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Old 09-21-2019, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Pa
175 posts, read 120,195 times
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My wife and I, early 60’s just came back from a trip to Scotland and Ireland mid May until mid June, some things we learned from our 31 day trip.

1. Do Scotland first IF you plan to rent a car. Why ??? the roads are better ie wider then in Ireland. You will get used to driving on the wrong side of the road. If you rent a car with a stick shift you will get used to changing gears with your left hand very weird experience had not driven a stick shift in 30 years. They do have automatic transmission but you will pay a premium for it may want to consider it.

2. Make sure you bring your GPS with you, using google maps was not as helpful as our gps particularly at the MANY roundabouts you will encounter. The Garmin gps indicated which turn to make when entering a roundabout with many have 4 options as to where to turn. They have roundabout every mile or so even on major highways you will encounter them. Many times 3 lanes of traffic are entering the roundabout at the same time. No one uses blinkers or gives you any indication where they are going soooooo much fun!! Try to plan your stops to the N and M roads they are so much better and easier to drive.

3.Signage in Ireland was VERY POOR without the gps we would have not found many places we visited. BUT make sure you look at where the gps is taking you, sometimes it took down 1 lane roads that were really 2way roads. Nothing like a big truck heading towards you with no place to go!!

4. I only got beeped at 2 times BUT they will ride your tail very quickly when going too slow. They have many small narrow roads with 60 mph speed limits which I did not feel comfortable doing. I would wait until a place they could pass and put my 4 way emergency lights on and they would pass. Some roads had places you could pull over which was very helpful.

5.Beware of others using the road such as groups on bicycles who would ride 2-3 bikes across taking up the lane. Coming around a blind corner with no shoulder and seeing this was soo much fun. People walking in the road. Sheep are EVERYWHERE including walking in the road or along the road not to mention sheep dogs going after them.

6. We only brought enough clothes for 8 days. We used laundry facilities where we dropped off the clothes and within 24 hours we picked it up. Saved us a lot of time and was was very reasonable priced about $15.

7. On and off bus tours in the cities give you a great overview. We used Park and ride buses in Edinburgh which saved trying to find parking and driving in this ancient city. For 4 pounds per person you can ride all day with many buses and routes to choose from. Be prepared to walk a LOT up and down BIG hills.

8. The OPW Heritage pass in Ireland and the Explorer Pass in Scotland helped you bypass the long lines Stirling and Edinburgh Castles.

9. Distance on google maps are short BUT because of the roads you need to add extra time to your destination.

10. Castles both ruins and finished/furnished, Cathedrals/Churches and distilleries are in EVERY Town so plan accordingly.

11. It rains a lot going from a beautiful day to pouring rain so bring rain gear and layers.

12. Locals do not wear baseball hats...gee I wonder why??

13. Souvenir T Shirts for places you visit do not exist!!!!

14. Woolen shops are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

15. Locals are wonderful and very helpful.

16. Leave time to get through the customs lines in Dublin airport. We had Global Entry and it took us 2 hours to make it through the process. Our plane was delayed for 1 hour because folks did not make it through on time, yea they actually waited for the passengers.

17. Do not bother with the Ring of Kerry or as we called it the Ring of Terror!! Instead do the Dingle Peninsula and the A2 road to Northern Ireland, and the costal highway between Galway and Westport. The Ring of Kerry road was narrow, changed suddenly to one lane bridges with no warning with MANY tour buses driving like it was a 4 lane highway. The Killarney National Park is definitely worth seeing but not the entire Ring of Kerry. If you do decide to do the Ring consider doing via a bus tour. If a rainy day you will not see much.

18. Scotland has no toll roads but Ireland does make sure you have some local $$.

19. Pots of tea and scones were wonderful, coffee not so much as well as full Irish breakfast....baked beans in the morning???

20. Hotels require you to place your door entry card to turn on the power in the room. They have a slot as soon as you walk in to insert the card....make sure you get TWO cards so if you need to leave the room the other person is not sitting in the dark. They also use the card to get onto and operate the elevator. Hair dryers are in the desk drawer sometimes not near a mirror....lol. Each showers we encountered operated in its own unique way!! They do not believe in washcloths..... Make sure your hotel has parking some did not and we had to walk several blocks and pay for parking. Sometimes they had underground parking which was nice BUT it was like driving through your patio door into your basement....yea that tight. We had a Volkswagen Golf not a big car and it was VERY challenging,!

