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Best of Ireland--14 Day Tour

I am wait listed for the Best of Ireland 14-Day Tour. While I am hopeful that I may get to go next year, my significant other is hesitant because he believes 14 days is too long to spend in a country you drive around in 5-6 days. I am not willing to consider the 7-day tour as I do not like the itinerary nor do I think it is worth flying from the west coast to Europe for a 7-day tour.

I am looking for feedback from those who have taken this 14-day tour. Did you feel it was too long and/or the pace too slow? Do you think that what you saw on the tour could have been scaled down to a 7, 9 or 10 day tour versus 14 day?

I appreciate the feedback!

Posted by
1917 posts

I have done 6 RS tours, but not this one. I've always found the pace just right.
When deciding on a tour, I read the daily itinerary, and rarely see anything that doesn't look worth doing/seeing. Has he read the itinerary?

Posted by
1031 posts

I haven't taken an organized trip to Ireland. But I have been to Ireland multiple times. While your SO is correct in that you can drive around the country in 5-6 days, the operative word is drive. Do the two of you plan on stopping and experiencing anything? Maybe go for a walk or hike? Visit a museum? See a country house? Watch a sheep herding demonstration? Enjoy some music? Visit a neolithic site? Also consider that one does not drive 60-70 mph on most Irish roads. So while distance may seem short by U.S. standards, it takes longer to get from point to point than you might otherwise assume.

Posted by
17 posts

It has been just over 10 years since my best of Ireland trip (summer of 2010), and I think the trip is worth it. We spent some time in a few places I would not have known to go on my own. Kinsale stands out in my memory, possibly due to our (then trainee guide) Barry, since he loves his hometown and it really showed.
One of the memories I recall from time to time to cheer myself up is what I refer to as "the session" at a pub in Portrush. A real treat. Even the drunk whose fiancée just broke up with him ("and yet here I stand, a happy man") was having fun (that night, likely not the next day). I am about half joking when I say the Bards are not gone because I stumbled into one of their meetings that night.
Anyway, long story short, worth it and a chance to see in depth and have a good time.

Posted by
3871 posts

Did you feel it was too long and/or the pace too slow? Do you think that what you saw on the tour could have been scaled down to a 7, 9 or 10 day tour versus 14 day?

We've taken the 14 day tour and the pace was just about right - neither too long and/or slow. No, I don't think all that we saw, did, and experienced could be done in 7 or even 10 days.

The driving distances may appear to be short, but the the pace isn't what one will find on U.S. roads. And there is lots of stopping along the way to really experience a truly unique country.

We will probably do the tour again in a couple of years.

Posted by
1259 posts

Book two tours. Find a short that your SO will accompany you on, one that you can link up with the Ireland trip either at the beginning or end with a short train trip for you. You get 21-25 days and your SO gets 7 days in your lovely company and 14-16 days of time on his own in which to contemplate your absence.

Posted by
771 posts

Have him look at the Scrapbooks for the tour. There are 2 for 2018, maybe more before that. If you go to the Tours home page, one of the tiles on the bottom is for scrapbooks.

This is the site for the first one if you have trouble finding it through the RS page:

He talks about how "Rick" showed him the things he was curious about in Ireland, but also opened his eyes to so much more.

Posted by
407 posts

My husband and I took this tour in September 2019. It was fabulous. Sure you could drive it in several days, but you will miss out on the best parts of Ireland. The people, the music and their history. A guide will tell you so many stories about their history, customs and especially their music. I don’t think you really know the Irish unless you experience their music. Some of the highlights for me were: the Rock of Cashel, guided tour of KInsale, Charles Fort, a sheep herding exhibition, Dingle crystal cutting exhibition, private tour of Gallarus oratory, concert at St James church, tour of Fort Dun Aonghasa, Falconry demonstration, guided tour of Londonderry and Belfast, Giant’s Causeway, Dun Luce Castle and the Titanic Exhibit. All of these things plus the great friends you make are the reason you’ll want to take this tour.

Posted by
106 posts

I took this tour in October 2019. I had the time of my life. It is an excellent tour and I would do it again.

Posted by
140 posts

This is a wonderful 14 day tour including the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. I took this tour in 2019 and loved it. You and your SO will have a great time. Hope you make the wait list cut.

