what do you want to know about ireland?

Dec 29th, 2004, 07:05 PM
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what do you want to know about ireland?

hi everyone - i have put a website online recently (www.welovedonegal.com) and so far have covered such topics as: driving in ireland, safety, money saving tips, facts on ireland, clothes to bring, etc. next up is: buying property in ireland and you say/we say (same meaning, different word) but as i live here it is sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees and that is where you come in. i would really appreciate hearing what you want to know about ireland (no matter how trivial you think it may be), what you would like to read about ireland prior to a visit, etc. you can post your replies here or email me at [email protected]

thank you all in advance for any input you can give - i want to make my site as comprehensive and helpful to all future visitors to ireland as possible.

all the best, catherine
welovedonegal is offline  
Dec 29th, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Hi. Good job on the site from what I've seen so far. Another fan of Ireland here, but not yet been to Donegal. Someday.

Here's a suggestion, just based on having been reading posts and questions here for a couple of years. There's always a lot of questions from those of Irish ancestory, looking to get started on researching their heritage. Perhaps a list of geneology resources - where to start, in country archive locations, stories from those who've done it? It does seem to be a popular subject.
Clifton is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 04:54 AM
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hi clifton - thanks for the reply. yes, i am quickly learning that people whose ancestors came from ireland are very keen to trace their roots. i have in fact a lady in new zealand who has done huge amounts of work in this matter and i will be linking to her site as soon as i start getting my links on. there is also a place in donegal starting to do this too and i will be linking with them. i have actually come across a lot of people on the net doing research and i think the best thing is to create links to the best of them for readers of my site to go to.

thanks again clifton - i really appreciate your input - feel free to send more! all the best, catherine
welovedonegal is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 05:26 AM
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I feel a lot of the talk about Ireland centers around lodging, B&Bs, hotels,and guesthouses. I think someone could do a whole website just for Lodging and never be bored!
Sealight3 is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 06:15 AM
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I'm so glad I read your messsage. I've been tossing the idea of a visit to Ireland over and over for about five years. If I am honest about why I am dragging my feet planning a visit, these are my concerns when I "talk to myself."

Why go to Ireland if you have been unsuccessful in locating the birthplace of my/my husband/s grandparents. Eight years of genealogy searching has brought me to a dead end.

My husband drives about 60,000 miles per year for his job (road salesman), and he is not going to drive in a foreign country when he should be relaxing/enjoying himself on vacation. How extensive is the train system?

Best time of the year to travel to Ireland? Summer? Isn't it terribly crowded then?

On the other hand, everyone I have spoken with about their trips to Ireland have been thoroughly satisfied, and most make a return visit.

I think your web site may help someone like me get over these nagging problems, and encourage me to start making solid plans to visit the home of our Irish ancestors.
i_am_kane is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 08:39 PM
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i_am_kane, Ireland's train system is limited at best. Generally it branches out to other cities from Dublin and it can be hard to get around in the countryside unless you include buses. Even though most people on this forum would rather plan self-driving vacations themselves, given your husband's situation you should consider a guided tour. Or you could think about a chauffeur-driven car. With the dollar very weak against the euro right now a tour would guarantee you a price that won't change if the dollar weakens again.

April/May and Sept/Oct are good times to travel in Ireland. That is when it is less crowded and you may just happen on some good weather in those months too.

There are a few excellent Ireland-only forums and websites that you will find if you Google terms like "Ireland Travel Forum" & "Free Ireland Info" &
"Best Ireland Tours".

IrishEyes is offline  
Dec 31st, 2004, 03:43 AM
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IrishEyes, Thank you for the informative reply. I will take all your good suggestions into consideration and, hopefully, we will take that journey into the history, culture and traditions of Ireland.
i_am_kane is offline  
Dec 31st, 2004, 06:46 AM
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Interesting website, though yet to get up to Donegal myself. Our trip in 2001 was a delight. Enjoyed your collection of interesting facts about Ireland.

