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Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

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Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

My daughter is graduating highschool and has always been obsessed with Ireland. I ahve told her for many years now, if she made straight A's in school and stayed out of trouble I would take her to Ireland for graduation. I am now honoring that promise and am trying to book the trip. We will be traveling in June and plan to stay 15 days. I have no idea where to start exactly. I have spoken with Exploring Ireland and Cie tours. I cannot determine a difference or even if I need to use a tour company. I plan to do a self drive as we want the freedom to go as we please. I need advise on an itinerary and whether or not to use a company. (advantages or disadvantages) I would also like to know the pros and cons of b & b vouchers. I have heard people saying don't use them. However, when I speak to both companies both say there are never complaints with vouchers. I want to make this trip wonderful for all of her hard work. Please help!!

Ventry, Ireland
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for Dingle Peninsula
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1. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Don't use vouchers. They are bad value and are not accepted by many of the smaller B&Bs. What are your daughters interests. What does Ireland look/sound like in her dreams

Reno, Nevada
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2. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

1 Vote here for independent travel. See more on your schedule, and the cost differences are slight. You determine where, when and for how long. The real difference is that you do all the research and booking versus having a concierge do it for you. Willingness to drive is the deal clincher....go independent. Book air ASAP, do your own research and self book. Use Skype to call the B&B's that do not respond to email.

We are headed back in May for trip #4 to western Ireland...all self-booked. Going some places you cannot see on a tour bus.

Reno, Nevada
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3. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Here a plug for TripAdvisor. We have self-booked some wonderful trips around the globe based almost exclusively on the ratings and forum postings on TA. Never been disappointed. The Destination Experts DE's are the best...very knowledgeable and helpful...and Volunteers too! Click on the many links along the right and left sides and you should be able to find and book anything. I am retired, so spending time doing my own packging is a form or entertainment/recreation. :-)

Also, no matter which way you go in Ireland you will have a wonderful time and still not be able to see everything. It's our #4 trip and we are seeing things we missed on the times before. We've been to Dublin and east and loved the areas. This time spending all time in the west, as we are partial to western Ireland. Maybe next time, it's up North. My guess is that a young person will want to spend time in and around Dublin.

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4. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Thanks Eddie. Soonas she loves the outdoors. She wants to see the shoreline or anything to do with water!! Also wants to stay at least one night in a castle. Very little if not any stays in hotels because "I want to see the real culture" (her words). Honestly, I think it's all about the accent :) When I see her looking up pictures they almost always involve the giants causeway and the cliffs of moher.

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

I would go along with the independent option. CIE Tours is an all in package which has been on the road for donkey's years. Its part of the national Public Transport corporation. I've met the clientele in a few hotels around the west and they are generally older folks. It isn't a tour company that I could see my two girls on. Having said that, CIE Tours gets great reviews. I can't comment on Explore Ireland

You need to determine where you will arrive and when and from where you will depart. Then open up the TA map of Ireland and the hotels/accomodations and rates with links to reviews should appear. You can do a bit of research on what you would like to see based on your daughter's expectations and what general routes you would like to take. The accomodations should help you plan a budget.

if you choose to stay in Dublin at the beginning/end for a few days you can save on car rental as you wont need it.

Then let us know if we can help in any other way with suggestions.

PS - Congrats to your daughter on the straight "A"s

Edited: 21 March 2013, 23:12
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6. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Thank you! Fours trips is amazing! I hope this the first of many for us as well. My daughter is not the typical young person. Big cities do not really apeal to her. She is more of the adventures and sightseeing type of person so any must sees that you can recommend would be great!

Reno, Nevada
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7. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Do a check for Ashford Castle for a possible magical place.

B&B's in Ireland can be extra-ordinarily wonderful.

She may like Skellig Islands and Achill Island.

Dingle

So much to see and you will need to hone down your list in order to really enjoy.

Yes, congrats on straight A's!

