Clueless - traveling to Ireland
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Sep 11, 2012 3:25 AM Last Post By: yofletch
Sep 7, 2012 12:20 PM
Clueless - traveling to IrelandLet me start by saying: I did do a search before posting this, and everything I found was over my head and not dumbed-down enough for me (i've never traveled outside the country)
A few years ago I decided I wanted to backpack around Ireland... since then a few things have changed, and I want to travel to Ireland with my significant other- less the backback and am still clueless. Some questions:
1- Where do you go to exchange currency? Let's say I flew into Dublin (no specific reason). Also, I read that visa/mastercard is widely accepted- would I need "cash" or could I just put all the cash into my debit card to use as money?
2- Also from what i've read, it seems that it would be best to rent a car, which i'm assuming I could pick up from the airport and go from there?
3- Which part to visit/where to stay: If flying into Dublin (?) how far would we have to travel to do these things? I'd like to stay in the same place each night - preferably not too far from the airport (we are not picky, a cheap hotel would be fine, what is a cheap hotel in ireland? as long as it has hot water and a clean bed) but also be able to do the following: visit some of the beautiful castles, horseback ride, walk on a trail to see landscape, local food/traditional irish music/pubs/culture, gardens, adventerous activities. If we stayed in Dublin how far of a drive would it be to do these things?
Anything else I should know? We are kind of minimalists. Dont mind finding a way to eat cheap, and looking at rustic sites from the outside without paying for "tours" and on a budget. Prefer to travel in the fall but doesn't really matter.... don't be too harsh on me :)
Length of stay: Approximately 1 week
Budget for 2 people: $3,000/$4000 USD (this has to include our airfare) and preferably less.
Sep 7, 2012 12:42 PM
1Changing money: At the airport there are banks and money exchange booths but they might not be open at the time you arrive. Consider buying some Euro before you leave the States, enough for transport to wherever you are staying and that'll give you time to find a bank at your leisure. Credit/ Debit cards work fine here (chip and pin) but you will need cash for small purchases so use the cards at ATMs to withdraw Euros.
Renting Car - depends on where you want to go, how far off the beaten track, though if you only have a week you'd be better sticking to the main sites/sights and using public transport.
Staying in Dublin, you could drive to most places inside 3 hours Donegal and Kerry will take longer. Not suitable for day trips and if you are coming in Oct Nov the days get short sunrise 9.00, sunset 16.30 approx. Most of your activities could be done from closer to Dublin or you could base yourself in Galway/Kilkenny/Cork.
Enjoy the planning. Hopefully it won't take you another 2 years to get going.
Sep 7, 2012 1:15 PM
Sep 7, 2012 4:57 PM
3When are you travelling to Ireland ?
Where are you from in the U.S. ?
bring layered clothing
up to date weather see.....MET.IE /
expect it to rain especially in mountain areas
Connemara in county Galway is lovely
Youtube the following :
"AT YOUR SERVICE PART 1"
followed by PART 2 and PART 3
Also use Google MAPS to build your intended route.
all the best.
Edited by: yofletch
Sep 7, 2012 8:20 PM
4Thanks everyone! I'm 27 and he is 25. We have no particular season in mind and currently live in Pennsylvania (northeast US)
Sep 8, 2012 8:49 AM
5I thought Penn State was mid-atlantic ?
If your interested in visiting the west of Ireland only
you said you where only staying 7 days
then fly to Shannon airport with
AERLINGUS.COM / direct from JFK
and / or UNITED.COM / direct from EWR
during the summer months DELTA.COM /
fly direct from JFK
Also consider an organized tour with PADDYWAGONTOURS.COM /
Sep 8, 2012 9:14 AM
Sep 8, 2012 10:51 AM
7Once you're 25 or older car hire should not be a problem.
Would recommend you split your time and stay at least a couple of nights somewhere more rural, maybe in the west of Ireland.
Most of the things you mention can be done near Dublin, i.e. within an hour's drive.
There are definitely horse-riding facilities in counties Wicklow and Kildare near Dublin, I have no idea where exactly or how they operate or what they charge. Google "horse riding Wicklow" and "horse riding Kildare" and see if anything turns up.
