Travelers guide to visiting Ireland.
visit Ireland today
Step 1. To visiting Ireland, Decide to go!
I know this sounds simple put I’ve written posts on the subject. There is always the dream to travel to Ireland, but it takes commitment to go.
So once you’ve made your New Years resolution to travel to Ireland, follow through, you won’t regret it.You’ve decided to go to Ireland. Now determine which type of Ireland vacation you are looking for.
Are you visiting relatives in Ireland?
If so be prepared. When I visit my cousin in Wicklow these are the things I know will happen:
- I will stay for a short visit with cousin’s in laws that will last at least an hour.
- The cup of tea will be 3 or 4 cups.
- A bit of food will be the best meal of the week.
- My life history will be kindly drawn out of me.
- My choice for bed and breakfasts will be looked down upon as I could have stayed with a relative. Waste of money you know.
- Needless to say you can be overwhelmed with hospitality,but do the right thing and except it, embrace it, enjoy it.
Step 2. Decide if a tour is your thing.
The tour bus guided Irish tour.
This is perfect for people who like everything planned for them. The Irish tour guides are professionals and their aim is to have all enjoy their Irish experience. The tour operators will let you see the iconic sites of Ireland, The Guinness Brewery, The Cliffs of Moher, The Ring of Kerry, New Grange. The tour guides have intimate knowledge of each of these Irish tourist hot spots and will set up accommodations and events to keep you entertained.
- A guided tour is recommended for retirees and people uncomfortable with driving in Ireland. The Irish drive on the left side of the road. The country roads are narrow, winding, and full of scenery. Most rental cars are standard transmission, do you remember how to use a clutch?. Oh and those roundabouts can take a bit getting use to, just remember to go in the direction that seems unnatural.
- A guided tour of Ireland is perfect for large groups. Family reunions, Family weddings, Large golf groups, all are perfect for a bus tour. Unless you have lots of extra time, the convenience of a guided tour will provide your guests with a good overview of what Ireland has to give. So when you have a big group visiting Ireland board the bus.
You have decided to visit Ireland on you own or a self catered tour of Ireland.
This is my favorite way to see the beautiful island of Ireland, it allows for some freedom on your trip. Some reasons to go it on your own.
- Take the time to enjoy and appreciate the breathtaking sites of Ireland. Many times you will find yourself in a town that just grabs your heart, you have the option to stay a bit longer, get a real feel for the area.
- Self guided tours to Ireland allow you to explore off the beaten path. Checkout small towns, farm country, local festivals, you choose.
- Provided you use proper etiquette, it allows you to interact with local Irish people. Some of the best chats have been had in one pub towns in a slow little hamlet, In these country pubs it is essential you use good pub etiquette
- Stay in one section of Ireland. Many try to cram to much Irish site seeing into too little time. Staying in one section of Ireland let’s you appreciate the beauty of each region.
There are chauffeured trips also.
These are a nice combination, a local fellow will drive to the sights he thinks you will like, local knowledge of restaurants, pubs, attractions. Personal service and local knowledge. This is especially nice if your in a small group and don’t want to waste your time trying to figure out how things work or where to go. Checkout Cie tours chauffeur program
What you need to pack on your trip to Ireland.
- Passport and drivers license,
- Electrical converters, USA blow dryers, electric razors, or devices will not work without converters, you also have to checkout your devices to see if they are dual convertible. (whether they can be used with a conveter switch without frying your device)
- Prepare for rain and sun. Ireland is an island and is effected by the jet stream and the Atlantic ocean. Many a day will start sunny and warm to end up drizzling and cold. I have spent a week in Ireland where every day was in the eighties, I needed sun block and sun glasses. Once I was at a festival where the morning temperature was mid seventies, to end with me shivering in my shorts and tee shirt, at below fifty degrees. So be a boy scout and be prepared.
- Pack a waterproof or resistant windbreaker.
- Dress in layers.
- Under armour shirt.
- Non cotton sweater, fight the urge to pack you aran knit see tourist.
- Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes.
- Portable umbrella.
- Tooth paste, sun block.
- rent or purchase a pay as you go mobile phone. Your mobile phone may be able to work in Ireland but at a huge cost. There are phone stores in most towns that sell pay as you go phones, you rent the phone and purchase time on the phones, recharge at the stores also.
- Take some Euro with you.
- Leave some room in you luggage for gifts or clothes you will buy in Ireland.
- Find a B&B or Hotel for the first night and a B&B in your desired area. Checkout B&B in Ireland for more info. Remember B&Bs charge by the person not the room. You can always negotiate a bit, especially off season. Also if you are staying in one town, a base camp, consider renting a house for your stay.
So now you have packed for the rain that may or may not come, you have packed for the sun that may or may not come.