This year I actually read James Joyce's "Ulysses" and, having a guide alongside, really did enjoy it!
Bill [email protected]
Ozarksbill is offline  
Dec 31st, 2004, 09:10 AM
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Hi Catherine:

Very nice site. I can see that you are putting a lot of work into it.

I think one of the biggest missing pieces from Ireland travel websites is a pronunciation guide to the cities, towns and counties. Donegal would be a good place to start. You will here many from the States put the accent on the first syllable, which seems to make perfect sense to us.

Here is, off the top of my head, some place names that get mangled from time to time or at least need some cleaning up.

Dun Laoghaire
(even Tralee gets hammered from time to time)
Fermanagh (or any word with gh in it)

Anyone have others? We could go one for hours with where to put the accent in places for instance like Crookhaven where we would say CROOK-ha-ven, the locals there say crook-HA-ven.

If you really wanted to get high tech, you could put in sound clips of the words. I found a web site that had a few of those which is how I learned to pronounce Drogheda.

Although there is certainly an interest in finding accommodation, it would be very hard to put together a site that provided more places than town and country does. Sure, most of them are not rated, but you would have to develop a clear rating system, have the B&Bs agree to the rating system and then stay in a couple thousand of them. That might be a bit much.

Again, nice work.

wojazz3 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2005, 06:20 AM
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hi everyone - happy new year to you all and thanks for your replies and ideas - keep them coming!

i will reply to each individually:

1. sealight3
yes, there are THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of lodgings/accommodation places here! luckily i will confine mine to donegal and just a few recommended places to stay on visitors journey here from various airports.

2. i_am_kane
regarding geneaology: there should be a way of tracing your ancestors. i will be doing links to my site of people in various countries who are doing extensive work. you know you would need their full names, where they lived, and idea of when they left, where they went, etc. if you want to email via my site i can answer you better then - don't want to take up too much room of forum. but another thing, many people who travel to ireland have no irish roots and enjoy it still - so chin up! regarding driving, i would still highly recommend hiring a car. i'm not sure if tours are great and i think that is because i hate the thought of being confined to a bus and having someone else decide where i go, what i see, but that is just me and i'm sure they are good for people who want them. the thing about driving in ireland is that your husband will only be covering relatively short distances and there are sites available that give you direct routes, road numbers, length of time to get between various towns, etc. i really would ask him to consider it.
best months: definately may and september. almost guaranteed pleasant weather with less rain AND less crowds - although one of the best things about county donegal is that is never too packed - visitors to ireland tend to be whooshed to kerry, kilarney, etc. and therefore the majority only see that side of ireland leaving the north west uncrowded!

3. IrishEyes
agree with the idea of hiring a driver and car (maybe just for part of the holiday to save on expense). company in donegal do this and are now expanding their business to include larger vehicles capable of carrying more than the standard car of four persons. more about this will appear on my site when they have the extra service up and running.

4. ozarksbill
glad you enjoyed 2001 trip - hope you'll make it to county donegal next time! we are currently working on a section of recommended reading about ireland (suggested by a writer on another forum) and we are also working on a section of irish authors: a brief piece about them and then their works.

5. wojazz3
yes, i agree with the pronunciation thing and it is an excellent idea. i have a huge amount of work done and ongoing writing a piece on each town and village in donegal (name in english, name in irish, meaning, population, little history of town/village, famous sons & daughters, picture, attractions, etc.) but your idea of pronunciation will now be added - brilliant idea. the drogheda one you mention is so true: usually pronounced by visitors: dro-heee-da! the voice pegs are a good idea and i will look into it but as i am self funding at the moment, price may be prohibitive. but the phoenetic spelling will suffice in the meantime. i have actually done this with baby names which will soon appear on line - anyone familiar with the spelling of irish names will know how impossible it is to pronounce them just from seeing them written. i have just finished the girls name section and am working on the boys - it is a really comprehensive list: name spelling, phoenetic spelling, meaning and origin - we have both modern names and some very old ones, some not used since the 6th century and very beautiful.

