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Question on Planning for Ireland

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Apr 9th, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #1
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Question on Planning for Ireland

We are planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland in Aug/Sept 2014 (I know it's over a year away). I understand this to be the high season. We want to get in a car and just go, stopping when we feel like it and staying as long or as short as we want. We will probably stay some time in Dublin and maybe a week or two touring the rest of the country (mostly the west). Likewise, some time in Edinburgh and another 2-3 weeks touring the rest of the country. Given the season, is it unreasonable to think we could do this without reservations? Or should we plan in advance where we want to go and make reservations for our accommodations? If we need to make reservations, how far in advance should we do this? Thank you!
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Apr 9th, 2013, 02:00 PM
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You really need to plan in advance.

I'm looking at my copy of lonely planet's "Discover Ireland" and it says that rental cars can sell out for August.

I've been planning for mid to late August for the past 3 months. I'm getting a lot of "we're full" replies on places to stay.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Winging it the t2p way
Book the 1st and last nights. Pin a Michelin 712 (Ireland) 501 (Scotland) map on an empty wall. Decide any must see places and pin them. work out some stepping stones(towns) on a rough route. get a list of 3 guest houses and 1 hotel for these potential places. email the hotels and ask if there are (1) any events or festivals locally on your possible dates. (2) if the hotel is doing any special offers on your possible dates. Talk to your host and ask in the local pub what's worth seeing. Phone ahead at breakfast for the evening accommodation. Only book one night at once, if the place is good or there's things to do and see within a 30mile radius book an extra night.

Tourist Information Bureau are great and will always find you a bed for the night. Provided there is one available and of course provided they are open! not much fun knocking on doors at 6pm.

Rental cars..If you insist on Auto Transmission then you may need to book in advance. If you need a certain type of accommodation you may need to book in advance. If you are a couple who just want to experience the country and its people then you should have no problems finding good clean no frills accommodation on the fly.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 02:58 PM
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With regard to your trip in Ireland .You did not say how long you intended to stay in Dublin. There is so much to see of Ireland beyond Dublin . I am biased as I live in the west coast .However I would advise you to consider Donegal Peninsula ( not too many tourists go there ) the coastline of Counties Sligo and Mayo ,and Connemara in County Galway all worth visiting
.Good luck I hope you have a great holiday.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 06:33 PM
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Since it looks like you'll be in Scotland in September - yes you can pretty much wing it. Not in Edinburgh of course - there you want to book amy time of the year. You'll also want to pre-book if there is a specific B&B/hotel/resort that is a 'must. But otherwise you can find rooms as you go - or for a little more 'insurance' the Tourist Information Centres in every town can find you rooms in the area or for the next few nights of your itinerary. I often use them - stop in the TIC, tell them where I want to stay tomorrow night or next Monday or whenever - what sort of room/budget and then go off sightseeing. Later I go back to the TIC and they have my accommodation arranged - for a very small booking fee.

Now, IF you were arriving in Scotland in August that would be different and you'd want to pre-book most everywhere.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 07:43 PM
  #6
 
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t2p - it's easier when you know the lay of the land.

When I was single, that's the way I traveled. I arrived in a town and either found accomodations myself or used the Tourist Information Bureau.

My wife is used to a certain level of comfort (blame me) so I have to book ahead.

I spent the afternoon going through various car hires in Ireland and N. Ireland, and after viewing more than 7 different sites, I was surprised that the cheapest for a compact car was Hertz. I have full insurance on my Amex card, so Dan Dooley was way too high.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 10:08 PM
  #7
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A couple of years ago we were all ready to go to Ireland and Scotland and the day before we were to leave, DH fell ill and ended up in ICU for 28 days instead. He fully recovered. Our trip then was as follows:

Galway 1 (drive from Dublin and tour city)
Clifden 1 (sky drive, golf)
Aran Islands, Galway 1
Adare 1 (Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle)
Dingle 1 (drive)
Kenmare for day trips 7 (Ring of Kerry, Ring of Bearra, golf)
Kinsale 1 (visit friends, Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny)
Dublin 3 (tour city)
Edinburgh 1 (golf, Border Abbey drive)
St. Andrews (play the Old course)4 (Falkirk Wheel, Sterling Castle, Glamis Castle)
Inverness 1 (Distilleries, Elgin Cathedral)
Isle of Skye 2 (Drive)
North Ballachlish 1 (Loch Ness, Glencoe)
Glasgow 1 (Inveray Castle on the way, tour city)
Turnberry 1 (golf, Culzean Castle)
Edinburgh 1
Back to Dublin 1
Bushmills 1 (Giant's Causeway, distillery)
Belfast 2 (golf, tour city)
Back to Dublin and Home

My husband loves to drive and we don't mind staying someplace different every night. We like to take a quick look at things and read up on them before or after. You'll never see us reading every plaque at a museum. We had reservations the entire time but I was worried that there was too much pressure to make it to the next place and maybe not enough time in certain areas. We also had to fly in and out of Dublin. I think we will have more flexibility this time and we can go now for up to 6 weeks.

Does anyone have any suggestions on changes for this trip? Add anywhere, skip anywhere? Where would you add time?

Thanks for your advice.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 10:27 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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sdtravels: That is a VERY difficult itinerary. some of it is essentially undoable.

For instance - you want to fly from Dublin to Edinburgh, see a border Abbey, play golf, AND visit Edinburgh on the same day! That isn't doable.

Or - drive from Turnbury to Edinburgh and fly off to Dublin the next day. Between both Edinburgh stops you will have approx 1/2 a day free in Edinburgh . . .

Remember in doing your calculations - in rural parts of Ireland you'll average about 30MPH and in Scotland maybe 35-ish or a bit more.

Stirling Castle and the Falkirk Wheel are very near each other and a much easier day trip from Edinburgh than from St Andrews

And open jaw - into Ireland and home from Scotland or vice versa - makes more sense then schlepping back to Dublin.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 03:37 AM
  #9
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janisj You are right that there was a lot of wasted time getting back to Dublin. Unfortunately, it had to work out that way last time due to the availability of FF seats. I am going to try to do as you suggest and fly into Ireland and out of Scotland all depending on when we get our Old Course time. I have to admit it seemed a lot more doable when we were actually going to do it...maybe I remembered it wrong. I know we wouldn't have played golf and toured on the same day, but I'm sure we would have planned some driving after. How much time do we need in Edinburgh just to see the highlights?
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Apr 10th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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>> How much time do we need in Edinburgh just to see the highlights?<<

2 FULL days minimum - not enough but enough to scratch the surface.

But that is only one problem. There are others. For instance St Andrews to Inverness detouring via Elgin and a distillery or two and on to Skye is really 3 or 4 days not 2.

Even though you don't mind one night stands, you simply can't dash from place to place - firstly 'dashing' is pretty hard to do on narrow rural roads,. And there are so many things to see enroute you will be stopping much more than you may think. One night in a place does not equal one day there. Depending on how many hours the drive takes, one night may only mean having dinner and packing and moving the next morning.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:21 PM
  #11
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janisj. Thanks for the advice. I will definitely be changing some things. You did pick the night that we really were going to sleep and go. I had planned the driving out on Microsoft AutoRoute. Supposedly, we would be driving 178 miles from Saint Andrews to Inverness with four hours of driving or 44 miles per hour. (I guess that was a bit optimistic) The rest of the day, say another 4 hours would be spent touring 2 distilleries and a castle. My plan was to skip one of the distilleries if we ran out of time. Does that sound more reasonable or am I still way off? I guess that's why I want to know if we can make reservations on the fly. If it's pushing too much we could cut some stuff out on the way and stay where ever we got tired.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 12:46 PM
  #12
 
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Rastaguy..No problem booking ahead for comfort but for freedom winging it works. Also be aware that the Hertz Compact options are City car, Skateboards with a roof, At 6'2" and 200+lb I wouldn't want to drive a Hyundai i10 or similar 3 miles to the local shop never mind 1000 miles round Ireland
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Apr 10th, 2013, 03:39 PM
  #13
 
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sdtravels: On every on-line mileage calculator I've ever seen you need to add between 30% and 100% to the drive times.