There are very pleasant gardens at Powerscourt and Mount Usher in County Wicklow, though personally I think the natural landscapes are more appealing.
Also many walking routes available in the Wicklow mountains near Dublin, though be prepared properly for the weather and able to navigate with map and compass - most of these are not straightforward sunday strolls.
But bear in mind that if you're based in Dublin, you will be driving through traffic every time you want to get out of the city or back in.
Also, the landscapes are quite different in the West and somewhere like Conamara or County Mayo, you are also closer to a more traditional culture and way of life, and there's often more on offer in terms of music and suchlike.
Sep 9, 2012 1:03 AM
Sep 9, 2012 2:47 AM
9Good advice above, I'd just say that you are looking for two contradictory things - a hotel near the airport convenient for daytrips, but also wanting to experience the city. If you stay at an airport hotel you will be quite isolated, its a long expensive taxi trip from most if you want to go out and enjoy the city in the evening (which you really should). There is nothing more depressing I think than the bar in a cheap outer suburban hotel. But if you stay in city centre, you will have difficulties with parking and getting in and out of the city.
My suggestion to you would be to stay in two places - book a nice convenient city centre hotel for maybe half your stay and explore the city and surrounds. You can see places like Trim Castle (the finest anglo-Norman castle in Ireland) using regular buses or tourist buses. I'd then suggest getting a hire car for the remainder of your trip and then base yourself somewhere different - maybe Galway city or a smaller town - there are numerous options. You can then explore the countryside with less traffic hassles, then just drive back to the airport on your last day. Do get a GPS as its difficult to navigate in Ireland!
For cheap hotels, if you are coming out of season you should be able to get good deals online. Most of the chain hotels are quite similar, just focus on getting the most convenient location (in Dublin, this means city centre).
Sep 10, 2012 6:52 AM
10Thanks everyone! I'm not quite sure I understand the chip and pin?
I wouldn't mind staying somewhere within 1 hour of the airport. From the posts above it seems that I would want to visit the West in order to do the horseback riding/walking/traditional pubs/castles. Would it still make sense to fly/stay in Dublin? Or would the West be the Shannon airport? If so, then would it be better to stay in which town? I've been looking at maps and having a hard time getting my barrings. When I hear the word "city" I don't think of nature and landscapes.
Sep 10, 2012 2:51 PM
11I think you really want to see the picturesque Ireland everyone imagines so you should probably just fly into Shannon as guys above mentioned. Dublin is fantastic but much more cosmopolitan than I think you seem to want. Galway city (West coast) is small and lively (student city but good for all ages) also you don't have far to go to Irish 'hotspots' such as the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher,I am sure there is horse riding there too.
Cork (South) is similar if not as refined a city as Galway ( but that might make it even better) also I think this gives you more spectacular options of places to see, West Cork, RIng of Kerry (South West). These would realistically only be options if you spend a few days in the South.
Download a map of Ireland to get more familiar with the locations and google map distances eg. Galway city to the Burren Centre.
This way you have a better idea about how long it will take to get places and you can make a good decision on where you will stay.
N.B Irelands EXPENSIVE
Trains are best transport, but they're expensive, driving is the best way to see the place, but fuel is expensive, so just bare that in mind when budgeting!
Sep 10, 2012 4:01 PM
12"it seems that I would want to visit the West in order to do the horseback riding/walking/traditional pubs/castles"
Not at all, as I said above in reply no. 7 you can certainly do this from Dublin - but if you base yourself somewhere smaller, at least for a couple of days, you will be able to engage in some of your desired activities without the stress of getting around a big city.
I would seriously recommend to you to get a good guidebook such as the Lonely Planet and have a thorough look through it.
Sep 10, 2012 10:52 PM
Sep 11, 2012 3:25 AM
14Galway city is 1 hours drive from Shannon airport
and is a great place to start
spend a couple of days there getting over your jet-lag
then hit the road to Doolin, Clare and stop by
O'Connors pub for lunch ( see on Google IMAGES )
every evening they have TRAD music playing
its close to the "Cliffs of Moher"
Driving south along the coast road N67 / R483 to Kilrush and then Killimer
for the ferry to Tarbet and onwards to either Dingle and Killarney via Tralee.
Edited by: yofletch
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