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Ireland - I need some help on trip w/ my father please

Ireland - I need some help on trip w/ my father please

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Old Mar 27, 19, 6:11 am
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Ireland - I need some help on trip w/ my father please

I have taken my now 78-year-old father on several trips over the last 10 years: Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium (day trip to Paris), Amsterdam with a stop in London, Austria with a stop in Munich, Italy (Florence and Rome). On most of those trips, we based in one city and saw outlying towns. We stayed in Brussels and took take trips to Bruges and Ghent; we stayed in Prague and took day trips to Pilsen and Kutna Hora, and so on.

I offered to take him on another trip and his selection is giving me some problems: Ireland (he picked Dublin specifically). The more that I read up on Ireland, the more frequently I read about cliffs, overlooks, and other geological formations that just aren't what I or he and I typically visit. And much of what I read assumes or suggests the renting of a car, which I am not at all interested in doing for a couple of reasons (we like to visit pubs, and I generally don't like driving in foreign countries). Everyone that I know who has been to Ireland has been on one of those organized bus tours. I'm not at that point in my life where a multi-day organized bus tour with the same people every day appeals to me, and my father is still very capable of getting around just fine (except going down tons of stairs).

So I need some help dear FT'ers.

Is my impression of Ireland incorrect? I think he and I could easily fill 2 to 2 1/2 days in Dublin which would leave us 2-3 days to fill with side trips. I would need to find two to three towns that are fairly easily accessible from Dublin without a car, which would be interesting to walk around and just enjoy. Then we could possibly check out some of the cliffs either as a separate trip or as part of one of the side trips.

I guess there are two other options: 1. Hire a private car service to take us where we want to go on our time frames, or 2. Spend a few nights in Dublin and the rest of the trip in another city (I don't want to move hotels more than once on this short of a trip). Any thoughts on something like that?

FWIW, my likely routing on this would be CLT - LHR and then either a train or additional flight (most likely) into Dublin. FWIW2, out of all of our trips the least favorite of my father's was Paris ("it's a big city"); he seems to have really liked Amsterdam and Belgium; we visited two - three smaller towns on each of those. FWIW3, we like checking out a museum or two or three with those being art as well as something kind of local and off the wall (the resistance museum in Amsterdam, cold war museum in Prague), we like popping into churches, we're not huge foodies (at all), and we enjoy having a pint or two and just talking.

I'm off to check out some guidebooks at the library but I would immensely appreciate any help from folks here to help me make some decisions.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 6:53 am
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Bus Eireann travels between all major cities in Ireland. It can take hours to get from one city to another but it would be possible to, say, get an early bus from Dublin to Limerick (about 3 hours), spend the better part of the afternoon in Limerick, and then take another bus to Galway in the evening (under 2 hours). You could spend a couple of days in Galway before heading back to Dublin. Or go straight from Dublin to Galway and back. Or countless other combinations. The buses are comfortable and run mostly on time.

Dublin and Galway are both very walkable cities with lots to see and lots of pubs for relaxing and socializing at the end of the day, though like anywhere in Ireland you will run into hazards like cobblestone streets, muddy paths, and the like here and there.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 6:53 am
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Take the train to Cork and then make trips from there. I found Cobh very enjoyable and Blarney Castle is cheesy but quite fun.

Or train to Belfast to see a different side of Ireland, Titanic museum and political tourism of the troubles.

Ireland is not exactly short of memorable pub experiences even if Temple Bar is rather touristy.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 10:01 am
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If you're not averse to taking small-group day tours, as distinct from multi-day group tours, a number of companies offer them from Dublin to more rural areas. I haven't taken any myself, but I found out about them while researching ideas for Ireland without a car. There's Wild Rover, Paddywagon, and others. Google something like Dublin day tours.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 7:39 pm
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I think you've estimated the right amount of time for Dublin. You can cover the highlights in three days. Although you're correct that Ireland is known for spectacular scenery, you could say the same thing about Northern California. Yet, you could spend three days in San Francisco, two in Carmel, and a day or two in the wine country, all without renting a car--although a rental car obviously makes things easier.

I'd consider using the Irish rail system to go to Belfast, Galway, and Cork. Belfast is a compact, buttoned up city that's easily walkable and with just enough interesting stuff for a day. Galway is a fun pub and music town. Cork is a bit farther afield, but on a trip last September, my group enjoyed the pubs of Cork as much as any other city.

Two other possibilities. Wexford is one of those small towns with an outsized cultural scene, similar to Carmel. And closer to Dublin, the Dublin Area Rapid Transit train will take you to Malahide in a little over 30 minutes. You'll find Malahide Castle, another walkable small town with a seaside path that's good for even a short walk (it's flat), and a few restaurants and pubs in the town center.

Going to the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant's Causeway or the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland, or rounding the Ring of Kerry can be spectacular ways to see Ireland, but there are other sides of the country that will fit the parameters you've set forth.
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Last edited by lwildernorva; Mar 27, 19 at 10:11 pm
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Old Mar 28, 19, 10:33 am
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My wife took her mother to Ireland when my mother-in-law was quite frail. They hired a car and driver for a day or two and thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't think I'll be able to get any specifics, but I remember it wasn't hard for them to do.
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Old Mar 29, 19, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by dingo View Post
FWIW, my likely routing on this would be CLT - LHR and then either a train or additional flight (most likely) into Dublin.
There's no tunnel between Great Britain and Ireland, so a flight is the only sensible option. The train service will take you to a ferry to get across the Irish Sea, will take forever and will probably cost far more. There are a zillion flights from LHR to DUB, but the cheap flights are from LGW and STN.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 3:44 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
There's no tunnel between Great Britain and Ireland, so a flight is the only sensible option. The train service will take you to a ferry to get across the Irish Sea, will take forever and will probably cost far more.
It takes a while, true, but it is also pretty cheap! It's 43.50 if bought the day before, otherwise 49 bought at the station on the day. That includes the train and the ferry. There are some lovely views from the train, especially through northern Wales

It's about 4 hours from London to Holyhead, then another couple over to Dublin, depending on the ferry you opt for. Full details, as ever with all things trains, from the Man in Seat 61 - https://www.seat61.com/Ireland.htm
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Old Mar 30, 19, 4:34 am
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Originally Posted by dingo View Post
Is my impression of Ireland incorrect?
Yes and no. As an island, your impression is correct. However, as a country (Republic of Ireland), not necessary.

