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Old 12-15-2017, 03:39 PM
 
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I agree with Dublin driving. I did it three times, once coming back from Galway, once to Newgrange and back, and then to the airport. We drove around it when we arrived and headed south to Riversdale House by Glendalough. Not fun. Not fun at all.

I was still sick when there and the wife went to see the Book of Kells and Trinity College. The hotel we were in ended up with street closed that day. Guards and armed, uniformed SWAT all around. My wife was walking to those places and when she left she asked about it. She was told she could leave, but could not get back into the area until after 3:00pm.

We found out later Prince William and Catherine were visiting a government building across the street.

Had to look it up. We stayed at the Merrion. Another splurge. Had a few of those that trip.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwood66 View Post
Yes. You heard that right. My twin sons who are 26, just out of the military, and going to college. They are as excited as I am and that makes me so happy. My husband has no desire to travel to Europe but I love traveling. We are very close and we have no issues traveling together, however they will share a room and I will have my own. We are not partiers so only the occasional pub visit.

We are staying for a week only and in 3 cities.

I am a bit scared about driving but think I can manage if we are not in too many big cities. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we cannot miss or other travel tips? I am hoping to do the Ring of Kerry and the Killarney National Park. We all love history and exploring.

Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated because the last time I traveled out of the US was .... 39 years ago.

1 Night - Riu Plaza The Gresham in Dublin
https://www.riu.com/en/hotel/ireland...resham-dublin/

2 Nights - The Malton in Killarney
https://www.themalton.com/

3 Nights - The Ashford Castle in Cong
https://www.ashfordcastle.com/
Ireland is a small country and it is not hard to see the whole thing. Here is what I think you should do:

1. The Ring of Kerry is a beautiful drive.

2. See these sights in Dublin: The Book of Kells at Trinity College; Grafton Street; The General Post Office; Guinness Brewery; Mary Malone statue; James Joyce statue; Ha'penny Bridge over the Liffey River; and the Four Courts Building

3. Galway is a beautiful city and you justify a day trip there.

4. Antrim Province in Northern Ireland including the Giants Causeway and Carrick n Rede with its rope bridge.

5. Bunratty Castle

6. Possibly the Blarney Castle. I wouldn't go just to kiss the stone. However, the castle is well preserved and worth seeing.

If you think you can manage driving than do so. I have driven in other European countries that drive on our side of the road. I'm not sure I feel up to driving in either Britain or Ireland. I found getting around Ireland by train and tour bus was pretty easy.
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:32 PM
 
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If you're flying into Dublin, consider waiting to pick up your rental car until after you've seen Dublin and you've all adjusted to jet lag. Do one of the hop on hop off bus tours as suggested above.

The rest is easy. If I can drive throughout Ireland, anyone can. I actually find driving outside of cities easier in Ireland, but I've managed to do both with no problem. (I'm a 60 year old woman)

Just a heads up though: Don't rely exclusively on google maps or GPS. They will sometimes send you into crazy dirt tracks telling you that they are "roads", especially in Kerry and the Beara Penninsula. Get a good paper map as backup.

The Irish in general - especially outside of major cities - are very friendly and helpful to American tourists. If you get lost, don't be afraid to stop and ask someone for help.

I once had a flat tire on a lonely road in Kerry. I pulled over at the foot of someone's driveway and almost immediately, the owner came out and asked me if I needed help. When we discovered that my rental did NOT have a spare tire, he drove me into town to the nearest service station and waited with me until he knew that they had a replacement tire and that they could send me back with the repair truck. Then, after the tire was on, his wife came out and asked me if I'd like to join them for a cup of coffee.

Also, get the "extra" car insurance. It is worth it if you run into any trouble at all, including flat tires and any scratches or dings on the car.

Another tip: Don't try to do and see too much. The best bits of Ireland are the places you didn't know you were looking for until you take a wrong turn and discover something AMAZING. And, for that to happen, you need some flexibility in your schedule. Don't try to see the whole country in a week.

Chances are, you will be back again to see more.

I planned to go only once, and have returned five times since that first visit. I'm already planning my sixth visit for 2019. Enjoy!

Last edited by RosieSD; 12-15-2017 at 06:43 PM..
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Old 12-15-2017, 06:45 PM
 
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P.S. be sure your rental will be an automatic, and not a stick shift. Although this is less of a problem then it used to be.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:23 PM
 
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LOL on the driving in Dublin. We arrive at 7:05am with a private airport transfer waiting (WTH is a private transfer?) to take us to the hotel. Costco travel lady says if a room is not available they will hold our bags. I thought we would do the hop on hop off bus that day if we are not too tired. We pick up the rental car the next day at the airport (Enterprise did not have a car available at the city center lot) and I will have a taxi take us to pick it up. I figured we would head out from the airport to Killarney having done enough the day and night before. I am not so interested in city stuff as I am getting to the country. I did upgrade to the automatic because how the heck can I pay attention to keeping on the left AND shifting with my left hand?

