Touring Ireland with teens


Jan 12th, 2017, 07:43 AM
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Touring Ireland with teens

I'm trying to plan a trip to Ireland for July with my husband, 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son. Neither my husband or I want to drive so we were thinking of doing some kind of a tour. Looking for something on the smaller side not a huge bus with 40 people. Also was hoping to find a tour that wasn't all couples. It would be great to have some families in the mix so the kids wouldn't feel out of place. Our budget is good. We would like to stay in higher end accommodations but not over the top. We would also consider getting a private car and driver but would still like it to book it through some type of tour company. Any ideas?
janbernier is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2017, 08:13 AM
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Please provide meaningful information. This statement does not qualify: "We would like to stay in higher end accommodations but not over the top."

Speak budget in terms of dollars or euros per night for lodging.

And the tour will pick your lodgings.

The danger of tours is not that they're "all couples," it's that they're all old people.
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Jan 12th, 2017, 08:47 AM
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If your budget is $$$$$$, you can hire a private car just for your family to take you around to precisely the destinations of your choice.

Depending on where you are going that you have not stated, if your budget is $$$ you can hit quite many places easily accessible by public transit and supplement that with private hire or day trips.

If your budget is $$, depending on your unstated destinations, you can everything via public transport supplemented by day trips.
greg is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2017, 08:49 AM
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Have or would you consider a biking or walking tour? These typically are smaller groups. And although not necessarily families, they are necessarily active people. And Ireland is a beautiful place to plan such outdoor pursuits. And you could at beginning or end do a city or two on your own without driving.
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Jan 12th, 2017, 09:37 AM
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The danger of tours is not that they're "all couples," it's that they're all old people.>>

I've been on several tours which I enjoyed and that statement wasn't remotely true. They didn't have extended families, but they had a single parent with a child, for example (teen, never younger) on all of them. And couples or singles of all ages, even if the majority were perhaps retirement age (although I'm not even sure about that, maybe half). In fact, one tour I was on had a young couple where the man was a TV star (minor, a soap), and another couple was honeymooning, as I recall, another couple was middle-aged sisters.

I think it depends on the price point of the tour, the ones I was one were more budget and so I think attracted a wider variety of clientele. They also were independent tours, and many of the people on them were really interesting and nice. By that, I mean they provided the main logistics and occasional meal (such as when we were in some more remote location), but you were mostly on your own for meals when in a city. They only included a city overview and from then on, you could do whatever you wanted, which might include signing up for one of their optional tours. For example, when in Edinburgh, I signed up for the optional day tour to see the countryside.

I don't consider 40 people huge myself, the ones I were on might have had 40, at least 30 I'm sure. But we were on the bus only to go between major cities, which is no different than if you took the bus yourself between cities, or on some day trip excursions, which again, is no different than if you booked such a thing yourself.

No family with 2 children were on any of mine, though, tended to be single parents with teens. So while I don't agree that tours only consist of old people, I think looking for one for families may be tough, especially in English-speaking countries.

Also, if you want a higher price point, that may make it more a certain kind of clientele, probably not families. So I kind of think since budget isn't a huge issue, maybe a good travel agent could work this out for you and you would arrange your own tour, with private drive when needed. Since you are only going to Ireland, I'm sure they have day tour companies you could book for excursions when in a city. For example, if you were in Dublin several days, there must be a day tour company to go to some areas outside it (I was on one many years ago, I know we went by the sea, perhaps Cliffs of Moher, and to some interesting castle). Here are some choices

In short, I think you might do better picking a few cities to stay in, perhaps booking some day excursions, and a private drive for whatever you need that for, than trying to find a tour for your family.
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Jan 12th, 2017, 12:23 PM
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Tours do generally skew older clientale.. regardless of Christinas few experience . I have only taken one tour and we WERE all families.. it was a Family Tour of Europe with Rick Steves.. however.. that's because that is exactly the type of tour it was.. it wasn't something someone without children would take.. or honeymooners ..
Also the tour I took had only 26 people on it.. I DO consider a group of 40 or more people to be huge. Rick STeves tours take no more than 26-28 people per group. Nice

However.. they are pricey.. this was a special treat for my then 11 yr old daughter.

Normally I would and also recomemmd you do.. is skip the tour.. pick one or two homebases and do daytrips and daytours.
Take the trains.
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Jan 12th, 2017, 02:13 PM
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Just pick Dublin, Galway and Belfast as bases and do day tours from there. McCombs does a game of throne tour on a small bus, there are several from Dublin that use smaller a smaller bus.

Belfast, Black Cab tour is private.
Titanic, cab it there
The Coastal tour is great.
Trains travel is great all over NI.

Take the train to Galway, use it as a base. Small bus tours to Inishmore for the day.
Cliff tour on Galway tour bus.

Dublin has some of the best day tours and you can take the dart train north or south along the coast.

Book hotels in the city, stay at the Galway Belfast
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Jan 12th, 2017, 02:33 PM
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I wouldn't touch anything with a Rick Steve Tag.. I love Ireland and the Irish. I also live here and know far more about the place.

