This will be a first trip to Ireland for my husband and me (our first trip off the American continent!), and we have very different ideas about the aftermath. I’m hoping it is the beginning of a lifelong travel hobby. Whereas he is expecting I will calm down with travel, and we won’t do a trip this big for another decade or two.
So, much is at stake! To ease him into it, I’m planning to split our week-long trip between two farm-style bed and breakfasts, where he can have some downtime to enjoy the nature and the farm, while I can still work in some time to see some lovely cathedrals! Do you have any suggestions on two counties where a home-body cowboy and a crazed tourist might both have successful holiday?
— Erin via email
Wow. The pressure is high. Let’s take a deep breath and see what we can do…
A trip to Ireland has changed many lives, so I’m confident this trip will do that for you and your husband. That said, I’d suggest you put thoughts and expectations of future travel out of our mind until after you get home. Instead, continue putting your energy into making this the best trip possible… this is a first overseas trip for both of you, so there’s no telling how either one of you will respond to this “new” type of travel.
I think you’re wise to focus on rural Ireland… and to limit the ground you cover. My suggestion would be to look at the west coast counties and use Shannon Airport as your arrival and departure airport (this will make driving a much easier experience). Counties Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Mayo, Galway, and Tipperary are all great options. If you’re choosing a farm stay, you won’t have to worry about your accommodations being in an area that’s too built up (www.bandbireland.com has a category for those types of B&Bs and/or you could post on the Ireland Yes forum – http://ireland.activeboard.
To help you along with your bigger goal of ongoing travel, it’s important you accept the fact that no trip is perfect… there will be stressful moments. People who do that, tend to have a much better trip… and are more enthusiastic about future travel. Here are a few things to anticipate:
- you’ll probably feel a bit confused when the car rental person starts talking about extra insurance and explaining that your credit card probably doesn’t cover it like it does in other countries
- the first 24-hours of driving are going to be stressful
- food prices can be about 25% higher than what you will pay in the US
- petrol (gas) will be about $8 a gallon
- you are going to get lost and might get to meet an interesting local when to ask for directions
- it will probably rain
A few other tips:
- don’t count the days you fly in your tally of touring days (so 7 days becomes only 5 days of actual touring)
- talk to your B&B hosts (if you spend 3+ days in a farmhouse B&B, you’ll probably get to know your hosts pretty well if you ask them questions about the area and farming in Ireland)
- try to stay within 90 miles of Shannon on our first night (most places in Clare, Tipperary, and Limerick work)
- spend your last night near the airport, it will save loads of stress (Bunratty, Ennis, and Adare are good options)
- check out www.infiniteireland.com – they focus on first-timer trips to Ireland
- Here are some our best posts for first-timers www.irishfireside.com/
If you have suggestions that might help Erin inspire lifelong travel in her husband… please leave them in the comments below.