OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    DH and I are planning a trip to Ireland (1st time!) either in February or next fall.  Just wanted to get some input from those of you who have been there.  Best places to fly into/visit/stay/see/eat/drink/etc.

    Also, I am wondering if we should do a package or plan it a la carte.  I want to do a lot of the touristy things, but I don't like the packages that tell you what day and time you go see what...we like to do things on our own agenda.

    Thanks all!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from cicirose. Show cicirose's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    In Response to OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon):
    [QUOTE]DH and I are planning a trip to Ireland (1st time!) either in February or next fall.  Just wanted to get some input from those of you who have been there.  Best places to fly into/visit/stay/see/eat/drink/etc. Also, I am wondering if we should do a package or plan it a la carte.  I want to do a lot of the touristy things, but I don't like the packages that tell you what day and time you go see what...we like to do things on our own agenda. Thanks all!
    Posted by dkb6248[/QUOTE]

    Sounds like a fun trip!! My friend took her honeymoon there. They went in October and had a great time. They flew into Shannon, rented a car, had a few things planned and for the rest of the time just explored. I think for the most part they had B&B reservations but at least one or two nights they found one when they got tired.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    You can definitely plan visits on your own. That's what I did years ago when I was there. February is "off-season", so I'd just confirm that the things that you really want to see are accessible if you end up going at that time. I loved visiting the castles and Cliffs of Moher. Galway is a fun city with vibrant nightlife. I also enjoyed Dublin, especially Trinity University (seeing the Book of Kells) and the tour of the Guinness brewery (you go from the ground up, ending up at the bar which has a 360 degree view of the city).

    We just found B&B's each evening without making prior reservations (we were there in August). You'll absolutely love the hospitality of the people. I can't count the number of fun conversations and meals we ended up having with complete stangers.

    Only one caveat--driving can be a little nerve-wracking if you're not used to driving on the left and navigating VERY narrow country roads. Also, you'll spend more time driving from place to place than you might expect beacuse there is often only one road, one lane each way, that winds through the small towns, and can be populated by sheep moving pastures. :)

    Have fun planning!

    ETA: We took the ferry over from Wales so I am sorry that I can't offer good flight advice.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    dkb,
    We just came back in June from a week in Ireland. Ours was a package deal. Flew to Shannon, got our rental car and drove to Adare Manor (www.adaremanor.com), which is about 45 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from Limerick. 
    Adare is a quaint small town with straw thatched houses and so convenient to everything in the SW part of Ireland. Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Blarney, Cork etc. We did day trips everywhere.
    Adare manor has rooms, but also completely furnished apartments with all amenities (incl. DW and W and D).  We stayed in one of the apartments, which was great. We could make our own breakfast, if we wanted.  One day after a day long trip we were exhausted - and picked up a frozen pizza a the local grocery store and ate at home with a nice glass of wine. But the Manor does have restaurants as well, and Adare have plenty of fun Pubs. Would love to go back.
    And don't worry about the driving. It doesn't take long to get used to drive in the left side of the road. By the time we reached the Manor - hubby was a pro. All the highways are very well marked and people obey traffic rules. But if you do rent a car, make sure to get GPS.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    Hi DKB,
    I've been to Ireland twice, once with a tour group from the South Shore, and the other on our own.  I much preferred the tour group, especially for a first time visit.  There is an awfully lot of traveling between spots you'll want to visit and while it doesn't take that long to get used to driving on the left side of the road, as Kiwigal said, a lot of the roads are narrow winding country 2 lane ones.

    The group we went with was such a fun, diverse group, ages 20's to 60's and since this tour company booked these trips on a yearly basis, the bus driver was one they requested each time.  Long periods of riding could easily have become very monotonous, but he filled us in on a lot of colorful local history as we drove and was so much fun.  He even diverted from our trip at one point when I told him my ancestors had come from Cork, and drove through the town so I could at least say I had been there.  We saw much more of the country in its entirety than we ever could have done on our own.  When we got to destinations we weren't required to stay together as a group, but mingled with locals and other tourists and came away with some amazing conversations.  At one stop, the Blarney Stone and Mills, the driver's wife and small child even came to meet him and have lunch with him, so sweet - just an example of the little extra experiences. 

    Another possible drawback you might encounter with renting a car that I  have to throw out there, is the trouble we had with a car that broke down on a rainy Sunday and lost us a day of our vacation, that the reimbursement could not replace.

