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RS Ireland Tour ... Free Time Suggestions?

Happy Travels 2020!

I have carefully read the Tour Itinerary and "What's Included". Being a veteran of several RS tours, what are some "free time" suggestions that are not included in the itinerary or "what is not included". I am trying to decide on the how many days to add before the tour starts and staying beyond the "last breakfast" in Belfast. And.........what are some other free time suggestions beyond Belfast and Dublin?

What are some things you wish you had done? What are some things you wish you had NOT done? Has anyone done a food tour in Dublin or Belfast? Day trips out of Dublin or Belfast? "I wish I had spent more time at ????? (I realize that is more about personal likes)". Off-the-Beaten-Path suggestions?

FYI....I like to do a lot of photography. Long museum and art gallery stays are not part of my genetic profile...lol.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Posted by
8413 posts

I did a Mary Gibbons day trip to Newgrange and Hill of Tara that I very much enjoyed even though it was a packed full size bus load. Her brother is an archeologist and was our guide and was excellent.

The next day we went to the National Museum and I was so glad I'd done the day trip before we went. It made some of the exhibits make more sense when I had a better frame of reference.

I also enjoyed the Chester Beatty Library - excellent, excellent collection plus it had AC which was good because we hit a hot spell, lol.

We arrive at least 2 nights before the tour started to get adjusted but you'll know that since you're a veteran.

I took the tour long enough ago that it ended back in Dublin so not much time in Belfast.

Posted by
19 posts

I second Pam's suggestions. We also did the Guinness tour, Christ Church Cathedral tour, GPO Witness History (about the 1916 Easter Rising) and the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum among other things. I suggest you use TripAdvisor to look up other things you may be interested in.

Posted by
59 posts

I will second and third these....Newgrange with Mary Gibbons was a highlight of the trip. Enjoyed the Guiness tour and the Dublin museum. One thing that I would not do again if I took this tour was the Aran island day from Galway. We too cool of a city to not get to really see as you arrive late, spend the next day on the island, and then leave early the next. Unless you want a sweater from there....I would have liked to enjoy the streets of Galway rather than gone with the tour that day. All the rest was amazing.

Posted by
69 posts

I would most definitely take a day tour of the Wicklow Mountains - south of Dublin. We had allowed ourselves an extra day in Dublin after the "Heart of Ireland" tour, however it wasn't enough time to visit this beautiful area.

Garrison

Posted by
5 posts

I was on the RS Ireland tour in May. My favorite activity I did during the free day in Dingle is the Dingle Sea Safari Rib boat ride. There were several others in our group that did it as well and we had a great time. We saw a lot more of the coastline, had a great time with the dolphin, and even saw a lot of puffins.

https://www.dingleseasafari.com/ribexperience/

In Dublin, I also enjoyed the Chester Beatty Library.

Posted by
18 posts

We took the train to Howth and did the Cliff Walk. It is a very pretty seaside town outside of Dublin. We also went to the Irish Immigration Museum in Dublin, all interactive displays. In Dingle we took the walk out to the lighthouse which was very scenic, flat hike. I read the Scrapbooks from previous years and took note of what people did in their free time. It is a great way to get ideas! We walked around the streets of Galway after dinner on the second night and enjoyed the street musicians. Be sure to try Murphy's Ice Cream in Dingle or Galway, they even have Dingle Gin(also good) ice cream.

Posted by
120 posts

To answer one specific question, yes I have done a food tour in Dublin. I didn't originally plan to as I figured the food in Ireland wouldn't be as exotic (or need as much explanation) as in other countries where I have done food tours. But my other plans for my free day in Dublin fell through literally the day before I left for my trip and this was a quick easy thing to fall back on, so I did it anyway. The tour I took was with Delicious Dublin.

While the tour was fun, and the food was indeed delicious, I didn't feel the tour was as good a value as some others that I've done. You could probably do a little research and find great places to eat on your own. I think there are probably ways to get more value out of your free time if you have more time to plan ahead than I did.

Posted by
2 posts

We did a bike tour in Dublin that was very fun & interesting. By bicycle you can get a nice feel for the city. We also did a foodie tour that was better than we thought it would be. Another idea - that we also did - was a musical pub tour that focused on Irish folk music. I highly recommend a side tour that represents musical heritage. Good luck & enjoy - you can't go wrong! All three of these experiences were very fun & worthwhile for us while we spent a few extra days in Dublin before our tour started. :)

Posted by
15 posts

Hello John,
My wife and I this past September did the RS Tour of Ireland with Declan Field as our guide.
An outstanding experience! We are veterans of several RS Tours and found this Tour and Country one of our favorites.
I’d highly recommend the Wild Wicklow Tour out of Dublin as a “must-do”...especially based on your comments.
We took the bus back from Belfast to Dublin and then spent a couple days in Kilkenny on our own...loved it...then came back to Dublin for two days prior to coming home. One of those days was the Wild Wicklow Tour. They offered a RS discount...had a small bus and very knowledgeable and fun guide. We’d do it again if we were back in Ireland.
Enjoy your Tour...and you’ll have plenty of photo options.