Ireland or Wales ?

Sep 17th, 2002, 03:42 AM
  #1  
csr
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ireland or Wales ?

If anyone has been to BOTH Ireland and Wales I would be greatful for comparisons. ANY information will be helpful. Thx
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 05:23 AM
  #2  
AR
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Depending on how much time you have, it's not impossible to do both. Flights from Dublin to Cardiff with Ryanair can be obtained from £59 return at the right time. Also there are numerous ferries from Ireland to Fishguard, Pembroke or Swansea. As for the answer to the question - being Welsh I'd say Wales is better!! but they are certainly similar in countryside. The Irish people are amazing and the atmosphere of Ireland is much better.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 06:51 AM
  #3  
Sarah
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Apples and Oranges csr both places are special and different. I would not do both if you have only a short time.

If you have Irish Ancestry you want to go to Ireland. It can be a great kick. Time is a factor however. I don't think Dublin is worth a trip on its own. It is a run down city and finding the special spots will take some reading and wandering. You just won't find the monuments and sights that you would expect in a European city. I would go to Dublin if I wanted to sit in Bewleys café, a haunt of James Joyce, explore Irish theatre, learn about the independence of modern Ireland the main museum.

My favorite areas in Ireland are Clare (cliffs of Mohr), Doolin and the Buren also Connemara, in the south Dingle Peninsula, North: Giants Causeway many sea towns. You gotta have an Ulster fry at some point too. I have been to Ireland about 4-5 times not something you speed through too much countryside to take in. Belfast is also interesting.

Wales I have hiked twice along the Southern Coast , people also rave about the North. Again this is a place that is famous for its countryside. A quick stop in the major Cities or towns will do nothing for you. However if you hike through the national trust walking path you will pass by rolling hills against the coast, stroll through private farms, catch a glimpse of a gannet or puffin if the time of year is right. I slept in a one-room school house but those were backpacking days.

Just imagine if someone that had never been to the US or Mexico said to you: which is better California or Mexico? Can I squeeze them both into one trip? Yes you can push them into one trip but most would want to absorb from each culture more thoroughly than a blended trip would offer.
Just my opinion.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 07:00 AM
  #4  
Dave
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
This is a somewhat vague answer, but it was a rather vague question.

If you happen to be American, Ireland would probably have a more "familiar" feel: Blarney, Limerick, Rose of Tralee, Galway Bay, St Patrick and all that (familiar in the sense that so many Irish themes have permeated American history and culture).

Wales has the advantage of being somewhat off the (American) tourist track. In Ireland, everyone assumes you're tracing your ancestors, just like all the other Yanks. In Wales, people are surprised that you've managed to find the place!

Wales has better castles (possibly the highest density of spectacular castles in the world).

In my opinion, the scenery is pretty even, although Ireland has more of it, being larger and more diverse geographically.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 08:21 AM
  #5  
Virginia
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Being Irish, I should vote for Ireland.

We're going back to Wales next month.

If you want to see Ireland, you have to be willing to drive on the opposite side of the road or take a tour. Most of what there is to see is in the countryside and Irish public transportation is not ideal.

Wales is much easier to get around. From Cardiff, you can explore such castles as Caerphilly and Carmarthen as well as Cardiff Castle. You can explore Dylan Thomas territory from Swansea. From Bangor, in the North, you can get to Carnarfon, Beaumaris and Conwy and Snowdonia. You can't get from North Wales to South Wales easily so consider spending a few days between in London.

The people of Wales are incredibly friendly and helpful; the scenery is beautiful, and the food is great.

Which ever you choose, have a great time.

V.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 08:55 AM
  #6  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have to take exception with the earlier comment that Dublin is a "rundown" city. Dublin's an interesting and vibrant city and has become so much more diversified in the past several years. There are a lot more immigrants, and continental Europeans have made it into one of the top weekend destinations in Europe. They must find it attractive, even if Sarah doesn't.

If you're not a city person, and like spending time in the countryside, you can't go wrong with choosing either Ireland or Wales. Both have incredible scenery and tremendous hiking (no snakes in Ireland, though!). If push came to shove, I would pick Ireland, but that's because I've spent much more time in Ireland, so it's what I know. Ireland's larger than Wales, so there's a bit more variety. Hard to come up with anything bad to say about either place.