    I think for a first visit, a tour is the way to go.  If there are subsequent visits, you can head back to the areas you most enjoyed.  But, if this should be the only chance you have to visit Ireland, you will have seen both the places all tourists want to see, and the out of the way little ordinary towns where everyday living goes on. Whichever way you choose, I know you'll have a wonderful time.  The Irish people are so friendly and welcoming.  We came back with many wonderful pictures and memories.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    Wow!  Thanks everyone for all the detailed information!  I appreciate you all being specific about places to visit and things to do.  I am going to have a lot of fun planning this trip and reading your responses is getting me really excited!

    I'm not too concerned about driving...I've had experience driving on steep, narrow roads on the other side.  But, thank you Pingo for suggesting GPS...that is a really good suggestion that I probably would have overlooked.

    If anyone has any favorite websites that you used when planning your trip, I'd appreciate any suggestions.

    Thanks!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from toytrumpet. Show toytrumpet's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    Have fun planning your trip, dkb.  I'll pass along one tip I gave to Pingo when she was planning her trip - any woolens or Waterford you might be thinking of buying in Ireland, we found to be much less expensive at the Blarney Woolen Mills (for the woolens) and at two shops on the street across from the entrance to the Blarney Stone (for Waterford).  Found it to be true on both trips.  Have a wonderful time.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from pingo. Show pingo's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    dkb,
    I am getting excited for you too. tt is right. Buy your woolens at the Blarney. Best prices and best selections. Also the two small stores across the street had good prices for Waterford Crystal. But not exceptionally good. I might have something to do with the fact that Waterford plant has closed down. I guess due to the times. Now Waterford Crystal will be collectors items - not made any longer. And talking about Waterford - package deals will sell you a "tour" to the place. We paid $25pp ahead of time to have a tour only to find out from our concierge at the Manor, that all there was left was a gift shop and they would show us a movie. Touring the plant had stopped, as it was not working any longer. It would have been quite a distance for us, so we decided to not go. One of the advantages you have, when you are on your own, but it was a big disappointment.
    Also, you will find lot of flyers at hotels and other places for Waterville Craft Shops. Shops in plural and again a good driving distance. It turned out to be one large room with not much to offer. Don't waste your time to go there.
    One last thing. You said you would be going in February or next fall. I think February will be too cold. I would pick the Fall, if I were you. Ireland is quite windy - especially when you visit the ocean sites. We visited in June and it was cold. Make sure you bring some warm clothing, no matter when you go.
    Happy trip!
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    I thought it would be a good idea to update this post because I just booked our trip to Ireland!  I am so excited I can't think about anything else.  We are going at the end of August, staying in Dublin for 7 days/ 6 nights.  I got this incredible package for flight and hotel - I keep looking at my confirmation because I can't believe we are going for so cheap.  DH doesn’t know yet…I’m going to surprise him on Sunday for our 1 year anniversary. 

    Anyway, my original plan was to fly into either Dublin or Shannon and drive to a different place each day or two and stay in B&B's.  This package was too good to pass on, so we are now staying at a hotel in Dublin the whole trip.  We plan to take day trips to different places, so I am hoping some of you who have been can recommend the must-see places for our first time there.  Also, if you can recommend any tour companies you used and like, or favorite mode of transportation (bus, rail tours, etc)?  We may rent a car, but there is a group of us going, so bus or rail tours may be a better way to go.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    I totally missed this the first time around and am SOOOOO jealous!!!  Ireland is one of my favorite places in the world.  I was only there once in 1995, but I just loved it.  I cant' give you much info on the east coast because I was only briefly in Dublin before going out to the west.  But I can't wait to hear about it!

    And if you need something to warm you up, try watching the series Ballykissangel (you can probably get the DVDs from the library).  Totally charming.  Skip the last season though...
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    I've been to Ireland several times. If you are headquartered in Dublin, your best bet for day trips if you want to venture far and wide is the train.  Absolutely fabulous and the best way to see countryside.  Def. head over to Galway for the day.  Tons of stuff to see and do, and plenty of good food too.

    While in Dublin, make sure you see the usual - St. Patricks, St. Stephen's Green, Trinity, various museums, Grafton Street, etc.  If you can manage it, get tickets to the Abbey Theatre. They usually have great productions.

    I personally prefer driving on the left and have never had a problem driving in Ireland [make sure you explicitly tell them you want an automatic and confirm it, unless you like driving a standard].  I would recommend renting a car to see the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren [which is near the Cliffs], Galway and Salthill.  I also really enjoyed the towns of Oughterard and Ballyvaughn.