finally, thank you all for your helpful input and your kind comments about my site. i really appreciate them all and hope you will continue to add things as they occur!

welovedonegal is offline  
Jan 1st, 2005, 07:01 PM
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Catherine, How do I contact you via e-mail? You didn't leave an address.
i_am_kane is offline  
Jan 1st, 2005, 10:34 PM
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Catherine, I took a look at your site and it seems to be shaping up nicely. May I ask what the aim of it is? I know from my first look that you are selling photos but that can hardly support all the hard work you have put into it along with associated costs of running a website.

There is some good info on your site that will be of help to travelers but I personally don't care for frames. Others may have a different viewpoint. There are some websites that give viewers the option of frames or no frames. Just a thought.

FYI, You mention on your site that Birr is the center of Ireland. According to the Ordinance Survey the geographical center of Ireland is in Co. Roscommon. "On the western shore of Lough Ree, opposite the Cribby Islands and 5.5 miles N.N.W of Athlone Town."

Thought you would want to know.

IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2005, 01:03 AM
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hi all

the email address was in first posting, sorry didn't think to enter it when replying to you: [email protected]

irish eyes
that's interesting about the centre of ireland. i WILL get the definitive answer. i have emailed the ordnance survey information centre in ireland to ask. on looking at the map briefly i think the confusion is from which point to which point one is assessing the centre. i am sure however that ods people will know and then i will adjust my site as necessary. thanks for pointing it out though.

regarding frames: do you mean about putting the pics in a line up as we have? or do you mean no pics at all? (sorry, i'm not proficient in website lingo yet - i just do the work and my son loads it for me). as far as pictures go, people seem to love seeing pics but i'm thinking you just mean how they are presented?

the aim of the site is simply to promote donegal, the northwest, northern ireland, and indeed, ireland from an independent view point. if you at all familiar with tourism in ireland you will see that generally tourists to the country are sent south. check out any travel forum you can find and you will time and again see questions about itineraries for forthcoming visits to ireland and 99% of the time the relate to kerry, kinsale, dingle, etc. rarely does donegal or the north west and certainly not northern ireland come into the equasion.

i live in donegal and i know how beautiful it is and this was underlined to me when we had greek hotelier friends visiting some four years ago and took the time out to actually go around the county with them - they loved it and it certainly made us sit back and understand more how much there is to see and do. it was then i had the idea for the site.

i have done acres of work since to make a site and this is developing behind the scenes all the time and will bit by bit be added.

i know i could be part of an overall promotion of donegal and i am certainly not working against the work being done by others but i want to be independent and post my own views, ideas, opinions, together with things wanted by people visiting my site (such as the input received here). i also want my site to be less "touristy" than normal and tell people the good and the bad - we don't live in wonderland here and of course there are things that are not so good (see the safety section) and as i said, be independent from any outside source that would dictate what i could and could not have on my site, which tends to be the way with websites who are funded by say government departments of tourism.

the selling of pics has not even been put into force yet and in fact i am removing this part for now as i haven't the time to get it organised yet.

as i am self funding and as the site will become extremely expensive to run as i continue to add new facets i will eventually take adverts for accommodation, restaurants, etc. for a small fee as opposed to prohibitive advertising fees sometimes charged. (as you can see in the under construction section).

but once again, i will be free to take ads from anyone i wish and will not be restricted here either. many small b&bs in donegal are not members of large government tourist groups because of expense involved and still these are just as good as listed ones.

what i aim to do is set up a very simple way of each business to promote itself - i will allow feedback from their customers on my site. that way, a future visitor to any particular business is doing so because of real people feedback they have read as opposed to big expensive adverts. it will also encourge the buisiness listed to their very best by their customers - a win/win situation it think.
welovedonegal is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2005, 09:39 PM
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Catherine, Frames are when a web page is divided into different sections. Fodors uses frames for this forum. On the left are the subjects and on the right are the postings. You can scroll through each individually. It works for this site but can be annoying on others. When I view the first page of your site (after the entrance page) I must scroll from left to right to view the photo. This is true of your full sized photo pages too. Maybe if the photos were a bit smaller it might solve that problem. Lots of photos are a good thing but making them more viewable would add to ease of use.

