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Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

Grantville, KS
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Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

Since I gleaned so much helpful information from TripAdvisor before our recent trip to Ireland, I would like to share our experiences in the hope it will help future travelers. We have no known relatives or roots in Ireland - I've just always thought it would be a beautiful place to visit. And I was right!! Amazing!

2/22/11 - We flew out of Kansas City airport using Continental Airlines, changing planes in Newark, NJ for the overnight flight to Shannon. We did pay extra for extra-legroom seats, and it was VERY worth the extra money!

2/23/11 - Landed in Shannon right on time, about 6:45 am. Not much sleep on the plane (a very loud chatterbox sat just behind us on the flight), so a bit bleary-eyed. We had reserved a rental car with Hertz, filled out all paperwork & purchased Super CDW - absolutely necessary for peace of mind!! - they brought our car right to the door, and off we went. Driving on the left was very challenging for my husband, and sitting on the left (and trying to get used to seeing everything in reverse) was nerve-wracking for me. Took a couple of days for my brain & my eyes to adjust! Drove from Shannon Airport to Ennistymon in Co. Clare, where we stocked up on groceries/supplies for our self-catering cottage near Doolin. Then on to Fuschia Cottage to the north of Doolin. Oh my, what a LOVELY home and view!! Owner Frank Sheedy had already been to the home to open it up and start up the stove for heat. We arrived probably around 9:30 am. He came back to give us a tutorial on how to use the stove, the showers, hot water for the bath, etc. Quite different from what we're used to in the US.

We started to drive to Doolin a bit later, and somehow blew a tire, so my husband got to change a tire along a very narrow roadside (in the thorn bushes)....in the misty weather and with almost no sleep for over 24 hours....he's a champ! We then took the car to a garage in Lisdoonvarna where we ended up buying a new tire for 85 euro (of course tires aren't covered under the SCDW). Oh well. Had some seafood chowder & brown bread in a pub there in Lisdoonvarna, collected our new tire, and went "home" to Fuschia Cottage where we passed out around 3pm.

2/24/11 - Slept until about 9am, felt MUCH better! Drove back to Ennistymon to buy cell phone minutes (the owners provided a cell phone for our use), internet minutes and groceries. Found an internet cafe (behind the barbershop) where internet use was free if you bought a coffee/tea. Also found the ATM (there isn't one in Doolin or Lisdoonvarna). Weather was mostly overcast, although we did see a little bit of sun. In the evening, drove in to O'Connor's Pub in Doolin, where some musicians came in around 9:30 pm. Enjoyed that!

To be continued.....

kansas city, MO
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1. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

When you said you purchased "extra legroom" do you mean you bought business class seats, or are there seats in coach with more leg room? Thanks!

Athens, Ontario
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2. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

Hello patsy88,

Not sure what the OP did, but you can purchase bulkhead or emergency exit seats in coach on most flights. We were charged $70/seat with AirTransat, but basically you have an aisle in front of you instead of another seat. It is pricey, but I'm over 6 feet tall and a flight over the Atlantic is a long time for me to be cramped into one position.

Grantville, KS
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3. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

The additional leg room seats are generally in the front of the economy section, or maybe in the overwing seats - there are probably a dozen or so seats, and the cost is from $79 to $109 approx. per seat, per flight. We only purchased them for the transatlantic segments, but were very glad we did.

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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4. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

A quick question about the SCDW (Super/Excess CDW Insurance) you purchased from Hertz. What does it cover, if not tires/tyres, for example?

Grantville, KS
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5. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

The rental agreement states that if you purchase SCDW, it does not cover wheels, tyres, fuel contamination or keys. What it DOES cover is banged-up (or missing) side mirrors, scratches from close encounters with thorn bushes or rock walls or other vehicles, and so forth.

Grantville, KS
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6. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

Another note regarding the SCDW - I'm looking at our invoice and it cost 305 euro for 10 days' rental. We also paid 83.70 euro for additional driver, which I only used to drive home from the pub twice (a 5-minute drive each time). But peace of mind....we don't have any sort of membership/discount with any car rental company, so maybe that would decrease your cost significantly. But we figured that 305 euro was a lot cheaper than paying for a new paint job or side mirror or damaged fender....

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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7. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write in detail about your recent trip. I'm curious what attracted you to Co Clare in the first place. It happens to be one of my favorite counties too!

Thanks also for clarifying the Super/Excess CDW question. Next time, you might look at getting the Super/Excess CDW from a third party, which covers damage to windows, undercarriage and tires/tyres.

An example of a company offering such service is insurance4carhire: http://www.insurance4carhire.com/

Thank you for your honesty about the initial driving and passenger experience and for noting the tutorial needed for household appliances etc - all of which will be most helpful to other visitors.

Grantville, KS
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8. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

What attracted us to County Clare? We have a friend who frequently visits Ireland and she suggested possibly Cork, Cobh, southern Ireland. So I began searching for lodgings there, and it just morphed into researching other counties, and when we saw the pictures of Fuschia Cottage, that's what we wanted. We were really looking for a more rural area, not a drive-as-far-as-you-can trip, and we wanted to fly into Shannon rather than Dublin (we are not big-city people). As I researched County Clare, it looked like there was plenty to do/see within driving distance, and it wasn't too far from Shannon Airport, and the cottage was in a rural area, and so that's really how we chose Co. Clare!

Thank you for the suggestion about purchasing 3rd-party SCDW insurance - I tried to read as much as possible about car rental in Ireland, but apparently I missed that. Will certainly keep it in mind for the future!

Self-catering is a bit more involved, since we did have to learn how to operate household items which were different than what we were used to, but it was part of the "adventure" and it certainly gave us an authentic experience :)

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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9. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

Thank you again. I think Ireland is a rewarding place to take at a steady pace, especially the more rural areas. Next time, you'll have to stay in East Clare and travel from there.

The Midlands of Ireland and the Northwest also lend themselves to your kind of visit. Indeed, so do cities in Ireland, for those who are city folk, as well as the more touristy spots in the off season. However, it does help to have the good luck you had with the weather.

10. Re: Trip Review - 2/23/11 to 3/5/11 (part 1)

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