Please sign in to post.

Whither Sligo

We're tentatively thinking about a trip to Ireland this summer coincident with other relatives' visit to their mother in Sligo in the northwest of Ireland. We'd probably want to fly to Dublin and stay overnight (or not, depending on Dublin arrival time), and travel by rail to Sligo which appears to be approximately a 3-hour journey, for a three-night, two-day stay, then back to Dublin for either four or five full days there, and then on to London for perhaps eight nights and seven full days.

Given that we've enjoyed four previous trips to and lodging in London, we fairly likely will rent a flat there from the firm from which we rented on the previous three of those four visits. We hope to take an "inside the Circle one-hour tour" of Stonehenge and we understand and hope at least one of these tours will depart from London as a day trip (we'd already earlier spent a nice few days in Bath). Portsmouth and some currently unplanned destination might be added as day trips from London as well.

Now the questions: Has anyone reading this forum ever been to Sligo? Other than museums, etc, dedicated to the Yeats brothers, are there any other don't-miss Sligo sights?

Because our outbound flight would be from our home base, Seattle, and our return from London, we might well use BA for the trip. I'm not sure that Air Lingus (I've not checked to see if AL even flies from Seattle to Ireland), but, because we'll be returning from London, I'm not particularly attracted to "backtracking" to Dublin for our home-bound flight. BA is probably much more pricey than almost any other airline (well, maybe Delta is in the same pricey category). My question relates to the Dublin-London leg: It's about 40% less expensive to "ferry" by sea from Dublin to Wales on the Big Island (for you frequent Hawaiin travelers), thence by rail to London, making a fairly long day, than it would be to simply add a Dublin-London leg to the BA flight set. Recommendations, anyone?

Posted by
237 posts

Hello Jim,
Booking Flights:
If you're open to flying BA one thing to check on is BA will usually let you "lay over" in London as long as you like on either leg of your trip for free. So you may very well be able to just book Seattle > Dublin as a single flight "lay over" in London for eight days before flying out. Worth looking into but you'll probably have to book on the BA site (or use a travel agent if you can find one) to book this set-up.
Other things:
Never been to Slingo so not much help there.
Personally I think 4 or 5 days in Dublin is a lot. I might advocate either a slower return to Dublin and seeing some of the countryside on the way to Dublin and/or day trips from Dublin to outer areas like Newgrange/Knowth or the Wicklow mountains to see more of the country than Dublin.
If you like museums the archeology museum in Dublin is fantastic and inexplicably under-mentioned. I enjoyed Christchruch Cathedral which stood out even after a couple weeks of church sightseeing - don't miss the crypt basement if you go.

Have a great trip!
=Tod

Posted by
1826 posts

Did you consider a budget airline from Dublin to London instead of a long day by ferry and train? Just an option.

Posted by
149 posts

Tod, If I understand your London one week or so layover suggestion (which I've not yet checked out with BA), we'd fly to London, lay over there for our London holiday, fly to Dublin, travel by rail to Sligo for two or three days, return by rail to Dublin for a stay there and a couple of day trips, then fly from Dublin to our home in Seattle, backtracking only slightly with a stop at Heathrow to board the London-Seattle direct flight. We prefer non-stops unless the second leg is a short one, e.g., the London-Dublin and vice versa trip. Please see my note to Gail below.

Gail, I priced a Dublin-London (following our Irish adventure) additional leg to be included in the overall BA journey and, oddly, it is much better in terms of time (and wear and tear) over the Irish Sea ferry and overland Wales-London rail journey (about 107£ for two based on an internet quote that included the water trip from Dublin and the rail journey on to London). The extra BA cost for that leg is, astoundingly, just $24 for two and of course would place us at Heathrow with its direct connection on the Picadilly underground to the West End where we'd probably lodge.

An additional note: Based on some advice from a friend before our first trip a few years ago that it's a modest adventure to travel on the Continent and learn the drill of trying to implant enough non-English in our minds to be polite, rather than ugly, Americans, so it may be a good idea to plan a multi-country trip so that the language experiences come first and you follow up on the back end of the travel with a bit lower-key experience with a little less language exercise; therefore, it can be a more relaxing experience to finish up where one can at least read the newspapers and signs. We've found that to be good advice for us and we always like to complete our journey with our days in London and nonstop flight home to Seattle, so that may ultimately guide our itinerary.

