Trip to Ireland Advice

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Bigfish
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Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 5:41 pm

Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Bigfish »

DW and our 45 year old daughter are planning a trip next year to Ireland and I am looking for suggestions. They have 10-14 days for the trip and would like to travel with a small group. Geographically they would like to include Dublin and the southwest (Ring of Kerry) other place as time permits. Time of year not sure what is best. Budget not including flights about $10,000 -$15,000. Expensive hotels, meals etc. are not important mostly looking to see the country. Any suggestions would be helpful.
mrsbetsy
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by mrsbetsy »

You will have a great time!

The castles in Ireland are not as grand as other countries, but we drove from Dublin to Galloway and spent the night at this one:

https://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/?ut ... um=organic

The trip over there was just as wonderful because of the views of the hillside and roaming sheep. If you aren't accustomed to driving on the other side of the road, make sure someone helps navigate and talk through the roundabouts. It was a bit tricky, but really really fun!

We took a cooking class and had a wonderful lunch in the barn of this famous Irish chef:

https://catherinefulvio.com

It was a memorable day. The quality of produce and proteins in Ireland are FAR superior to most you can get in the US.


We spent one night at Donnybrook Hall B&B as we were between activities and found it clean and friendly...but the owner was the most beautiful and kind gentleman. SO very Irish and helpful. I would spend more time there if we ever get back.

Make sure you spend some time just hanging out in the pubs. Even if you aren't a drinker, the pub life is just so all-its-own. People bring their instruments, pull up a corner of the room, and start playing and the singing commences. I wish I knew/could understand most of the lyrics and wished I had brushed up on my classic Irish tunes! Irish know how to party without being pretentious.


Otherwise, there's always the usual touristy things like Guinness and Jameson. Have fun and make memories!
alexander29
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by alexander29 »

Try the Rick Steves travel guide. We found it very helpful.
jigo1689
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by jigo1689 »

Have no clue how fit you are, but I (31F) hiked the Kerry Camino a few years ago with friends. It was a very long hike (we spread it out over three days), and one day it rained, which made it seem longer, but it was absolutely gorgeous to see everything up close and slowly compared to a car/bus/train.
https://www.irishcentral.com/travel/ker ... iful-walks

Definitely would recommend a good rain jacket and warm clothing layers even in summer. We went end of August, and there were some high 50s days, which seem colder when there's no sunshine.

Have fun!
adamthesmythe
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by adamthesmythe »

You can do it for a great deal less if you travel independently. The Ring of Kerry is easy do do by car (driving in Ireland is really not that demanding outside of the cities).

Expect cool weather and frequent (although probably not very heavy) rain.
tev9876
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by tev9876 »

Avoid Memorial Day to Labor Day - that will be the most expensive and crowded time. April/early May or September/early October have been good for me. COVID and the pent up demand for travel is likely to change what I am used to seeing as far as prices and crowds go so it is hard to predict.

I rarely plan much - just a flight, rental car and maybe first night hotel. It was not hard to find hotels for €75 a night or less in the small towns and villages, which are my favorites compared to the big cities. 14 days is plenty to cover a good part of the island - I've covered most of it in 9 days before but that is a lot of driving.

Rent a car and do it on your own thing vs an organized tour. Driving on the left is not that difficult - I do recommend an automatic though so you don't have to worry about shifting left handed, if used to driving a stick at all. Chase credit cards provide the best CDW and can save you €50+ per day in insurance costs. Amex, Citi Costco and a few others do not exclude Ireland, but last I looked (18 months ago) Chase was still the best in terms of what is covered. You will need a letter from them but that is a two minute phone call. Read everything related to T&C with the rental car company and show up knowing their terms better than they do to avoid the hard sell.

Waterproof, sturdy shoes (I wear New Balance hiking boots) a zip up fleece and non-insulated but waterproof shell with hood are good options - ie layers. It can be 75 and sunny one minute and 50 and raining the next. Leave the umbrella at home as the wind will destroy it. Everyone's cold tolerance is different - I'm fine with a mid weight fleece but friends have been freezing with full winter jackets. Windproof required along the coast, where you will be spending the most time. Quick drying fabrics are good if you get caught in the rain. Laundry is also an issue as there aren't many "launderettes" around - they do have some self serve machines at petrol stations and Tesco grocery stores, but I have not heard good things about the time it takes to use them. Nobody wants to spend vacation time doing laundry.

