We are heading to Ireland with a family of 5 (2 adults; 3 kids ages 11, 9, 7). We are arriving in Dublin and using Rick's advice of the Airlink from the airport to our B&B in the city center. We will also most likely be using the local busses to get to Kilmainham Gaol. Should we purchase a 3-day Rambler pass to cover the bus from the airport and help with cost in the city or just do pay as we go? Are their reduced fares for the busses or pass for kids (this is not covered in Rick's Ireland book as it is in his others). Lastly, after a week in the country, we are leaving out of Dublin and taking the bus bak to the airport -- any advice from above that helps for the last trip helps as well. Thanks!
I'm not familiar with the Rambler pass, but this past summer, we used the 10 euro daily family passes for the bus. You can pick one up from most food shops, like Spar. There's an electronic reader inside the bus, you just scan it there. If you're in city center, though, you may be doing more walking than riding.
There's a couple of options for getting to city center from the airport. There's a couple of express buses that go from the airport to city center, we took one to O'Connell street. The daily bus pass covers that. Airlink is a little more costly, but they do help you with your bags and put them under the bus.
When at the airport, you can buy a bus pass for about 20E that lasts 3 days and you can ride as many times as you wish. It is for a tourist type bus. We used it to see the major sites on the map they gave us. If we wished to venture more, we marked the sites and came back the next day for a more thorough viewing -example is Trinity College and book of Kells. Bus just went by and said there it is. We came back the next day and saw the book. Did same for a church and several other sites. Dublin is a fairly compact city. Once you do the bus about, the rest can be walked.
Consider what you want to see and do in Dublin. The city center is pretty compact. Once you arrive at your lodgings, you may not find yourself using the bus that often.
I spent 3 days in Dublin and I think I only used the bus to get to Kilmainham Gaol and the Guinness tour ... Other than that, I pretty much walked all over. I stayed in the Temple Bar area. I also took the airlink bus from the airport.
According to the Dublin bus site, a one day family Rambler pass is good for two adults and up to four children under 16. It only costs 10 euro and it will cover your ride on the Airlink bus from the airport to Dublin. Buying a family Rambler pass each day would be a lot cheaper than buying individual three-day Rambler passes.
See this page.
I'm doing almost the same trip with my family this summer. What we plan to do is the hop on off bus for a day to get to the tourist sites like the Gaol and Phoenix Park, but otherwise just walk around town. Then we'll rent a car for the west. Let me know what you find out on the rambler pass though! Sounds like a good idea. Have not figured out transport to and from airport yet.
So far, this is what we have planned for our trip next month (Feb 13-20 2010):
1. We took Rick's advice of traveling by car outside Dublin and splitting ROK and Dingle across 2 days. The idea for a February trip was endorsed by our Brit friends: the Brits have told us they've been to Ireland in the summer and it was so rainy and foggy they though it was winter, others that have been in the winter and had glorious weather.
We booked a car through Malone Car Rental (malonecarrental.com), based upon advice of our B&B owner in Dublin, Abbott Lodge (firstname.lastname@example.org). The lodge is located in the city center 2 blocks (about 300m) from where the Airlink bus drops off) and the Malone is across the bridge at the back entrance of Trinity college. We booked a Volvo (surprisingly cheaper than a shoebox Ford or VW...) for our family of 5 at half the cost of Hertz, Budget, et al, complete with the CDW.
We have also driven in Germany, and if you don't have a GPS, get one. It could save your marriage! I have already plotted out our driving route on Google maps, and like Rick says in his book, the roads change names every few blocks or miles. A simple drive from Powerscourt Gardens to Glendalough (30 minutes away) was almost 2 pages due to the constant changes. Garmin Europe downloads are $100 for an individual country and $150 for all of Europe; TomTom is $75 for Europe.
We are staying 3 nights in Dublin (front end) and 1 night (back end). We checked the info on the Rambler pass from the above posting -- its correct and the best way to do it: 2 Rambler passes (arrival / departure) and walk everywhere else -- saves a lot of $$-- great idea!
We are staying in Dooley's Hotel on the Quay in Waterford (http://www.dooleys-hotel.ie)since a lot of the apartments and B&Bs are closed for the season. If you are going to the Waterford crystal factory, check before departing; it's currently closed.
Continued from above:
6. Prior to Dooley's, we are hitting Powerscourt and Glendalough. Dooley's gave us a great deal, and we had already booked them then found out the Waterford factory was closed. We kept our reservations and then we're back-tracking to see the Rock of Cashel enroute to Cobh and Kinsale. If you want to do RoC, I would follow Rick's advice and stop short at Kilkenny, then press on to Kinsale.
We are staying at the Old Bakery Kinsale (www.theoldebakerykinsale.com). Interesting thing with the Irish -- every B&B that we talked with and told them we read rave reviews, told us not to believe them -- they could have had relatives post all those blogs. They were dead serious.
From Kinsale, we are taking the advice and not doing the ROK and Dingle road in 1 day. We are splitting them across 2 days and staying at the Greenmount House in Dingle. Rick's advice for The Captain's House was closed for the season.
Finally, we are heading back to Dublin via the Cliffs of Moher before flying out. we will let everyone know how it goes!!
I also have an Excel spreadsheet with itinerary, costs, checklist all included -- please e-mail me if you'd like a copy!