What airline did you pick? what airport?
- I always choose a direct flight to Ireland, this includes the flights that stop at Shannon airport and continue on to Dublin. I have friends and relations that will save some money going through London or even other European cities, but for an Irish vacation flight, go direct. When you travel through another country before going to Ireland it adds another layer of customs. You are entering another country and they have to make sure you qualify to continue. My daughter when going to an Irish music Fleadh arranged her flight which took her through London. There was a problem with her luggage and she almost wasn’t allowed to continue on. In the end she made her flight, but her luggage showed up three days later. When you have a week to ten days to enjoy your trip to Ireland, you don’t want to spend it in the airport.
- Consider using Shannon Airport. Shannon Airport is a breeze to leave from, and it is located close to many tourist destinations. If you visit Dingle, Galway, Donegal, consider flying to Shannon.
- Dublin airport is a bustling place, but not too daunting. The real problem with Dublin airport is people expect to land, rent a car, and drive to a destination. This can be problematic.
Things to consider when arriving in Dublin Airport.
- Most in the States leave in the evening (7pm or 8pm eastern time), fly for six hours, arrive in Dublin (7am or 8am Dublin time) get luggage, bus to the rental car.
- Drive the congested streets of Dublin during rush hour, on the opposite side of the street, with a standard transmission, with the stick shift on the right side.
- Fight off falling asleep as the planned sleep during the flight never was achieved.
Give yourself a break, either stay a day or two in Dublin or take a bus to your destination and rent a car there. Staying in Dublin lets you plan on staying in a nice Dublin Hotel, plan a day of sight seeing, and catch up on your sleep.
- Going to a Fleadh in Letterkenny in Donegal we caught a bus from Dublin airport, you don’t really sleep, maybe a catnap, but you don’t have to worry about driving three hours on roads you have never been on before, fighting the nods the whole way. You never truly relax, until you have made it to your accommodations.
- Going to Enniskerry Wicklow just outside of Dublin, I usually take a bus from the airport to Enniskerry, I try to sit near the front of the bus and nicely ask the bus driver to remember me when the stop comes. You can fall asleep on the first day without knowing it.
- Even when I was staying in Dublin, I would take a bus, it really is a simple way to get out of the airport. The taxis are a bit more expensive but again when you are tired they are a good option, especially if you are staying at a Dublin B&B.
On your first day in Ireland try to stay awake until after dinner time. This can be hard, but you are better off taking a short nap or two and try to get your body adjusted to the time difference as soon as possible. If you can stay awake until eight or nine your chances of sleeping through the night are much better. Don’t worry by the end of your vacation you will be completely use to Irish time.
Once you wake up consider this your first day in Ireland. Start your day with the full Irish breakfast. Many will look at the two eggs, Irish bacon, Irish rashers, black pudding, white pudding, cooked tomatoes, mushrooms, toast, good Irish butter, and a pot of tea, and be intimidated. Don’t be, This meal sticks with you and allows you to not have to worry about lunch. It also takes a bit of time, start to relax, pick a spot to visit and explore.
If you are in the city, take the tour of Dublin, get the ticket that allows you to get on and off all day, This way you can check out the city at your pace.
If you are in your base camp to explore the countryside of Ireland, rent a car and start. Ireland is country with many sides and interests, follow your dreams and discover Ireland. I have visited Ireland over a dozen times and I still feel like there is so much more for me to see.
I’m listing a few must sees in Ireland and a few hints on being a good tourist in Ireland.
- Dingle peninsula
- Cliffs of Moher
- O’Donahues, Dublin
- Kilmainham Gaol
- Galway city
- Slieve league,Donegal
- Malin head, Donegal
- Mizen Head, Cork.
- Copper Coast, Kilkenny
- Portmonack Golf Links, Dublin
- Royal County Down Golf Links, Down.
- Ballybunnion Golf Links, Kerry
- Ring of Kerry
- Angling, Killarney.
- Harbour Bar, Bray.
This list could be endless, never really got into hiking Ireland, Kayaking Ireland, Irish hill walkers, biking Ireland, The beaches or strands that are just breathtaking.
Some last random thoughts-Tip a waitress 10%, a cabbie the same, no tipping for a bartender they are professionals and are paid well. Take a taxi home from the pub or walk, Ireland has strict driving under the influence laws and are famous for roadblocks. Your shower has an electric pump that will need to be turned on in order to work, if you stay at a hotel with a bar you have access to the bar after hours.
Just remember when you go, that we are visitors in their country. We are of Irish descent not Irish citizens, take the time to listen, be polite, and enjoy some of the best chats you’ll ever have.
This is a thumbnail guide to visiting Ireland, There is so much more. I would be interested in any comments on the subject you have, please leave your experience in Ireland, and any tips to help others out.