Hang out in the pubs, enjoy the music and chat with the locals - friendliest people in the world. Do expect US politics to come up. I warned friends I went with a couple years ago about this and we were not in the taxi three minutes from Dublin airport when the driver asked what we thought about Trump. Not confrontational - just curiosity mainly.

I would recommend a couple days in Dublin (without a car) to get acclimate. Traffic is bad, parking is limited and expensive so a car is a liability in the city. There are several Hertz and other locations in the city that will avoid having to go back to the airport. It is less intimidating to get used to the other side of the road in slow city traffic vs being thrown directly into a massive roundabout onto the motorway at the airport.

The hardest thing about left hand driving (for me) is maintaining lane position - you want to drift left because traffic coming from your right is unusual. Use the side mirrors to watch your lane position vs. the lines on the road. Within a day or so things will feel more natural. Parking lots are the one place you may forget since there aren't clear lanes. Let the passenger handle all navigation, radio tuning, etc.

There are some very narrow single lane roads and those are some of the best to explore. Do not believe speed limit signs - they are set by the road designation and not the actual condition. You will see a 80 KPH sign 50 feet from a hairpin turn on the side of a mountain - do not attempt 80 KPH. Watch for oncoming traffic on one lane roads - there will be some wide spots where cars can pass but you need to negotiate who backs up.

Get a paper map of Ireland, start researching, and start marking the places to visit. You can then work out a loop back to Dublin. Flying in/out of Shannon on the west coast is usually an option, but it has been closed with the pandemic and I don't expect any flights there from the US until air traffic gets somewhere close to normal - there were never many flights to begin with and it was usually much more expensive.
GT99
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by GT99 »

Ireland is one of my favorite places - beautiful country, friendly people.
We spent a couple days at Ashford Castle - https://ashfordcastle.com/) - a few years back. It's on the west coast a bit north of Galway. I would definitely recommend it. Beautiful place, lots to do (we went "falconing" which was incredibly cool).
ddurrett896
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by ddurrett896 »

Loved Ireland and highly recommend.

Similar to you, we traveled in a group of Irish friends that visit every few years. Ny only regret was that we stayed in a rental house near Bantry (southwest corner). Staying in one location put us in a car for a good part of the day.

1.5 hours to Cork, then had to drive home.
3 hours to Waterford, then had to drive home.
3.5 hours to the Cliffs of Moher, than had to drive home.

What made matters worse is that while we were driving, we passed tons of bed and breakfasts (pre Airbnb days). Pick a couple places to stay in that 10-14 days and space them apart to limit the windshield time.
theplayer11
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by theplayer11 »

I like Cork better than Dublin and Dingle over Ring of Kerry.
As for driving, my wife and I agreed after driving around Ireland that we would never drive in a foreign country again. Train and bus for last 6 trips and so much more relaxed.
Retiredron
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Retiredron »

My son and I visited Ireland and Northern Island in July 2019 on our way to the Open at Port Rush. It was a fantastic trip. We rented a car for part of the trip but mainly used a private driver who was great and it was so relaxing to not have to drive all the time. He shared so much history with us and made each drive really interesting and brought us places we would never find on our own. We only spent two days in Dublin which was fine. We didn't go south or east.

Dublin - Aloft hotel was great (very new and great breakfast). Must visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells. Avoid the Temple Bar area - too many tourists. Try Darkey Kelly's Pub - full of locals, great food and music. A real Irish pub. St. Patrick's is worth a stop.

We headed northwest so if you have time and like to hike and see nature visit the Sligo area. Benbulbin and Knockerra Mountains are great and many waterfalls and parks. The small town of Standhill along the coast was great and we played golf there and then went to the seaweed baths! It was amazingly relaxing and fun after a round of golf. We then headed to theDonegal area. Slieve League were the most amazing cliffs I have ever seen and not crowded with the typical tourist buses. If you like golf Cruit Island golf club juts out into the sea with amazing sights (and tougher shots).

