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Please help: Last minute Ireland itinerary

Please help: Last minute Ireland itinerary

Old Aug 10th, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Please help: Last minute Ireland itinerary

My in-laws are traveling to Ireland in a couple of weeks to see Penn State play in Dublin. They booked their trip through a tour company, but have asked us to help them plan some activities on the days that aren't accounted for with their tour package. They will have four full days on the ground, plus their arrival & departure days. Their hotel is booked, one day will be the game, and they have a 24 hop on/hop off pass, as well as admission passes for Guiness and the Jameson distillery (both of which are on the hop on/hop off bus route).

I haven't traveled in Ireland, so I don't have much to recommend to them in terms of oersonal experience and need some Fodorite expertise. They are a couple in their mid-60s who would be up for some walking, enjoy higher end dining, and would probably be more comfortable in a tour group setting than driving/exploring too far on their own.

Does anyone have any suggestions for guided day trips (group/coach tours are fine) outside of Dublin, and/or additional suggestions for must sees within Dublin?

Thank you in advance!
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 10:13 AM
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I would take a day and take this tour with Mary. It was wonderful. http://newgrangetours.com
So informative about history of the region. No major walking and we, in our 60's, really enjoyed spending the day with Mary.

My friends went to Howth - a bit north and on the coast - and loved it for the seafood.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 10:37 AM
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They should check with the tourist office there and probably take 1 or 2 day trips. I would rank Newgrange (prehistoric monument) # 1 - but it's not for them if they don;t like dark or enclosed spaces.

We had one women freak out on the way in (not say I need to leave but started screaming and we thought she was having a heart attack or something) and the whole group had to go back out and find a place to put her and leave her companion to calm her - before we could go in again. Don;t know why she went in at all - both before buying the tour ticket and on the bus the guide said this is not for anyone who has ANY claustrophobia or doens't like dark or tight spaces. On the way back she said she didn't know it would be SO dark. Dark is dark - as in no light except a tiny flash the guide had to lead the way. Otherwise why would they mention dark?

But there are lots of other places that could be reached in a day.

Also suggest they try to get tickets for a show - there is a lot of theater - esp if they can get something from an Irish playwright. Last time we saw Wilde - Lady Windermere's Fan. I think they usually have one by a local.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 11:42 AM
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Thank you @gailscout and @nytraveler, I will speak with them about Newgrange (and thank you for the heads up about claustrophobia...I'm not sure where they stand with that).

I'm also earmarking the theatre suggestion as well, as that is right up their alley.

Do you have any restaurant/pub suggestions in Dublin? They're staying in the Temple Bar area.

Am I crazy for looking into full day rail/coach tours for Cliffs of Moher or Cork/Blarney?

This is their first trip to Europe together (both had been separately years and years ago), and we don't want them to be overwhelmed, but also want to make sure that they see and do as much as they can (without exhausting them in the process).
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 04:00 PM
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Bump
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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I think the other tours to Galway and Cork might be a bit much for a day trip. I loved Newgrange. Wicklow day trips are good. Howth is beautiful and they can take the train there. I would normally wait and go to the tour office on Suffolk St but this is going to be a busy time with all the football fans being there. I would book online now. Trinity college has great walking tours. The hop on hop off bus will give them a great overview of Dublin. Tell them to watch the movie Michael Collins. The game is at Croke Park and they will appreciate the history much more.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Danielle811: I am interested in touring Ireland and we don't drive, so we use public transportation in order to get around and see things. In searching the internet today, I found this tour company which looks good according to the reviews of this company on Trip Advisor. They offer plenty of day trips. Their four day trip could be the answer for us as the day begins early but ends around 5 pm giving us time to be on our own in the evening. Plus I like how you stay three nights in the same town.

http://www.railtoursireland.com/tourdetails.asp
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 05:47 PM
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boxtyhouse.ie we like this place as they serve Murphy's Irish Stout but the food is really good.
more upscale and close to the Gate theater leboncrubeen.ie

We love pub food and you can't go wrong with seafood chowder and brown bread, Brazen head is our fav.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 06:11 PM
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Last year while in Dublin, we took a bus/coach trip of the Wicklow mountains. There are more than several companies doing this tour and we thought it was fun and the scenery was beautiful (and it was nice to have someone else do the driving after a week of driving around the country!)

I can also recommend the Literary Pub crawl. You can buy tickets for it from the tourist offices. Local actors take the group around to several pubs with literary significance, and while walking around the actors recite various writings associated with the writers and pubs. It was a lot of fun and interesting. Group consisted of a mix of people and no one had trouble keeping up...unless they got carried away with the Guiness.....
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 03:52 AM
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http://www.daytourswicklow.ie/
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 07:04 AM
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Great suggestions! I looked at some photos and reviews on TA for the wicklow day trip on that link. It looks stunning and makes me want to pack my bags NOW!
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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I really wish they weren't staying in the Temple Bar Area - it's a bit grim at night time - especially at weekends. Tell them to be careful and to mind their bags.

