First Trip to Ireland

May 4th, 2007, 07:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2007
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First Trip to Ireland

Ok I need some advice. My husband and I are planning our first trip to Ireland. We are thinking about going in Aug or Sept this year. I would really like to see Waterford and his only thing is going to a Festival of some sort. Also we ran across a 5 day train tour that looks interesting does anyone have any thoughts? This will be both of our first major trip out of the US and it's kind of overwhelming. Any advice would we great.
ayates is offline  
May 5th, 2007, 03:45 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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Pick up Rick Steve's Ireland... great resource to help your plans. Also... has some great suggested itineraries... but just use those for starters... as I think they tend to point you toward very busy, overcrowded, touristy spots. Rick Steve's book helps point you to better places to visit.

Waterford... try and stay at the Waterford Castle... not far from the Factory... and SO worth it!!!! It is on it's own little island... less than 20 rooms... so great service... beautiful grounds... nice rooms... great food!!!

Good luck,

jackieb is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 02:40 PM
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the town of Kinvara, located about 20 minutes outside of Galway is having the Cruinniu na mBad festival from Aug. 9-Aug. 12. It is a festival celebrating the Galway Hookers (turf boats),Kinvara is on Galway Bay and they have boat races, traditional music, etc.
tuam is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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Before you decide to take the rail tour, you might want to do a little more investigation. My one experience with the Irish rail system was disappointing. We traveled from Dublin to Sligo and back. The coaches were dirty and so were the stations. Trains in former Iron Curtain countries are in better condition.

Even so, free lancing was better than that canned tour we took with all of its tourist trap attractions and commercial stops where there were shopping opportunities. The passengers were plied with Irish coffee in an attempt to loosen their purse strings.

Even so, had we not gone with the Insight tour, we would not have experienced Hotel Crazy Ass. More formally known as the Earl of Desmond, we were stuck out from Tralee far enough that it was not walkable.

How come the name? Well let me tell you. First we played "turn the lights on." The room had a master electrical switch, but when we flipped it, no lights came on. So we had to try each lamp one at a time to see if it was turned off at the lamp or if the bulb was burned out. We found some of both.

Second, we played "turn the TV on." About the time we got into that game, one of our fellow tour takers figured it out and spread the word. That one was easy.

Then that night at dinner we had the typical Irish fare: mashed potatos and something else. One of our tour companions wanted a second cup of tea. She was told she could not have it.

Then I went up to the room for bathroom purposes. Trying to figure out how to flush the potty became a challenge. There was no visible handle, no chain, no sensor, no pedal, no button, no switch. How do to do it? I began an inch by inch search of the walls. Eureka. There is the handle. In the shower. (You mean your toilet handle is not in your shower? Geez behind the times already.)

The morning of the second night we were there, about 3 am, an Irish wedding party at the hotel broke up. The Irish custom is to bid long, very loud goodbyes in the parking lot right under the windows of the sleeping guests.

The lady in the room next to ours was a sheep rancher from New Zealand. At about 6 feet 3 inches she was not exactly what I would call a dainty lass.
Her husband was not quite as tall, but he was one of four guys who earlier that day had gotten off the bus and picked a car up and moved it over so the bus could get by.

When wife informed the revelers below that they should shut the xxxyyy up, she ignitited an exchange between the parking lot and the hotel windows that was spiced with some juicy comments in many varieties of the English language.

Sorry, but propriety inhibits me from giving a fuller description of the comments, but you can use your imagination. Let us say that some of the remarks were as vulgar as they were salacious.

At any rate, one drunken Irishman fortunately had the forebearance not to respond to the New Zealand lady's invitation to "Come up here and we'll flatten your xxx," where xxx is your choice of terms for posterior.

bob_brown is offline  
May 6th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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I forgot to add that the hotel ran out of hot water the following morning. Fortunately I had gotten a lukewarm shower the night before. Those who just had to have a morning shower got a chilly surprise.

bob_brown is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Hi ayates:

A few things to note. The Waterford Crystal factory is Waterford's main bit of interest. It's OK, but if you're expecting deals there that you won't find in hundreds of gift shops around the country, you'll be a bit dissappointed. Other than that, Waterford is not a terribly interesting city. The castle is a lovely place, a bit pricey though, rooms run E335-640 per night.

