Engaging Ireland News

Current news and information about Ireland and Irish travel

‘Homecoming Festival’ 2012

Fáilte Ireland wants all you who are Irish (not living in Ireland) or of Irish descent to attend a special festival in 2012. The following story by Ronan McGreevy appeared in  the Irish Times (Saturday, November 27, 2010).

Festival to tap ancestral tourism

IRELAND: FÁILTE IRELAND is planning a homecoming festival for Irish people and those of Irish ancestry for 2012.

“The Gathering” has the potential to be “Ireland’s biggest tourism programme ever”, Fáilte Ireland chairman Redmond O’Donoghue revealed this week.

Details of the festival will be announced next year, but it is likely to be similar to the “Homecoming Scotland” festival held in 2009 which attracted an extra 100,000 visitors to that country.

The Irish version is likely to capitalise on the interest in ancestral tourism brought about by the publication online of the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

Mr McDonagh said “The Gathering” will be one of several major tourism events over the next two years.

The others will includes the tall ships visit to Waterford; the Solheim Cup, the women’s equivalent of the Ryder Cup; and the return of the Volvo Ocean Race to Galway in 2012.

He also revealed that the Convention Centre Dublin will host a major IT conference next year which will have 4,000 delegates and will generate 20,000 bed nights in Dublin.

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Will you make plans to attend “The Gathering”? One of the other events mentioned in the article?

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago at 1:01 pm.

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Inaugural flight lands at Dublin’s Terminal 2

Appropriately, the first flight to land at Dublin Airport’s new Terminal 2 was an Aer Lingus flight. Love it or hate it, the new terminal is now open for business. The following is the article written by Tim O’Brien  that appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday, November 20, 2010, to mark this momentous occasion.

Dublin Airport Terminal 2

AER LINGUS flight EI205 landed at Dublin airport with perfect timing yesterday.

The inaugural flight to Terminal 2 (T2) arrived from Manchester as Taoiseach Brian Cowen finished his opening speech.

Shown live on a large bank of screens, the aircraft was seen outside within seconds of the Taoiseach describing the new terminal as a sign of hope for Ireland’s economic recovery and “a gateway to the future we all want for Ireland”.

As he wrapped up his speech, Mr Cowen said: “I want to say formally on this day, a day which sets out a future for this airport, that similarly we will set out a future for our country, to build on the work that we have done so that by the end of next year, we will be two-thirds of the way through the work that we have to do.”

After a brief walk through of the new terminal, the Taoiseach departed from a prepared speech to return to what he said was “justifiable concern” about the future of the country and its economy.

Blaming “abnormal market conditions”, he wanted to make it clear the Government was “sitting down with its partners to find a way forward that will deal with euro-area problems, as well as the specific problems affecting Ireland today”.

Mr Cowen said: “We have and we will engage in constructive discussions so that Ireland will take the decisions, so that the Irish Government will put forward a four-year plan on behalf of the Irish people. Because it will be the Irish people, through our efforts in the coming months and years, who will see us through.”

The need to adapt in the years ahead would, he said, involve “taking some steps back in order that we can forge forward again”. It was not “about losing all of the gains that we have made. This building, what this represents, does remain.”

Mr Cowen said Ireland would see revenues rise to 2005/2006 levels and “we will see our spending revert back to 2007 levels. That is how we will over the next few years ensure that we bring balance to our public finances.”

The four-year plan would be a responsibility for whatever government was in power, he added, “whatever about the ups and downs of electoral politics”.

The Government would put its proposals for the coming four years to the people. “We will make sure that we see through the next days and weeks in a competent and proper way, making the appropriate decisions in the best interests of our people.”

Before the Taoiseach spoke, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary, dressed as an undertaker and carrying a wreath, had displayed a hearse containing a coffin painted in the national colours in the airport campus. The costs of the terminal, he said, would be the death knell of Irish tourism.

Dublin Airport Authority chairman David Dilger defended the new terminal against allegations that it was over-specified and unnecessarily large. Its capacity was required to underpin future growth, he said.

On airport charges, Mr Dilger said the authority was a commercial organisation and had “no intention of providing our infrastructure for nothing”. It was dedicated to providing “excellent value for money to all of our passengers and all of our airline customers”.