While you can find villages in Ireland where Gaelic is spoken, it is much easier to find native speakers in Wales, which I always find interesting.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 08:59 AM
  #7  
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
There's nothing like Snowdonia in Ireland, there's nothing like the Ring of Kerry in Wales. There are spectacular castles in both places. I agree that Dublin requires effort to enjoy . . . Cardiff and Swansea offer about the same . . . Wales is smaller, easier to get around in but if you've just spent 5 days touring through England, Ireland would be more of contrast.

Im not sure what the prior post meant by not getting from North to South Wales easily - It's now "easy" to get deep into the Lake District in England along a 4-lane motor way and that stinks! I think the drive along the coast from Canaerfon to St Davids is arguably one of the best in GB. The scenery east of Canaerfon (Betws-y-Coed) is very enjoyable. Also the A470 from Dolgellau to Brecon - throught the Brecon Beacons - is worth a trip . . . if you're in Wales.

Good luck.
Steve
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 09:03 AM
  #8  
MikeyMoo
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Wales stinks, Yes attractive landscape in places.

However, unfriendly, narrow-minded inbred population, dirty, unsightly City and towns - is that a generalisation?

Stick to Eire, you can't go wrong.
 
Sep 17th, 2002, 02:52 PM
  #9  
csr
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thanks to all for the input! I am from the U.S. and have always wanted to travel to the British Isles. It sounds like both Ireland & Wales have much to offer. (MikeyMoo's anti-Welsh comments not-with-standing). My wife and I are middle-aged and travel well together. We don't mind long drives and love scenery. Any other thoughts about what we might see "across the pond" would be nice. We will probably have 10-12 days when we do go.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 04:25 AM
  #10  
Gwenneth
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
topping
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 07:05 AM
  #11  
Rick
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
RE: Opposing Views on Dublin

Negative comments about Dublin put a sudden chill in my 2003 trip planning.
Don't want to be greatly disappointed after having been to "easy to impress" places like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Vienna on previous trips. I know its all subjective, but there is a big gulf between "rundown" and "vibrant". I've got seven days to devote to Ireland and was planning to give Dublin four and three to the countryside. Would appreciate your thoughts on what to see and do and how to create realistic expectations. Primary interests are: gardens and fountains, historic buildings and churches, folk music, tradtional neighborhoods, museums, nature walks.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 07:37 AM
  #12  
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
csr,

Spend a few days in the Lake District. It's getting overrun with weekenders, but the scenery beats anything you'll find in Ireland or Wales.

Steve
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 08:59 AM
  #13  
Dave
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rick,

One day in Dublin, six in the countryside. Unless you have some specific purpose in Dublin, like finding the locations in Joyce's Ulysses or visiting sites from the 1916 rising. (Try to see the Books of Kells while in Dublin.)

I didn't think Dublin was a particulary "rundown" or unpleasant place, but the best of Dublin - pub music, Irish hospitality - can also be found elsewhere, in more scenic surroundings.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 09:05 AM
  #14  
Ann
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I've been to the Lake District, and while it's pretty, it doesn't compare to Ireland or Wales.

Anyway, regarding Dublin. I have my own theory on why so many Americans tend to dislike Dublin. I think it's because they have this leprechaun/shamrock view of the country, and think that Ireland is filled with thatched roof huts occupied by red-headed children and their parents, and possibly their grandfather, who bikes around the countryside wearing a flat cap and suit, pausing only to eat corned beef and cabbage, followed by a pint of Guinness.

Okay, so maybe there are an inordinate amount of old men in suits riding bikes in Ireland, but this image Americans have of Ireland simply isn't reality. And they are hit in the face with this in Dublin. Dublin is a city, with all of the warts and dirt that come along with a large city. It doesn't fit into this leprechaunization of Ireland.

Dublin is a great city, and based on your posting, Rick, I think you'd really like it. Don't miss the church where Handel composed much of the Messiah. Dublin Castle, the Book of Kells and Trinity College, Phoenix Park (doesn't compare to Hyde Park, but nice in it's own way), Powerscourt Gardens. There are some self-guided tours of the city that take on different themes--you can buy a guide in the tourist office. My favorite is the literary tour. For music, try the Musical Pub Crawl. Yes, it may sound a bit cheesy, but it's a fun way to see several pubs, and hear some good music (the same musicians lead you around to different pubs, and play some songs for you). The musicians are also a great source of info on where else in the city to find traditional music. Make sure you get a pint of Guinness in Mulligan's, Joyce's old hangout.
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 09:17 AM
  #15  
bill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Rick:

This is always good for an argument, but with seven days to be in Ireland I wouldn't even consider an itinerary that spent most of the time in Dublin. Though it is not completely run down, I agree with Sarah that it is not as you say an "easy to impress" city. You'll have to do some research to find all the little spots you want to see.

