Monday, June 9, 2008


I love Ireland! It is spectacularly green and gorgeous, relaxing, and the people are easy to get along with. The country is also small enough that you can see a good chunk of it within a two week period. Here are some tips:

Fly in and out of Shannon Airport. Driving a rental car out of Shannon is much less stressful than driving out of heavily congested Dublin. I've met a few people who drove out of Dublin in tears.

Rent car before you leave the States--I usually find that Auto Europe has the best rates

Purchase an Ordnance Survey road atlas before you leave home--I prefer spiral bound--it is easier for the map-reader in the car. Attach a highligher pen to the atlas so you can track your route. If you don't highlight your route, you will never be able to recreate it just by looking at the map--there are a gizillion roads to take you to your destination.

B&B's are the best and least expensive accomodations (other than hostels). The interraction with your host and other guests at breakfast can be a plus (or a minus depending upon your personality).

There is great shopping all over Ireland. Lots of woolen mills with beautiful knits to bring home, crystal, and interesting pottery. It is often surprising to be driving down a remote country road and then coming upon a little gem of a shop with handmade items.

Since most vacations outside of our own country can be a lot of work, take a vacation from your vacation and travel to the Aran Islands and stay a night or two. Fly Aer Arann to the Islands instead of taking the ferry - the flight is very short and not too pricey (adult return means roundtrip). The Ferry is VERY choppy--lots of people getting VERY sick! Not pretty. After you have arrived at your B&B in Inis Mor (the largest and most interesting of the Aran Islands) rent bikes and ride around checking out all of the excellent ruins.

Visit a traditional Irish pub after 10:00 pm for a music session. Sometimes they advertise, otherwise ask the barman if a session is expected that night. A good celtic music session late at night can be one of the highlights of your trip. And now that the pubs are smoke-free you can actually see the musicians.

My favorite guidebook: Rick Steve's Ireland

No comments:

Post a Comment