We then headed up to the extreme north of Ireland and visited Malin Head. Again, right along the Atlantic with great hiking and views. If you make it to NI a must is a visit to Giants Causeway and the Carrick a Rede rope bridge - both will not disappoint. The town of Port Rush where the Open was played is great. Many scenes from Games of Thrones were filmed in the area. Our driver took us to Derby where we toured all the the key sites of the Troubles including Bloody Sunday. That was quite sobering and we learned so much abut that history I never fully understood.

Have fun.
123
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by 123 »

Take a look at some packaged tours to see what type of sights and routing they use. Decide what elements appeal to you and then do them on your own. When planning your own schedule check to be sure that attractions (and their hours) are open on the days you plan to be there. Sometimes there is a natural "flow" to covering a certain area and the tour companies have often figured it out. Traveling on your own will be less hectic than a packaged tour since you can do things at a more leisurely pace.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
MJS
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by MJS »

A short tour offers a good start, to be followed by renting a car / taking the train on one's own. I liked this tour because it goes to islands. Also, driving in NW Ireland is a pain because the roads are twisty little hedged passages, with unexpected cows and pedestrians.
https://www.atlasobscura.com/unusual-tr ... literature

Do not rent a manual shift car while trying to learn to drive on the other side of the road.
yohac
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by yohac »

Besides what's already been mentioned, we enjoyed Dromoland Castle, the Burren and Glendalough. Great museums in Dublin. If you're squeamish about driving on the left, I'd avoid it. Roads in the country are narrow by our standards.
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willthrill81
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by willthrill81 »

We spent nearly a month in Ireland back in 2011 and loved it. To quote John Denver, it really felt like going home to a place we'd never been to before.

All of the country is lovely, but the west coast and the southwest coast in particular have some of the most outstandingly beautiful places I've ever been to. I literally wept when we crossed one of the mountain passes and saw winding coastline meet rolling green hills dotted with lakes under a sky of cloud and sapphire blue sky as far as the eye can see.

In Dublin, I cannot recommend highly enough Gallagher's Boxty House. We tried unsuccessfully to change the back end of our trip just so we could eat there again.

If you'll in the country for 10-14 days, I'd probably recommend two days in Dublin followed by a jaunt to Sligo and then moving down the coast to the Dingle peninsula before going through Cork (which has a great market) and Waterford (the crystal factory there is amazing) before heading back to Dublin to fly home.
“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Shallowpockets
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Shallowpockets »

Budget, not including flights at $10-15k.
Holy Cow! How long for?
That is the high end for sure. Very high end.
There is nothing you can’t do if you are spending that much. Why drive on the left, or at all.You could get a car and driver. Go anywhere you want, stay anywhere you want.
Shallowpockets
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Shallowpockets »

Darn, repeat post again.
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willthrill81
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by willthrill81 »

Shallowpockets wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:36 pm Budget, not including flights at $10-15k.
Holy Cow! How long for?
That is the high end for sure. Very high end.
There is nothing you can’t do if you are spending that much. Why drive on the left, or at all.You could get a car and driver. Go anywhere you want, stay anywhere you want.
We spent about $7k when we were there for under a month back in 2011. That works out to about $280/day. We mostly stayed in B&Bs, which I highly recommend for both excellent food and a great way to meet other travelers and lovely Irish people. The B&Bs went for about 100-110 euros a night, and the breakfasts were so generous that we didn't eat much for lunch on most days.

I drove over 2k miles in just under a month and quickly accustomed to driving on the left, even while we had a stick shift that I had to operate with my left hand. We had a bit of a driving adventure leaving a concert in Galway one night. Driving in the dark and through the rain on the left side of the road while shifting with my left hand on country roads where two cars can barely pass and while trying to simultaneously eat pizza from the only place that was still open when we left town was...interesting. :D
“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
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Watty
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Watty »

Bigfish wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:52 pm They have 10-14 days for the trip and would like to travel with a small group.
I have not gone on one of their tours, and they are not cheap, but I have heard a lot of good things about the Rick Steves tours. We enjoy traveling independently but we might use them when we are older.

https://www.ricksteves.com/tours/ireland

I agree with the prior comment about using the Rick Steves book, we used it for our Ireland trip it helped a lot. I would be real cautious about going to early in the spring or late in the fall just to save some money. Long before we meet my wife had been in Ireland where it rained every day for her entire vacation.

