Are you going with CIE Tours? I went in July '07 and had a great time with them. The driver, while he didn't say much, but when he did, he was pretty funny. The guide was great. He was funny, informative, personable. Oh the list goes on. Be prepared for information overload though. I guess we lucked out as while we were on the 8-day tour the 9-day tour that we were shadowing said their guide was dull. When you fly over pack a carry on with 2 days worth of clothes. The flight that got into Shannon right after us from Boston lost 10 peoples bags for three days. They took it in stride and we all made a joke of it. Once you see the back roads you may want to re-think renting a car with a stick. The cars are right hand drive as you already know, plus can you believe they drive on the wrong side of the road. That's a double whammy. Some of the roads were not widened when they were paved so you basically have old horse cart paths with asphalt. Some turns you see plenty of side mirrors on the road. Not to scare you off. If you are thinking of going up to Northern Ireland your car rental agency may either charge you a fee or prohibit it altogether. Yes it rains often. Be prepared for it to rain once a day for 30 minutes or so, depending on where you are, so bring an extra pair of shoes/sneakers. What you read about the people is true. They are extremely friendly. If you crave a burger, good luck . It took us 4 days and we finally found a pub that made them. That and a pint of Guinness and I was set. OK maybe it was 5 or 6 pints, but definitely not more then 10. On our walk back to the hotel, we heard a little out of the way place playing traditional music so the group of us decided to check it out. What started out with us getting back at 11-11:30, we got back at 1 or 2. Had a blast. Ask the locals where to go for pubs that have music. From what I saw its all live bands playing, and no cover. The bigger cities might be different
Actually we are taking 12Travel on the tour. I am so excited about the trip I can hardly stand it! I think you are right about the car, I have been giving it some thought. Although it would be great fun to drive a stick, it might not be that comfy....or safe...lol. Thanks for the tip about packing an overnight, I will definately do that! You know it's funny you mentioned the burger craving. My stepdad was telling me that when he went to Italy, he craved a burger so badly and couldn't find one. Must be that the meat is much leaner and our
bodies aren't used to it. Anything you recommend seeing thats not on the normal tourist stop? Our tour covers Dublin on down. So on the self drive I want to travel a different direction. Newgrange is a must for me. Also have to
stop in Athlone for Sean's Bar. Any other suggestions??
Thanks for the advice, I am definately taking note! Oh, what time of the year did you travel? Trying to get a feel for how cold/warm it will be for packing jackets or coats and shoes. Thanks again! Slan!
Sorry it took so long for a response.
We went in July and it was 10 or so degrees colder that here in southeast NY. In fact if you go 10 miles further south, you will be in the Atlantic. So it was in the upper 80's when we went over. It stayed in the mid 70s the duration. A light jacket was all you needed, if that at all. We were on the tour for the duration so there was not much in the way of going off on our own for an extended period. Breakfast was generally at 7a with the bus leaving between 8 and 8:30. Our tour, and I can only imagine them all being pretty similar, stopped often, if nothing else, at places that had public restrooms. The Waterford Factory was pretty cool. After you see what goes into making the pieces you can understand why they cost so much. One thing that really took some getting used to was that in July the sun was up until 10:30-11p. Kind of threw us when we were hanging out the first night at of all places, a pub. With the jet lag, not sleeping on the plane, time change, I thought it was 5p, and it was 9:30. Oh another thing, bring a watch. The tours will drop you and tell you to be back in X time. Me, genius boy, uses my cell phone as my watch. Being that my phone would not work there I left it home. After a couple of days I had to buy one. Another item is that when we went it was their holiday so believe it or not we had to "find" locals in the hotels to ask where to go out at night. We met people from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, Spain, Norway. September they should be back. As things pop back into my head I will send it off to you
Hey thanks for the tip on the watch... I use my cell phone as well..so guess its time to start wearing my watch. I'm glad to hear you like the Waterford tour, its on our tour as well. I think it will be great!