You have a couple of dilemma's, I don't know where Christine toured or who with but your typical Irish tours are either older end or younger more adventure based like Wolfhound and Vagabond. Driftwood is the less adventurous arm of Vagabond Tours and could be an option. Rabbies is another small group tour (also has an accommodation option).

Is there a special reason you don't want the more practical option of Driving Yourselves? would make for a far wider set of options.

Private Drivers tend to be restricted to 8 hour days and do come with a price tag.. Someone as a named driver on a car you hire and fully insure starts @ €200 per day and a Chauffeur service starts @ €400 per day.

Getting a tour company or other to sort your trip can range from buying an off the shelf package which can be decent enough or can be a bunch of unsold tour bus rooms scattered around the place, there is actually a "Castle" hotel package like that. Or a Private itinerary planner can put together a suggested itinerary custom written to suit your own particular needs. The latter requires a little of your own input, whilst an itinerary might give details the booking of flights, car hire and accommodation etc would be left to yourselves.

I am not sure whether my regular suggestion that you take public transport between centres and take tours of the local areas from these centres would be what you are looking for directly but its a time honoured suggestion that works for lots of people.
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Jan 13th, 2017, 02:02 AM
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We also traveled quite a bit with our teenaged daughters (now 20-somethings) but never on an extended tour (just a couple of day tours on mini-buses or in vans). Frankly, a group tour, even a smaller one, probably wouldn't have given us the flexibility we wanted in terms of sightseeing, choosing our own meal stops, and the occasional need for a break for one or more of us.

As a couple, we have also planned a 13-day summer 2017 trip to Ireland using the following as "bases" : Dublin, Killarney, Galway. Mode of travel is primarily train to avoid the stress of driving narrow roads on the opposite side from what we're used to.

There are many places NOT easily accessible by train, especially in the scenic western part of the country. We have a chauffeur tour planned for a few days to cover some of this and get us from Killarney to Galway. I would have preferred to do this "independently" (and cheaper), but not wanting to drive limits the options in Ireland (cf to some place like Switzerland). If you are more adventurous, you could also check into buses, but with a family, the private tours, at least for a few days, might make sense. There are many companies that offer this service, but I can't vouch for any because we haven't been yet. Some of the chauffeur tours are set up so that they choose the accommodations and book the entrance to different sights, and we wanted to choose our own. We chose the Shelbourne in Dublin and the Park House Hotel in Galway, which were also recommended above, and the Killarney Park Hotel in Killarney. These choices were based on location (walkable to sites or transport), quality of accommodations, etc. Note: the Shelbourne, for the room we chose with the park view, breakfast and so forth, is very expensive; I would not have chosen it if we needed two rooms. But if your budget allows...In choosing your accommodations in Dublin, do a little research on the LUAS construction as it might influence your choice.
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Jan 13th, 2017, 02:52 AM
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You could consider a Paddywagon tour for part of it, if you are prepared to slum it so that the teens would be entertained. These tours are targeted at backpackers and young people, but I believe are great fun for all ages.

Their overnight tours might not be a great idea as they stay in budget hostels, but they do a number of day tours from different places - click the "see more" button on the link

What I am thinking is you could pick nice high end places to stay in a few different locations all accessible by train / bus (say Galway, Cork, Dublin, Belfast, Killarney for example) and do day tours from there, and I suggest Paddywagon for one or two of the day tours only because they might be more targeted towards the kids demographic.
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Jan 13th, 2017, 04:54 AM
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Every day tour I have taken has had young people, people my age and been very fun. Wild Rover from Dublin is great because they have a guide as well as a driver.

This was an older driver and a bit chatty but we had a great group on the tour, mostly a flight crew that had landed that morning and wanted to do something for the day instead of sleeping. We saw a lot on a small bus.

Galway tours has a lot of hostel people because they offer great deals if you are staying there.

We stayed in Westport without a car and the five of us had the service of McGing taxi and for 30.00 an hour he spent six hours with us taking us where we wanted to go. He picked us up and took us to the ferry for our day in Clare and hooked us up with a local that drove us all over the island. It was wonderful.
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Jan 13th, 2017, 05:35 AM
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Thank you all, for taking the time out of your day to give me so many wonderful sugestions. I will be looking into many of them. This is our first family trip to Europe and a special last hurrah before my daughter goes off to college. So I can use all the help I can get.
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Jan 13th, 2017, 01:26 PM
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Dublin is easy to get around on your own. You can get public transportation to Galway. The Paddywagon day tours from Dublin to nearby attractions would also be an option. We used a travel company in 2011 that picked the 4 of us up in Galway in a minivan that drove us to several places. They took us to The Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, to overnight in Killarney. The next day they drove us around the Dingle Peninsula and back to Killarney again. The next day, they took us to Kilkenny via The Blarney Castle and Rock of Cashel. After an overnight in Kilkenny we made our way back to Dublin after a stop in Waterford. We used Tenon Tours. They handled our drivers, transfers to/from Dublin airport and booked us all our Ireland hotels. We arranged our own airfare. I thought price was reasonable for private driver. We actually only needed the driver for 4 days, took public transportation of walked the rest of our visit.
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