14 day tourto Ireland in September

My husband and I are taking the 14 day tour of Ireland with Rick Steves Tours,in September. Any advise for "must takes" or "don't bother withs" or basic knowledge or experience any of you who have taken this tour might want to share?
We are determined to pack only a carry one bag and that is going to be a challenge for sure, but I am determined to do it. I have Irish heritage and can't wait to get there! Thanks in advance for any tips/advise or info not found in the travel book.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17719 posts

Sheila, A few things that come to mind..... > Try to arrive in Dublin a few days before the tours starts, so that you'll be able to get over jet lag and visit some of the sights not covered on the tour. One place that I'd definitely recommend visiting is the Kilmainham Gaol, as it's a significant location in Irish history (a couple of movies were also filmed there). > The Guinness Storehouse tour is (IMO) something you can do if you have time and are interested, but it's not a "must see". If you do plan to visit, get there early as the queues can be huge! > I thought that Christ Church Cathedral was worth a visit. > I'd highly recommend packing rain gear or an Umbrella. I also took the tour in September and it wasn't cold, but there were one or two days that were a bit wet. > If convenient you might pack along £50 or so, as you'll need it when you visit the north. You'll probably need to visit an ATM at some point, but that will get you started. > Be sure to pack lots of memory cards and spare batteries for your Camera! That's about all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time - it's a fantastic tour! Happy travels!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

Don't bother with a hairdryer. If there isn't one in your room, you can probably borrow one at the front desk. Don't bother packing lots of spare batteries - you can buy them there easily. Do take various sizes of Ziploc bags - they come in handy all the time. Kilmainham Gaol is a must see. Guinness is an expensive waste of time, in my opinion.

Posted by Kristen
Chicago
268 posts

Hi Sheila! My advice is about packing. 1. Take no more than two pairs of shoes, including the ones you wear on the plane. Make sure you break them in before you leave. There are a lot of brands (Merrell, clark) that sell cute walking shoes. 2. Don't worry about toiletries or over the counter medications. Bring a small amount to get you through the first few days and then buy what you need as you go. They pretty much carry all of the same brands over there that we do here. And if you are staying at B&Bs or hotels, they usually supply hair dryers and sometimes even shampoo/soap. 3. I love to read when I travel (at night or on a long plain ride) so I bought a kindle so I didn't have to waste space to pack books. 4. You will most likely have to do laundry at some point. So look at your itinerary now and pick what day you will do it. Then you know you only need to pack clothes to get you to that day. I would pick a day that you will be somewhere for two nights and (preferably) have a little more free time. Most towns have Laundromats. My experience with European dryers is that they never work as well as ours here. You will probably have some clothes that will need to hang at least overnight to dry. 5. Take advantage of the "personal bag" allowance on board. You mentioned you want to pack one carry on. In addition to a suitcase, I will bring a large shoulder bag that I can fit a lot of other things in. No one ever questions it because it just looks like a purse. Have fun! I am going to the UK in September and I feel like I am going to spontaneously combust in anticipation!
KRisten

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17719 posts

Sheila, Forgot to mention Laundry. You won't have time in all towns to do Laundry, especially in the one night stops. One location that did have laundry was Dingle, which is convenient as you're there for three nights. As I recall, it was a "service wash" arrangement. You'll drop the laundry off in the morning and pick it up either late in the afternoon or the next day. Also, I see that the Kilmainham Gaol is now included in the tour (when possible), so you might check with the tour department to find out whether that will be included with your tour.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
763 posts

My husband and I took a TAUCK Tour to Ireland in June, 2012.. It was a FANTASTIC 14 night tour. It poured absolutely, every single day. It was quite blistery in Belfast. The rain didn't bother our tour group though, but we sure got wet. The weather didn't inconvenience our tour very much though, as we all planned for rain. There were 26 of us and every one of us thought Ireland was beyond great. We absolutely loved staying at the Ashford Castle for two nights. It is so worth it just to tour the property and eat there. The grounds overlooking the water are superb. None of us could say enough about how friendly and personable the Irish people are. I didn't realize there were so many shades of green until we drove around. Everyday was more beautiful that the previous day. None of us wanted to go home. I think most of us were least impressed with Belfast and Dublin though. We wouldn't go back to either place, but do want to return to southern Ireland someday.

Posted by Sheila
Buford, GA, USA
16 posts

Thanks to all who shared great tips, ideas and exeriences as we get ready for our trip! This is a GREAT website!!! :) Sheila