How Are You Making Your Dream Trip to Ireland a Reality?

Horse, gig, and Liam

(The session mentioned below has passed, but be sure to check out the inspiring comments at the end of the post!)

Tomorrow I’m talking with Dr Valerie Young from Changing Course about how I turned my passion for Ireland, art, and people into a business… or, more specifically, a series of businesses.

Changing Course Interview InfoThat got me thinking about all the people I meet who are dreaming about a trip to Ireland, but they never move one step closer to getting to the Emerald Isle. They’re the folks who talk about an Irish holiday all the time, but something’s always getting in their way… money, time, family commitments, fear… any number of obstacles.

Today, Let’s Help These “Chronic Dreamers” Out!

If you’ve made the trip or have been making progress in planning your trip to Ireland, use the comments below to offer some tips on how you moved from being a DREAMER to becoming someone who is actually going to get there!

Leave your tips below…

Author: Liam

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  1. First – figure out how much it might cost. It’s less than you probably think! I have been able to do two week trips on $2500, including airfare, food, B&B and rental car. Cheaper if I went with more people and did self-catering accommodation, or went off-season. Once you figure out how much, carve out a time of the year, and just start the planning. It’s amazing how it might gel!

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  2. Spend time talking to people who have done it before you. Don’t just look at photos and dream; ask questions that will help you take action!

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  3. I have relatives like that. They always talk about how much they want to go, but they never do. My wife and I decided to skip our regular trip to Florida one year, and went to Ireland instead… now we alternate between Florida and Ireland. We don’t regret the decision.

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  4. It’s a matter of putting yourself in a position to where you can no longer say, “no.” I’m Irish/American (my Casey’s came over from Kerry during the Hunger) and have loved everything about Ireland all my life. So why did I wait so long to go?

    There was always a “good” reason: We bought a new house. We purchased a new car for my wife. We got a new car for me. Always something that made us say, “We’ll go to Ireland next year.” wife started hunting for deals and checking prices. Turns out, it’s not as expensive as you might think. We were still debating when one afternoon I got an email at work. It was from my wife, announcing she had just purchased our tickets (non-refundable!)and we were leaving in April. She said, “No matter what, we’re going. No more excuses.”

    So you change your life to fit your trip, because you’re committed. Then you get there and see Ireland in all it’s beauty, you meet the wonderful people and you ask yourself, “Why did I wait so long??”

    Oh, and, we’re going back on September 1st (yes, already bought the tickets) and this time we’re moving. My wife and I both have freelance jobs online, so we’ll be renting a home not far from friends we have near Galway. All because, one day, we said, “Enough. We’re going!”

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    • This is a GREAT example of what can happen when you open yourself up to the opportunity rather than the obstacle!!!

      Thanks Brian

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  5. decide what sort of trip will really suit you — what do you most want to do, see, experience? research, ask advice, and choose. each person has a different way into Ireland, and you’ll not experience all of it in one trip, so pick several things most important to you to focus on. that’ll help make your dream real as you plan and budget. I’m happy traveling all over the island by public transport, by myself, I love Ireland in winter, my favorite places are in rural parts of in the North — and none of that may apply to you. you might prefer a family group, a tour, a rental car, summer weather, the iconic sites of the south and Dublin — all fine. choose two or three things that’ll make or break a trip for you — both in what to see and ways to experience the trip — and you’re well on your way to a plan.

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  6. What is your dream trip to Ireland? If you are on a budget, some of the tours are all inclusive and very reasonable. If you are a free spirit–rent a car and stay at B&B’s. If you love comfort, there are plenty of castles and 4-5 star resorts. Do you have a large group? Rent a centrally located house/condo and do day trips. We love staying at the Paddocks at Mt. Juliet. Pricey but worth it. For a successful trip, ask friends and use sites like for recommendations. Can’t resist it “Just do it!” you will have no regrets. Promise.

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  7. Every year my wife and I said we “should” spend our anniversary in Ireland. After 15 years, we finally said, “Let’s spend our anniversary in Ireland.” All of a sudden we were talking about how long we’d stay and what we’d see. That was 5 years and 3 trips to Ireland ago.

    You need to go from “should” to something concrete… like an actual date.