21. Make sure you have adequate rental car insurance including the tires! My 3 credit cards did not cover Ireland.
22. We had no problem getting gas with a credit card the stations we stopped at you did not pay at the pump, you had to go in and pay the cashier. As in the USA you sign a receipt for the transaction. Your card never leaves your sight, they bring the machine to you. No pins numbers needed at all.
23. On motor ways the left lane is the slow lane, the right is the passing lane. The speed limit signs just have a number on them nothing else given in the USA which states “speed limit” on the sign. On the motorway they do not post the speed limit on the motorway they only are posted as you come onto the motorway and are trying to merge!!
24. We purchased a SIM card for my iPhone once we got in the country. Sometimes we had google maps and the Garmin running at the same time, the Garmin was so much better. Google maps would say go east on the road, we had no idea what direction we were going, especially when in a roundabout! Where the Garmin gave you a blue line to follow.
25. The Dublin airport is a $50-60 euro taxi ride one way so plan accordingly. We stayed at The Schoolhouse Hotel in Dublin to give you an idea. We considered the bus from the airport but given we were up for 20 hours, had to rolling duffel bags and 2 carry on bags and the hotel was several blocks from the bus stop we took a cab.

Overall we had a great time and really enjoyed ourselves. They were both wonderful countries with spotless thriving towns, and amazing green country side.
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Old 09-21-2019, 08:05 PM
 
Location: The World
26 posts, read 3,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarisaMay View Post
Our Audi that we have here stalls when it comes to a stop but apparently you can deactivate that function. Does not bother us and it is incredibly fuel efficient.

But driving in Ireland. We went there in 2005 and we were told and had read that it was easy to drive as there was so little traffic. Could not have been more wrong. So often we were caught in traffic where there was a one lane bridge through the middle of a town. One local explained that until only a few years earlier most people were too poor to own cars, especially two cars. As he put it, they had quickly become rich, acquired cars and the infrastructure had not kept up.

Then there is parking. We went into the car park of the hotel we had booked in Dublin. Saw no parking spots so went up to the desk. Bloke came down and proceeded to park our car in a space that we would never have regarded as a parking spot.

We enjoyed Ireland but for some reason it did not appeal as a place to return to.
You are very right. The narrow roads in Ireland are built for little donkey carts (very common sight in the rural areas up until recently). Its only in the past couple of decades Ireland has been a car society. I know I have been there twice (in 1981 and 2008).
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Old 09-21-2019, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Australia
1,133 posts, read 420,519 times
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Lots of good advice in #41.

I smiled about the comment on baked beans, although I do not eat them anytime I have trained DH to enjoy baked beans on toast for a hot breakfast. Nothing quicker or cheaper!

The practice of inserting the door key to activate the electricity is very common everywhere but the US. Most of the rest of the world pay far more for electricity and need to minimise the wastage, even without getting into the whole climate change issue.
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:37 PM
 
4,103 posts, read 2,137,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
Given some of his other posts/comments, I don't think anything he has to say would be either illuminating or enlightening. For example, here is his "interesting" opinion of London (and Great Britain in general) after he spent a grand total of twelve - - count 'em, twelve - - hours there:
In the North of England he'd be known as a barmpot.
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Old 09-21-2019, 11:55 PM
 
4,103 posts, read 2,137,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emma_Smith View Post
You are very right. The narrow roads in Ireland are built for little donkey carts (very common sight in the rural areas up until recently). Its only in the past couple of decades Ireland has been a car society. I know I have been there twice (in 1981 and 2008).
There's quite a lot of nonsense being written about Ireland in this thread but this one beats them all.
Ford built a car factory in Ireland in the early 20th century and by 1930 it employed 7,000 people.
The idea that people got around by donkey carts until recently is laughable.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:05 AM
 
28,447 posts, read 40,360,616 times
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We spent 17 days driving around the southern half of Ireland. Draw a line from Dublin to Galway and we spent all of it south of that line.

I learned few things re driving.

1. Drive an automatic.

2. Place your right hand under your butt. This is to counter the lifelong habit of driving on roads that slope right to run off water. In Ireland you are on the other side of the road and it slopes left. Driving with your right hand only helps with that habit we have of steering slightly left to account for the slope. Left hand only really helped me.

