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Ireland, Scotland, London - SLOW travel

Hi! I'm sort of semi-planning a fantasy trip for my sister, mother and myself. I want to take Mama (will be 73 in June) to see Scotland and Ireland and maybe London. Due to her having back surgery soon (maybe mid- Feb. ) we won't be able to do this in the spring like I'd wish. I'm thinking maybe September. I would love to spend a week in London (stay in apartment), a week in Inverness (apartment) and a week in Ireland. A relative is doing his student teaching in Cahrversheen this semester. And I've been to Ireland once (rest of UK more than 40 times). Has anyone rented a cottage, apartment, etc. in the Ring of Kerry area, Dingle area, or County Cork/County Kerry area? We will want to be able to get to SOME tourist sites, but also be able to take it easy if Mama needs to rest. Looking for ideas, suggesstions, etc. Also- we'd fly either into Dublin and out of London or vice-versa as USAir will have direct flights to/from Charlotte from both by then. Figure up to Inverness either by train, ferry or cheap flight. Plus- figure we'd have to rent a car for travel from Dublin to where ever we decide to stay in Ireland- that will be a first for me.

Posted by
1035 posts

Toni, I have read you say on other posts you prefer public transportation. Although a car is nice in Ireland for wandering around, it is not critical. There are train and bus options. If you went further north to Connemara, you could take a train from Dub to Galway. You could stay in Galway or in an outer lying area. I like Spiddal (short bus ride from Galway) which is in the Gaeltacht and gained some fame for being popular with Irish trad/rockers like the Waterboys. It is also home to one of the largest Irish language schools in Eire. From Galway you can easily negotiate getting to the Aran Island ferry by public transportation. There are loads of day tours available from there too. Galway itself is a fun and interesting place. Lots of good craic to be found.

Posted by
3428 posts

Thanks Michael, but I'm not sure that Mama will be able to handle much public transportation. If I'm able to pull off this trip, it will be a very different kind of trip than hubby and I have done in the past.

Posted by
4408 posts

Wow, Toni - as of a few hours ago my husband and I MAY BE planning a very similar itinerary with his parents! You were one of the first people who crossed my mind, because Great Britain (and London) is new territory for me. I'll be anxiously following this thread...We'll be there at the same time, and have the same concerns as you. I'm excited for you and your "fantasy trip"!

Posted by
5678 posts

Hey Toni, when I saw this I wondered if you were thinking of driving this time. When I went with my parents, my dad had problems with his foot and it really was a good thing that we had a car. It just made everything easier for him. He could save his walking energy for the touring part rather than the getting from A to B part. BTW i think that you can pick up a car in Inverness city centre as well as from the airport. If I remember right it's National. You do rent a car in Scotland this time, you should be sure to go to places that you can't get to by train. It may be a whole new Scotland for you. ; ) Pam

Posted by
62 posts

Hi Toni,
I wanted to say that you may want to rent a car as much as possible. It's been a while since I was on a train in Europe, so I can't remember exactly how rough or how smoothe the ride was, I do know how the trains here in the US are. If your mother is having back surgery, even in February with a trip in September, she may not be up to a lot of jostling. My father had back surgery several years ago and had to be very careful for quite awhile afterwards. Maybe you need to ask her surgeon about train travel. I remember the train from Brussels to Brugge was very smoothe, but can't remember the starts and stops. I remember there was a lot of crowds on the trains and difficulty getting a seat. Good luck with this trip. It will be a great memory maker for you and your mother. Pam

