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Ireland for Elderly Couple, Advice Needed

Ireland for Elderly Couple, Advice Needed

Apr 13th, 2011, 06:10 AM
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Ireland for Elderly Couple, Advice Needed

My husband and I are in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Ireland for his elderly parents. This is to be an eightieth birthday gift for his dad. The specifics: They can stay about 10 days. They don't want to drive, but hate group tours. They enjoy small, intimate bed and breakfasts or inns over generic hotels. They have some mobility issues - Parkinson's, polymyalgia, back surgery, etc., so can't walk too far. They enjoy the countryside and sea, history and castles, meeting people. Any preliminary suggestions?

Thanks, Guys!
Cattail is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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Are your in-laws traveling on their own? (It doesn't sound like anyone is accompanying them on this trip.)

There are basically 3 ways to get around Ireland--self-drive,
bus/train travel, and tour groups. They are too old to rent a car for self-drive in Ireland even if they wanted to do this and I doubt they could manage bus/train travel with the various mobility and health issues that you have listed. So unless you can afford to hire someone to drive them around Ireland for 10 days, that leaves tour groups. Perhaps you can find a tour group that specializes in small groups and/or B&B's and inns.
longhorn55 is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 09:31 AM
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They cannot drive. From what I read, 75 is the max age limit for car rentals. I think they should stay in a large city -Dublin?- and take a train or bus to outlying areas for a visit. No tour, just get on the bus/train and go, then come back home. No packing and unpacking, etc. Does either use crutches, walkers, wheelchair? They could also do two cities, using open jaw tickets (saves backtracking) and only pack and unpack once.
jkbritt is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 10:12 AM
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Unless they are familar with Ireland, I would strongly urge that they employ a guide for places they want to visit. I would think that arriving at a place by train or coach with some health and mobility issues and without knowing exactly where and what to do might be a bit overwhelming. Also the best of Ireland is really its countryside. Hiring a private tour guide would be the best option as an itinerary could be based on their interests and paced according to their needs. I'm sure a guide from Dublin ( if that's where they are flying into) could arrange visits to any number of sites, provide detailed information and offer friendly advice. They could return to their hotel/B&B each night if packing and unpacking is an issue.
historytraveler is offline  
Apr 13th, 2011, 03:27 PM
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Thank you! you have confirmed what we have thought - a guide is the way to go. jkbritt, neither of them uses crutches or a wheelchair, but navigating around a strange city still might be difficult, do you think? Any recommondations for a guide?
Cattail is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 03:51 PM
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Hi, you don't say when this trip is planned for? Or what areas/cities they want to see? That might help you locate someone who'd be willing to escort them. But remember that someone might be hesitate [being liable for their welfare]
One thing for them to remember regardless..in many of those lovely, quaint BnBs, there are some steep stairs, sometimes difficult to navigate with a heavy suitcase if you are a little unsteady. You might ask about that when booking the b and b.
I suggest you come up with what you [or your in-laws] require in the way of assistance, when they're going, where they want to go. I can suggest some nice landladies and some quaint places to stay [and I'm sure many others can as well]
I do know that some companies offer a private driver and car, but they tend to be pricey. Have you thought of a local person [maybe a retired nurse] who would go along with them and escort/drive, just for the cost of her expenses?
AutumnLeaf is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 04:39 PM
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I have parents that are a little older than yours and would try and find a small group tour for them or have you and your husband go with them or one of the grandkids. I have a friend that did that. She lugged the suitcases and helped them with public transportation. Galway has great day tours and Dublin. I know there are plenty for the Ring of Kerry. Dublin has nice hotels but would go for the area closer to Trinity College. You are still close to the sites but not in the Temple Bar district. Galway is a quick trip by train or bus. Tours to the cliffs and Aran Islands, Kylemore Abby, etc.Galway has nice hotels in the center of town close to the bus station. Nice base for touring and they are close to great places to eat and shop. Great small city. I love Cork but not sure about getting around. We had a car and used public transportation to go to Kinsale on another trip.
flpab is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for the advice! AutumnLeaf, my in-laws aren't all that infirm. They can handle some light walking. Yes, I will considered stairs when I schedule accommodations. The trip will be planned for September.

