Hi Magrat, we go every year, sometimes several times, as my family is from a village in Wexford.

If you do want to go to the South East, I can highly recommend the beach our family house is set above, photos here, reviews here, for dogs - mine love it. As it's a great long expanse of golden sand, you can see for miles, which helps with pointies - and there are no dog restrictions on it. The two lower points of the beach (Curracloe and Ballinesker) are busy with families in the summer, but you can walk miles up the beach well away from them all, eventually reaching a really quiet spot where you can watch seals - and they can watch you. The beach backs onto a forest that you can walk through as well, which is great for cooling the dogs down when it's hot and there's plenty of sand dunes for zoomies. grin Once the summer season is over the beach is pretty much empty all year round, except for other dog walkers and many's the time we've had miles and miles of beach all to ourselves.

We go either Pembroke or Fishguard to Rosslare. All the all dogs have always been fine with the crossing and stay in the car, as I feel they're happier in their own space than they would be in the ferry kennels. I'd go for the normal ferry rather than the Stena Fast Ferry though, as although it's shorter, it's much more rocky-bumpy and neither us or the dogs cope well with it.

We love it over in the West too, but haven't been able to get over there for quite a few years now. We loved Dingle and the West of Cork, but ran out of time to do Galway and northwards so that's where we'll be aiming for next.

moosemama Sun 29-Sep-13 12:09:14

Forgot to say, we don't really do much eating out with the dogs, as we have the family holiday home which is a second home to them and tend to leave them there if we go out to eat and take picnics if we're out for the day. There are some holiday homes right next to the beach that take dogs, as we were looking when our house was double booked one year.

We have found that not many pubs have nice beer gardens. There's always somewhere to smoke outside, but not usually anywhere to eat, which can be restrictive.

If you do go to the East coast, definitely go up to Wicklow, it's absolutely beautiful and there's miles and miles of trails and woodland to walk it, with some stunning views.

As for the beaches in the East being popular with families - they are, but we've taken all three dogs with us to the beach for hours at a time and never hand a problem. Families seem to cluster round the entrance/exit to the carparks, so you only need to walk a couple of hundred yards up to find the beach completely empty. We even used to take our fear aggressive large breed during the summer years ago. We'd walk him up through the forest on-lead until we reached the secluded point at the top and then let him off for a gallop, as you can see people approaching miles before they get to you.

This cottage is dog friendly. It used to be the shop when I was a child and is actually set just behind the sand-dunes at Ballinesker beach, literally, step out of the front door and you're already on the beach. smile

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Sep-13 13:04:25

Thanks all.

Moose, that house looks perfect.

I'm sold.

moosemama Sun 29-Sep-13 16:59:15

You never know Magrat, if you're there the same time as us next summer, perhaps we could take our pointies out for a walk on the beach together. grin

I spent every 6 weeks summer holiday whiling away the hours on that beach as a child - and that cottage is where I bought my ice-lollies and sweets. grin Our family house is a two minute drive away from there - or a short walk along the beach and a scramble up the cliff!

xfilefan Sun 29-Sep-13 17:10:34

I take my dog accross on the holyhead- dublin as its quick. We have stayed in some wonderful cottages, we usually go to northern ireland but also donegal has fantastic huge beaches with nice cottages to stay in. My dog loves it over there.

MagratGarlik Sun 29-Sep-13 17:24:18

You never know moose grin.

Jessie was rescued from Ireland, so it'll be almost going home for her.

TakingTheStairs Mon 30-Sep-13 14:59:34

This website might help too

MagratGarlik Mon 30-Sep-13 15:17:02

That is really helpful. Thanks so much.

ohfuschia Mon 07-Oct-13 11:01:28

Just wanted to add to this in case you ever thought of heading West - we had a wonderful honeymoon near Killala in Co Mayo staying here with 3 dogs and a two year old. Warm hosts, amazing beaches and lots of animals on site (the cottage is on the grounds of a rescue centre and all money from holiday rentals goes into the rescue).

I was worried about the long journey so we stayed overnight in a BnB in Holyhead and took the fast ferry over, the dogs coped very well.

Really can't wait to go back.

MagratGarlik Mon 07-Oct-13 11:21:19

That also looks nice, ohfushia. Unfortunately though one of our dogs could not stay anywhere near cats or small curries as we think she used to be worked.

It is lovely that all the money goes to the rescue centre though.

ohfuschia Mon 07-Oct-13 11:35:31

Oh fair enough, yes cats are dotted around there can understand why you wouldn't want to take the chance. Hope you have a great time when you go, I've bookmarked some earlier suggestions myself so thanks for the thread. For me the extra effort required to get there with all of us was definitely worth it though we were mainly self catering so couldn't advise about eating out. And yes agree they do a great job at the rescue, have so many to help but still take the time to make their guests welcome - hopefully someone else may see this who was thinking of going that way.

MagratGarlik Mon 07-Oct-13 11:39:10

I've just re-read my last post. Of course, neither dog has a problem with small curries, but small furries are entirely different blush

ohfuschia Mon 07-Oct-13 11:40:35

I saw that on a second read as well and the image it conjured made me smile smile

CountryCob Mon 07-Oct-13 13:50:35

Hello went to Clare last month with two dogs on the ferry, one beach was no dogs so we did not go there but others were dogs on lead, however often we were the only people for a stretch and took them off the lead, that was fine as no one was disturbed and we were confident of getting them back if we needed to, we were not alone, same on trecks in the mountains etc, our dogs are gun dogs so used to staying close and livestock etc if you can be confident that they are under control you will not have a problem, have a great time!

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