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  8. In 1988, my eldest daughter and I began putting $5 per week (equivalent of one lunch out) each into a dedicated savings account and in 5 years we had enough for a 10 day circular tour of Ireland. We were such babes in the wood but had the time of our lives and went back in ’97, and I am now preparing for my trip #7.

    The point is that it is possible if you set your sights on the goal and don’t give up. Focus and determination.

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  9. LOVE THIS! We started reading, asking questions (including calling you two), researching, reading some more. I WAS going to make it happen. We found airline deals, a home on the sea to rent, Dan Dooley car rental. We made a list of all the things we wanted to see, cut it to 10%, cut it some more for our 2+ weeks there, and left room for serendipity. If you read enough, people’s love for Ireland will shine through. It is so strong that you will feel COMPELLED to go. And it’s true – Ireland has that effect on people.

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  10. I was a dreamer of Ireland for a long time. My husband and I were actually supposed to go on a Mediterranean cruise with my sister and brother in law this year. I was suffering a bit from sticker shock when I started planning to go. Something clicked in my brain to see if it would be cheaper to go to Ireland. It was!

    Now, we don’t have any credit cards like most people do due to poor decisions in our youth for both of us. So if we don’t have the money in our bank accounts, then we just don’t spend the money. We took our tax refund and paid for our accommodations and our rental car. A couple months later I was able to pay for our airfare. We’re currently saving up for food and souvenirs. I’m a massage therapist and all of my tips have been going into a savings account. It’s amazing how quickly it can add up. Yes, we’ll have a credit card before we leave, because I know one is needed for the car rental. However this shows even someone without credit cards can make their dream of going to Ireland a reality!

    We’re leaving in September for our first trip. We are so excited for it!

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  11. I’d dreamed of visiting Ireland for so long I can’t even remember when the dream began. Eighteen months ago I was in a business meeting and a colleague said he’d just returned from Dublin. I said it was my dream to go to Ireland. He simply asked why I hadn’t gone then and I opened my mouth to say all my reasons (money, money, money, and time) and nothing came out. I tried again to speak and I fell silent. I couldn’t speak because I finally “got” that my reasons were really all just excuses. I knew through and through that if I really wanted to go now I could. I went home that night and told my husband we were going to begin saving immediately. Now our family’s vacation in Ireland is only five weeks away!

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  12. When I was young, my parents and their best friends would get together and talk about their dream of taking a trip together to Ireland. Month after month, year after year, through grade school, high school, and into college, we’d gather together and it never took long for the conversation to turn to their plans for “some day”. To them Ireland was a magical place, and they couldn’t wait to experience it together. My dad would later be diagnosed with cancer, and he passed away during my sophomore year in college. Shortly after, their best friends fell ill and died within months of each other. My mom eventually made it to Ireland, a birthday present from my brother, but I know the trip was bitter-sweet.

    Life isn’t about stuff, or plans, or what-ifs. It’s about experiences. Go now while you can. Don’t wait for “some day”.

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  13. My great grandfather came from Northern Ireland in the late 1880s and he lived down the street in Wisconsin from my mom and her family. She had great memories of him and always wanted to go visit the area where he had grown up in Londonderry. In 2000 Mom, my sister and I got together and made the 2-week trip together. I was 57, my sister 47, and Mom was 77. We had never traveled together as adults, especially for two weeks! We had the time of our lives and when we found the deserted family farm Mom said, “I never thought I’d get to see this place.” At the end of this month my husband and I are taking our 20-year-old granddaughter with us to make the same trip. Sadly, the farm has been torn down, but I will never forget it. While we are there we will mark the one-year-anniversary of Mom’s death. I know she would be so proud to know that another generation is experiencing this beautiful land.

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  14. Hi – well we talked and talked for years about moving over here or buying a holiday home – one yr before my hubby’s retirement we sat down and decided are we going to do this or not?? We voted on yes for an adventure – why not see the world instead of waiting for something to come your way- so we had a year to get ready for the move – we sold cars, motorcycle, some furniture – and prepared our pets for the move over. We kept our home in the states and are renting it – as we don’t know how long we will stay.