Posted by
953 posts

I have done both Ireland tours. Best of Ireland 14 days was my 1sf RS tour. Went first part of August in 2014. It was the last tour that started and ended in Dublin. I think the next year/or next it changed to into dublin and out of Belfast. It was an awesome tour. Loved loved it. I actually went early a few days. I did miss the first day because I did a half marathon that day. I would like to do a redo of this tour sometime. But we like to go to Europe for 3 weeks or more.


Posted by
9849 posts

believes 14 days is too long to spend in a country you drive around in 5-6 days

I strongly suspect finding some one who has taken an RS tour who will say " I was bored; we spent to much time 'there' " would be challenging.

Posted by
3871 posts

I suspect finding some one who has taken an RS tour who will say " I was bored; we spent to much time 'there' " would be challenging.

Hear, Hear!

Posted by
2317 posts

Here’s my perspective from someone who took the 8 Days Heart of Ireland tour because my traveling companion didn’t want to do the 14 day tour. I loved our tour in 2017 but feel I missed out on the Northern part of Ireland. My mother’s family came from County Tyrone in the North. So one of these days, I will make it to Northern Ireland. Maybe I will go when I do the 13 Days Scotland tour and plan a few days extra to catch up on what I missed.
So consider carefully.

Posted by
8804 posts

Also, keep in mind a 14 day tour is really 12 days of touring. A 7 day tour is only 5 days of actual touring. ie, Day #1 you meet for the first time in the late afternoon/evening. Last Day you leave after breakfast.

Posted by
112 posts

Took this tour with a friend a few years ago, when it began in Dublin and ended there as well. It was just right, and moved right along, not too slow at all! There is so much to see and you really do get a nice overview. The only thing I would change on the tour is that day you go to the Aran Island from Galway. I wish I had just explored the medieval city instead.

I do have a scrapbook of that trip if you want and day by day...I will see if I can all the link after I post.

I would go a few days early (as many recommend) and go to Newgrange, the Guinness Storehouse (great views and beer!), the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Christchurch Cathedral, etc.

I would go again in a minute!

Posted by
17 posts

Just to add to my previous response, I have been thinking about it. If you told me I had to cut 4 days off the trip, I don't believe I can think of 4 days to cut. Even 1 day would not be an easy choice. So many good memories!

Posted by
736 posts

I have done this tour. 14 days is just right. You could even add a day or two to the front or back and still not see it all. Time flies on this tour.

Posted by
5885 posts

I'm signed up for this one next May, so I don't know, but based on a few prior RS tours I doubt that any time will be wasted. I'll be more interested in some things than others, and others in the group will have different interests. That's more about group travel than the length of the tour. I plan to get to Dublin several days early to see more sights there plus Newgrange.

I agree with Robin that a transatlantic flight calls for more than a week-long trip. (My ideal is 3-4 weeks but I'm retired so I can do that.) And I'm sure Joe is right that 5-6 days driving will be mostly just driving. I like road trips but I also like exploring places, especially after all the trouble of flying there.

Maybe I'll see Robin and her SO on the tour next May. If he gets bored, I'll buy him a pint to take his mind off his troubles.

Posted by
1517 posts

Of the 7 R Steves I have taken, the 14 day Ireland remains one of my favorites. The pace was great and I loved every single day. When the tour was over I wanted to just join the next tour and start all over. IMHO, there is no way it could have been scaled down. The shorter tour is what I would call a taste of Ireland and might be fine for folks who are looking for an intro, but for me the 14 Day was perfect.

Posted by
7123 posts

I have not taken this tour, although every RS tour I have been on has been thoughtfully planned and I didn't feel time was wasted.

I did take a trip to Ireland a few years ago and we only had 2 weeks. We decided we couldn't begin to see everything in that time and ended up focusing on Dublin, Northern Ireland, and the Aran Islands. We knew we would have to come back for the south another time. Even so, we skipped quite a few things and really focused on our top interests.

I find it a bit shocking that anyone might even consider that 14 days to do a tour of all of Ireland might be "too much", but it may have to do with differences in travel style.