For an example of a website where you can choose frames or no frames see: http://www.iol.ie/~discover/welcome3.htm
Click on "Frames Version" to see what I mean.

This is the Ordinance Survey page that gives info about Ireland's geographical center: http://www.osi.ie/mapping/FAQ/areasMeasurements.shtml

I agree that Donegal is a beautiful, off the beaten path area of Ireland that deserves more tourists. I visit Donegal frequently myself to visit friends. I think the problem with attracting tourists is that they have limited time and Donegal is farther down on their list than Dingle or Dublin so when their week or 10 days is up they have not even gotten close to Donegal. Maybe everyone in Donegal who is in the tourist business should get together to brainstorm how to attract more tourists. One thing that tourists are especially interested in is traditional Irish music, which is getting harder to find around the country. More music festivals would be a big attraction.

Are you in the tourist industry yourself, perhaps a B&B owner or something like that? It is a good idea to give small businesses an opportunity to advertise for a minimal fee. Not everyone has the budget for a massive ad campaign. Good luck with your endeavor.

IrishEyes is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:20 AM
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hi irisheyes - thanks so much for all your help. i'll go to the sites mentioned. we were thinking of maybe posting the pics as thumbnails along the bottom of the page which move along and then the visitor clicks on a pic to enlarge. the pics were indeed taken at very high resolution. this was so that when we print them to sell they will be excellent quality. however, from now on we will be taking pics from same spot but using two different cameras, one set at high and one more suitable for website so this should help.

glad to hear you have been to donegal! i think the fundamental problem is that tourists are mentally lined up for the usual ring of kerry route. donegal would not really be much further to travel but donegal is going to have to try to change the mindset and encourage people to come this way as opposed to the usual route. i have a feeling that the promotion in the usa in particular of ireland will lean heavily on the southern route and this has to be addressed by the tourist industry in donegal to at least get a bit more promotion of the benefits of travelling north as opposed to south. it is not the visitors to blame but it could be the way donegal is currently promoted (or not) abroad.

your idea about traditional music is excellent and i often get emails from people asking about the availability of it here. as you will know, there is heaps of venues in donegal where one can listen to tradtitional musicians. i think a section on my site listing places where irish music can be heard would be a start.

yes, i had thought about a brainstorming session with people involved in tourism in donegal but i wanted to build up a greater knowledge of the needs of visitors to ireland, hence my touring travel forums and reading them avidly. i want to actually know what i am talking about when i get something organised. it is difficult and there is a problem here in that small tourist based businesses are paying huge advertising fees to advertise in magazines which we are told are distributed around travel agents in america, etc. they have to get more web based as i think that a lot of money is wasted in magazine production and the fees for the advertisers can be terrifying (well, to me anyway!).

... continued
welovedonegal is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2005, 07:26 AM
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... continued
to: irisheyes

i have a file opened on my laptop with suggestions for b&bs etc. to add to their premises and this is ideas i get from reading what people are saying on forums about their experiences in ireland. one point in question seems to be the lack of ice offered. i had never noticed this but i see a lot of people mentioning it so i added this to suggest to restaurants, cafes, etc. another was washcloths not being available in bathrooms, again, this had never occured to me (i don't use them) but many people have said this in various postings.

and finally, no, i am not a b&b owner and have actually nothing whatsoever to do with the tourist industry - i truly just want to promote donegal and the northwest to people coming to ireland. i don't gain anything from visitors to the county, nor do i receive any government grant. i own a ladies clothing and accessories shop and the site is just my hobby horse which i really love doing. plain and simple as that!

so, thanks again for your input - keep the ideas coming irisheyes and everyone else too.
welovedonegal is offline  
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