    Be prepared to have the most stressful time of your life during this time – hubby retired one day and 11 days later we were on a plane across the ocean with three cats –
    We have rented a house – but be prepared for costs that you weren’t expecting. Have a plan with funds then a backup plan with more funds – no matter how much you plan unexpected things pop up – I.e. heating fuel was more then we thought but we also moved over during record breaking cold weather this march.
    We had to buy some stuff for the house – and taxes on vehicles etc.
    I won’t lie – I went though a bit of homesickness for a bit – but that is to be expected – we have been here three months and are finally settled in
    It tAkes time to adjust to a new way of life
    But remember this and I have to remind myself everyday as I am missing a target or Publix from home:
    This is an adventure – enjoy it moment by moment – try not to plan where you’ll be two years from now – enjoy the Beauty you have right in front of you,
    If you want to return home – go for it – you won’t have any regrets in life then

    I am a child and family photographer and am amazed at the most beautiful natural backdrops I have right outside my back door now –
    Nothing like I had at home-
    This is an amazing country with amazing scenery and amazingly wonderful people – just do it.

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  15. I have been fortunate enough to go to Ireland five times. Granted, this has limited my traveling to other destinations. I have gone in January, April, and during the summer months. Traveling in Ireland off season is fantastic. It is less expensive, less crowded, and the Irish people aren’t overwhelmed with tourist. I always rent a car, and book my own accommodations. If you are willing to share a room with a travel partner it is that much cheaper.

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  16. Make the Trip a special Occasion –
    It was a tedious process but WELL Worth it – I was planning our 19th Anniversary –
    Seek out advice- In the 12 months before our trip we asked people over to dinner or to our place to show us pictures etc of their trips to the Country we were visiting. I also planned parties with the theme of the country we were visiting – Ours was Greece –
    As an actor I wanted the trip to include: visiting all the ruins and theatres I had studied in college and graduate school and experience the culture – Donny was interested in finding Pythagoras, walking through the Eupalinos Tunnel and getting to the boat dock early to get to the local beach. But that is what made our trip memorable we did what each other wanted to do and was interested in to share the experience together.
    Pack WEEKS in ADVANCE and then continue to UNPACK – Don’t let getting your suitcase ready get in the way of starting your trip happy & relaxed.
    Make the Trip – Your Trip of a LIFETIME – We went to Greece and stayed 22 days. We visited 5 islands and stayed on the mainland in Athens. We went to neighboring country Turkey – Because we were so close and we thought we might not get back to this part of the World again.

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  17. The flights can be cheaper than flying in the U.S, believe it or not and the Most important thing is to be educated and “do it yourself.” Forgo the big expensive scheduled tours. They are much higher in price and not as personal. Bed and Breakfasts are the way to go to meet the real Irish and feel at home. If you are with a group, you’ll most likely stay in a big hotel, not the same. The first time we went to Ireland I spent about a $1000.00 less per person for two full weeks than what a ‘tour’ would have cost for ten days. And that includes my woolen sweaters and souvenirs. Many people pay just as much to vacation in the U.S as in Ireland. Just have to do your homework. Check out this blog for some tips: as well as many others and definitely get a Former’s tour of Ireland book.

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  18. Hi my name is Bronagh and the difference with me is I live in Ireland to be exact in Westport, Co Mayo. It has been voted the best town to live in Ireland.
    This is a lovely time of the year to start making plans to travel to Ireland it is also the year of the Gathering so there are special promotional fares to get here. If anyone is looking for advise or help on planning a trip please feel free to contact me. I have lived in different parts of Ireland so have plenty of knowledge to help you get the plans on the way.
    Warm wishes to you all

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    • Hello Bronagh, I will be in Wexford in Aug for “Art in the Open” and after that wiil be staying on for 6 more weeks. I have made no specific plans except to paint as much as I can with the different Plein Aire painting groups. Can I rely on public transportation or should I hire a car? Should I plan on B&B’s or rent a place with amenities?
      The areas I will be painting are in the west, north, and dublin. Any info would be helpful.
      Thank you, Lynda

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  19. Still dreaming about my trip to Ireland. Cant wait for the day!…

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  20. So many of our visitors here wish they’d taken the plunge years ago. There are so many different aspects to Ireland for people to explore – from the bustle of Dublin to the unspoilt scenery of places like our own Sheep’s Head peninsula in West Cork.

    And that can make it hard for people in a way … There’s almost too much fun to be had at the planning stage! We can only promise you that there’s a world more fun to be had when you arrive …

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