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Lessons Learned....

WI USA
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Lessons Learned....

Ireland was the last 12 days of our 3 week trip and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. However, even though I researched and read many times don't rush your trip, I didn't realize what that really meant. I think for many of us U.S. first time Ireland travelers our concept or idea of a vacation is a little different, so when planning your trip you think 6 hours of drive time with a few stops along the way can't be too bad. For many of us driving over an hour to go to work or shopping is done without thought. We take a family driving trip where we drive 12 hours in one day barely stopping just to make better time. This mind set is not for Ireland.

Our most relaxed time was when we based ourselves in one town for a few days and toured the area instead of changing locations nightly unpacking and repacking. If you found a town you wanted to stay in longer or an old Abbey you wanted to walk around a little longer you couldn't because you had a destination to make and drive time is way different in Ireland. If I could do one thing over it would accept that you can't see it all and choose an area and spend my entire time there taking it all in.

Some of our favorite memories are the ones not planned. Getting lost and finding an old church, stopping and talking to a local asking him for directions and him giving us a lesson of the area, and getting stuck behind sheep or bikers who's shorts were stressed a little to thin :)

I also think we get too stuck on the word touristy. After all, we are tourist and no matter what, you will be around other tourist. Sure some areas will have more tourist than others, but who cares. Step back, people watch and take it all in. Learn a new way to vacation.

Don't get me wrong. Our trip was wonderful and magical. I just wanted to remind people that when people suggest to you to slow down there really is a reason why you should. Don't sweat the small stuff....driving was fine :)

Dublin
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1. Re: Lessons Learned....

Thank you for posting that advice - I hope your fellow citizens who are planning a trip to Ireland, read over it again and again. Ireland may be a very small country - 300+ miles long X 170+ miles wide - a mere dot in comparison to the USA, but as you say, there is so much to be seen, mile by mile, that you cannot possibly - as a lot of people seem to think - cover all of Ireland in a 10/14 day trip. You have summed up travelling in Ireland perfectly - getting lost (all part of the experience), talking to locals, delayed by farm animals on the road, flexibility in your itinerary, etc., etc. A good post.

Whitney, Texas
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for Ireland
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2. Re: Lessons Learned....

great post twotipsyfortea......how refreshing to hear from a returning traveler that Ireland is to be viewed at a pace where you actually "see" the places you are in at any given time.....versus the traveler who gets upset with those who tell them 6 hours of driving in Ireland will leave you exhausted and sad that you didn't have time to soak up the places/things you came upon....

I always advise folks that visiting Ireland should be a sprint, not a marathon....

Maryland
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3. Re: Lessons Learned....

Ditto and Ditto. Trying to "do" most of Ireland in a few days is like expecting to "do" Disney World, Epcot, Sea World and Universal Studios all in one day. Yes, I suppose it is humanly possible to touch your toes at each location in a single day but that is literally all you would have time for after spending a small fortune trying and having no time to enjoy any of it.

Cheers,

Sunny

Cork, Ireland
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for Cork
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4. Re: Lessons Learned....

"I also think we get too stuck on the word touristy. After all, we are tourist and no matter what, you will be around other tourist."

I completely agree with this statement. Most things that are touristy are that way because they are worth seeing.

Most people who want to see the "authentic Ireland" might find a Monday night in a non-tourist-focussed rural pub that is struggling to survive because of emigration and reduced spending money a bit grim.

Certainly there are some parts of Ireland that deserve to be better known among international tourists (although it's very rare to find any where domestic ones are absent), but most people are unlikely to find the undiscovered gem, while the traditional tourist sites still have a lot to offer.

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: Lessons Learned....

It pays to take time and find places to stop and explore a bit. I was out and about a few weeks ago and spotted an old 'brown sign' pointing up a back road which I followed. It brought me to this place: visitwicklow.ie/attractions/…

I had it to myself and spent nearly an hour just walking around the rings and marvelling at the construction. It was a lovely day which helped of course and the views and fresh air a bonus too!

Huntsville, Alabama
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6. Re: Lessons Learned....

Great post which certainly matches what many DE's and Ireland lovers have said over and over again. Thank you for taking the time to post this very valuable information for all future first time Ireland visitors!

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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7. Re: Lessons Learned....

171956 what a treasure you have found.....love it.....

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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8. Re: Lessons Learned....

"Most people who want to see the "authentic Ireland" might find a Monday night in a non-tourist-focussed rural pub that is struggling to survive because of emigration and reduced spending money a bit grim."

True. I'm often tempted, when someone says they want to experience "the real Ireland", to suggest a couple places that might be a bit TOO real for a lot of visitors, not exactly what they would have in mind for a holiday!

KC, MO
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9. Re: Lessons Learned....

We had a great time with a bartender to ourselves in a Northern Ireland rural town's pub. She patiently answered our noob questions and was tactfully general on DH's questions that touched on politics. It was a wonderful time and one of our best memories.

Back to the OP's point, yes, breadth of an area was grand. The rushed parts started to blur quickly even though they were enjoyable at the time.

Western Ireland...
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for Dingle
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10. Re: Lessons Learned....

Great post!