    I loved Kylemore Abbey. There is also a garden/castle in the Galway area whose name is escaping me. It's def. worth a look, even in the off season. 

    Have fun!!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    Congrats on booking an awesome trip!!  What a nice surprise for DH!

    I spent a week in Dublin in 2001.  I'm sure someone would know better than I, but I think you could go to Galway and back in a day.  We took a bus to county Galway and I don't remember the ride being that long.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    It's about 2 hours by train from Dublin to Galway.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from laryan. Show laryan's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    don't kiss the blarney stone.  the natives are known to urinate on it...
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from momof3. Show momof3's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    We went last summer had a great time.
    Flew into Shannon, arrived at 6:30 am  drove 20 min to the Bunratty Castle Hotel, they were great and let us check in so we napped till noon and toured the area. the castle  Durty Nellies  (oldest bar in Ireland)
    next day we drove to the Burrn and Cliffs of Moher and on to Galway, spent 2 days there no long enough.  Then off to Dingle  the best!!!Go to Muphy's pub  the best entertainment.  beautiful scenery.   
    Then off to Dublin for 3 days  1 would have been plenty.  Do the Guinnes tour, Trinity, Book of Kells and Temple Bar area O'Niels
    I agree worth the poster about Adare.  Beautiful village  we had lunch there. and walked around for a while.
    Re renting a car GPS is a must and so in extra insurance
    Wish we were going again
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from dkb6248. Show dkb6248's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    Thanks for all the advice everyone! 

    Alf – from the research I’ve done, it seemed that traveling by train was the best bet, so I’m glad you mentioned that.  I was also wondering if there were certain places that would be better to drive to, so I will keep that in mind for the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, etc.  I like driving a standard, but I’m not sure how great I will do shifting with my left hand, so thanks for the tip on requesting an automatic.

    Poppy – on my Netflix queue.

    Laryan – I appreciate that heads up!

    Momof3 – thanks for the specifics on the pubs.

    I’m so excited.  This was the #1 trip we both really wanted to take before we settle down and start a family.  I feel so fortunate that we actually get to go, and so soon.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ScooterSM. Show ScooterSM's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    If you do end up renting a car, ask for the SMALLEST possible car they have (and definitely an automatic).  When I was there a few years ago, they thought they were being nice and upgraded us to a better car, which ended up being a Nissan Maxima (a small car for the US).  I think it was the biggest car in Ireland.  There were frequently roads where the branches would hit both sides of the car, so when the trucks would come the other direction we were in big trouble.  The poor car wouldn't even fit in my cousin's driveway when we were staying there.  We had to park down the street at the church.  It explains why everyone drives Minis and Smartcars!!
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    dkb - I'm serious about the last season.  Skip it, unless you're so into it you MUST watch...

    I have an Irish wool sweater I bought in Dublin in 1995 that is still in perfect condition to this day... amazing.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from laryan. Show laryan's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    where its your first trip, I think your best bet is to stay in the "major cities" (dublin, galway, shannon)....

    wouldn't recommend a car, as they drive on the left hand side of the road, where we drive on the right hand side...

    i also think you miss out on alot of the beauty of Ireland if you travel by car...
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from noitpec. Show noitpec's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    I was really nervous about driving in Ireland on the "other side" but was amazed at how quickly I adapted.   The main roads (M & N) are very good - multi-lane and sometimes divided but the smaller roads are narrow and can be a bit scary at first.  The trickiest things are rotaries (roundabouts).  Although the train system is pretty good, it's still fun to get a car and drive around the country - I would recommend it.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    I agree about the driving - it's ok except for the roundabouts.  My mom and I drove around England/Scotland and every time we came to one (which was about every 1/2 mile, and I think it might be similar in Ireland) I had to point which direction she had to go so she could follow my finger, because to go left around a rotary was so against her instincts.  Also, when at an intersection and turning left or right, be especially careful of the right turns - don't forget you have to go into the left lane, rather than taking a tight right (like we do here) and likewise stay tight for a left turn.  It helps to have a very calm passenger. :)
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from laryan. Show laryan's posts

    Re: OT - Ireland (on vaca, not honeymoon)

    oh, don't flash your cash (especially in a bar)...you'd be considered a "show off"...being a "show off" is NOT a good thing in ireland..

    if you're in a bar, quietly slip the bartender some money so he/she can by himself/herself a pint...
     

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