The Aer Lingus inaugural flight was an Airbus A320, with 118 passengers. Aer Lingus will move its North American services to T2 in the New Year.

Other services to the US are also expected to be based at T2 from early in the new year. Etihad will base its Abu Dhabi service at T2 from Tuesday.

T2 TEARJERKER: RYANAIR CHIEF RAILS AGAINST ‘€1.2BN PALACE’

THERE WAS a large media presence, national and international, deployed to meet Taoiseach Brian Cowen at Dublin airport yesterday – an opportunity Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary was not going to miss.

With Cowen due to arrive at 11am, O’Leary ordered a hearse and coffin painted in the national colours, which arrived at Dublin airport at least two hours in advance.

The Ryanair boss, dressed as an undertaker, posed alongside a sign proclaiming ” Irish Tourism RIP”.

Was the coffin’s use of the national colours not showing disrespect, he was asked. O’Leary replied: “It is Irish tourism that is going to be buried today as a Government-owned bunch of bureaucrats open a €1.2 billion palace that Irish tourism doesn’t need and can’t afford. Remember jobs are being lost in Irish tourism, this year, this month, next month

because the DAA are cranking up the fees by 40 per cent when inflation is zero.”

O’Leary then headed to Terminal 2 where he posed on the escalators with the wreath, looking glum. Giving interviews, he caused a stir well in advance of the arrival of Mr Cowen.

One interview that went less well than expected was with a British TV broadcaster which concluded with the interviewer politely asking O’Leary for his name and position.

Ryanair will not be moving to the new terminal.

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If you have flown into the brand new Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, leave a comment below to let us know your impressions. What’s good? Anything stand out especially? Is there anything that’s not there that you’d like to see?

Posted 7 years, 2 months ago at 9:08 pm.

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Breaking News: Notre Dame vs. Navy in Dublin

North American Football in Dublin, Ireland

September 1, 2012: Notre Dame and Navy will meet at Aviva Stadium in Dublin (not the one in the U.S. in Ohio, but the one in Ireland). We received the following information via e-mail recently:

East Rutherford, N.J. – Navy and Notre Dame, who will meet for the 84th consecutive year on Saturday at the New Meadowland Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will officially announce at halftime on Saturday that the 2012 contest will take place September 1 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.

With the official announcement, fans and supporters of both teams will be clamoring for ways to get a jump start on attending this momentous matchup between the schools.  Anthony Travel, the official travel partner for both schools (and only authorized source for travel packages that include game tickets), advises those wanting to attend the game in Ireland to visit www.EmeraldIsleClassic.com to secure their arrangements for the game.

“Our school prides itself on offering the best of the best to its students, alumni and fans,” said Chet Gladchuk, Navy’s Athletic Director.  “Being able to offer our alumni and supporters the chance to travel with us to Ireland to witness the game of a lifetime in such a unique and beautiful setting is something we are thrilled to be able to do again – for only the second time in our school’s history.”

Fans considering making the cross-continent voyage to the Emerald Isle for the game should heed travel advice to plan ahead for this unique trip, as travel and tourism experts expect the influx of the American tourists to Ireland to hit record highs surrounding that game. In fact, in 1996, when the first overseas game between the two teams took place in Dublin, it drew more than 40,000 fans to the game, with an estimated 10,000 fans traveling over from the United States.

“The University of Notre Dame and its football program enjoy unparalleled loyalty from alumni and supporters,” said Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame’s Director of Athletics.  “Thousands of our fans joined us in 1996 for the first Nortre Dame / Navy matchup in Ireland, and we are confident that they will continue to support our team by coming along for another extraordinary experience in 2012.”

For the fans that may have experienced the game in 1996, as well as new oversees travelers wanting to experience this event for the first time, they will notice there are a variety of travel packages that were not available in 1996.  Anthony Travel offers the ability to truly build a one-of-a-kind trip, giving each traveler the opportunity to choose what they do every day they are on the ground in Ireland, instead of the traditional preset travel packages that require travelers to do what they have been instructed to according to a mass itinerary.

Fans can begin booking their travel arrangements on Oct. 23, 2010, which allows for access to the best packages available.