While I have not fully explored the country, based on my understanding and experience:

1. Dublin is relatively an urban city.

2. Many geological formations are up in the North of the Island of Ireland, which is formally known as Northern Ireland, U.K.

Originally Posted by dingo View Post
I guess there are two other options: 1. Hire a private car service to take us where we want to go on our time frames, or 2. Spend a few nights in Dublin and the rest of the trip in another city (I don't want to move hotels more than once on this short of a trip). Any thoughts on something like that?
I would say, in light of your father's age, just Dublin is fine.

Originally Posted by dingo View Post
FWIW, my likely routing on this would be CLT - LHR and then either a train or additional flight (most likely) into Dublin.
Highly not recommended for this routing.

CLT-DUB is generally cheaper than CLT-LHR. At the minimum, you can avoid APD. Also, flying to LHR means extra travel time (as you will overshot the Irish Island before reaching Great Britain). Unless you plan to going to any cities in the Great Britain as well, I don't see the need and hassle going that far.

Originally Posted by dingo View Post
FWIW3, we like checking out a museum or two or three with those being art as well as something kind of local and off the wall (the resistance museum in Amsterdam, cold war museum in Prague), we like popping into churches, we're not huge foodies (at all), and we enjoy having a pint or two and just talking.
Dublin will be your best choice. At least, you can have a pint of Guinness and a shot of Jameson. And you won't have difficulties finding famous and popular churches in Dublin as well.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 2:46 pm
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A car is handier as you're not beholden to schedules, but Ireland makes it quite easy to get around without it, it's quite well connected so one can tour it in a variety of ways : by car, public transportation or organized tours. I would though not drive in Dublin itself, like most cities, traffic and parking would be bleh.

I ended up basing myself in Dublin and taking the regional bus to Kildare (to see one of my 2 main things - national stud horse farm), the local DART train to Howth and an organized day tour by bus of Game of Thrones shooting locations in Northern Ireland - my #2 thing. I also hit Trinity college, Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Goal and the Museum of Archaeology which may be more your speed.

I didn't go in these places, but the Irish Modern Art museum is across the street from Kilmainham Goal. The National Art Gallery is near Trinity College. In Howth, there's St. Mary's Abby - which is a church now and the Hurdy Gurdy museum of vintage radio is also there.

I would use trip advisor for preliminary research of places of interest as there are plenty of museums, churches and pubs there. Once you're in Dublin, you can ask people about off the beaten path or other touristy recommendations. I found people quite friendly and helpful. Or you'll just stumble upon interesting things while walking around.

You can check the trip report section for other people's trips to Ireland (which may have pub recommendations). My own pub-less trip report is here: Dublin, Game of Thrones, horses (of course) & a day @ SEA
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Old Apr 3, 19, 9:27 am
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
There's no tunnel between Great Britain and Ireland, so a flight is the only sensible option. The train service will take you to a ferry to get across the Irish Sea, will take forever and will probably cost far more. There are a zillion flights from LHR to DUB, but the cheap flights are from LGW and STN.
Doh! What was I thinking?!
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Old Apr 24, 19, 5:48 pm
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@dingo Thanks for posing this query! I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip with my Mom, I've been to Ireland with my husband and we did drive but this trip I want to SEE everything and not be a driver or navigator I'm looking into private car services and will share if I find something promising.

Newgrange is about 45 minutes north of Dublin, no cliffs but I found it fascinating. While I did not particularly care for Belfast I LOVED the rest of Northern Ireland, the Antrim coast is stunning. I found Carrick-a-Rede more appealing than the Cliffs of Moher and the Bushmills tour was better than Jamison (to me).

Carrick-a-Rede


In the Republic we really enjoyed Sligo, Galway and Waterford.

What time of year are you planning to go?
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Old Apr 25, 19, 4:24 am
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If you only want to visit two cities and don’t want to drive, Dublin and Cork are the easiest options. High speed trains connect the two and there is no shortage of pubs I also recommend visiting the English market in Cork and having lunch at one of restaurants there.
Alternatively, I can also recommend the town of Kilkenny: beautiful castle, river, brewery and very compact. You can even stay on the castle grounds in what used to be the dowager house of the estate. There is no train though but yuh can take a bus from Dublin. It doesn’t take long and the scenery along the way is quite pretty.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 5:08 am
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Originally Posted by hipquest View Post

Carrick-a-Rede
For those searching and finding this thread - perhaps I should explain that this is the view when standing on the main attraction at Carrick-a-Rede, not the attraction itself!

it is famous for the rope bridge between the mainland and an offshore rock. More details are here:
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/carrick-a-rede
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"... Suspended almost 100 ft (30 m) above sea level, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was first erected by salmon fishermen over 200 years ago and is now a major tourist attraction on the North Coast - we have about 250,000 visitors striding across it every year. Crossing the bridge is a thrilling experience and brave explorers will be rewarded with stunning views."
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Old Apr 25, 19, 9:27 am
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@antichef Thank you, I should have explained that.
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