There are a couple of interesting plays on at The Abbey while they're over - tickets available online through their website.

The Literary Pub Crawl is excellent. A trip to Glendalough is recommended - they can do it themselves using the St. Kevin's Bus service - www.glendaloughbus.com .

If they want to visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells tell them to go in the afternoon when there are fewer people visiting.

The museum at Croke Park (where the game is on) is quite good. Their ticket might include the price of a visit.

The Porterhouse in Temple Bar has decent food and brew their own beer. It's quite good.

There are a couple of good walking tours - google them or try http://www.walkingtours.ie/ (full disclosure - a friend of mine works for them, but they ARE good).
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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ter2000: When I looked at the walking tour link, it appeared as if the tour is 150 euro. That didn't seem right. I assumed it must be for people who are traveling in groups, and it is. In digging around their website, I see that walking tours are only 10 to 12 euro. Even better is for people who have purchased a hop-on hop-off bus tour for the day--the walking tour is FREE when you show your bus ticket! Thanks for the info.
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Old Aug 14th, 2014, 05:22 PM
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The ploughman's lunch is excellent at The Porterhouse. Good brews also. Do the sampler. What hotel are they staying at in the temple bar area. It will be wild with all the Penn State and UCF people. Trinity students do a good walking tour. Oliver St John Gogarty has great music and decent food. Second floor, get a seat, order a cheese plate and beer and wait for the evening entertainment. It will be so crowded but enjoy.
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Old Aug 15th, 2014, 03:26 PM
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Wow, thank you everyone! I've passed along a lot of these suggestions. I looked up their hotel again, and it's actually just across the river from the Temple Bar neighborhood, but I will let them know to be on their guard in the evenings.

@ter2000: Thanks for the the tip about Trinity College bring less crowded in the afternoon. Do events like the game really effect how crowded and booked things are? (I.e. Should they book any tours/tickets before departing?)

I'll also send them all of the restaurant suggestions as well.

Thanks again!
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Yes, there will be a lot of tourist in town and since many are on preplanned trips I would think many of the tours have been booked. I did a little research months ago for a friend who wanted to go and so many hotels and apartments were already booked with the prices rather high. I live in UCF territory but he is a Penn state alumni and wanted to do a trip on his own.
Good that their hotel is across the liffey, will be a bit quieter. I have never had any problem in Dublin but there are pick pockets and they will see their share of people begging morning noon and night. We were the first at the door to Trinity for the Book of Kells so could do that also if they are early risers.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 03:38 AM
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I work in Trinity College and when I arrived into work this morning there was a queue of about 200 people waiting for the Long Room to open - so don't do the early morning thing unless you have a fondness for standing around! If you are planning a visit, it's an idea to combine it with a walking tour of the College - the tour costs €12 which includes €9 entry into the Old Library. More details here - http://www.tcd.ie/Library/bookofkells/trinity-tours/. Alternatively you can book a visit to the Old Library in advance here - http://www.ticketmaster.ie/Book-of-K...ie_bookofkells

It is worth saying again that there is a fair bit of petty theft in Dublin so do tell your in-laws to keep a good eye on their belongings (no hanging bags on the back of restaurant chairs for example) and to develop a thick skin for beggars (ignore them - you can always donate to a charity if you want). If the hotel is on the North side of the Liffey, do also tell them to stay away from the Liffey Boardwalk (prime drug dealing venue and unsafe).

The Church - http://www.thechurch.ie/ - is a bar that would be nearby and is popular with tourists. They do a good lunch. Another place to try is the Winding Stair restaurant - http://winding-stair.com/ (one of my favourites) and its sister restaurant The Woollen Mills Eating House - http://www.thewoollenmills.com/ . Finally, they are quite close to The Clarence Hotel, which is owned by U2 - www.theclarence.ie - and has a highly-regarded restaurant, Cleaver East, and a nice cocktail bar, The Octagon.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 04:05 AM
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ter2000, guess we were lucky. We were first and there wasn't many behind us but tons in as we left.
We like the Church, very fun history with that.
We did a walking tour with a women from Trinity that was a bit off the wall but I loved it. Clíona Rattigan and it was about sex, brothels and infanticide in Ireland. I will never look at poor Molly Malone the same way.
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Old Aug 19th, 2014, 06:04 AM
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@ter2000, Thanks so much! I just sent them this thread with all of your recommendations. My husband went through some trip details with them this weekend, and they were especially interested in the restaurant recommendations, so I know they'll be especially grateful!
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