Ireland may be one of the countries that credit card car rental insurance excludes. A lot of credit cards dropped their rental car insurance last year too. Check to make sure that you have a credit card that will cover rentals in Ireland if they will be renting a car there. I made sure I had a copy of the credit card rental car coverage info which was good since the person at the rental car counter was baulking at me using that.

In Europe some rental car companies have a maximum age of 70 or 75 which you should be aware if your wife will be driving.

Some of the country roads are really narrow with a rock wall on the edge so that requires a bit of caution and driving on the left is not for everyone. I did fine but one thing that helped was that we were there in June and Ireland is so far north that it did not get dark until after 10:00 PM which meant that I never had to drive in the dark.

They should check the sunset and sunrise times for when they will be there. Even when the sun sets at 10:00PM it may not be really dark at midnight.

With jet lag and generally being tired from travel it is best to either not rent a car the first day, or to just drive a short distance.

When I was there we were traveling with my teenage son so we needed hotel accommodations for three people. That limited our options for places like B&Bs and many hotels so we mainly stayed in hostels. At most hostels now you can get a private room with a bath so they may be more hotel like that you might be thinking, but you have to read the reviews carefully since they vary so much.

We were there before the local schools let out an we were often some of the youngest people in the hostels since there are a lot of retired people who use them.

Anyway for a mother and daughter traveling together one advantage of a hostel would be that they would each have a twin bed and they might might sleep better than if they are sharing a double bed in hotel or B&B. In the rural areas of Ireland some of the hostels were very nice. In urban areas they may want to stick with hotels or B&Bs.

There is one hostel that I would recommend them staying at even if they do not plan on staying in other hostels. That is the Glendalough hostel. The building itself is not all that special and the rooms may remind them somewhat of a 1970's dorm but the big thing about it is that it is right in the middle of a national park which is full of the ruins of a medieval monastery. There are also lots of great hiking trails around lakes that including some that are not challenging. Our stay there was fantastic since we could be in the ruins in the early morning and evening when we practically had them to ourselves when the numerous tour busses were not there.

https://avrextravel.com/glendalough-mon ... and-walks/

It looks like the hostel is closed right now because of the season or pandemic but I would assume that it would be reopened by then. With any hostel you want to check recent reviews to make sure that it is still good.

https://www.hihostels.com/hostels/glend ... tional-yha

There is another hostel that I would highly recommend is near the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland. It was a fantastic facility and location and we had a private room with a bath. It was better than many hotels that we have stayed at.

https://www.hini.org.uk/hostels/white-p ... th-hostel/
MattB
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by MattB »

Bigfish wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:52 pm DW and our 45 year old daughter are planning a trip next year to Ireland and I am looking for suggestions. They have 10-14 days for the trip and would like to travel with a small group. Geographically they would like to include Dublin and the southwest (Ring of Kerry) other place as time permits. Time of year not sure what is best. Budget not including flights about $10,000 -$15,000. Expensive hotels, meals etc. are not important mostly looking to see the country. Any suggestions would be helpful.
I spent 10 days in Dingle and the Ring of Kerry area last year. Amazing. Though we were tremendously lucky with sunshine 9 of 10 days. Your DW and DD will have a great trip.

My most relevant piece of advice is to consider flying into and/or out of Shannon Airport. It's a small airport. Customs is automatic for Americans. It took us less than 20 minutes to get off the plane, gather luggage, pick up our rental, and get out of the airport. And there is no traffic in the surrounding area. Similarly quick experience leaving from there.

Flying/driving into/out of Dublin can be a nightmare. Three hour drive just to get out of the traffic in the city.
epictetus
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by epictetus »

Globus has some nice tours of Ireland (and most anywhere else in the world).

We took a Globus tour in Ireland and enjoyed it.

You might take a look to see where they go, what they do, etc. And take a look at Rick Steves' website/info.