Posted by
84 posts

Wow...thank you all so much for your feedback. I will be discussing with my SO and I feel he will be persuaded! ;)

Posted by
171 posts

I've done the Ireland 14 day. I liked the tour but it wasn't even close to other RS tours. I think you have to do 14 days to do Ireland justice. Few things to keep in mind.
-Weather can change quickly
-Skip the Aran Islands day and stay in Galloway.
-Yes, there is a lot of bus time. I skipped one day tour and stayed in town, it helped.
-Belfast. I could take or leave it. The Titanic museum is the highlight.
-I will say, the private guides were some of the best we've ever encountered.
-Skip the Guiness tour and drink at the pub next door, The Brazen Head
-Jamison tour good
-In Dublin, The Farm restaurant was the best in town.

Posted by
7 posts

I COMPLETELY agree with you. I have not taken the tour but the 14 day trip is much less rushed and you get to see more things. I'm west coast too and it's too long of a trip not to stay at least a little while! Also, driving in Ireland is a bit dangerous for us since we are not used to the right hand side driver seat, driving on the "wrong" side of the road and their tiny roads where you often have to back up for oncoming traffic. Not to mention stick shifts. Going on the 14 day will give you more time to appreciate everything you see and isn't that why you are going? To make wonderful memories?

Posted by
68 posts

I really enjoyed the natural beauty of the Aran Islands and Giant's Causeway as well as the fun and beauty around the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge - all on the later Northern Ireland part of the tour.

Posted by
3861 posts

I was signed up for this tour in May 2020. We all know what happened with that. Now I'm confirmed on it for the 24 July - 6 August 2022 itinerary.

As before, I hope to spend a few nights in the first hotel in Dublin before it starts and a
couple in the Belfast hotel after it ends. Both cities have things I want to see or do that aren't included in the tour.

Having planned many trips on my own, there are many advantages to any RS tour and this one is no exception. For me, those include the excellent tour and local guides who teach us so much, as well as seeing and doing things that would be very complicated or difficult to do on my own. And, especially in classic examples of "you don't know what you don't know," having experiences that I wouldn't begin to think of myself.

Too slow? Silverlocks here says, as with most of the RS 2-week tours, it looks just right to me.

Too long? No. As mentioned above, I'll be extending my time at both ends of the tour.

I'll fly from the Pacific time zone, if not all the way from the Pacific. The shortest trip I've ever done to Europe is 3 weeks. In fact, I'm scheming on adding a self-planned almost 10+ nights in Wales after the Best of Ireland in 14 Days this time.

The last time my husband went to Europe with me was in 2014. Since then, I've gone solo, with the single supplement when on a RS tour. It sounds expensive, but since I paid for our European travel, it's much cheaper than him going along. Works for me! 😉

Posted by
2013 posts

We took the 8 day tour and agreed at the end that we wished we had taken the 14 day. We were headed to a conference in Glasgow, so the 8 day seemed a good fit time-wise, but we felt we missed the complete island. Ireland has a complex history and political situation I don’t think we hear enough about. Being on the ground gave us tremendous insight and appreciation when we read about current issues. The “wow” moments were very intense and I regret that we didn’t get to see The Giant’s Causeway or the falconry experience, as well as more of Dublin.

Posted by
14 posts

I was on the same tour as Lori in 2019, 14 days, so interesting. Our guide mentioned he enjoyed the 14 day trips since the group had more time to bond.

We did the 8 day tour and it was fabulous but on the front end we spent 3 days 2 nights at the Ashford Castle in County Mayo where The Quiet Man was filmed. Honestly it was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had. So maybe you can do that and your significant other will be happy, it's like staying at Downton Abbey.

Posted by
1 posts

The RS 14 days Ireland tour is great. I'd do it again. 14 days in Ireland isn't enough. I've been on 9 other RS tours. They're all great. I still wear my Titanic hat.

Posted by
128 posts

We took this tour in May, 2019 (feels like a lifetime ago with Covid). We had an absolutely wonderful time, enjoyed every minute of our time in Ireland. We felt that we had an excellent introduction to Ireland and it certainly is a country I hope to return to some day. We arrived 2 days before the tour and stayed one extra day after it ended. I could have easily stayed longer…we fell in love with Ireland!!!