They give you 'perfect world' times - not real life times. They don't account for traffic (not a problem usually on that route), sheep/livestock in the road (often a problem), caravans (travel trailers - ALWAYS a problem) , road works or anything else.
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Apr 10th, 2013, 05:38 PM
  #14
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janisj Thank you! You've been very helpful. I will adjust accordingly. I think I will just cut out some areas and spend more time in others. What would you cut from the original list?
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Apr 15th, 2013, 04:06 PM
  #15
 
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janisj - Thanks for your insight on mileage caculator sites. I keep thinking how much longer it took my family to drive from Dublin to Dingle than we thought it would. We're planning a trip to the UK and I think we're way off on some of our estimates.
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Apr 15th, 2013, 08:36 PM
  #16
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rovingredhead, how long did it take you to drive from Dublin to Dingle? Was part of the trip slower than others?
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Apr 15th, 2013, 11:10 PM
  #17
 
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Just thought I'd comment that I agree with Tony2phones.I did a similar trip about like he described it. Book your first and last night, and stop at a TI before 3pm each day to book a room ( B&B or hotel). I liked a couple/3 nights per stay so less unpacking, but you could change every night if you want. Be advised that the roads in Ireland took longer to drive than one might think. I like to stop and see a few things and Dublin to Dingle would be a full day drive with no real stops IMO. I also think the same approach works in Scotland. Book Edinburgh in advance only if you are picky about what type of accommodations you need. Again, the TI will find you a place to stay. Enjoy!
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Apr 22nd, 2013, 12:31 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
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I was looking for my upcoming trip to Ireland to rent a car and I saw where you could get some great advice on putting together your own trip with someone with years of experience. The car hire rates were very good and there were a couple of coupon offers that you might be able to take advantage of. It was with Easy Tour Ireland. You can check to see if you can take the car over to Scotland by ferry. easytourireland.com
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May 2nd, 2013, 05:52 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Hi sdtravels,
its never to early to plan your trip. I am from Dublin myself so here are a few pointers.
In terms of accommodation, anywhere in the main cities will have availability, for example Dublin, Galway, Cork, Kerry etc.. it is just when get off the beaten track and into smaller towns like Lahinch(Co.Clare) on the west coast. If you plan on visiting in the high seasons it would be recommended to book in advance. That being said it is still a small island so if you find there is no accommodation in the smaller towns, an hour down the road and you will find something.

With the golf, I dont know if you plan on bringing your own clubs(which can be a hassle to travel with)but there is a company called clubs to hire who offer top notch clubs that you pick up on arrival and drop off whenever suits.

If you plan on playing a few games while in Ireland, the west coast is perfect. Some gems I would recommend are Lahinch Golf Club, Adare Manor and Ballybunion. You should have a look at www.swinggolfireland.com for info on the clubs locations, distance between and booking info.

To give you an idea of travel time around Ireland, its takes approx 2hrs 20mins to drive from Dublin To Galway City, but when you want to venture off the main roads, travel time can vary as roads are smaller(country roads) and while i think of it, dont rent a bigger car than what you need because the roads can be quite narrow.

Hope you have a great time and if you need any more info just ask.
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May 2nd, 2013, 06:34 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Rastaguytoday ---Also need to state that -- UNLESS things have changed DRAMATICALLY in the last few days -- AMEX does NOT cover car hire in Ireland.
Even their 'Special' purchasable coverage excluded Ireland, the last I knew.
From AMEX: http://corp.americanexpress.com/gcs/...svimmgrnen.pdf

"Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance provides the Cardmember, if the Cardmember is the primary renter, (as defined below) with insurance coverage for damage to or theft of most Rental Autos when the Cardmember uses the Card (as described below) to reserve and pay for an auto rental from any Commercial Car Rental Company (“Rental Company”) other than those located in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.1 This coverage is always EXCESS insurance."

To the best of my knowledge, only SOME US-issued World MasterCards, Canadian-issued Visa and Diner's Club Cards cover car hire insurance in Ireland. I HAVE used AMEX in the UK. There has been some discussion as to whether a AMEX would cover a car hired in Northern Ireland (part of the UK), but I've never found conclusive, trust-worthy proof that it would.

Bob
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