Many travelers I know did not devote much time to Dublin until there third or fourth trip (my self included). Rarely do they express regret. Based on you interests, here are some not very complete suggestions.

Fountains and Gardens: Powerscourt south of Dublin is probably the grand daddy of them all.

Historic Buildings: Well, you'll be in Ireland. It's hard to spit and miss one. The whole country is historic. For Instance, major ones within a reasonable day's drive headed south out of Dublin of the top of my head...Kilkenny Castle, Rock of Cashel, Cahir Castle and I'm sure I missed about forty in between.

Folk music is pretty easy to find in Ireland but I've head many locals (one of them a major booking agent that I talked to) say that that the best talent has gone to the US because they can make more money. Be prepared to stay up late to pick up some music. Usually it doesn't start until about 10:00 PM. There are pubs in Dublin that cater to the the tourist crowd (the Temple Bar seems to have music running off and on throughout the day on weekends). Be sure to ask at your B&B where the best music will be. Owners are usually very helpful.

Not sure what you are looking for in traditional neighborhoods. There are beautiful old towns and cities throughout Ireland. Kilkenny is more of a city, Kinsale and Kenmare are wondeful. The list goes on and on. depends on where you are going.

Museums: Dublin will have the edge on that.

Nature walks: There are beautiful walks all over Ireland from the trails along the North Antrim Coast, to the Slieve League in Donegal, to Dingle and the Ring of Kerry and Killarney Natl Park.

So what I can see from your interests, you don't have to spend that much time in Dublin and if this is your first trip, IMHO you shouldn't. To me, it's a first and last night.

Remember, that when you travel to Ireland, you can fly into Shannon and out of Dublin or vice versa for a few bucks less than round trip into Dublin. That might be a good option for you.

Have fun

Bill
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #16  
Rick
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Keep those kind of detailed inputs coming - I feel a little better now! Started to compile some attractions: kilmainham jail, guinness brewery,
writers museum, o'connell street walk,
national museum, grafton street,the national gallery, merrion square, and the temple bar area.

 
Sep 18th, 2002, 11:10 AM
  #17  
ttt
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
topping it
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 11:13 AM
  #18  
bill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ann:

I'm pretty sure you're theory on why Dublin is not as popular won't hold much water. It's a pretty condescending notion. Granted, I've only been to Ireland a few times, but I never went with the childish leprechaun notion that you have tossed out. I have many frequent Ireland traveler friends and very view of them list Dublin in their top ten. I realize to each his own is the way to look at it. Rather than suggesting that people who travel to Ireland and greatly prefer the countryside are deluded, uneducated travelers, may you should just recognize the difference. In fact, Michele Erdvig of irelandyes.com who has apparently traveled to Ireland about 40 times has agreed with me on the notion of Dublin vs. the countryside.

You are apparently a person who enjoys the energy of the city to the quiet of the countryside. Fine, but don't put down others who don't feel the same way. I looked at Rick's list of things to do and thought he should spend less time in Dublin. See what I mean?

Bill
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 11:32 AM
  #19  
Rick
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Just to complicate the debate - we will not have a car. I've heard Irish public transportation is scant in the countryside. Or is that a bad perception?
 
Sep 18th, 2002, 11:51 AM
  #20  
Steve
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Ann,

I think you failed to read csr's comments carefully. I wasn't trying to compare the Lake District with Ireland or Wales. He asked for other options "across the pond." The Lake District has some very dramatic and beautiful mountain and lake scenery. If you are driving in that area of GB, then it's worth taking the time to visit.

As for your "theory" about Americans and Dublin, Bill's pronouncement of your remarks as "condescending" is putting it pretty lightly. You should be more objective about your travel comments because they may actually effect someone's itenerary. He mentioned being impressed with Amsterdam, London, Paris, Rome and Vienna all of which have readily identifiable, highly visited landmarks (maybe Vienna when it's snowing ... St Stephens and Schoenbrun are about all I can come up with). Are you honestly suggesting that Dublin would be a place that he would be "easily impressed" with or are you just arguing for the sake of arguing?

Your comment about the Lake District not comparing with Ireland or Wales leads me to believe that you are simply arguing.

Steve
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:18 AM.