I can't believe the sun stays up that late! That is awesome! I wonder if it will be up later in September? Hope so. I am getting so excited about the trip!!! Only 204 days!!! :P
Thanks for all the tips, and I really enjoy hearing about your experiences. How many castles did you see on your tour? I am so looking forward to that, as I have never seen one in rl.
I think we are going to try and see as many as possible on our self drive. Excellent photo ops :) When we get back I will post some pics on my site. SOOOO excited!!
Its been a while since I logged in and thought that you may have gone across the Big Pond for your vaca already. But evidently you are going in September. Still on track? I would really like to go back. My next door neighbor's father is from Kerry and is one of 12 kids. My neighbors uncle was over here for the first time with his wife and kids, so they had a small gathering for him. The last time I saw that many Irish in a back yard, was when my grandparents were alive. The hospitality and conversation gene in them doesn't diminish when they live here (my neighbor has 4 of the 12 living here and they were next door). My wife asked one of the brothers (didn't have a NY accent. Dead give away) if the guy from Ireland was here to which he said yes. She then asked if she/we could talk to him. He said no problem and proceeded to get him and bring him back. Needless to say the party moved over to my house for 3 hours. I had to do a beer run with that may Irish. It was like being back there. Sorry for rambling on. Ireland is just a relaxing place. Well good luck on the trip.
I visited Ireland 4 times now and i still like it.
First time i went there by car from England Fishguard - Rosslare.
because i had experience in driving on the left side in England , that was no problem anymore.
I toured the south- and east coast and found out , what all the others found out , Get out the car and in to the local shop's and pub's.
Than you meet the people.
Don't think you be on your own for more then 10 min. after they know you are from outside the country.
Everyone is so nice and helpfull.
I remember i drove in to Youghall and went to the first bar i could find it is called Moby Dick's , and within 1 hour i knew that Youghall was the chosen site for the film "Moby Dick" and what i had to see in this lovely little town.
And that was just my first day in Ireland.
I kept my base in Youghall and made trips to the east coast and inland.
Seen all the things you want to see like "Cliff's of Moher" .
And then took the time to explore the little villages around the south- east coast.
That is something i can recomend.
second time was by plane to Shannon Airport and i stayed in Limerick . had a great time there.
3th. time was a short stay in Waterford on the south coast. just unloading a removal and then back to Holland.
Last time i went to Dublin for the TRAD Festival 2007 .
I stayed in Dublin a whole week, made some sightseeing tours.
Visited The Guinness and Jameson , great to see how the make your beer.
Next January i will be going back to Dublin for the TRAD Festival 2008 , but only for 5 days.
if you travel through the country , try to go to the places where they have Music Festivals , they are allways great.
When are you going to go to Ireland? There is much ot see and unique ways ot get there. I traveled on a tour, and there are tours that oyu can book that alow you to have a driver but create your own agenda-they are fairpriced and realy good if oyu would rather relax and enjoy the sites vs the roads, which are abit arduous.
Get a map and use the internet to look up nake son the map that interest you--you can find everything about what kinds of accomodations, events, and food, music etc. is in the area. You have to decide whether oyu enjoy smll towns or big cities or maybe both--if oyu want to see the tourist mainstays, you can look them up online under the best site sin Ireland.
A friend of mine went ot Irelad for wedding,and then she and a coiusin decided to stay longer because they were having so much fun, and the place where the wedding was held arrnaged a stay in a B & B. The people were so nice and the food so good and the price so local and fair--they stayed an extra night ad their hosts made recommendations where they should go next. This went on for a couple weeks as they had one B & B host call another and even got rides bwetween locations-they ate well, had great family hosted accomodations at fare prices, saw the sites and cried all the way back ot America!
Ok firstly don't get too frightened by all the options open to you and don't think you have to have every last thing reserved and paid for before you travel. Keep in mind almost every city and town in Ireland have their very own Tourist Information Centre where you can get accurate information of what's the best in that area and at that exact time (street festivals etc...)
Most importantly make your accommodation enquiries now especially for Dublin and all other big cities.
Lastly for a fun way to look at Ireland see local website called Hidden Dublin http://www.hidden-dublin.com