3. Find a spot on the windshield by the right A pillar that lines up with the center line on the roads. For me it was a sticker that came on the rental. I learned to keep the white lane line in the center of that sticker. On those narrow roads with sharp turns I ignored any oncoming traffic and concentrated on keeping that sticker lined up. Worked every time. Place something there if nothing is already.

4. Interstate lanes are reversed. Fast lane is to the right. Entrance ramps come on to the left, as do exit lanes.

5. There a lot of roundabouts. They are larger than we are used to and very well marked. Learn how the lanes work there.

6. Slow and Go Mall mean the same thing. You'll see both painted on the roads.

7. When you turn out of an intersection it's good to have someone with you to remind you to get in the left lane, not the right. "Left!" she said. Countless times.

8. When driving "country" roads look for places to pull over so the people behind you who are driving much faster than you can get by you.

9. If you see a one lane bridge and another car coming the other way stop. Just let them go across first so you aren't needing to worry about right-of-way.

10. The rear view mirror is to your left. Your left! Sheesh!! LOL!

Tours: we went on one and we highly recommend it. Ring of Kerry. We did not want to drive it as whoever was (me) would/could not gawk. We found Paul Brown. A retired police officer with a great amount of historical knowledge. He drives an eight passenger van and we were lucky enough to be the only two on our tour. He takes you places the big vans can't go and stops any time you want for any reason. Pictures mostly. 8 1/2 hours for 295 Euros. Worth every penny.

An email from him.

Quote:
From Kenmare the route includes, Molls Gap to Killarney National Park, Ladies View and there are options of Torc waterfall, Muckross House ( Kerry's Downton Abbey) or Ross Castle. After Killarney we head to Killorglin and Caherciveen and start to pick up some wonderful coastal scenery. I then divert off the main Ring of Kerry onto the Skellig Ring and bring you by ferry to Valentia Island, which is not visited by the Tour Coaches and is missed by most visitors to the area, you will experience some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world including the Skellig Ring and Valentia Island. We stop in the beautiful fishing village of Portmagee for the lunch break and afterwards complete the Skellig Ring rejoining the main Ring of Kerry near Waterville and there is more amazing coastal scenery as we travel to Sneem and onto Kenmare.

The tour is a full day about 8 hours and the total price is 295. Reviews of my service can be found on Tripadvisor at Browns Taxi & Tours.


If you have any question, please do not hesitate to ask.
I look forward to hearing from you.


Kindest regards,
Paul Brown
If you are in Kinsale stay at the Presbytery in room 6. King bed and a sitting area on a balcony with gorgeous views. While you are there eat at the Cozy Cafe. It's just down the hill and right a bit. If they are serving the chicken enchilada get it. Best I've ever had. Ever.

Don't order pizza. I repeat: don't order pizza. For breakfast try porridge. Bacon if asked for is not our bacon. It's a slab of pork. Ask for streaky bacon. That's what we eat.

GUINNESS! 'nuff said.

Waterford. Great tour and they have crystal rings that are amazing.

The people there are wonderful. Even those from Germany, lol.

But most of all enjoy. We can't wait to go back.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:16 AM
 
28,447 posts, read 40,360,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
We both had carry on sized bags and a backpack each. We stored them in the overhead bin or sometimes just kept the backpack on our lap.

In general I don't recommend traveling overseas with big bags. Between lots of stairs and cobbled streets you will hate having a large bag.
I second this. We were on a Viking cruise before flying to Dublin for our trip. Only one place we stayed in those 17 days had elevators. Those big bags got real heavy after a while.
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:36 AM
 
4,103 posts, read 2,137,221 times
Reputation: 5613
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
I second this. We were on a Viking cruise before flying to Dublin for our trip. Only one place we stayed in those 17 days had elevators. Those big bags got real heavy after a while.



Indeed.
We run a few holiday rentals in Ireland and American tourists inevitably turn up with huge suitcases for often not more than a week's vacation.
Travel light.Really light.Even then leave half of what you're planning to bring behind.
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:30 AM
 
8,349 posts, read 12,097,956 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
GUINNESS! 'nuff said.
Don't forget Murphy's! Especially if you're in or around Cork.
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Old 09-22-2019, 07:17 AM
 
4,103 posts, read 2,137,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
Don't forget Murphy's! Especially if you're in or around Cork.



And Beamish.


Three good stouts.
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