11 Plan Your Dream Trip
Episode Guide – Podcast #11 Plan Your Dream Trip
Stop dreaming about a trip to Ireland and start planning with our podcast dedicated to helping you get your trip to the Emerald Isle on its way. We provide you plenty of resources and talk to Marie McKown from Tourism Ireland. CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON below to listen.
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LENGTH OF STAY
We recommend a minimum of 10 days
Remember, you generally lose two days in travel, because most flights from the US leave at night and you arrive in the morning. Also, don’t count on seeing the sites on your last day either.
It is best to keep your arrival day somewhat flexible with options to go for walks and taking a two-hour nap.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Any time is a good time to visit Ireland!
However, June, July and August are the most popular and the height of the tourist season, but the days are long and the weather usually cooperates.
May, September and October are a great alternative; prices might be a little lower, the weather is still decent, and probably the biggest advantage is fewer crowds.
The winter months are a great alternative. The days are short and some attractions are closed (beautiful scenery is available year-round), but the music and pub culture comes to life.
December, January and early February would be the least desirable months for a first time visitor, the days are short and the weather can be cold and wet.
CHOOSING A MOTOR COACH OR SELF-DRIVE TOUR
We aren’t well versed in motor coach tours, so we’ve got two pros who can help you with the ins and outs of planning a packaged trip. Both Michele and Chris have the inside scoop on planning trips to Ireland.
Michele Erdvig (www.irelandyes.com) is a certified Ireland expert who offers a FREE Tour Finding Service. Her website and message board also provide a great resource for anyone planning a trip to Ireland, and her itinerary planning and book on Ireland can help you put together the details of your trip.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN IRELAND
Ireland has an extensive public and private bus system. Prices are very reasonable and all major towns are covered.
The train system primarily radiates from Dublin, so east-west routes tend to be covered. Meanwhile, traveling north-south and routes to a few other areas are limited.
Most large towns have a taxi service.
All the major tourist destination have bus trips from nearby cities.
CHOOSING A REGION
The best bit of advice we can offer is to focus on specific regions rather than trying to cover all of Ireland.
Divide a map of Ireland into quarters. Then figure on giving yourself a week to cover each quarter. Don’t worry if that means sacrificing your chance to see a different region. There will be plenty to see in the area you choose, and you can always save it for your next visit.
If you want to take in the sites, review the routes many of the tour buses take. This will give you a realistic amount of area to cover, but remember, many bus tours don’t leave much time for exploring and their professional drivers are well-versed in putting in lots of extra miles.
Dublin isn’t the only airport in Ireland. Most flights from North America also stop in Shannon on Ireland’s west coast. There are several smaller airports with service to other European cities.
Consider flying into one airport and out of the other. This will allow eliminate backtracking in your itinerary.
Airlines often offer the best price for airfare from their website.
Packages that are “land only” do not cover airfare.
“Fly and Drive” packages include airfare and car rental.
Voucher packages include coupons for accommodations. Most vouchers cover a standard room and breakfast at a participating B&B, hotel or castle. You may have to pay extra for an en suite room (a room with its own bathroom). Just buying vouchers generally doesn’t save you money over paying cash, but they may save you money when purchased as an air or ground package.
When getting a quote, make sure to note which airport the quote begins at. You may pay extra to fly from an airport closer to your home.
TOURISM IRELAND’S MARIE McKOWN’S SUGGESTIONS
Pick up car at Shannon
Cork City (Blarney Castle – 5 miles north)
County Kerry (Ring of Kerry – Killarney as a base)
County Clare (Cliffs of Moher)
Galway City (City of Tribes, Galway Bay, Claddagh Ring)
County Donegal (Glenveigh National Park and Castle)
Derry, Northern Ireland, and its medieval walls
Golf Courses (Royal Portrush, Royal County Down)
One Hundred Thousand Welcomes
Hotels, Castle Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts
Bus and Rail Tours
Longest daylight April, May and June
1-800-223-6470 or www.discoverireland.com
IRISH FIRESIDE SONG