Edited: 21 March 2013, 23:20
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8. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

Thank you all, yes I am a very proud mother. Looks like independent is the way to go. Research is going to be my friend. Any sample itineraries would be great. I have found a few on the two tour companies I listed but nothing other than that.

Dublin, Ireland
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9. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

OK. Some advice then on the itinerary and to tick the boxes. Lets say you arrive at Dublin Airport - it would be a shame to miss the city. Also, you'll need time to recover from jetlag. Drive out to the Killiney Castle Hotel for your o/night. This is an hotel based around a manor house - not the turrets 'n' towers type, there are few of those in Ireland and fewer as hotels. Day 2 take a walk up around Killiney Hill, look at Bono's house [sign the wall if that's your daughter's thing]. look at Enya's castle [not real either but looks real] see if you can spot Wales from the top of the hill, go down to the beach and walk back around to Dalkey to visit the Heritage Centre [in a castle - well late medieval tower house] have a drink in the Arches pub [Hugh Leonard's local - playwright and author]. If you are still up for it continue to Sandycove and visit the Joyce Tower [Napoleonic Wars defence - and in the opening passage of Ulysses] Day 3 take the DART train from Dalkey to the city, ramble down Moore St and listen to the real Dublin accent from the fruit vendors, do the HoHo bus tour, jump out and visit whatever takes your fancy. Day 4 [you could start the car here and use the Aircoach to Killiney - it ends at the hotel]. drive south to Glendalough [Celtic monastic site, complete Round Tower and stunning scenery] Spend a few hours and have a walk through the woods then go on through Rathdrum, Vale of Avoca [Moore's 'meeting of the waters'] and rejoin the motorway at Arklow. Stay in Enniscorthy [Tracy's hotel?] Day 5 Visit the 1798 centre, the town castle [real - museum] and the Cathedral [fine example of Pugin's work, Pugin was the brains behind the Houses of Parliament in London but didn't get the credit] oh....and listen to the North Wexford accent. Cut across to New Ross, visit the Dunbrody famine ship [replica but very good] and stay o/night - B&B. Day 6 down to Waterford [perhaps via Ballyhack ferry on the Wexford side and visit Dunbrody Abbey, and the Hook Peninsula [Lighthouse is oldest in world still operational - good sea views and very early fossils in the rock if you can find them]. In Waterford visit Reginalds tower an unusual stone built Viking construction [. Eat blaa - traditional Waterford bread and listen to the Waterford accent. Stay in Waterford. Day 7 [half way and we've still covered only the south east, hit and miss at that] Long drive up the M9/M7/M50/M1 at the airport again and go into N Ireland. Head up through Belfast and on to the North Antrim Coast. Stay in/around Bushmills that night and you will be close to the Causeway, the Carrickaread rope bridge [thats a must for sea/cliff experience], the Bushmills Whiskey distillery [:-)], the Glens of Antrim and the Coast Road. There's a few days in all of that - I'll leave it to the N.I. experts to guide you. The northern accents are totally different to Dublin! BTW, the N.I. forum for Qs in under the UK thread - they use £sterling and drive in MPH up there. Factor that in. on your way back allow a day to stop off at the Brú na Boinne sites at Newgrange. You might need to check on-line if you can book in advance for the Passage Tomb.

That's my suggestion for a whistle stop tour of the S/east and N.I. No doubt others will suggest the Kerry/Dingle area, Galway/Connemara/Cliffs of M, etc. No matter where you choose, it will be a great experience. You can't do Ireland in 15 days - unless you don't want to leave the car.

Enjoy

Reno, Nevada
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10. Re: Ireland trip for graduation. Please help!!

WOW! I wish 171956 was around when we first went to the SE, but Mum would not let me talk to anyone over 150,999. :-)

That's just it. Pick the E/SE, OR North, OR West + SW, OR the NW. Pick an area and do not cram pack it.

Pick a region first.

You will not be able to see it all, but you will enjoy wherever you go.