Possible Trip of my Life Time!

Old Dec 7th, 2011, 06:52 AM
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Possible Trip of my Life Time!

First, I love reading everyone's experiences and advice about traveling. I travel vicariously through you! Second - this is my itinerary for the Ireland portion of a possible one month European vacation. What could work? What won't work? From Ireland we will be flying to Paris, train to Lyon, flight to Barcelona, flight to Nerja and then home. I am a teacher and applied for a fellowship for this trip - I will find out in February if I get it or not. I will be traveling with another teacher.

9 nights in Ireland - Staying at B & B's
Day 1 - Fly into Dublin - 1 night - acclimate - see the Leprechaun Museum
Day 2 - Train to Galway - Dunsandle Castle
Day 3 - Galway - Horse-back riding (Burrens maybe?)
Day 4 - Galway - Ferry to Aran Islands
Day 5 - To Doolin - stop and see Dunguaire Castle (Can I comfortably see Cliffs of Mohr, Burrens,
Poulnabrone Dolman, Ailwee Cave in one day?)
Day 6 - Doolin - Doolin Cave, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
Day 7 - To Kilkenny - stop to see Carriagholt Castle, Rock of Cashel
Day 8 - Kilkenny - Kilkenny Castle, Black Abbey, Music Trail
Day 9 - Kilkenny to Dublin - Day trip to Glendalough, Brazen Head
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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First of all, you will love Ireland, very friendly people and magical scenery. Second, the best way to see Ireland is really to rent a car. It may seem intimidating at first (unless you are used to driving on the left on very narrow windy roads) but it is totally worth it. Trains and buses are unreliable and won't allow you to see the country efficiently. It is doable if you stay in cities like Galway and Killarney and do tours to these locations but in my opinion this is not the greatest way to get a feel for the real Ireland.

Our favorite parts of the trip were Skellig Micheal on the Ring of Kerry, Dingle and Connemara/Aran Islands. I would suggest cutting time from Doolin, its a very small city with not much to see, and adding time to Dingle, which has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Ireland, in my opinion! It would be a real shame to miss it. Also, it depends on your interests but the highlights of Kilkenny can be easily seen in a day. I would use Kilkenny as a stop between Ring of Kerry/Dingle and Dublin. I don't think you can do Brazen Head and Glendalough in the same day.



Again, this is only my opinion. Hope it helps some!
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Also, one more thing. Add another day to Dublin! Unless you have already been, there is alot to see and do. Also, you will just be getting off the plane and may want to spend a few days there getting used to a new country before you head out to explore the rest.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 09:04 AM
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nspotz, thanks for the quick response! If I get the fellowship, I will be traveling for 30 nights. Ireland is first on my list to see (has been for years!) So, my time could be flexible. I was planning on taking a train from Dublin to Galway (to compensate for jet lag - and nervousness!) and renting a car from there. You can see all the places I want to visit in the first post. Should I base out of Galway? Just visit Doolin? Travel down to Dingle for 2 - 3 nights? Back up through Kilkenny (1 night?) then back to Dublin?
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 11:03 AM
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If Ireland is one of your top destinations, I would allow two weeks, but it does depend on how much time you want to spend in the other locations you are planning to visit. If you can fly into Dublin and out of Shannen airport that will really help you maximize on time. The train from Dublin to Galway is pretty convenient, but I remember it being quite expensive and if you are renting a car anyway you may want to just rent it from Dublin. I would spend two days in Dublin, to give you time to get over jet lag and then head out to Galway. The drive from Dublin to Galway is fairly easy and on a highway.
Basing yourself out of Galway will be convenient to see Connemara and the Aran Islands. I would allow 3 days for this. Since you have a car you may want to consider staying in a B&B in the countryside somwhere convenient to the places you want to visit. Then you could drive down south with a stop in Doolin, spend the night in Doolin and see the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. The next day you can head down to Dingle and spend a few days in Dingle. If you have more time you can spend some time in the Ring of Kerry or you could do Skellig Micheal from Dingle. Then fly out of Shannon or head back to Dublin and en route visit Rock of Cashel and Glendalough.
If you need to pick Northwest or Southwest due to time constraints I would pick southwest for the first time in Ireland, concentrating in Dingle. If you can do both that's great. We did a route similar to this, just in the opposite order last summer. The drive from Galway to Dingle is doable in one day, we did it with a stop at the cliffs of moher, but long so i would suggest breaking it up. The drive from ROK or Dingle to Dublin is quite long as well and if you want to make those stops along the way, definately break it up with a stay one night maybe in Kilkenny.

