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Am I out of my mind? Q's re: Ireland or Netherlands...

Am I out of my mind? Q's re: Ireland or Netherlands...

Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:52 AM
  #1  
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Am I out of my mind? Q's re: Ireland or Netherlands...

Hi all,

I've read these forums for quite a while and the help/insight is enormously appreciated. I'm hoping you all can help me sort through an itinerary for this September.

I am headed to London from San Francisco (for a uni short summer session)on Aug 31, arrive 5 am Sept. 1 at Heathrow. My summer session is from Sept 5th-11th (for which I already have itineray and accomodation). I don't return back to the US until afternoon of Sept 18th.

So, my big questions are what to do with the 5 days before and the week after the session? I've looked into Ireland for Sept. 1-5 (returning to London the 5th). I've toyed with Benelux for the week after.

I've been to London before, but never to Ireland or the Continent. (I'm not going to France because as a single woman traveling, the idea of seeing Tour d'Eiffel alone for the first time is just too damned depressing. )

Some notes: I am nervous about driving in Ireland, but willing to try; At 35, I need good solid night's sleep, so places such as Flying Pig or other noisy hostels are not for me; I'm on a budget of about $130 a day; I love to walk, walk and walk; I like museums and history more than "nightlife"; I'm thinking of bringing my wi-fi laptop, is that a dumb idea?

Am I nuts to try Ireland for only 4-5 days? I'd love to take the literary walk, see James Joyce's house, etc.

And if I take Eurostar (13th) to Brussels/Bruges/Amsterdam, and then fly from Amsterdam to London, is it too much of a whirlwind?

I believe I need therapy or an intervention of some sorts! Thanks.


javachik is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:00 PM
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Quick question:

if you went to the travel section of a bookstore or library, would you feel more excited reading about & seeing pictures of Ireland, or the Netherlands? Which place 'gets you where you live'? Pushes your emotional buttons?

That should inform your decision. Traveling alone isn't a factor IMO -- you're gonna have a blast wherever you go.

Short trips out of London are a breeze, lots of low-cost and charter airlines. Heck, you could even go to Greece for a few days. It'd be an awesome time to visit.

So where in Europe do you *really* want to go?
ealing_calling is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:01 PM
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If your primary purpose in Ireland is to see James Joyce-centered attractions, four days, centered around Dublin and Bray, are plenty. In fact, you could see a lot of the surrounding counties with a car. I wouldn't plan on going too far from Dublin, though, especially if you need a good night's sleep.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:10 PM
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Hi,

I don't need to choose between Ireland/Netherlands, I can do them both. Many places call me (Greece is one of them), but I'll want to return when I can concentrate on them, instead of a whirlwind trip. I'm stuck with the odd "before and after London" dates because I'm using a UAL "Saver" award and the dates available were sparse. Otherwise, I would have booked a full two weeks before or after London.

My Irish friends tell me that pub trans in Ireland is very different than the rest of Western Euro/UK. I was all set to take trains, etc, but they advise against it because the island isn't connected well with trains (I'd like to see the Ring of Kerry or Dingle or both). They also mention acute overcrowding. So I thought I'd rent a car. Unless others of you have had vastly different experiences with the pub trans in Ireland?

I think I'm at the stage where I've od'd on travel books/sites. I hear this is common.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Have you considered IReland before and after? Fly to Dublin from London. Stay in Dublin, take daytrip bus tours to Newgrange and maybe Glendalough and Powerscort for this portion~having a car in Dublin isn't necessary. Then after your class, fly into Shannon, rent a car, go down to County Kerry for Dingle/Killarney/Kenmare or even Cork, leave back out of Shannon or Cork for London (by then you'll be over jetlag and safe to drive).
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 12:52 PM
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I see nothing wrong with either of your plans. I have flown to Dublin from London, rented a car, stayed three nights and flew back to Glasgow. It was a perfectly good break, of which I have fond memories. In October coming, I plan a 3 night break from London to Brussels, via Eurostar, visiting Ghent and Bruges. With your extra time, going to Amsterdam would not be a problem.

It is true that public transport is not very good if you trying to travel "around" Ireland. But it is perfectly adequate if you want to travel from and back to Dublin. So you could take day or overnight excursions. But if you do not want to drive in Ireland, I would suggest you plan to spend your time in Dublin and near Dublin, Howth to Bray reachable via DART. It is a lovely walk around the head at Howth. And perhaps a day excursion to Glendalough and the Wicklow mountains.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:12 PM
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I know you discounted Paris, but I'd really urge you to reconsider it. I know a number of women who have never gone because they are trying unsuccessfully to get their partner to take them, or don't have a partner. It would be far more of a tragedy to not go to Paris, than to go alone.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Oh, I'm going to Paris next year, along with Spain. I'll plan to have two weeks before or after my summer session next year. The main reason I am not going to France this year is because I will want more than a week there.