flpab, thanks for the ideas of bases. I'm thinking of hiring a driver only for the days that they transition to a new spot. In ten days, that might mean moving only once or twice; we want to keep things simple, so lots of moving around is out.
Cattail is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 05:39 PM
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Thanks, lots, flpab. I'm not sure that they'll go for the group tours, but may like the shorter ones. We sure can't afford a private driver for a week!
Cattail is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2011, 08:50 PM
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Perhaps the best plan, as you might have already figured out, is to base them in a city ( Dublin/Galway?) where they can decide what interests them and negoiate their sight-seeing within the city on their own terms. Dublin/Galway would also offer opportunities via small groups or private hire to places outside the city.
historytraveler is offline  
Apr 24th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Best bet would be Hotel stays in Dublin, Galway and Killarney (all accessed by Train, from Dublin) combined with small capacity 'Day Tours', but that doesn't fit the bill, per their "Wishes".

Another option, would be B&B's that offer Touring. I haven't used any of these -- and, I'm SURE there are LOTS more --, but you might check out:



We took my then, 82 year old FIL and 75 year old MIL to Ireland in June 2000, but I was the Guide and driver ...

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Apr 26th, 2011, 09:57 AM
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What is the budget? i.e accommodation per night and can your folk manage stairs at all or must they be at ground level. Also have you checked with the tourist bureau that American visitors get free train travel?
tenaya is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 04:13 AM
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ht and Bob, we talked my in-laws into twelve nights instead of ten, and the first 3 nights will be in Dublin. They aren't really city people, but they do want to go to the theater and see a few more sights. Then I'm thinking two other spots for 4 nights each, then back to Dublin for a night before flying home.

tenaya, my in-laws really need to be on the ground floor, or have access to a lift. Yes! I was excited to see about the free train travel, but have yet to figure out whether that'll work or not. They've had a horrible year, and we don't want them to stress over anything. Budget is up to $150 or so a night, depending on the level of accommodations. We can get by with less though, as they're into simpler style rather than high-end.

Any recommendations for less-touristy, walkable small towns with good pubs and music?
Cattail is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 06:38 AM
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Well you shouldn't have to spend $150 a night. In Dublin I stay at Bewleys Ballsbridge because I like it a lot. It's 59 Euro per room. Your parents might prefer right down-town to be nearer theatres.

Re. the main question. I'm an elderly female American presently residing in West Cork. Because I don't have a TV I planned to take a Short Break in order to watch THE Wedding.

I havered over a number of places and when I first read your post I had started parking for Cobh (pronounced Cove) which I think your parents might enjoy ---non-touristy, walkable small town.... many options for non-touristy tours and Cork City a short train journey.

I'm staying at Waters-edge Hotel which I was delighted to find has an unusually low rate of 55 Euro for a single room. It's a beautiful small hotel - all room (I think) are on the ground floor and most overlook the Bay as does the excellent restaurant.

Otherwise I had planned to stay at the Commodore Hotel right opposite. It has an elevator. Either place would know the best pubs. The Commodore pub is a local hangout. Both hotels are almost next to the train station which incorporates a most interesting "living museum" (not the right description) of the Titanic --- Cobh being its last Port of Call.

As I do U.S/DUB/CORK a fair bit I'll throw out a suggestion that it might work better if your parents -- schedules permitting -- could get off the U.S flight right on to a Cork flight - well under an hour from either Dublin or London.

the last three days could be spent in Dublin fully rested and book three days I'll put myself in your parents' shoes and say that in their thro the last throut the suggestion ot I wonder i
tenaya is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 06:47 AM
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MY POST GOT AWAY FROM ME!!! Any questions just let me know. I think four days in a small non-touristy town with lots of things to do; get over jet lag; three days in Dublin and the intervening time "playing it by ear" sounds good to me.
tenaya is offline  
Apr 27th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Do look into an open-jaw itinerary -- flying into Dublin and out of Shannon (or vice versa) to avoid the need for backtracking and a single night in Dublin at the end.
kayd is offline  
Apr 30th, 2011, 09:28 AM
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tenaya and kayd, thanks so much! Your ideas really help. I'm passing on this information to my mother -in-law.
Cattail is offline  
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