Posted by
3428 posts

Pam and Pamela,
Thanks for the reply. I don't think we will be doing much train travel (unlike hubby and me). IF this trip happens (and I'm not sure it will- and it might be only a portion of what I'm planning if it does), it will be limited with lots of rest time. Mama likes to sit and look at nature alot already, so I want to have time for that. The surgery she is having is not extensive, but she will need at least 6-8 weeks of total recovery time, then some time taking it easy- that's why I think Sept. Doctor says she should be ok. And we'll fly business class so she won't have to sit up so long. I'm checking with some "luxury" custom tour companies for Ireland and Scotland, though I think for Scotland that we'll just stay in Inverness and do a couple of day trips to the area where our 'clan' originated (We believe we are connected with the 'Lord of the Isles' McDonald's). Mama likes informal gardens, natrual scenery, etc. So I am thinking a tour of Isle of Skye, maybe one of Great Glen and/or Glencoe area, cruise up Loch Ness to see Urquart and Drumnadrochit are the type of things we'll do there. We wouldn't need a car- just use the tour companies. The apartment I'm looking at is very near the TI office. Not sure about Ireland- whether we'll try to move around a bit or get a cottage or apartment. That's the suggesstions I'm really looking for. I think the cottage might be best, in which case we will want the car for day trips. I'll let my left-handed sister who has been there once, also, do the driving!!!

Posted by
1358 posts

Toni,
We rented a cottage in the summer of 2009 in Doolin. We wanted a place that was central on the West coast, so we could go to the Cliffs, the Burren, Aran Islands, and down to Bunratty for a day. The cottage we got was very nice and very reasonable, but it's got 3 bedrooms, so it may be a bit big for you. It also has stairs, but there is one bedroom downstairs with a bath across the hall.

Posted by
32935 posts

So Toni, Off to Glencoe, the scene of the Great Murder under trust, looking for Campbells? Maybe your Mother won't be ready to wield a Claymore quite yet? Seriously, I hope that the trip works out, for all concerned. Thinking of your Mother's back, thinking of the railway concerns mentioned, can I mention how absolutely awful the roads have become here. We have had two consecutive seriously terrible winters with lots of precipitation and very deep freezing - the worst in living history. The result is potholes popping up everywhere. I really surprised my wife avoiding one on Sunday. Maybe, I hope, in this age of austerity, most of the worst ones will be repaired. Cross fingers!

Posted by
3428 posts

Aye, we have to see the scene of the crime! LOL. I don't know how much driving we'll be doing. We'll just have to see how she is and how the roads are. We, too have had unusual winters recently and I know first hand how dangerous and uncomfortable the roads can get. If she is up to it, I'd love to use the rails for a good part, but I just can't anticipate that yet. Thanks!

Posted by
993 posts

Who are you and what are you doing in Toni's body? Drive a car!!! Good on you. This sounds like it's going to be a wonderful trip. We have only ever stayed in B&B in Ireland. Try to see Cobh and Kinsale.

Posted by
3428 posts

It's really me in here. I'm only considering a car because of my Mom's health issues and my sister's previous driving experience in Ireland (plus she is left handed). Even with that I don't think we will be doing much moving around. Just a few day trips.

Posted by
2779 posts

I can't believe what I read....Toni is thinking about driving.....wow, what a change. I agree that it would probably be easier for your mom instead of public transportation.

Posted by
3428 posts

I wouldn't drive- my sister will get that honor. And if we don't have to , I'll be happy. I'm even investigaiting "luxury" tour companies that do custom trips and provide car and driver.... don't know if we can swing that, but it would be a real treat. I guess I've ruined my reputation on this board about pubic transport now.... LOL.

Posted by
4408 posts

Oh, my - first Toni, then Lee in Ireland (they speak German in Ireland?!? Really?!?) The Signs of the Apocalypse are being fulfilled! Next - Jo tells people there's absolutely nothing to see or do in Frankfurt, Kent makes innocent OPs cry when he spews multiple profanities at them, Neil admits he's never really wanted to go to Wales, Lee announces he's purchased a full set of rolling luggage for his Irish driving vacation (with a stopover at Frankf'o'rt, Germany), and someone starts ending sentences with... >;-( Mwahaha >;-(

Posted by
32935 posts

The world goes into reverse and seas and sky change places. I've seen it all here.