Help on travel in Ireland

My wife and I are going to Ireland on 7-13 October. We would like to travel to my home town or whats left of it. We would like to go to Ballykilcline in county Rosscommon and also to Stokestown which is nearby. I have cntacted the hotel but the people they get us in contact with want to charge 700-1000 USD a day. We are not rich americans we are retired on an fixed income. Does anyone have any ideas except driving myself????

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

What was the 700-1000USD a day for? If it is for going to these towns, where are you going from? Have you checked out bus service. It is usually quite good in Ireland. Train travel is somewhat limited.

Posted by John
Washington, DC, DC, USA
8 posts

It was for someone to take the two of us by car to stokestown and then Balleykilcline which is only a couple of miles away spend the day and bring us back to the hotel. I know nothing about the bus service, where to get it if it goes to Stokestown, How long it takes, etc.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

Wow, that seems incredible. As Nancy said, check bus service. Even if I was rich, I would not pay that price.

Posted by VS
Palo Alto, CA, United States
556 posts

That sounds like the cost for a private driver for the entire day. If there are taxis anywhere near there, you could probably negotiate a much better deal. For that matter B&Bs are a lot better deal than hotel in Ireland. If you are staying at a hotel, the presumption might be that you would only accept a driver in a high end luxury car, etc. A local B&B proprietor might have better options. Ireland prices were driven up a lot by the Celtic Tiger years. When we were there in 2002 it was an incredible bargain, great B&B rooms for $50 a night. Now those same places are $120+, although some of that has to do with Euro appreciation relative to the dollar (0.80 dollars to the Euro vs. 1.33 today). I was there by myself on business in 2010 and my impression was that the price of everything got out of control during the boom years, and everyone wanted a piece of the action. (Kind of like Silicon Valley in the Internet boom years leading up to the bust). Then the economy fell off in a big way, partially because of the global downturn and partially because what used to be a place to go for cheap labor was not so cheap anymore. In the U.S. in a down economy, prices would be bid back down again. My sense was that in Ireland that was not the case; but this was three years ago and you might have better luck now, if you look hard and negotiate. Ireland, as much as they love tourists, is crazy expensive on rental cars too. This is something I am really struggling with because our next trip may be a return there. I am seeing $80-100 a day with full CDW if you want an automatic - and credit card coverage won't cover because the roads are hazardous. This is 3X what I paid in England this year - Scotland is looking like it might be worth a look instead.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Ireland was a "receiver" country when they first joined the EU - EU money was poured into the country to improve infrastructure, such as building new motorways and improving them in other areas, as well as other programs. I have been to Ireland both before and after they joined, and have never heard anyone say it was a detriment, and certainly not a "heartache" to have joined. Perhaps someone who hasn't visited since 1994 doesn't know the whole story.

Posted by Jim
Bern, Switzerland
341 posts

Hi John, Great information. When I was in Ireland in 1994 it was a great country to visit and Ireland joining the EU caused them serious financial heart ache. I'm sorry but as an Irish person I have to say that you have not got a clue about it! Over the years the EU has pumped billions into the country in infrastructure projects, improving farming methods, education and so on. Free access to European markets has seen our companies move from being dependent on the UK to exporting all over Europe. Our membership of the EU allows our young people to attend college all over Europe at little or no cost and that our qualifications are recognized through out Europe, thus enabling people like me to work and live where ever I want. Our position as the only English speaking counrty in Euroland, has seen us garnish the lion's share of foreign investment from places like the US. And of course when it all went pear shaped for the PIGS, it was our fellow citizens in the other 23 countries that put up most of the bail out money. There is no doubt that Ireland has done very well out of this relationship. Jim. PS - Ireland joined the EU in 1974, so by 1994 you were already seeing the benefits of that relationship.

Posted by John
Washington, DC, DC, USA
8 posts

Great information. When I was in Ireland in 1994 it was a great country to visit and Ireland joining the EU caused them serious financial heart ache.

Posted by Kim
Paris
544 posts

On the contrary, joining the EU brought significant subsidies to Ireland's farmers as well as pushed them to modernize in many ways. They suffered in the last five years or so same as us -- property speculation, borrowing more than one could pay back, spending beyond one's means (whether private or public). The EU isn't some awful bogeyman.

Posted by Margaret
Nashville, TN, USA
451 posts

John, Will you be flying into Shannon or Dublin? If you will be flying into Shannon, I can give you the name a taxi driver who will be much less expensive than what your hotel quoted. If you are flying into Knock, I can give you the name of a Tubbercurry driver (from County Sligo, just north of County Roscommon). The going rate for a nice taxi for the day is about E250-300, plus gratuity. The executive transport companies (Benz with driver in coat/tie) start at E400+ per day. We used two different drivers (one for four days who acted as a tour guide through most of western Ireland) on a trip last month. We were exceptionally pleased we did this vs. renting a car and driving ourselves.

Posted by John
Washington, DC, DC, USA
8 posts

Thank you for the information. We are flying into Dublin. I think we will take a bus to Strokestown and then get a cab there. The places we need to go are all within a couple of miles of Strokestown. If you come up with a taxi cab name from Dublin airport I would appreciate it.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

We just use our regular credit cards, nothing pre-paid, and AAA is spot on, never use travelers checks.

Posted by John
Washington, DC, DC, USA
8 posts

We will be going to Europe and we were going to get travelers checks but AAA suggested that they are no longer the choice. They suggested we take a little cash but to put the majority of our funds into a prepaid debit card that we both could use. We were looking at possibility getting the mastercard prepaid debit card. Hs anyone had experiences with this? Any other ideas

Posted by Kathy
St. Louis, MO, USA
16 posts

We traveled in Ireland for 10 days in August. We used our credit card for large purchases and our regular debit card to get cash.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

John: here is Rick's page of excellent money advice. Read all the links, and you'll be an expert: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/money-travel-tips.htm You do NOT want traveler's checks or prepaid Mastercards (unless you want to add unnecessary hassle and expense to your trip). After you read Rick's tips, read this: You do want to check your bank's fees. If they are higher than you like, get an account at TD Bank (I see from their website that they have branches in DC). They have no surcharge for foreign withdrawals (some banks charge 3%). If you get the basic checking account with a $100 minimum, there is a $2.50 fee per withdrawal (so take out a lot at a time; their current daily limit is over $700, or about €500). If you get their fancier account with a $2500 minimum, there's no extra fee per withdrawal. If you don't want to change banks, you can just use this account for travel.