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Anybody going RS Ireland May 16? Also seeking tips if you hsve been...

Getting excited and would like to hear from tour members to stave off the waiting!

Posted by
9363 posts

Tips about what, the tour specifically? Or Ireland in general? What kind of tips?

Posted by
82 posts

Tips about the tour, ways to spend b s free time ( interested in history, trad music), a not to be missed site.

Posted by
9363 posts

I haven't taken the tour, so I can't speak to that. But it seems you got several answers when you asked basically the same question twice before. It's going to depend a lot on where you are when you have free time. What cities will that happen in?

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks Nancy, now that I have dates, was hoping to get more recent input and see if I could virtually meet any others getting ready to go.

Posted by
2246 posts

Hey Steph, we have not taken a RS tour, but we were in Ireland last year for a week. It was just spectacular. The highlights for us were the Slea Head drive we took, the Cliffs, Killarney National Park and Belfast. Our time in Ireland could not have been better, and I'm sure you'll have a terrific time. I really enjoy planning our trips but the hard part is waiting the six months or more before it actually happens!

Posted by
124 posts

Steph,
The RS tour guides are amazing and each tour is a little bit different. What I have found to be the best part of a RS trip is not only the groups of people in the tour group but the people you meet along the way from the towns, cities and villages that RS takes you to visit along the tour. Ireland is an amazing country to visit. I haven't taken the RS tour for Ireland, but I have spent many days there and also my parents and their friends, plus my old landlords have taken the RS tour for Ireland. So what kind of info are you really looking for?

Posted by
9538 posts

Steph, I'm doing the RS Ireland tour the first part of June, and would love your impressions...but will probably leave before you get back, lol!

In looking closely at the itinerary, it looks like there is less free time than in the Heart of Italy we took last May. It looks like just 1/2 day in Kinsale and the full day in Dingle. There are 5 of us going and I have a few choices for people for both on those days...or they can just hang out and enjoy being in Ireland.

Are you coming in to Dublin early? I have reservations for a tour to Newgrange for one of our pre-tour days, the others we will just explore Dublin. One of the other folks in our group is doing a birdwatching tour.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks for the tips! More excited that ever. Recvd the tour list and final docs yesterday!!!

Thanks again for suggestions and comments.

Posted by
212 posts

We took the RS Ireland tour in Sept 2012 and it was fantastic. Some suggestion:
1. Try to go to some authentic, not tourist filled pubs. That means get away from the Temple Bar area if you can. The Cobblestone pub is great, not too far a walk, has authentic music, locals, few tourists. The Guiness is the same everywhere, but the music is different.
2. While in Dublin, check out the National museum, really nice.
3. Kinsale is really great town, go for the seafood any chance you can. They have great chefs now in Ireland. The seafood is particularly great.
4. Dingle was our favorite town. If you are into Irish music, check out Siopa Ceoil An Daingin - Dingle Music Shop. The guide will tell you where it is. They have musical performances there and a great collection of Irish music. Plus Michael, the owner, is a great guy. Check out Murphy's ice cream, pretty good. Finally, Out of the Blue seafood restaurant was terrific.
5. If the weather is nice in Dingle, bike around the penisula or just go for a walk around town.
6. A negative is that the food at the cafeteria at the Blasket Center is iffy at best. However, they won't let you eat any food that you brought into the cafeteria from the outside, they watch you like a hawk. So you're stuck. However, you have to try the Tom Crean beer while in Dingle, it's the local brew, literally. The brewery is in town. Pretty good light beer.
7. Galway was lots of fun. The boat trip out to the Aran Island was great, we were lucky and had great weather. When you go to Dún Aonghasa for, watch your step along the cliff face. There is a straight drop several hundred feet to the ocean, no rails, and loose gravel and dirt. Consider it weeding out the incoordinated.
8. Going to Derry and hearing about the Troubles from both sides was very enlightening and sobering. Seeing the wall murals gives you an idea of how deeply the violence affected ordinary people.
9. The Bushmill whiskey tour was a blast, particular the sample you get at the end. I generally do not like whiskey, but the 13 year old stuff was pretty good. They also provided us with a great lunch.
I think that you will have a great time. The scenery is beautiful, the people could not be more friendly (pub and Guiness just about every night we were there). The history is both tragic and inspiring, as your tour guide will explain. The local guides are very knowledgable and give very good presentations.
Finally, the tour guide and driver are all terrific. We had Barry and Dennis, who were absolutely superb.
Have a great time.