Pax Guest House in Dingle was our favorite B&B and I cannot say enough good things about it.

Remember to plan for about 30 mph and you may beat your time. Try not to spend too much time in the car.

One more thing, Rick Steves guidebook for Ireland is really really great. He has on point Itinerary suggestions and tells you what's worth stopping for. I highly recommend it.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 03:01 PM
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ira
 
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Hi SG,

What is it that you are supposed to be doing on this junket that allows you to receive a fellowship?

Not complaining. Just envious.

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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 03:41 PM
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There are so many ways that you can achieve your dream.It would depend on your mode of transport mainly,how you arrive in Ireland and from where you start your adventure.
you could adjust your itinerary according to the Airport?you fly into,or out of.You have the choice of Dublin,Shannon,Cork and possibly Knock.AER LINGUS from USA and EUROPE and RYANAIR from EUROPE,these have an extensive route map to these Airports and onwards to Paris.
You should also consider the EUROSTAR train London to Paris then onwards to Lyon,Barcelona and Malaga(Nerja)with RENFE Spanish Railways.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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IMHO you are really short-changing Dublin - which has a huge amount to see and do.

The most important is the Book of Kells at Trinity, followed by Dublin Castle, a bunch of major museums and historical sights. I would assume as a teacher traveling on a fellowship you would want to focus on sights of historical and cultural importance - and you really can't do that in Dublin in only one day.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 07:47 PM
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SunniGirl,
What do you teach and what grades? What are your major interests in travel: art, architecture, history, etc? What do you most ejoy: food, little cafes, landscape, beaches,etc? Do you like spending time with your students or fellow teachers outside of school? I am asking for two reasons.

1st. The more people know about your personal interests, the better they can advise you on what to see and how best to do that.

2nd. I am throwing this out only because your post sounded familiar and I saw you applied for what looked like a different grant/fellowship on an earlier post.

It looks as if you really want to travel to Europe. There are other ways besides grants. They are work trips, but still a wonderful way to travel - if you like kids - a lot!

If you do not get a grant, you might consider taking students on trips or planning and putting together a trip for fellow teachers. You would then get a free trip for doing all the work, and believe me: It is A LOT of Work. However, it would get you there and can be a lot of fun if you enjoy kids during your off time. I did it because many of my students had never traveled and I could pretend they were my own kids when I did things with them outside of school.

There would be many things for you to learn about this, but a few basics in case you might be interested:
1. Since you have not been to Europe yourself, you would need to work with one of the student travel agencies.
2. You would pick an itinerary among those offered by the company. Many of them involve long bus rides, so you have to look at the trips very carefully yourself, calculate distances and times and make sure you choose a good one. You wouldn't have any flexibility once it was selected.
3. You would be the chaperone for 6 to 20 kids in a foreign country, so fully responsible for them 24/7. That is why you are paid to do it. It is a huge job - can not emphasize that enough.
4. There is a huge amount of preparation before the trip: meeting with the students and parents, teaching them about the places they will see, etc. The planning usually starts one year for the next. It is tight, only six months ahead, but if you started now, you might be able to do a trip next summer. You could always plan one for Spring break of 2013.
4. Though some are longer, many of the trips are about 10 days, a perfect time to be away with kids.
5. It would NOT be the big break (or length of time) you are hoping for; there would be no time for relaxing as with the grant, but you could see some great things in Europe, and share them with some of your students or friends.