Here is a link to Globus. just fyi

https://www.globusjourneys.com/
Focus on what you can control
Sand101
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Sand101 »

Been a couple times - loved it. My wife said she could go every year she likes it so much. Since Shannon seems to be closed, Dublin is the start point - a counterclockwise circuit works really well. Items I believe are can't miss or truly worth seeing:

Newgrange - must see. 12,000 year old structure.
Galway - Great coastal town.
Trad on the Prom - best music show in Ireland. Totally worth going to see (in Galway).
Connemarra Park and Kylemore - Do the 5 mile walk up the mountain in Connemarra for the most beautiful views you'll ever see. Kylemore is right there and worth a visit (and for lunch after the hike!) - good day trip from Galway for these two.
Cliffs of Moher and Paulnabrone - The dolmen is pretty awesome and the Cliffs are a must see. Close to Galway.
The Burren - we did a 7 mile walk, but you can go a bit shorter if you want. Totally unique landscape and my kid's favorite place.
Aran Islands - Dun Aonghasa is fascinating. A whole day trip, so maybe not must do, but a beautiful place to go and explore.
Killarney and Park - one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Gap of Dunloe - the most beautiful place on earth. Ranks #1 for me - beyond compare.
Blarney Castle - loved the castle, don't need to kiss the stone. The poison plant garden is totally unique.
Waterford - IMO, best town in Ireland. I love port towns. The Viking museum, Waterford Crystal, etc. A great day here.
Glendalough - the round tower is pretty cool.

If you get a chance to do something cultural - a hurling or Rugby match; that was incredible fun.
Last edited by Sand101 on Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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vanbogle59
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by vanbogle59 »

Sand101 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:33 am Cliffs of Moher and Paulnabrone - The dolmen is pretty awesome and the Cliffs are a must see. Close to Galway.
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Audioarc
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Audioarc »

Driving in Ireland can be daunting. That said I would recommended picking 2 or 3 places and staying in each for 3 or 4 days. Galway is walkable once you have parked at your B&B or hotel. Kerry is walkable once parked as well. If you are departing from Dublin is walkable and not so driveable. Driving straight from Dingle to Dublin I’ll take a day.
jebmke
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by jebmke »

Audioarc wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:19 pm Driving in Ireland can be daunting. That said I would recommended picking 2 or 3 places and staying in each for 3 or 4 days. Galway is walkable once you have parked at your B&B or hotel. Kerry is walkable once parked as well. If you are departing from Dublin is walkable and not so driveable. Driving straight from Dingle to Dublin I’ll take a day.
We often drove up and down the west coast, ending in Galway and then drop car in Galway and take train to Dublin. Don’t really need a car in Dublin.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Sand101
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Sand101 »

Oh, one thing to note about going to Ireland. Leave lots and lots of time in the Dublin airport on the way home. You clear customs in Dublin coming back to the US.
260chrisb
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by 260chrisb »

Bigfish wrote: Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:52 pm DW and our 45 year old daughter are planning a trip next year to Ireland and I am looking for suggestions. They have 10-14 days for the trip and would like to travel with a small group. Geographically they would like to include Dublin and the southwest (Ring of Kerry) other place as time permits. Time of year not sure what is best. Budget not including flights about $10,000 -$15,000. Expensive hotels, meals etc. are not important mostly looking to see the country. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Define "small group". I traveled with a small group of 6 several years ago and flew into Dublin and drove west across the country in an 8 passenger van and toured basically the bottom half of the country the first week of September. You will find it most difficult to drive with a group larger as it will require two vehicles. If you're taking a bus tour, then that's a different story. I would never do that but to each his own. That time of the year has great weather, the scenery is stunning, the locals accommodating, and the lodging good. You will be glad you went. Prepare for rain, but rest assured it doesn't rain all the time as many will suggest. On a separate note; remember if you're driving, they drive on the wrong side of the road. The good news is you do it from the wrong side of the car. Watch some YouTube videos, don't over think it, and have your passenger in the front seat help navigate, and pay attention. It comes to you pretty easily but requires your attention. Something that gets lost on American drivers.
supalong52
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by supalong52 »

We went for 2 weeks a few years ago to attend a wedding. I mostly enjoyed the trip for the golf. To be honest, the rest wasn't that memorable.
260chrisb
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by 260chrisb »

Sand101 wrote: Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:25 pm Oh, one thing to note about going to Ireland. Leave lots and lots of time in the Dublin airport on the way home. You clear customs in Dublin coming back to the US.
We were told the same thing and prepared for it. Doing that gave us a couple hours to sit around and wonder why the hell we got to the airport so early as it only took about 20 minutes......one never knows! :happy
ReallyLikeToSave
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Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by ReallyLikeToSave »

You've some great advice here. Let me add and emphasize a few things - this is an amalgamation of various emails/docs I've shared with friends, so apologies if some of this is repetitive at times.