In any event, we'd better get Rick's Ireland book for Dublin and some day trips from there.

Thanks again, Tod and Gail.

Posted by
237 posts

Jim,
If you fly BA to Dublin you will go through Heathrow (their hub) both directions. When I've booked there's always been the option to choose a "lay over" in London in either direction for as long as you want. (I am in the BA frequent flier club but I'm not aware that is this a club perk, but you'd need to look into booking it.) If you can get this to work you would essentially only have the one ticket to book and pay for.

We flew BMI between London and Dublin but BA has since swallowed them up. Flying into another city like Liverpool can be cheap but you would end up dealing with RyanAir which is a whole separate discussion and can of worms.

I like traveling to multiple countries because you can compare and contrast cultures but my only caution on visiting too many countries where you cross water is you can lose a day to travel each way. Even when you fly getting to the airport and into the new city eats into your schedule. I have to say that I under estimated the added ease of traveling in a country where you speak the language. It's just a little easier to integrate when you can make small talk and ask follow-up questions. However there will still be plenty of things that may baffle and bewilder, but that's why you travel. To avoid being an ugly American just go with the flow, be willing to laugh at yourself and assume that you don't know what you're doing not that they "do it wrong over here".

Have a great trip whatever you decide,
=Tod

Posted by
149 posts

Tod,

I'll try to talk with a live person at BA if I can't figure out (or even find) the layover option with a straightforward explanation on the BA website. If the frequent flyer rules are the same as they were when we first flew BA in 2001 for a trip spent wholly in the UK (Seattle to Glasgow via London, then rail to Edinburgh (with a three day stopover by bus from Elgin to Aberlour, home of Walker's shortbread cookies and verra verra handy to a couple of Speyside distilleries), then to York and Bath for three or four days each (with a Bath day trip to Cardiff), then on to London, where, after a fine touring week, nonstop from Hrsthrow back to Seattle, we asked BA about frequent flyer policies. BA said, shocking this middle-income, aging traveler, that we were not eligible for the frequent flyer program because we were flying economy class, so we made some future trips on United, Air Canada and Air France, which were aleays less expensive than BA but not nearly as convenient as BA.

Posted by
237 posts

Hello Jim,

I looked into it and I may have mislead you. This option used to pop-up during the booking before you actually chose tickets. But I just went through it and doesn't show up anymore. The option was still there last May when I flew to Scotland, but I don't know if this option isn't available anymore or it just doesn't show up but it's not there. One Google search seemed to say you could do this by using the multi-city flight booking options but I have no idea if that's true.

I think it's worth a call to a customer service rep but this just might not be something they do anymore. If they have discontinued it I'm sorry for getting your hopes up based on old information.

=Tod

Posted by
123 posts

Jim,
Aer Lingus in April is opening a direct route from Dublin to San Fran. That's as close as they are coming right now to Seattle. I would do the direct flight from Seattle to London. There are other airports near by London that have cheap flights to Dublin. On Ryanair my boyfriend's brother-in-law just got a €30 ticket from Dublin to a place just north of London. Don't take the ferry, I've done it and there are 2 different ones, one that is fast and the other that isn't.

Sligo or as I love to call it Sligo-town is a really fun place to hangout. They have some many amazing pub and fantastic restaurants there. Sligo also has Knockmarea, Carrowmore and the Sligo Abbey.

Posted by
760 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
SLIGO: my wife's best Irish experience...Queen Maeve's Grave outside Sligo. She walked to the top of the grave and came down looking like Sogorny Weaver in Ghostbusters. Never saw her so charged with electricity.

It is a REAL up hill climb to the grave.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
149 posts

Thanks for adding some useful comments, folks. I was afraid that Sligo as a topic had exhausted itself. We're firming up our plans now and I hope we can lock down a flight reservation this week. We had originally briefly thought about a week in London on the back end of the trip, i.e., after Sligo/Dublin/environs, but one of us thinks that our earlier four London holidays (the last as recent as September) are sufficient to last us for a good, long while. So, based on the usual sunk cost of flight over from and back to Seattle and "in for a pence, in for a £" we still wanted to add on a week somewhere within just a few hours flying time. We played around a couple of weeks with the idea of a week or so in Berlin (we're both WWII aficianados) but Ireland as, it's fair, I think, to say, a more than somewhat pro-German neutral country during the war, doesn't offer much that reflects positively on the Allies in that conflict.