If you decided to try this, there are a couple of other teachers on the board who have done it a lot and would surely have much good advice.
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Old Dec 8th, 2011, 09:37 AM
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Ira - it's a fellowship for teachers for "personal renewal" through Eli Lilly. It's been offered since 1987, but this is the first I've heard of it! It doesn't have to be educationally related - from what I researched, previous fellowship winners have traveled, some have re-built their dream cars, one person bought and trained a horse in dressage, its to do something personally meaningful to you.

Sassafrass - I teach middle school ELL (English Language Learners). I've taught for 7 years, and have had students from 12 different countries - and I have never been out of the US. That's my rational behind my proposal. Ireland is some place I have always wanted to see, so it's personal for me. I chose France and Spain to immerse myself in totally different cultures so that I can experience the language barriers my students face every day! I started my proposal this past September, I just finished and turned it in in November. I had to have a pretty decent schedule built for them - so I know I'm planning a month trip, and would like to see Ireland, France and Spain. This was difficult for me, as I said - I'm only a 7th year teacher, income is tight - single, and the mom of a young married daughter with a 2 year old I am helping to support. The other teacher is single, and is putting two kids through college - this could very well be the only time either of us can afford Europe! I will though look into your idea of planning a trip for students or other teachers! (though most of my kiddos probably could not afford something like this...)
I LOVE food. I like being outdoors, walking, hiking, I have horses - thus why I thought it would be neat to see some of Ireland and Spain from horseback. I'm interested in ruins, castles, nature preserves, their history - architecture, honestly - I am open to all suggestions - would love to find out about lessor known fabulous places to see.

nytraveler - thank you for your input about Dublin, most people have said "it's just another big city", thus I was trying to stay mostly in smaller "cities, towns", etc... I will though look into the book of Kells at Trinity and Dublin castle. Any must see museums you suggest? Like I said before - my itinerary is flexible, and a month seems a long time until I start building the itinerary, then there seems to be soo much I want to see and so very little time. And I guess I am planning this with the thought that I may never make it back...
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Old Dec 8th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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Without knowing your interests it's ard to reco specific museusm. I love almost any museum (not trahy plae like mmd Tussuad's but real museums) - art, history, a specific culture, design - anything - and Dublin has a lot. Also a dont miss is Newgrange - the prehistoric dolman. I would just start with some very basic guidebooks - where the Book of Kells will no doubt be the first item listed. Before you go I would do some basic research on the history and culture of each country so yuo know/understand some of what you are loking at.
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Old Dec 8th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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SunniGirl, I really appreciate this post, as I am planning a trip to GB / Ireland for the summer. this is great information for us for the Ireland leg. I will keep returning here to see comments and reco's.
For Spain, Barcelona was our favorite stop. We also stayed in Nerja, and the best paella can be found at Ayo's on Burriana Beach. He has been serving paella for several decades. Google "ayo nerja" and you will get info and pix. We were there Sept 2010. Here are my trip reports that covered Barcelona and Nerja. They may be of interest to you.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...onda-nerja.cfm
and
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...h-figueres.cfm
But of course, there are many trip reports of the places you want to go. I hope you get your grant, and have a great trip
Oh, yes. If you learn any Spanish word (I'm sure you know several) know "heladeria." Ice Cream shop. LOL.
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Old Dec 8th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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Eat at Porterhouse in Dublin, we loved it! There is so much to see, the hop on hop off bus is a great way to see everything. We enjoyed the Guiness Factory, Book of Kells and i think it was the national archaelogicial museum.
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Old Dec 8th, 2011, 06:15 PM
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Sunnigirl - you have gotten lots of great advise and recommendations from your fellow Fodorites. But please don't consider this "the trip of my lifetime" -- consider it the the first big trip of your lifetime. Happy travels.
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