In talking more by email with the private tour guide, we are going to do the Ring of Kerry. I am so excited to have a private drive tour for just the three of us and I can enjoy the sights while he regales us with all his knowledge of the area.

I thought we might take a leisurely drive to get from Killarney to Cong through Galway having the whole day to make the 3 hour trip. We might be able to squeeze a bit of the National Park that morning or perhaps the day we arrive in Killarney. I will definitely be flexible though.

I appreciate all the suggestions!
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Old 12-15-2017, 10:38 PM
 
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Drive around the center of Galway. That does depend on the day. We got there on a Sunday and everyone in town was going to the beach. The one that was right across the road from our hotel. Took forever on a confusing route.

Glad you ended up taking the tour with Paul. You will have a great day!!
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwood66 View Post
1 Night - Riu Plaza The Gresham in Dublin
https://www.riu.com/en/hotel/ireland...resham-dublin/
I don't really like the north side of Dublin but that is a nice hotel. The south side (across the Liffey) is the cultural and university area, and also attracts most of the tourists. I recommend Staunton's on the Green if you like intimate, boutique hotels, and the Merrion or Shelbourne if you want a grande dame.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
As hokey as they sound, the hop on hop off buses are great. Especially in Dublin. There were two separate lines, and you could literally hit just about everything and never have to worry about parking or driving. You're there, so you'd be remiss to not hit up the Guinness brewery or the Jamieson Distillery. Given the choice, hit the Brewery. The distillery is the old one, and no actual production goes on there, just tours/tasting.
I second the buses mentioned.

I got a pass for a certain length of time. Got off where I wanted, sometimes planned but not always. If I liked a town I stayed longer. If I wanted to move on, I caught a bus. There were easily accessible stations. I got to see the scenery. Met so many people. Often learned of neat things to go see that weren't well known.

I'm not a partier, but found that many pubs had good food, as did the B&Bs where I stayed. And the pubs I went to weren't like some bars here. More like small town meeting places. Many didn't drink.

Have fun!
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by evening sun View Post
The bacon is much better, it is not crisped up strips of fat that American bacon is Oh & get used to asking if you want mash or chips ( fries) with your lasagna. lol I love the fresh fish that Ireland offers, but the meats are good too, lamb, beef & park are all locally harvested, so they are freshed & not as force fed as American farmed meats. Most places will also serve a vegetarian dish, even if it is not on the menu, just ask.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
lol. The bacon sucks! To each their own . I was so glad that when we went back to Amsterdam that Netherlands bacons the same as ours.
It's silly to discuss who has better 'bacon'. It's a different product entirely, it just shares the same name. For americans, the term 'bacon' refers to pork belly (which is highly regarded by many cuisines around the world) while you'll find that in Ireland and the UK, 'bacon' generally refers to the loin with some belly meat also attached. You also have rashers and gammon. There is 'american style' belly bacon in the UK and Ireland and it's generally known as 'streaky bacon'. Different thing.

That's why it sounds funny to hear things like 'irish bacon is better than american bacon'.

In Ireland and the UK, 'subways' are small underground walking tunnels (e.g. to cross under a street) while in America they are underground train lines. So it's kind of like saying american subways are better than British and Irish subways because they have trains and can transport you further and faster. Strange thing to try to compare when they are just different concepts.

As for driving, the biggest adjustment is likely in the narrow, single track roads that you will almost always encounter somewhere. Often with a large piece of farm equipment coming the other way (you're the one that needs to back up in this case). And even where they are not single track, driving areas can be extremely congested, even in very small villages - tiny spaces, lots of traffic, little room for error. YOu need to assume much longer driving times than in the US. e.g. 50 or a 100 miles can take you 1.5 to 3 hours, for example.
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by branDcalf View Post

I'm not a partier, but found that many pubs had good food, as did the B&Bs where I stayed. And the pubs I went to weren't like some bars here. More like small town meeting places. Many didn't drink.

Have fun!
Agree. Depending on who you are and what you are looking for, there are good pubs (relaxed places for lunch or dinner or to relax with an alcoholic or nonalcoholic drink) and bad pubs (places where people go to get drunk, do/buy/sell drugs, start trouble, etc). And everything in between. Not much different from 'bars' in the US. The term 'pub' is used for a broad range of drinking and eating establishments.
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