Irish Holiday Cottage


Mar 17th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Irish Holiday Cottage

We have been researching our trip to Ireland, and we are staggered by the number of places to see. But rather than traveling around and seeing too many things too quickly, we would like to spend some time getting to know one place well.

We would like to spend at least 3 or 4 days in Dublin, getting acclimated and seeing the usual tourist things. Then we’d like to take a train to spend a week in a holiday cottage in a nice town. Ideally the town will be large enough to have a week’s worth of good pubs and interesting sights (museums, castles, historic sights, maybe a canal, lake or beach) in the general area that we can walk, bicycle and take a train to. But the town should be small enough to maintain its character. After a week we hope to have visited the pubs, the grocery, the church, the pharmacy…and maybe say that we have gotten to know that corner of Ireland. We’d like not to have to rent a car, but would like to rent bikes. For both the holiday cottage and the town we are much more interested in character and convenience than in luxury, which we can’t afford anyway.

I am an architect, and am interested in anything historic. My 15 year-old son is interested in exploring his Irish heritage and would love to see a rugby game. My wife is English and would rather be going to England, so she’ll go shopping (no expensive shops nearby, please…).

Every time I open a book about Ireland I see another place that looks wonderful. So I am hoping that someone will say “I know just the place for you!” and make it easy for us.
We will probably travel in August.

Is that helpful? Any recommendations or suggestions or direction to resources will be very appreciated.
nonfrequent_flier is offline  
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Mar 18th, 2011, 12:18 PM
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There is a US company called Home At First: that rents cottages in the British Isles. We looked at them quite seriously before we decided instead on a driving trip around southern Ireland last year. I believe the owner is a relative (? daughter) of Hal Taussig, the founder of Untours. We have rented apartments four times in Europe through Untours, and have always been pleased. I think they are worth a look.
SusieKay is offline  
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 04:44 AM
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If your son is looking at heritage then he will be better to do the hard research on line before coming over. Where would be your ancestral home? as this might be a pointer towards where you might want to stay. Train's are sparse but the main towns are linked and the rest by Bus services. If you give me an idea of which region you would like to consider I could give more help.
Tony2phones is offline  
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 05:40 AM
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How are you going to feed yourselves in this cottage? And what do you think your son is going to learn about his ancestry from an inaccessible cottage in Ballygodhelpus?

The Irish Republic's public transport system is lamentable. Though you can get buses to, say, Limerick, you'd never want to stay there - and the idyllic cottage overlooking the wild Atlantic waves is going to be at least five miles from the nearest understocked convenience store.

It's absolutely essential your son goes back as far as records survive (if the ancestors are Catholic, that's likely to be surprisingly recent, BTW) via websites like the Mormons before crossing the Atlantic. He'll then have a small number of questions answerable only by accessing microfilm records in Dublin, or possibly in a few diocesan registries. You as a family might then also have a small list of specific villages, churches or graveyards you'll want to see. In case he thinks he's busy: he will learn infinitely more from a properly managed web search at home, possibly using local Mormon churches, than he can possibly learn without the web in Ireland Getting onto the web reliably in most Irish holiday homes is a nightmare, especially for Americans. It involves - assuming there's decent local coverage which few cottages overlooking the wild Atlantic have anyway - either ferreting about to buy an Irish USB dongle for a Windows computer or going through the palaver of getting an American iPad data contract that won't bankrupt you

Both for basic survival and for genealogy, a car is virtually essential: I've certainly never rented an Irish cottage where civilised life was possible without one.

You CAN find villages like the one you've described (though with far greater difficulty, and with much uglier houses, than in England or France): but almost always, you're going to have to stay in a village-centre hotel/B&B if you want to dispense with a car. I'm sure there are houses for rent in te middle of, say, Middleton or Kinsale - but your choice will be hellishly constrained if it's limited to walking distance from the bus-stop. And it gets more limited if you need it close to a cycle hire place as well

Plan on having a car, however small, and even if you use it just a few times.
flanneruk is offline  
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Mar 22nd, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Very helpful flanneruk you are obviously better informed than the likes of myself who actually live over here.
Tony2phones is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2011, 11:54 AM
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Three more sites that you could rent from

Again like the last poster said , public transport is poor to say the least ans most cottages are in a rual area ( except for the last one mentioned above ( that is in Cork City suburb ). If you are going to stay in a large city with interconnecting trains to Dublin fine if not rent a a car
sparky is offline  
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Mar 31st, 2011, 12:29 PM
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Ditto to most everything said above.

A self catering cottage is what you want, but to make that work you WILL need a car.

. . . Unless you rent a flat in Dublin or Cork or someplace like that and use public transport out an back each day. But that would be a huge waste of time and not the nicest way to see much of Ireland.

There are folks who manage nice tours of Ireland by bus/train. But it is often because they can't rent a car -- not because they just don't want to. (too old, too young, no license, etc.). And they can't base in a lovely cottage in a scenic/rural village.
janisj is online now  
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Mar 31st, 2011, 12:39 PM
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I've been to Ireland several times, but the trip we took to see the family parts called for renting a car. We took a self-catering cottage that was wonderful and cozy on Islandmagee (yes, one word) outside of Larne in County Antrim, NI.

Before going, I did my due diligence and found the best place to hook up with family was on a Yahoo group site. Just plug your last name into Google, like "smith Yahoo Group" and see if one comes up. My maiden name is unusual and there was a good one--still very active. You'll be surprised at all the help you'll get from locals.

As for having a self-catering off the beaten track, we really enjoyed the drive back to the house each evening.
MelJ is offline  
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Apr 1st, 2011, 12:47 PM
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I am going for my fourth time and will be using only public transportation. Day tours are the key so am staying in a city such as Galway and Dublin. You can explore the Aran Islands and County clare with many bus tours that run daily. Look for villages that are services by trains and buses.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 01:03 PM
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You can take the gobus or train to Galway from Dublin and then the bus to Kinvara. This is a great location for many day trips and Galway has tons of day tours or get the bus schedule out and go where you want. There are ferries to the Aran Islands and I love the ferry that comes up to the cliffs. Best view of the cliffs. I have driven in Ireland and really hated it. Give me the autobahn but you can keep those little hairpin turns where people take their half out of the middle.
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