The variety of travel packages offered was designed to appeal to a wide range of fans wanting to support their favorite teams.  Each travel package includes game tickets plus numerous activities to enjoy while visiting the Emerald Isle. Travelers can select from a host of golf tours, city tours or excursion options, all ranging from four to eight days in length, giving them the chance to discover Ireland’s history, traditions and scenic beauty.

“As the official travel partner for both schools and the only authorized source for travel packages that include a game ticket for this game, Anthony Travel has already been hard at work preparing exclusive travel options for supporters wanting to take advantage of this historic game destination,” said John Anthony, President and CEO of Anthony Travel.  “We are hoping all alumni, fans, friends and the general public use this game as a great excuse to experience a foreign country as magnificent as Ireland.  We have put together exclusive packages that allow travelers a stress-free, unforgettable experience.”

The football game will be held in Dublin’s new Aviva Stadium, a four level state-of-the-art facility with all 50,000 seats under cover.  This new stadium is located in a scenic residential area just outside of Dublin city center, allowing travelers staying in nearby hotels the opportunity to walk to the game.  The intimate Aviva Stadium is also much smaller than the U.S. stadiums the schools typically play at – offering an experience unlike any other state-side.

Golf enthusiasts can test their skills on such famous and ancient courses as Waterville, Old Head, Ballybunion, Tralee and even the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.  City tours will allow visitors to explore the contemporary sights and quaint delights of Dublin, Kerry, Galway, and Killarney, as well as Belfast and other parts of Northern Ireland – two areas travelers may not have visited in 1996. For the adventurous, the excursions offer a broad sampling of castles, coastlines and culinary pleasures.

All customizable packages include accommodations at three-, four- or five-star hotels, ground transportation, exclusive private parties at the famous Guinness Storehouse, a full Irish breakfast each day, on-site travel assistance, and more.  In addition, special rates on airfare will be provided by Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national airline, to travelers booking through Anthony Travel.

For complete information on this historic game and tour packages, visit www.EmeraldIsleClassic.com

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago at 7:55 am.

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Unique Irish Accommodation – The Irish Landmark Trust

The Barbican gatehouse, Co. Antrim

If you’re in the planning stages of your trip to Ireland, consider looking at some of the more unique accommodation that Ireland has to offer. In general, the Emerald Isle offers a wide range of accommodation options, from bare-bones hostels to five-star castles and manor hotels. There’s something for every taste, but, if you want a more memorable holiday experience, be sure to look into some of Ireland’s more out-of-the-ordinary places to stay.

The Irish Landmark Trust (http://www.irishlandmark.com/) has, in our opinion, some of the most interesting self-catering options available. For example, if you’re the kind of person who would like to get away from it all with only the call of the sea birds and the sounds of the sea for neighbors, you can rent the lightkeeper’s house on Loop Head, a wild and secluded corner of Ireland that will take your breath away. But not so far out of your way that you can’t pop into a nearby village for dinner and pint!

Loop Head Lighthouse

Or perhaps you’d prefer something more ‘regal,’ like The Barbican in Antrim, a 19th century structure that resembles a medieval gatehouse. Of course, you can even rent a castle, if that is more to your taste. Some people just want to have the experience of staying in their own castle. If this describes you, check out  Clomantagh Castle in Freshford, near Kilkenny. This tower castle was built in the 14th century and sleeps up to 10.

If the big city is more of a draw for you, they’ve even got distinctive properties in Dublin City near Merrion Square  or the Temple Bar district on Eustace Street.

Of course, the Irish Landmark Trust isn’t the only place you’ll find unique property listings. Next time, we’ll look at some of the other options available to the traveler who wants something different.

Clomantagh Castle, Co. Kilkenny

(Photos courtesy of the Irish Landmark Trust website.)

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago at 8:16 am.

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New Classification System for Ireland’s B&Bs

Fáilte Ireland has developed their own classification system for Ireland B&Bs, using a rating of 1-5 stars, similar to what people are used to seeing for hotels and other accommodation. The following article appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday, October 2, 2010 (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/travel/2010/1002/1224280149896.html).