When
Sept is the best month IMHO. The peak tourist season has passed and the weather is often OK (you wont be upset that is not summer and you wont be surprised if you get cold or sun burned).

Food
As per others, there are incredible restaurants in Ireland. Many of the top tier, that would normally be prohibitively expensive, offer 'early bird' and midweek specials so its worth looking around. Also - Pub food is excellent and often the best eatery in many towns/villages, especially for lunch. If you are used to US dining, the one gap in the Irish fare is cheaper family restaurants: What I mean is, Ireland has the same fast food stuff as US (McDonalds, Chip shops (UK/Ireland thing), takeout food) but the type of cheap places one step above that (Red Robin, Denny's etc. and other Family Style eating that is quite cheap in the US doesn't exist) - Please dont flame my poor examples here, just pointing out that you will spend more money in ireland and usually get better good, but the cheaper options are limited IMHO.

Get a map and plot out your must have spots. A suggested itinerary I've shared with friends is below. NOTE - this leaves out many amazing places further north, but was based on having 7-10 days.

Arrive in Dublin - dont get a car at the airport. Take transport (Taxi or Bus) to your accommodation, then pickup a rental car at your hotel (delivered) or in the city center locations the vendors have. Previous poster shared good advice, most CC's car insurance coverage does not work in Ireland. Chase is an exception and I can confirm it works, you need to call them first and get printed coverage letter you show to the rental companies. Car rental is expensive in Ireland, especially if you purchase their insurance.

My proposal below is to go west from Dublin to: Galway, Clifden, then back and head towards the cliffs of Moher and the Burren. You can stay in B&B’s (bed and breakfasts) and then perhaps some fancy places in between (I’ve recommended a few below – I’ve marked them as expensive as a warning)

0) I’m not sure what types of things you are interested in, but NewGrange is an ancient tomb and the visitor center is very nice. Well worth a trip, you could divert this way on the way to Galway.
http://www.newgrange.com/newgrange_ie.htm

1) Galway is the gateway city to the west of Ireland. The city is small and well worth a visit – it is about two hours drive from Dublin. You can stay here for a night and then head our west to the more scenic area of Connemara.

2) Head out west to Clifden, distances can be deceiving, the roads are poor once your get west of Galway. So it will easily take another two hours to drive out to Clifden – but the scenery is nice. People drive fast on small roads, but you’ll get used to it.

En route from Galway to Clifden you can have lunch in:
O'Grady's on the pier in Barna outside Galway on way to Connemara great seafood restaurant
Clifden is a really nice town, and you can drive from Galway, via oughterard and roundstone are very nice also if you don’t want to drive all the way to Clifden.
The area is scenic and wonderful.

3) On your way back from Galway towards Kerry (Tralee, Kilarney or Kenmare) you can visit the cliffs of moher and the burren, these would take at least a full day. http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/


If you want to stay somewhere special along the route there is adare manor, dromoland castle, Ashford Castle, Ballyfin and The Park- Kenmare. These are all VERY expensive 5*+ locations – but you get what you pay for. A mid week special may make it worthwhile and you can splurge.

4) Kerry: Visit Kilarney/Kenmare and drive the ring of Kerry (Takes a full day) great scenery. Also Dingle is a wonderful place, but it’s a long drive out there.

5) Leaving Kerry and heading east towards Co. Cork. You can stay in any of the viallges between Kerry and Cork. Kinsale (5) is a popular spot, a very pretty village that has a reputation for great food you can find a nice B&B here and easily enjoy 1 day and 1 night. Other options include: Castlemartyr hotel in East Cork is great, but possibly pricey but near to the villages of Ballymaloe, Ardmore, etc.

6) In the cork area you should visit the rock of cashel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Cashel

7) If you don’t want to head over to Waterford then leave cork, via Cashel and head up towards Kilkenny. As you head towards Kilkenny, there is a nice place in a small town called Borris http://www.ireland.com/food/restaurants ... the/195270 You could day trip in to Kilkenny and the area from here.

