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Ireland

Dear Forum,

My wife and I are planning to visit Ireland next year, Lord willing. Although we have taken numerous cruises to different parts of the world, I'm only seeing Norwegian with a sailing solely around Ireland next July 2025. All other cruise lines mix in Norway, Iceland, England, Scotland, etc along with 2-3 port stops in Ireland.

So, we are thinking about flying to Dublin, making that headquarters for 7-10 days, and taking days trips to others parts of Ireland, probably using Viator.com. They list numerous day trips rangling from 3-4 hours to 10-12 hours. (which we have extensively used over the years). Perhaps getting a 2 or 3 day Eurorail pass to move about, as well. We really like train travel. Plus, bike tours in the city and often HOHO buses.

Places to see would be Dublin, Belfast, Giants Causeway, Galway, Dingle, Cork, Kinsale, Cliff of Mohrer, Glendalough, Wild Atlantic Way, etc. And we really love the quaint village areas similar to England's Cotswolds). If anyone has thoughts or suggestions about this method, please let me know. Although different from an ocean cruise, a land tour like this is appealing.

A few years ago we did a similar trip to England and Scotland, driving a car rental for ten days and staying in BnBs in the Cotswolds, Peaks and Lakes regions, and Edinbough. Aside from the driving stress (LOL) that was also a great trip.

Thank you so much. Ted

Posted by
230 posts

Ireland is lovely. Before you settle on staying only in Dublin and making day trips everywhere, at least explore the idea of staying in some of those places. That seems like an awful lot of riding back and forth and not as much time enjoying the wonderful places you list. Pack light and stay overnight in a few places each for a few days, and sprinkle in those day tours.

Posted by
2925 posts

Ireland is wonderful. I'm visiting again next July. Last visit was 1992, way too long ago. You will love the country.

Instead of Viator tours, which is a consolidator, you may want to look at Rabbie's tours. There is a thread right now about problems with Viator. Other people like them. I haven't used them. I will use Rabbie's next June and July for day tours in Cotswolds and two based out of Killarney. This decision is based on feedback from the forum.

I don't know if Eurorail passes will work in Ireland. I always book directly with the train or bus company; I'm not a fan of middlemen. If something goes wrong, I want to talk to the the actual company. I have not researched much yet but know that Ireland's train system is not as extensive as other countries. If you can drive, it is the best way to see Ireland. We found interesting backroad stops years ago, like at 300 year old woolen mill. Since I now travel solo and my eyesight isn't great, I won't be renting a car this time.

Suggestion: You posted under "Rick Steves Tours" forum. Are you looking to go on a Rick Steves Tour? If not, you can change your post to "Ireland" forum so you get more responses.

Have a great trip!

Posted by
6775 posts

Irish Rail have their own Rover Tickets-
The Trekker - 4 days of consecutive travel €88, and
The Irish Rail Explorer 5 days unlimited travel out of 15 consecutive days on all Iarnród Éireann services in the Republic of Ireland for €128- https://www.irishrail.ie/en-ie/rail-fares-and-tickets/tickets-explained

If doing tours book direct with the tour operator (should be on each Viator Page)- far easier to handle any problems and should be cheaper. Viator do not themselves do tours, they are a Consolidator.

In Northern Ireland there is the I link Adult Day Ticket for £20 which covers all buses and trains within the province.

This amount of daily travelling, to and from Dublin daily will be very tiring over a week or more. By the end I think you will need a vacation, after your vacation.

Posted by
1459 posts

As KC suggested, explore staying in at least one other location if you want to see other parts of Ireland. For example, driving to the beginning of the Dingle Peninsula from Dublin is over 4 hours non-stop one-way. So there's 8 hours right there and you haven't been to Dingle town nor have you seen or done anything. Similarly, day trips to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin on an organized bus tour generally start at approximately 7:00 AM and return to Dublin at approximately 7:00 PM. Same with day trips to Giants Causeway.

Posted by
2 posts

Dear Ted
Your itinerary is very ambitious! I travel at least twice a year to Ireland, as my daughter has lived there for 10 years, and I've gotten familiar with public transit in particular.

Visiting the 3 cities is a good plan, but I'd advise staying overnight in each one and explore from there.

I agree with a previous comment, that day trips from Dublin would be exhausting. While a small country, the lack of super highways means it takes a while to get to places and I'd imagine you don't want to spend half the day in a bus or car. The country is not served completely by trains, either.

It's about a 2.5-3 hour highway drive to Cork from Dublin. A bus from Dublin Airport takes 3.5 hours (make sure to book AirCoach on line). The train takes about 2.5 hours (Irish Rail and it's a great trip! However, mind that you have to still print out your ticket before boarding at the station kiosk even though you booked online. Lots of quirks traveling in Ireland. You can also take the train to Galway, home of traditional music.

Most of my travel has been to West Cork, as my daughter lives in a small village called Balleydehob. I've traveled via bus, train and car over the years. I prefer the train; driving is scary for me! As you leave the cities in Ireland, the country roads are dicey, with deep ditches on the sides, not to mention driving on the left. But it sounds like you will have a hired driver? Great idea. Beyond the cities, quaint villages, fun pubs, cute b & b's and green fields so bright they hurt your eyes! await you. The southwestern and west coasts of Ireland have beautiful ocean scenery, dramatic cliffs, particularly The Dingle! People everywhere are very friendly and hospitable. You'll notice street signs are in English and Gaelic (Irish).

I'd suggest a few days in Dublin; the city is very walkable) and the trolley transit system called the Luas can take you around town easily as well as to some outlying areas. Don't miss the fantastic National Museum where the Bog People are on display and the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Take the Guinness tour, it's worth it and they give you a free pint at the end. There's an amazing view of the city at the top of the building.

I have not explored Cork much, but there's a food and shopping court called the English Market that's fun, located in the center of the city. Belfast has the Titanic Museum and some sites were Game of Thrones was filmed. Northern Ireland uses the English pound for currency, BTW.

Hope this helps and have a wonderful trip!

Carol

Posted by
488 posts

Why not a Rick Steves tour? Many of the places you mention are covered. Takes away a lot of the logistics & you will see a lot more on the tour with usually some nice free time