Touring Ireland, planning your trip, where to visit, what to see

Ireland’s uniqueness is found less in its cities but in its countryside. Virtually everywhere in Ireland (north or south), one can find historic (prehistoric) treasures, geological uniqueness, magnificent gardens, soul invoking views, and friendly people.

The links to the left will help you select the type of Irish sights to see. Some sights of Ireland, such as Newgrange and the Giants Causeway are unique. Other Ireland sights are simular to each other. In your planning keep in mind your family will only put up with so many visits to Castles, Abbeys and Heritage Parks, etc. ireland-4854546

Ireland may look like a small Island but do not be fooled:
In the three weeks we visited Ireland we drove in a big circle around the Island with occasional encursions deeper inland. We did this for two reasons: 1. We planned on putting together this guide and wanted to cover the entire island; and 2. I was rushed planning this trip and thought if I hit every place on the island I would be able to cover the major sights with no planning. The result was a somewhat rushed family trip. I strongly recommend buying a guidebook and identify the region of Ireland you want to see, rather than trying to cover the entire island in one visit.

Is it best for you to drive or take a Bus Tour of Ireland?
Driving In Ireland is not that difficult but it does take a mental change to adjust to driving on the left size of the road. Normally, the older you are the more difficult it is to make this mental change. Bus Tours of Ireland are efficient and can even cost less than making arrangements on your own but bus tours do restrict the amount of time you will spend at any one Irish site. Not to mention, Bus Tours also provide the benefit and deficit of one being in the company of the same people every day of your touring. If you are an independent traveler but want someone else to do the driving for you, there are private guides that provide this service.

When to visit? Most people have only a little leaway in picking the time of year to visit but you will still want to read my page on Weather. No matter what season you visit Ireland in, don’t forget to take a good but light weight unbrella (you can see Travel Umbrellas at my Travel Store). Do check open dates for tourist sites in your Ireland Guide Book, it seems like many places shut down out of season.

If you have decided to take a bus tour skip to the section below entitled “Packing”.

Where to stay in Ireland? (Booking and Building an Itinerary) If you take a bus tour this is decided for you but if you are booking accomodations yourself you might want to look over my Hotel / Bed and Breakfast FAQ. Before you start booking your accommodations you will need to start building an itinerary for your visit (sample itinerary and itinerary form)

In our Ireland visit we stayed in a combination of Hotels, Farm Houses and Bed and Breakfasts.The Hotel/B&B FAQ reviews the plus and minus of each option and provides booking tips.

Bought the plane ticket and ready to go! If you are looking to rent a vehicle you might want to consider Auto Europe (See the link under Commercial Resources, to the Right). Auto Europe’s current policy (when I checked on Aug. 25, 2004) is to charge no fee for changing or canceling car rentals (see their website for details).

Packing (and a little about dirty laundry) – You know the rule, pack light. You also know that packing light, is easier for some than others. Dealing with laundry is a headache. Those people that wear their old undees and replace with new during their trip are the smart ones.We did not see any self service laundries in Ireland but full service laundries were plentiful. We intended to drop off our laudry at the cleaners in the morning and then pick it up on returning. As it turned out it was a good thing we missed seeing the laundry in the morning, the laundry closed before we returned that evening. If we had left clothes to be laundered we would have been forced to drive back for them the next day, adding a couple hours of travel, as are next destination was in the opposite direction.

My family tries to pack as light as possible, taking with us expandable bags and and then plan on buying more luggage.

Areas to cover on the next Trip Planniing pages:

packing check off sheet

Make copies of everything – passports,

Important information to carry with you and in your luggage.