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Old 03-23-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Very beginning stages of thinking about a trip to Ireland. Requesting very general advice. I'm 63, male, widowed. This would be my 1st trip to Europe.
1. Is any time of year OK
2. Should I use a travel agency
3. Should I book through a tour group type thing where everything is preplanned
4. Positives and negatives traveling to Ireland
5. any other suggestions welcome
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:50 AM
 
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Pitroad, I own my family home in Ireland - so I have one piece of advice: Go in Spring, Summer being the second choice. Fall and Winter weather is not great.

As for your other questions, I will leave it to more seasoned group travellers to answer - but I definitely think in your case (I assume you are travelling alone?) that a tour group might be best for you. What type will depend on your interests and your personality. It will also drive the exact time you go (many festivals are held in the Summer; golfing is almost year-round in the South).

I think you will have a great time - and the Euro has fallen in value which will give you a little extra bang for your buck which you will need in Ireland since it tends to be expensive.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
7,575 posts, read 11,522,128 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
Very beginning stages of thinking about a trip to Ireland. Requesting very general advice. I'm 63, male, widowed. This would be my 1st trip to Europe.
1. Is any time of year OK
Any time of year is okay but in my opinion, summer is best. Summer in Ireland or the UK isn't exactly what I would call "summer" (it's not very warm, rains often, very windy) and the winter doesn't usually see a lot of snow or below freezing daytime highs so you could come in the winter. BUT you're more likely to have sunny days in the summer, it will be warmer than the winter and you get much more daylight. Basically, summer isn't a huge improvement over winter but it's still an improvement.

You shouldn't see a collapse in the tourist industry during the winter, if that's what you're worried about... most hotels or B&Bs will still be open and so will tourist sites.

Quote:
2. Should I use a travel agency
I think that depends more on the individual person. Some people find it more convenient, others like to have more control over their planning.

Quote:
3. Should I book through a tour group type thing where everything is preplanned
Same as above! If you're travelling alone, you might prefer a tour group so you can socialize with others in your group. It just depends how independent you are. When I was in Ireland, I loved just hopping in our rented car and driving around the country side, finding interesting and beautiful sites. I felt more adventurous and free. But not everyone is like that, some people get nervous driving in unfamiliar places, especially when everything is reversed and they're on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road.

Quote:
4. Positives and negatives traveling to Ireland
Negatives:
Weather
Country roads (many are so tight, they seem like one way yet they're not, they're often a lot of maneuvering just to pass a car going the opposite direction)

Positives:
Beautiful sites
Lots of history
Friendly people
Great culture

Quote:
5. any other suggestions welcome
Definitely see the country side, even if in a tour group. Visit a good pub and try fish and chips (okay, that's more of an English thing but it's still common in Ireland).
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
6,978 posts, read 9,356,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
Very beginning stages of thinking about a trip to Ireland. Requesting very general advice. I'm 63, male, widowed. This would be my 1st trip to Europe.
1. Is any time of year OK
2. Should I use a travel agency
3. Should I book through a tour group type thing where everything is preplanned
4. Positives and negatives traveling to Ireland
5. any other suggestions welcome
IMO
1. DON'T go in winter. It starts getting cold and damp in October,but still bearable.
2. and 3. Depends on your personality. I enjoy poring through travel books and spending months planning a trip. Maybe you don't. If you don't enjoy being herded around ("Have your bags packed and outside your door at 7am" etc ) you should consider a PACKAGE as opposed to an escorted tour. It depends on how independent you are.
4.If you don't go the tour route you will definitely need a car,cheaper to book from here. Gas is VERY expensive. Expect your neck and shoulders to be sore from the first few days of driving on the "wrong" side of the road. No need to drive in the cities, taxis are cheap,especially in Belfast. Remember that B&B's are price-controlled but vary in quality. The good ones are filled first. Every Irish town of size has a tourist office that will book you a room anywhere for a small fee. Ireland is user-friendly.
5.If you're a golfer,you'll be in heaven. Have a great trip!
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Leaving fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada
3,805 posts, read 6,131,777 times
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Default Lucky you, going to Ireland!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
Very beginning stages of thinking about a trip to Ireland. Requesting very general advice. I'm 63, male, widowed. This would be my 1st trip to Europe.

I can give you my opinion, based on visiting Ireland on our own, after taking a tour in Great Britian.

1. Is any time of year OK
We went in July, and the weather was perfect; very sunny and warm, not hot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
2. Should I use a travel agency
If you've never been to Europe or travelled alone, it might be an advantage; you will have people around you, everything will be taken care of and you don't have to find hotels, transportation, admission to events and landmarks, etc.

We went on our own to Ireland and had no problems while there. We arrived in Dublin, rented a car, drove to Londonderry, stayed overnight, drove to County Mayo, stayed overnight in a castle, drove to Dublin, visited Trinity University, downtown sights, saw the book of Kells, left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
3. Should I book through a tour group type thing where everything is preplanned
It is much easier--just make sure you take a tour that gives you a bit of time on your own. It can be very difficult sizing up a place on your own over the internet and making reservations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
4. Positives and negatives traveling to Ireland
Positives: beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food and drink, good music. If you're of Irish descent, you can see your native homeland.

Negatives: none that I can think of. I'd go back in heartbeat to see more. In fact I will probably go back in the next five years.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pitroad View Post
5. any other suggestions welcome
Investigate tours. We used Grand European and I was pleased with them. Then try searching for airfare, hotels and activities on the internet. That will help you make a good decision.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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My most enjoyable trip was in September. I went alone and rented a car which was scary because at the time I didn't understand the rules. If you learn the rules of roundabouts first, you'd be okay.
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:23 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
9,256 posts, read 15,201,590 times
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Just some general advice: GO! It's wonderful and the people are the friendliest I've met anywhere. Whenever you decide to go, be sure to dress in layers b/c it can be chilly at any time. Stay in B&Bs so you get to know the people and be sure to hit the pubs for dinner and guinness and Irish music. As for tour groups--only if you like them--I personally don't but if I was going to Ireland by myself I might consider it b/c it would scare me to drive there, but if you decide to drive, you can put in a request for an automatic so you don't have to drive stick on the wrong side. Be sure to request ahead of time though, b/c most cars in Europe are stick. And remember the most important thing: Guinness is good for you!
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Old 03-24-2010, 10:46 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,363 posts, read 38,745,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stepka View Post
And remember the most important thing: Guinness is good for you!

We went in March and did not get rained on much at all, but layers are definitely a good idea.
The people were very friendly indeed. We just toured ourselves.
Favorites:

Cliffs of Moher

live music in Galway

the Burren

Glendalough

Powerscourt
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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My favourites:
Dingle Peninsula
West Cork
Glendalough
Co Clare
Cashel, Tipperary
Galway
Ring of Kerry
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