New Star Scheme for B&Bs

By PAUL CULLEN Consumer Affairs Correspondent

ACCOMMODATION: FÁILTE IRELAND has begun rolling out a new classification system for B&Bs which is designed to give visitors a better idea of the quality of the accommodation they are booking.

About 400 of the country’s 2,300 approved B&Bs have so far been classified as three, four or five-star accommodation under the new system.

Previously, there was no way of distinguishing the quality of accommodation provided by individual B&Bs, apart from the crude distinction provided by a scheme for approving certain establishments, who were then able to display a sign carrying the distinctive green shamrock logo.

The new classification is based on factors such as the standard of the property, the welcome provided for guests and the quality of the food, according to Helena Healy, managing director of Bed and Breakfast Ireland. “The idea is that people will have a better idea of what to expect before they book,” she says.

So far, 100 of Healy’s 1,100 members have been classified. Three were awarded five stars, 53 gained four stars and the balance received three stars. Prerequisite for getting five stars include a high standard of accommodation, though not necessarily modern, quality decor, the use of locally produced ingredients and that clincher – real orange juice.

Healy believes five and four-star B&Bs will eventually seek to differentiate themselves by charging higher prices, though she admits this won’t be possible in the current economic climate. The average price currently stands at about €30-€35 per person sharing for a night’s stay.

The B&B sector has suffered badly in recent years from intense competition from budget hotels and changing consumer preferences. The new classification scheme was borne out of concerns over the falling number of approved homes and the continuing loss of market share to the hotel sector.

Healy says budget hotels are still “crucifying” her members but adds that the second half of the summer season went very well this year. The main beneficiaries were B&Bs in the traditional tourist hot spots, but areas such as the midlands and the northwest continued to suffer. While domestic tourists have largely switched to hotels, the overseas visitor still prefers B&B stays as a way of experiencing Ireland, she says.

A further scheme categorising B&Bs according to their specialisation is due to be launched shortly.

This will operate under the areas of outdoor activities, farm stays, food specialists and eco- and pet-friendliness.

This new categorisation scheme developed by Fáilte Ireland is due to be launched in the coming months.

The scheme will initially operate under the four core areas of outdoor activities (including golf, walking, cycling, horse riding, angling, surfing, adventure and wildlife); farm stay; food specialist; and eco-friendly. Pet-friendly, currently under development, will also be launched later this year.

We have heard concern on the part of some B&B proprietors that the Fáilte Ireland star scheme matrix does not compare with the system already in place from AA Ireland and that it’s more difficult to get a 3- or 4-star rating from FI than it is from AA. Also, in order to take part in the new specialization classification scheme, a property must pay their application fee and receive at least a 3-star rating before they would be allowed to display the designation sign for their specialization.

If you’d like to review the standards matrix that Fáilte Ireland has developed to rate B&Bs, or if you’d like to get more information about the new specialization designations, visit the Fáilte Ireland website at  http://failteireland.ie/bedandbreakfasts#Classification_scheme.

Our main concern is that there may not be a need for this new classification system, and in the end, it may prove more confusing for the traveler when choosing accommodation to have more than one rating system in place. But the program is so new at this point, we will just wait and revisit the issue after the program has been in place for a while.

Our hope is that the new classification system will provide travelers will more good information to help them make more informed choices about which accommodation is right for them.

Posted 7 years, 4 months ago at 7:55 am.

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Cork Folk Festival 30th Anniversary

If you thought the festival season was over, you should think again! The Cork Folk Festival (sponsored by Beamish) will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2010 with a full slate of entertainment. The main attraction to the festival is music; however, there are other activities as well, including a parade up Oliver Plunkett Street on Sunday, sean nos and set dancing workshops, music classes, an open-air food market, and a free music trail at over 18 pubs around Cork City. There are even activities for the kids.

For more information or to purchase tickets, drop by their website at http://www.corkfolkfestival.com/. While you’re at the website, be sure to take a look at the beautiful print that the festival commissioned local artist and musician, Colm Murphy, to produce to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the festival. Only 200 numbered and signed prints will be made available, and the website tells you how you can get one for your very own!

 

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 3:04 pm.