I haven't thought about Ireland on noth sides of the trip; I'll contemplate that. I'm also considering Scotland before, then London, then Ireland. To be candid, I was hoping to be in the "Land of Euros" as much as possible because my $ doesn't get much of a Pound!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:52 PM
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Do keep in mind that lodging in Dublin is MUCH more expensive than other areas of Ireland. Renting a car and staying at B&Bs outside of the capital city can be much easier on the budget.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:57 PM
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Actually the $ exchange rate against the euro is if anything worse than against the £. Don't just compare the numbers - the £ at $1.82 will give you the same or better buying power than the euro at $1.23

If you want to see the SW of Ireland on one of your pre/post class jaunts, fly into Cork - it is much more convenient to the area than either Dublin or Shannon. Then it is just short driving days to see the whole of the SW.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:03 PM
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That's a great idea, Janis. I don't know why I felt locked into Dublin.

For James Joyce fans, are the attractions in Dublin worth flying and out of Dublin? I wonder.

I do want to see Cork, Ring of Kerry and Dingle. Thank you for the suggestion.

I wish I had people to visit, they might anchor me a bit!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:28 PM
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As for James Joyce, see my article at http://www.independent.com/living/mylife916.htm. There's enough to keep the serious Joyce fan busy for as long as she wants, but for those who haven't drank the kool-aid I'd think two or three days would suffice.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 03:45 PM
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VERY helpful!

I've found that car rental pick up in Cork and drop off at Dublin (IrishCarRentals.com)is the same as pick-up/drop off in Cork. This helps immensely.

Zeppo2, thanks for the article. And I have one thing to say: The Hitching Post has the best lobster I've ever had. Spent my birthday in Santa Maria a few years ago (at the Santa Maria Inn)and went to Hitching Post. To die for. The local pinots can't be beat, either. One more note, I'm an English Lit student (University of London's External Programme).
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Yay. I've finally decided, with the help of you all.

I'm switching and doing Amsterdam/Bruges first. I don't need to see Brussels. And Amsterdam and Bruges will fill the need in me to be somewhere fairly exotic without being too intimidating. Amsterdam/London R/T is $122.

Then, London for the week until the 13th. Then fly into Cork 14th and out the 18th from Dublin.

Now the next part is fun--filling in the activities and choosing palces to stay. Thanks for your help.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 05:35 PM
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As a dedicated single traveler I'm not comfortable renting a car (plus Ireland doesn't especially appeal to me for whatever reason). I would choose Amsterdam (the 5 days before) then Paris (the 7 days after). I'm MUCH more comfortable traveling solo in an interesting urban environment. You mention depressing at seeing the Eiffel tower solo, for me it would be truly dreadful driving around the countryside somewhere by myself (booooring). $130/day should do OK for 2-star hotels and modest food and entertainments in both Amsterdam and Paris. Another advantage to both is they can be done on foot.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:32 PM
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Thanks, but I have plans for France another time.

I love long solo road trips with beautiful scenery, and have Irish ancestry, so I'll stick with the Ireland plan.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:49 PM
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From the look of it, you could also think about starting (or ending) from Cork and making the other end of the trip at Kerry Airport near Killarney.

Woth most of the budget airlines, a one-way is half the price of round trip. So you could fly a number of Londn airports and budget airlines to/from Cork, pick up a car, return it in Kerry and catch a RyanAir flight back to London (Stansted). Save some backtracking or going all the way up to Shannon on a tight time frame (a luxury that we traveling from the US don't have)

www.whichbudget.com for lists of budget airlines and where they go.
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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javachik - sounds like a great trip to me! I am also 35, and I traveled in Spain this past February by myself and rented a car for part of the trip - and had no problems. I liked the freedom of the rental car.

Have a great time!

Karen
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Thank you all! This thread has been enormously helpful.

I'll give a full trip report upon my return, but don't be surprised if it simply reads:

"Landed in Cork. Drank myself silly, danced on tables and sang Irish folk tunes until 5 a.m. with some guy named Paddy. Went back to London."
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 10:22 AM
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"Landed in Cork. Drank myself silly, danced on tables and sang Irish folk tunes until 5 a.m. with some guy named Paddy. Went back to London."

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