The Rick Steves book on Ireland is generally considered one of his worst attempts. Although I haven't seen the most recent, he generally leaves out huge sections of the country and focuses on the spots that get lots of tourism. He of course states that he only puts in the good spots so you don't waste your time on the bad ones. I contend he has never been anywhere else in Ireland. I'm not a Steves hater by the way, I just think his Ireland book is not the best choice. "Ireland Guide", the book by Bord Failte is quite good, Michele Erdvig's guide (available on is a very good take with you book. The DK book is good also.

The trains in Ireland (despite the great review given by the travel guy on the Today show) is not considered the best in Europe. By the way, if you saw his advice on traveling in Ireland, ignore almost all of it. He listed hotels as the cheap way to travel and whatever you do, don't rent a car. I'm not real sure he has ever been to Ireland. That info flies in the face of what most people who travel there regularly would suggest.

I'm not sure what kind of festivals you are looking for. Here are some sites:

Hope this helps.

wojazz3 is offline  
May 7th, 2007, 09:15 AM
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Rick Steve's book on Ireland does have a good section on Dingle. There are beautiful wonderful parts of Ireland he does not cover. Michele Erdvig's book(taken with me a few times) as Wojazz3 said, or Fodors puts out a good light weight book that I carried along for my first trip. Another not light weight book is Lonely Planet.

I think I'd go in Sept. as it will not be so crowded. Everybody knocks train travel, I liked my 6 trips by train. I'd train to a town and use taxi's. I went 1st class only once and the other times were just fine. We could buy refreshments, use the toilet, walk the aisles, talk to fellow passengers and enjoy the scenery.
Have a good trip, Joan
chatham is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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I would recommend Sept over Aug also. Accommodation is cheaper, it's less crowded and the weather is still good. Waterford city as mentioned is quite navigatable and makes a good base for touring. There are other nice places to stay in if you prefer small towns, such as Dungarvan or Dunmore East( see for ideas). Waterford is also great for golf, fishing, surfing. From Waterford you could do day trips to Cashel to see the Rock of Cashel. Go to Kilkenny for a night, see the castle and check out some great pubs. From Waterford you can also head to West Cork, which has some of the best scenery in Ireland. Most towns & villages around Ireland have a festival in August, so if you go then just pick up a local paper or ask in your hotel or B&B. Dingle and Galway are great but get so overcrowded in Aug it's better to go somewhere else.
youngblueeyes is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 03:34 AM
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Waterford is a very pretty part of Ireland and not so overrun with tourists. I've wanted to stay here for quite some time - it's in Co. Wexford but very close to the border with Waterford.

Ardmore, Dunmore East and Dungarvan are lovely places to visit - small and seasidey. If you hire a car you can see some nice villages in Kilkenny and Wexford like Inistioge and Graguenamanagh, not forgetting Kilkenny city itself.

Waterford has a festival of light opera in September - and this year's Wexford festival of opera is taking place in Johnstown Castle which should be interesting , - although it takes place in late May/early June so it might not suit.
ter2000 is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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I agree that outside of Waterford City there are some lovely places. I stayed in Dunmore East for three nights in 06 and enjoyed it very much. In addition to the things that blueeys and ter have suggested, make a trip out to Hook Head lighthouse. Also completely agree that September is a better choice.

wojazz3 is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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In one of your trip reports, you wrote about the B&B you stayed at in Dunmore East. It looked very nice. Maybe ayates would be interested.

My Best, Joan
chatham is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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But of course. The Beech House.
wojazz3 is offline  
May 8th, 2007, 01:47 PM
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Thanks everyone! I think we have decided that Sept will be the month. My husband has also just thrown in that he would like to see a soccer(football) game. I think we might try to see one in Dublin. I have looked at the intineraries from that jackjeb talked about and the 7 day looks pretty good. We are looking at 10 days so we'll throw in a few extra days in. Thanks for the advice on travel books! We'll have to check them out.
ayates is offline  

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