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Ranelagh Arts Festival


From the Ranelagh Arts Festival website (http://www.ranelagharts.org/) “Who We Are” section:

 ”A group of Ranelagh residents came together in 2005 to deliver an innovative and inclusive Arts Festival for the local community from 29th September to 2nd October 2005. Our objective was to establish an annual arts festival for the people of the village and beyond. The aspiration of the committee was to create a diverse programme with something for everyone. The programme featured local artists and musicians, performances by children from the area, poetry, plays and film, as well as internationally recognised artists. “

The website further describes the festival as: 

  • An Arts Festival for the community, organised by local residents;
  • Our contribution to building a sense of community and celebrating Ranelagh, past and present;
  • An opportunity to promote the importance of the arts in people’s lives;
  • A festival for all age-groups, to be enjoyed by everyone living and working in Ranelagh and surrounding areas.

Included in the offerings are events related to literary arts, theatre arts, music arts, visual arts, cinematic arts, and other genres.  The 2010 Ranelagh Arts Festival runs from September 29 through October 3, and a full online program is available at http://www.ranelagharts.org/RAF_Prog_2010_Web.pdf. With a wide variety of venues and genres, there’s surely something for everyone at this festival!

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 3:49 pm.

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The Great Cliffs Balloon Race Takes Flight

Photo by Eamon Ward

Over 700 helium-filled orange balloons filled the sky at the Cliffs of Moher as schoolchildren from across north Clare took part in a spectacular visual display at the Cliffs on Tuesday, 7th September as part of the tourist attraction’s campaign to be selected as one of the ‘New7Wonders of Nature’. The students formed a giant ‘7’ on the cliff side and simultaneously released biodegradable balloons, marking the start of the ‘Great Cliffs Balloon Race’.  Each balloon is printed with the ‘Vote for the Cliffs’ logo and a contact message to encourage people who find the balloons to contact the Cliffs. A prize will be awarded to the person who finds the balloon that has travelled the furthest distance.

 The iconic County Clare landmark was shortlisted in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition in July 2009, along with 27 other sites, from over 440 participants representing 220 countries. In excess of one hundred million votes were cast in a global poll to determine the shortlisted sites. Among the other shortlisted sites are the Amazon Rainforest (South America), Table Mountain (SA), Black Forest (G), Vesuvius (IT), Galapagos Islands (EC), The Great Barrier Reef (AU) and The Grand Canyon (USA). 

 According to Katherine Webster, Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience: “We are very grateful to the schoolchildren and their families for making today’s spectacular visual display possible and for the great assistance we have had from over 20 primary schools in North Clare.  The Great Cliffs Balloon Race will help spread the message about our bid to be named one the New7Wonders of Nature which, if successful, would be a major coup for Ireland to have one of the new seven wonders of nature.”

“We are the only Irish entry remaining in the competition and the potential benefits for Ireland are enormous particularly for Irish tourism bringing in thousands of additional visitors to the country each year”, Ms. Webster added.

The official New7Wonders of Nature list, which is subject to a worldwide poll, will be declared on 11 November 2011 (11-11-11).Competition organisers, Swiss non-profit New 7 Wonders Foundation, expect to collect a total of one billion votes in the campaign overall. Votes can be cast at www.new7wonders.com/n7w, so get in your vote now!

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 1:35 pm.

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Packing Tips for Your Trip to Ireland (Part III)

Your most important document.

In this final installment of packing tips, we’ll take a look at some of the more dreary and tedious aspects of preparing for travel and gathering in some of the loose ends and tidbits of information that we missed in the first two parts of the series.

The first item of business may seem completely obvious, but it’s something you need to remember to do: Make copies of the confirmations for any of the reservations you have made related to this trip (flight information, accommodation confirmations, rental car, etc.). Be certain that you have contact phone numbers for all of these places, including the airline(s) you’ll be flying. If you miss a flight or a flight is cancelled, it is sometimes easier and faster to call the airline to re-book than it is to stand in line with everyone else who are trying to do the same thing. If you have purchased travel insurance and/or international medical coverage, be sure to take that information with you as well. We generally take an envelope or a folder that contains all of these copies and information.  Some people have said that they take photographs of the documents with their cell phones, and that’s fine, but we think you should have hard copies of the documents as well.

