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Five Mistakes Visitors to Ireland Make

April 7, 2009

corey says…I’ve worked with hundreds of people planning trips to Ireland, and even with the most diligent forethought, there are a handful of “mistakes” they tend make over and over again. Here’s a go at the first five that come up regularly.

  1. Warp Speed – An unreasonable list of must-sees will leave you seeing Ireland from the windows of your tiny rental car. If you’ve got a week, expect to see a quarter of the country. Exceed that, and you might be at risk for the accurately named Green Blur Tour.
  2. Avoiding the Locals – After spending hours reading guidebooks and online reviews, don’t convince yourself you’ve got all the information you need. Ten minutes chatting with your B&B host, a shop clerk or a pub owner can provide insight no pre-trip resource can offer. Don’t just say you’ll do this, actually set aside the time for this interaction.
  3. Sticking to the Big Sites – Each region in Ireland is loaded with attractions, but most itineraries string together only the major sites. Rather than rushing to the next big site, try choosing a major attraction and then find nearby destinations to fill the rest of the day and even the next morning.
  4. Misunderstanding the “Real” Ireland – Thatched cottages and donkey carts? Ireland is not the same place your great grandparents left behind. Folk parks and heritage centres will provide a peek at what has happened in Ireland over the generations. Expect a modern, educated, vibrant population.
  5. Following Those Who Have Gone Before – Your friends and family who visited Ireland are excellent resources for planning, but don’t let their experience be the end-all. Try to make the trip your own rather than an attempt to come home with matching photo albums.
6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2009 9:54 AM

    i love these tips. it is all too true. thanks!

  2. April 15, 2009 2:52 AM

    Excellent tips – thank you. My favorite is #4 Searching for the Real Ireland. …”Expect a modern, educated, vibrant population.”

    The modern, educated, vibrant population of today is every bit as intriguing and enjoyable as the Irish of my great-grandfather’s (or even my father’s) day.

    Mindie Burgoyne

  3. Vicki Fisher permalink
    September 15, 2009 5:05 PM

    I just listened to a few of your podcasts today! I think this list and the packing list and all other info on this site will be very helpful as we prepare for our trip in October. We arrive in Dublin around the 12th…any tips or things we (4 ladies) should know or do? How do you keep all the pictures you take daily? many cards or small travel laptop to empty cards onto at the end of the day? And what kind of shoes? Hiking boots or gym shoes? I’m soo excited to hear back from you and to spend more time at this site! Thank you sooo much! Vicki, Tammy, Rachel and Michelle (Maple Grove Minnesota USA)

    • September 17, 2009 8:04 AM

      Vicki & the rest of the crew,

      You’re in for quite a treat in Ireland. Our Dublin podcasts cover the basics of the capital, and the guidebooks will cover the rest of the city. Are you traveling outside of Dublin? Where? How long are you there?

      When I travel, I bring along two larger memory cards for my camera (1 or 2 GB), and I also throw in the smaller 250 MB that came with my camera. Truth is that in a week, I don’t come close to filling one of the cards. Since I’m there for months at a time, I upload them to my computer & Flickr, but I have also gone into photo shops (often in Pharmacies/Chemists) and had pics burned to CD. Don’t bring a laptop if you don’t have to, it just gets in the way.

      Wear the shoes that are most comfortable. If you have outdoorsy activities plans, the hiking books could come in handy. For the average visitor, gym shoes are fine though.

  4. Diana permalink
    September 17, 2009 12:29 AM

    I wish I had read this list before my first trip to Ireland. My sister and I went for two weeks last summer and we broke rule # 1!!! Its amazing how small and driveable the distances look on the map, but that is so not the case. While we did have a wonderful time, we spent much of each day driving, which is suprisingly stressful and tiresome. We landed in Dublin and went in a clockwise circle around the entire island in 13 nights. Of the 3 or 4 stops we had planned for each day we were very lucky if we saw two. The funny thing is, the spontaneous stops (stopping just because something caught our eye) was when we had the most fun. By all means make your list of favorites, but don’t feel like you have to cross them all off the list. Leave time to stop at that ancient crumbling church that isn’t in any guide book and let yourself really enjoy all that Ireland has to offer. No matter where you go in Ireland you’ll find something worth seeing or somebody fun to talk to. I can’t wait to go back and start all over again, just at a much slower pace this time.

    I want to thank you Liam and Corey for your wonderful podcast. Irish Fireside is an invaluable source of information for all thing Ireland. You both do such wonderful work and it is a pleasure to listen to you. My only complaint is that there aren’t more to listen to!!!!

    • September 17, 2009 8:02 AM

      Diana – Thanks for your own suggestions. Sounds like you had quite a whirlwind tour. I doubt you’ll make that mistake twice.

      Your kind words are also appreciated. We’d love to post more podcasts and information… alas, “real” life gets in the way. Don’t worry though, we’ll continue to put more up.

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