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keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

Nashville
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keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

hi folks, my 15 yr old son and i will be going to killarney and courtmac mid june for 3 wks. i want to give him some "space" (e.g., biking alone) but want to be able to keep tabs. i thought i'd rent 2 cell phones before leaving so we could call quickly to check in w/ one another. the rental is not too expensive (but i can see where minutes can really add up - we'll have to talk in code)! i have 2 questions, please: 1) am i right that given goal, renting 2 cells is way to go? and 2) am i nuts to think i could let my 15 yr old (very mature, responsible, 6 ft tall) go off alone in killarney or courtmac for periods of time w/ cell phone in tow? (e.g., safety issues of biking on roads, violence) Thanks for any insights.

And if you can bear a 3rd que: where can i go in killarney and courtmac to access internet (preferably free) to ck emails (i won't have personal laptop)?

N Ireland
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1. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

The risk of violence is minimal, particularly as it sounds as if your son is very sensible and big enough to look after himself. The only realistic risk he faces is on a bike - some of the roads are pretty narrow and there will be a lot of traffic, but then loads of people cycle around the roads of Co. Kerry all the time. I think it looks worse than it really is.

Regarding contact, I'm not sure that hiring phones will be the most cost effective method. The obvious alternatives are:

If you both already have USA cellphones then (and assuming that they are Europe-compatible - you can find this out from your service provider), stay in touch by text messages, which is what I do when I go to the USA. With Vodafone UK this costs the equivalent of about 50 US cents per message and my guess is that US service providers will be no more expensive. If you only want to communicate two or three times a day it will probably work out much cheaper than rental.

Alternatively you might buy no-contract Pay As You Talk phones in Ireland when you get here. They are pretty inexpensive and you can probably buy cheap ones for as little as 50 US dollars. I can't imagine the rental phones coming much cheaper.

Don't know about internet as it's been about 7 years since I was last in Kerry, but there are bound to be a lot of internet cafes to cater for the tourist population - however, other than the possibility of a free service within hotels, for the use of guests, I think it unlikely that you will find free internet anywhere

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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2. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

Cbrad - there are a few internet cafes in Killarney, including at least one on main street (close to Mac's restaurant).

I have a 15 year old and I would have no problems letting her "hang around" on her own in Courtmac - it is a small village. Its on an isthmus (sp?). There is a road into town and a road out of town and thats pretty much it.

With regard to Killarney - it is a bustling town, but if your 15 year old is sensible, then I shouldn't foresee a problem. You probably know I have a 13 year old and as long as she had credit and power on her mobile phone, I would have no problems with her hanging around on her own.

If you trust your teenager (which it appears you do) then the towns will be fine, if you don't trust your teenager (not relevant in this case) then you will be aware that there are some teenagers who seem to be a magnet for trouble.

However, I would NOT let my teenager go from OKV to Killarney town on their own. The main Limerick-Killarney road (on which you will have to travel) is a very busy and potentially dangerous road. If necessary - get a cab.

Nashville
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3. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

Thank you SO much for your insights. it's a relief to hear i can reasonably let him go a bit and be safe.

re: phones. our cells don't work outside US unfortunately. the rental is $65 for each phone for the duration of our trip, w. minutes charged at about $1/min incoming and outgoing - so about $2 for each call we make w/ one another. texting is about same but charged per message, so as long as we don't get chatty, the call will let me hear that "Hi, all is well" and i hope "having fun" at end of line! of course, my fondest wish is that he decides it may be more fun hanging w/ mom! (ok, i know!)

BTW: what side of road is best to bike on for safety (if even not the legal side)?

Limerick, Ireland
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for Limerick, Killarney
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4. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

Definately make sure he is on the left hand side of the road - although there are some lovely cycle paths in both Courtmac and Killarney. Please, please, please make sure he wears a helmet as well.

Nashville
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5. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

yes - helmet is a must and we always use one. i'm glad you raised this, though, b/c i was just re-reading info on bike rentals and it suggested that helmets are often not available w/ the bike rental-best to bring your own. as i'd rather not lug 2 helmets, do you know whether renting the helmet would be a problem in either killarney or courtmac? (i suppose we could buy a couple of cheap (but effective) ones once there if need be...) also, the web suggests that waiting to rent the bikes once here is risky; do we really need to pre-book? Thanks!!

Destination Expert
for Dublin
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6. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

The phone rental thing is a rip off I think. Where are they getting these rates of $1 per minute!! If you want a phone just buy 2 prepay mobile phones on arrival. For prepay(pay as you go) I think meteor are the cheapest.

A Quick look on their website shows for 49euro you get a Nokia 1600 phone with 10euro call credit straight off. When you register your details online(which you could do straight away) you get another 20euro, and then 10euro credit per month for the next 5 months! I know the last bit is irrelevant as you'll be gone home but it is still good value. For 49euro you get a phone plus 80euro call credit.

Vodafone and O2 do similar deals but for prepay I think meteor are cheapest.

Check out:

www.meteor.ie

www.vodafone.ie

www.o2.ie

Nashville
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204 posts
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7. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

yikes!! so glad i conferred w/ you all on this. will ck meteor, etc. immediately! thanks!

wichita,ks
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for Wichita
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8. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

cbrad, ----Two years ago I know some libraries had free internet but they usually had an hour or so wait. If they do charge now I am sure the charge would be minimal. The internet cafe's are cheaper than a phone. I have paid as little as one Euro for a half hour but I think it should have been more but I got to talking to the guy in charge and he said the one euro would be fine.

Nashville
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9. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

just looked at meteor website. unfortunately, no toll-free #, email only (i sent a feq ques to them ). sorry - i'm not knowledgeable about this...ok - so we would be "buying" the phones, not leasing?but isn't there a "plan" w them such that if we don't renew, we pay for remainder b/t our 3 wks and the 12 mos of the plan (or any other "penalty")? how far does the 80 euro of calls go - don't we need to know meteor's price per minute as well? too, i think i've learned (!) that use charges can be more than advertised - something about roaming, or using additional air waves... (i'm feeling pretty stupid about now -- i'm really smart in other areas!!) we fly into shannon, go to killarney then courtmac. meteor doesn't list any store in any of these places. is limerick a possibility for purchasing? i think we land early am, but could hang around for a store to open i suppose...any info much appreciated...

Nashville
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10. Re: keeping tabs on my 15 yr old

patrickh - thanks! looks like i can use library or cafe for the few contacts i need to make back to the states.