In addition to taking copies of documents with you, you should make a couple of extra color copies of your passport. Leave one at home with someone you would be able to get in touch with easily should you lose your passport. If you are traveling with other people, exchange copies with them.

We’ve seen packing lists where the author suggests you take your address book; however, this is can prove a bit cumbersome. If you’re taking a cell phone with you on your trip, you can generally add the address information to your “Contacts” list, but we’re going to suggest something a little different. If you’re planning to send postcards or packages from Ireland, make address labels with your printer at home and take those with you. We use the labels to save time when writing postcards or sending items home ahead of us. It saves precious vacation time when you’re on the road.

If you take prescription medications, leave the medications in their original pharmacy packaging/bottles with the labels on them. Be aware that some medications that are legal by prescription in the United States are illegal to possess at any time in other countries. Be sure to check consular information sheets for the countries you’re planning to visit before you attempt to get on the plane. Don’t plan to have a prescription from your personal physician filled by a pharmacy in Ireland. You would have to get one from an Irish physician, so be sure to bring enough medication for your entire stay.

Speaking of medications, if you have any issues with motion sickness, you should bring something to help with that. There are over-the-counter products available in Ireland, but we generally suggest that people bring ginger pills (which are much less expensive and don’t make you tired), which you should take about 30 minutes ahead of any activity which might potentially cause you problems (flights, boat trips, etc.).  In the United States, you can generally purchase ginger pills at stores that sell dietary supplements. Travis has had some fairly severe problems with motion sickness in the past, but he does really well with the ginger, even on a boat in open seas when the weather is a bit dicey.

Make photocopies of any credit cards that you are taking with you as well. You can leave those and your passport copy with your trusted person at home. If you should lose a card or have your cards stolen, you will have all the contact information and card numbers in one place, so you can quickly notify all of the appropriate people. You can keep those numbers stored in your cell phone, but if your phone is stolen along with your cards – say your day pack is stolen, you won’t be able to easily get the information from overseas.

If you are planning to take your cell phone with you to Ireland, you will want to do a few things in preparation. First, check to make sure your cell phone is unlocked for use in Ireland.  We realize that most people are already savvy to this, but we just want to remind you! Second, if you have a smartphone, you will want to check with your provider about getting an international data plan. Unless you leave the phone in “Airplane” mode (in which case you can’t make or receive phone calls) or keep it turned off, your phone will be continuously hitting the satellite or nearest wireless and an exchange of data will be made. You could find yourself with a hefty phone bill  (to the tune of several hundreds of dollars) after you get home! If you need a phone while you’re in Ireland, but you don’t need to be available at your normal phone number for people at home to contact you, you can purchase a relatively cheap pay-as-you-go phone once you get to Ireland. Some people prefer this method to taking their own phone, but some people don’t want to have a different phone number while they’re traveling.

A note about travelers’ checks: You can take them with you to Ireland, but you will need to cash them at a bank, and you will be charged a fee for that service. Many places in Ireland no longer accept travelers’ checks. And, as there are ATMs all over the country, there really isn’t any need to have the checks, in our opinion. You can get cash as needed via a debit card, and many of your costs related to lodging, eating, and entertainment may be paid for with credit or debit cards (generally accepted are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). When asked if you want your charge done in euros or dollars, do not let them charge in dollars, as you will get a very poor exchange rate on top of the fee that you’re assessed for the privilege!

The last item we will mention in our packing tips is guide books. This is a very personal decision, we feel, so we won’t tell you which one you should take. Go to a bookstore or look at an online bookstore and select the travel guide that you feel will provide you with the information that is most applicable to your personal tastes and that provides good information about the places you want to travel. Even at that, you don’t necessarily have to drag the whole book with you to Ireland. If you want to you, you can buy the books you like and then photocopy or tear out the pages that pertain to your itinerary.

Good planning ahead of time will make for a more enjoyable and relaxing trip. Until next time, we leave you with this well-known Irish blessing. Slán abhaile!

May the road rise to meet you...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 4:19 pm.

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Packing Tips for Your Trip to Ireland (Part II)

Don't skimp: Get a good-quality electrical adaptor with surge protection.

