It all depends on whether or not you have a car… If you don’t I’d recommend you hire one. There are many hire companies out at Shannon airport.
As to where to go , well the West of Ireland is at your feet. It would depend on the weather and whether or not you like to drive much. I would certainly recommend a trip to Lahinch, wet or dry. If it is wet, there is shopping and pubs. It is a great spot with a few great B&Bs as well as a hostel if I remember correctly. The pubs have ‘seisiun’ as well as some great ‘craic’. Just up the road are the Cliff of Moher, where on a good day you can see right the way over to the Aran Islands across Galway Bay (this is one of my favourite spots in Ireland). The drive up through the Burren is quite an unusual landscape with the limestone scenery and there are many ‘touristy’ little things to do such as a visit to the pub at Doolin, Burren Smokehouse www.burrensmokehouse.ie , Lisdoonvarna, dolmens (old tombs) on the side of the road as well as the Aillwee caves www.aillweecave.ie/ Definitely get a map before you set off that will show you where everything is.
The road around will bring you close to Galway (bout 25min from when you hit the main road) which is also a great spot to spend a weekend. There are some great pubs and cafés on Shop street and just off Shop street to listen to some live music on the weekend. Salthill also has a great pub O’Connors with old sitting room chairs around a cozy fire (I will warn that it is a little touristy). And with a couple of chippers is just up the road for Curry chips afterwards to finish off the night. However, Salthill is quiet after closing. There are some great B&Bs in Salthill as well. It is also the home of the ‘prom’ where it is traditional to walk along and don’t forget to kick the wall at the end by the diving tower.
Connemara is a nice drive but I wouldn’t do it in the wet. That said when I last did it, it was pouring rain in Galway city and beautiful out in Connemara. Kylemore Abbey is really pretty and worth the stop. There are also a number of castles around Connemara to stop off and have a look at. about 9 years ago
The other option is to go south. Kerry is considered by many to be the prettiest area of the country. Dingle would be another spot similar to Lahinch with many pubs and great ‘craic’. You also have the opportunity to see Fungie the friendly dolphin www.dodingle.com . Connors pass is a great drive but will warn you it is a narrow road but the views are fabulous.
The Ring of Kerry another great one as is the ring of Beara. Killarney is a good spot to base yourself from with the beautiful Muckross House.
If you are planning to travel next weekend which is a long weekend, the Jazz festival is on in Cork. It is likely to be difficult to get accommodation but you may be lucky. There are some great venues on the outskirts of Cork as well as the city centre. If it’s this weekend you are travelling, a pub in Cork would be a great place to be on Sunday afternoon with the All Ireland Final on as Cork takes on Down.
If you don’t have a car, there is a bus that will bring you to Galway, Lahinch and Cork from Shannon. If you get the bus to Limerick you can change over and get the bus to Dingle through Tralee. about 9 years ago