Other things
x) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skellig_Michael this is another stunning place – it’s a 45 min boat journey with 2 hours to spend on the island climbing the steps. Skellig Michael is a world heritage location and the scenes for recent Star Wars movies. As a result it has become very difficult to get a slot to visit.

y) Any Irish person who sees my list would be disgusted that I did not include Donegal/Sligo area. There is lots of see and do here, but I omitted it because of Time. However, if you really wanted to extend your trip you could consider a full loop. Hitting Belfast, then the Giants Causeway http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant%27s_Causeway, then on in to Donegal, through Sligo and into Mayo (Westport) and then to Clifden. But this is a LOT of driving and would make this at least a 2 week or more trip if added to the above trip.

Then head back up towards Dublin, You can drive through Wicklow and visit Glendalough on the way.

In Dublin City I recommend (you can do these at the start or end of your trip, I recommend the start, as you will have jet lag and walking around a city for 2 days is a great cure for that)

The Guinness factory.
Trinity College – book of keels
Dublin Castle
Christchurch Cathedral.
The north central area of the city – O’Connell Street and the boardwalk running along the liffey, can be rough and you will see antisocial behaviour there so be careful especially at night. Otherwise Dublin is friendly and relatively safe.

You can take the DART and day trip to Howth village or even drive out to Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains if you want more scenery (but you may have had enough by then). 2-3 days in Dublin is plenty.

Have a great trip. Ireland is friendly, but be prepared for the weather. Visit pubs in the evening for a drink and some atmosphere. People eat slightly later than in the US. Driving on Motorways is extremely safe and fast, country roads will scare you initially, but just realize you can drive on the shoulder (put your turn signal on, and pull to the shoulder while continuing to drive at the same speed) and let people pass you and then pull back out.
Last edited by ReallyLikeToSave on Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
Bigfish
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed May 07, 2014 5:41 pm

Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Bigfish »

Thank you for all the helpful posts. After reading the replies DW and DD have decided to do a DIY trip. They plan to fly into Dublin and spend a day or two to see the sites and get acclimated (looks like a "red eye" out of Boston). Then take the train to Galway, rent a car (automatic) and go form there. Would like to stay in B&B's and hostels and eat at local pubs (my wife has a fondness to Guinness). Probably with the time they have it will mostly south and southwest touring.
Capsu78
Posts: 475
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 am

Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by Capsu78 »

I've travelled twice independent and once on a group guided tour. I found our group tour was much better than my individual planning as it covered way more ground without thinking about the logistics beyond "Suitcases outside your door by 7AM"

I see you want to go solo, and I have done so way more times than with a tour...but you may want to brouse a couple trip plans from this company, just to see various itineries. Don't apply normal US drive times to Ireland... reversing your driving motor skills from left to right drains a drivers concentration, sometimes to the point of migraines.

As a possibility, look at combining a shorter tour with some DIY. Here is a good tour company to look at. Rick Steves is always a good source for local info, but he can sometimes take you deeper into the weeds than 30,000 ft trip planning requires.

https://www.cietours.com/tours/ireland

And if you want to "leave for Ireland tonight", this documentary on Irish Pubs, creatively titled The Irish Pub. Well worth the hour/15 to understand the role of the pub in irish lifestyle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNg4fin5GQw
Last edited by Capsu78 on Mon Oct 18, 2021 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
andypanda
Posts: 782
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Trip to Ireland Advice

Post by andypanda »

Careful with the poitin. (pronounced puh-cheen) It's Irish moonshine.

My girlfriend and I did a tour of the UK for a few weeks in the '70s and ended up in Dublin to visit two brothers at Trinity College. They were engineering students who came to Richmond VA every summer to work in a restaurant washing dishes/or cooking a little and then spend the last 3 weeks on a bus pass to ride and ride and ride around the U.S. "It's so big!!" Even with expenses they netted much more than if they'd stayed home and worked.

Their auntie had a beautiful old house in Dublin and the last night we went by and were treated to round after round of shots of poitin - the homemade kind, not the doctored vodka that's passed off as the real thing. It was reported to be some of the best of the best in the country and looking at her antiques and art I wouldn't be surprised.

Anyway, beware the poitin. We were young- 23 & 25 - and lived through it.
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