Somehow, we came to part, at least, of our senses and will try to work in a week in Paris on the front end of our Ireland adventure, especially emphasizing day trips (Versailles and Chartre, but not Normandy because it seems just a beach too far for even a long day trip) and pastry whenever and wherever possible. We had spent a week in Paris in 2001 concentrating on the "big" sights: the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musee D'Orsay, etc, and had a pretty good time, but not perhaps the thrill experienced by most tourists. Several friends were quite surprised that, on our 2009 trip to Beaune to savor Burgundian specialties, we actually ytaveled by rail from Beaune to Gare de Lyon, stopped for a quick ham sandwich in the station, grabbed a taxi for Gate du Nord, and took the Channel Tunnel train to London, and so spent no more than in-station dining time and cross-Paris taxi time in the city. Our favorite city must be London, with Vienna a reasonably close second, but we're game for another go at Paris. I'm not much of a shopper but I am the principal cook in our home and I'll be looking for a couple or three carbon steel Sabatier knives I can have shipped safely back to Seattle.

I appreciate the advice re the lower-cost airlines, but, adding on the Paris leg with Heathrow as the pivot point for both trip components on a multi-city "open jaw" basis with BA, and enjoying the benefit of timing with the various flights into and out of Heathrow versus traveling to Gatwick, Stanstead, etc, for the less expensive travel, I've resurrected some of my economics classes discussions of far too many years and I think I' m receiving marginal benefits in excess of the marginal cost difference.

Posted by
149 posts

Our travel is just a bit more firmed up since yesterday; at least we've settled on a departure date for Paris and 90% settled on a travel date Paris to Sligo. While we'd originally planned to fly about mid-morning from Paris to Dublin and follow up with the three- hour rail trip to Sligo, it seems BA in concert with Aer Lingus also flies Paris to Heathrow to Shannon. I've looked at the Irish Rail site and there appear to be frequent Shannon/Sligo trains with approximate one-hour travel times. Here's my basic question: I'm a bit confused about Shannon. Are there two Shannons? Is the Shannon of Shannon Airport the same as the Shannon of Carrick on Shannon which seems to be one end of the "Shannon to Sligo" route on the Irish Rail website, or are there really two Ireland Shannons wholly unconnectedcwith each other?

Posted by
1826 posts

Two totally different places. Two observations, would not want to take planes from Paris to London, then onto Shannon. Would just do direct flights to Dublin. Shannon airport is in the southwest part of Ireland. Carrick on Shannon is northwest direction from Dublin. My niece worked and lived in Carrick on Shannon about five years ago and when my sister visited she just took train from Dublin to Carrick on Shannon. We only drove there. Don't know how you would get from Shannon airport to Sligo but can tell you it would involve a lot of wasted time. Would go to Dublin and train to Sligo.

Posted by
149 posts

Thanks for confirming my suspicions, given my sometimes difficulty with maps, that there are in fact two places which in some sense may be called Shannon, the town with the international airport (by the way in 1958 I actually stopped at Shannon Airport on a military flight from Wrightstown, New Jersey, to Frankfurt, Germany, and had the interesting--to me--event of seeing one of the first Boeing 707s parked there along with a Comet), and the River Shannon on which Carrick is located and on the rail line between Dublin and Sligo. So flight from Paris to Dublin and on to Sligo by three hour train; it seems like it may be a long day, especially not knowing how difficult it will be to get from Dublin's airport to the appropriate train station for the Sligo leg of the trip.

Also, by the way, I checked the cheapest flights I could find direct to Dublin from Paris and from Dublin to Heathrow, and they are much more expensive, assuming I fly BA from Seattle to Paris and BA home because in the oddities of international air travel (and I want to fly non-stop to and from Seattle and BA seems the best service for this and cheaper than Delta/KLM which involves a bit of a diversion to Amsterdam), the BA Seattle-Paris-Dublin-Seattle open jaws flight is about $75 less costly than just Seattle-Paris-Dublin-Seattle, leaving BA out of the Paris-Dublin-Heathrow leg. Substituting any bargain airlines would just add an additional cost.