In our previous article, we discussed what kind of and how much luggage you should bring, what types of clothing and footwear you might want to pack, and how to be a bit prepared for the weather in Ireland. In this article, we continue our discussion of what to pack for Ireland with a look at some things you might not think about when making your packing list (and you should use a packing list).

Most people know that they’ll need an adapter for the electrical outlets. Don’t buy the cheapest one you can find. You will be sorry when your blowdryer, curling iron, rechargeable batteries, or (worst case scenario) laptop are fried! Spend the extra $10-15 and get a good-quality adapter with hi/lo settings and surge protection.

You will probably want to bring extra memory cards for your digital camera as well. Unless you have a laptop or other storage device available to which you can upload your photos, it’s a good idea to have extra storage available. To hold your memory cards in one place, you might consider purchasing a case that can hold several cards. For around $10, we purchased (from one of the office store chains) a hard-sided case that can hold up to a dozen SD memory cards.

Whether you are driving in Ireland or using public transport, you should purchase a good map. Our favorites are the Michelin Ireland map – not the one with Ireland and Britain; the one with just Ireland – or the Ordinance Survey Ireland (OSI) maps. We have found that these maps, along with a GPS with a current map (for those of you who will be driving), have saved us from being hopelessly lost many times. On the other hand, they also have helped us be more brave about driving off on those smaller, unmarked roads that look like they may lead to a wonderful adventure, because we are assured that we will be able to get back to where we need to be…eventually! If you’re exploring Ireland on a tour or only plan to stick to major roadways, almost any map of Ireland will suffice.

Small LED flashlight.

Pack a small torch (flashlight) for you trip. You might not see why you would need one, but we can tell you from experience that there are many times this will come in handy. If you get a flat tire late in the day or at night, if you end up out walking/hiking/exploring later than you had planned to, if you lose an earring under the bed, if you come across a rarely-explored cave or castle, you will be very happy to have a flashlight. It may sound ridiculous to say, but Ireland becomes black as pitch after the sun sets, if you’re not in area that has streetlights (which is most of Ireland). You can get a very small LED version for just a few bucks. If you don’t want to bother with carrying batteries, you can purchase a wind-up model for a few dollars more.

If you wear contact lenses, be sure to take extra lenses with you and/or back-up glasses. If you have worn corrective lenses for any length of time, you probably already realize you should do this, but sometimes the most obvious items get left behind!

First-time visitors to Ireland should be aware that many lodging accommodations do not provide a facecloth/washcloth. If you can’t live without one, be sure to pack one in your carry-on. We have noticed that department stores and stores that sell towels generally have them available for sale (in case you forget one), and some hotels and spas that cater more to foreign visitors may have them, but you might just have to ask for one.

Something else you’ll want to think about while you’re traveling: How will you keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones? Unless you’re planning to wash clothes every day (and are sure that they’ll be dry by morning, if you’re moving from one accommodation to the next each day), you’ll want to keep them separate. What we’ve learned to do is to pack a few gallon-sized zipper-top plastic bags to take along until we find a place to wash the clothes. If you’re staying in self-catering that has washing facilities in the unit, you don’t have to worry about this so much, but you might want to take some long in case you get wet socks or clothing and don’t want them to get anything else wet! (Take an extra pair of socks and change of clothing along in the car or your daypack if you’re going out walking or hiking…just in case it rains unexpectedly.)

Carry a journal or sketchbook...

We also suggest that any traveler to any destination carry a journal/sketchbook and a glue stick, so you can document your impressions and memories of your travel as they occur. If you aren’t journaling several times a day as you go, take a few minutes out of each morning or evening to write in your journal. While we are artists, we don’t generally consider ourselves to be artists who draw or paint especially well, but we have taken to stopping at places we visit to try to sketch what we see: people, animals, plants, buildings, whatever… Doing so provides us a different perspective on places that we may have visited many times. Give it a try!

In our third, and final, part of this series about packing for your trip to Ireland, we’ll take a look at some other things you’ll want to think about with regard to paperwork and traveling with medications. Until we meet again, slán abhaile!

Posted 7 years, 5 months ago at 11:38 am.

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