Posted by
212 posts

To add to what my sig other, David, said - I think the most important "not to miss" on the Ireland tour is the opportunity to interact with locals, who are by and large very friendly, and will strike up a conversation at the drop of a hat. I myself picked the Ireland tour to learn more about Celtic music, so we spent a lot of evenings in pubs listening to music, but we were also treated to many delightful conversations. One of our buddies came back with a hilarious "day off" story about how a handful of locals were dealing with first-time installation of new internet service at the tiny pub he popped into. You will learn a lot by getting the perspective of people from another country. You can also learn a lot about what to expect on any tour by looking at the scrapbooks for the RS contest. The one I made for our Ireland trip is at sites.google.com/site/eire0912/ - the slideshows at Google sites don't work any more, but you can still see the slideshows at Flickr. CL

Posted by
702 posts

The music is Dingle is amazing. You will probably do the St. James church concert as part of the group. On your own, try out O'Sullivan's Courthouse Pub, John Benny Moriarty's, and the Dingle Pub (especially if Dreams of Freedom is playing).

Posted by
31435 posts

Steph,

The others have provided lots of good information, and I have a few additional thoughts....

Be sure to arrive a few days early in Dublin. This will give you an opportunity to not only get over jet lag, but also to see a few sights not covered on the tour and do a bit of "exploring" in the Temple Bar area. If the Kilmainham Gaol is not covered on your tour, I'd would definitely recommend visiting that as it's a significant site. The tour of the Guinness Storehouse is worthwhile if you're interested and have the time. There's usually a long queue to enter, so I'd suggest getting there early.

Of all the places visited on the tour, Dingle was my favourite. It's a great place for Pubs and good music. As I recall, that's also a good "laundry stop".

Happy travels!

Posted by
212 posts

Couple more thoughts
New Grange (near Dublin) is not on the tour, but is well worth seeing - check the RS guidebook for details. You will need an extra day before or after the tour to see it.

More music stuff: as soon as you know your guide's name, email the guide and ask if the Musical Pub Crawl (Dublin, think "crash course in trad") is on your itinerary (it wasn't on our official itinerary, but our guide arranged it for the first night). If it isn't, add it if possible. We actually went 2x, once on our own (b/c we didn't know it was on the tour) and once with the group. That turned out to have been OK - the musicians leading the crawl were different on each night. They told us "if you want to know where the good music is, ask musicians." So in Dublin (in addition to going to the Cobblestone), you can ask the pub crawl guys or at Claddagh Records (Temple Bar area). Claddagh is billed as a top-notch shop - not cheap and unfortunately lacks audio samples - but they can be very helpful if you're looking for something specific. In Dingle (in addition to going to O'Sullivan's), you can ask at the Dingle Music Shop.

Posted by
82 posts

Thank you for all the great tips on music, that is one of the things I am most excited about. And we are doing Newgrange the day before the tour starts as we arrive a few days before. Thanks also for the comments about laundry - I am sure I will want to do some!

Posted by
212 posts

Re:laundry. Ireland was our first RS tour and I had to learn how to manage laundry on a tour. Laundry isn't too hard on the Ireland tour - we did laundry in Dingle and I'm pretty sure Westport, but that meant doing laundry in Dublin the afternoon before the bus took off so we could make it to Dingle before having to do laundry. Some hints if you are a laundry-on-tour newbie. 1) Get some camp soap (the kind that comes in little sheets), a sink stopper (the flat rubber thing that can stop a drain), a large garbage bag that doesn't leak and a clothesline. That way you can do a day's laundry in the sink if necessary. 2) On a tour, it may be worth letting the hotel do the laundry (and on the Ireland tour, that was really the only practical option outside of Dublin). Yes, they charge a lot more than at a self-serve, but when your free time is constrained by a schedule, you want not to be spending your precious free time in a laundromat. 3) If planning on doing your own laundry, test everything you plan to handwash to make sure it'll dry overnite even if the weather is cool. Depending on a tour's schedule, overnite may be all the time you get to dry clothes. 4) Similarly, make sure that everything you bring is color-fast in warm water. I was surprised that some clothes bled colors even though I had washed them at home many times before. This is especially important if you're going to have the hotel do your laundry. 5) Do homework if planning to use a self-serve laundromat in a foreign country if you are not familiar with the language. Sometimes you can find pictures on Google that have the directions.

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks everyone! I am packed and ready to go Tuesday...can't wait. Thank you again for all the tips!

Posted by
82 posts

Thanks everyone! I am packed and ready to go Tuesday...can't wait. Thank you again for all the tips!

Posted by
6254 posts

Your excitement makes me smile. Have a great time! Lovely country, lovely people and the RS tour will be wonderful. In Dingle be sure to enjoy a pint at Foxy Johns! Slainte!

Posted by
2246 posts

Have a great trip, Steph. Be sure to write a little-or big-trip report for us when you're back. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the RS trip vs going solo, without an organized tour.
Cheers!