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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Travel Tips Ireland

Yes. Ireland was awesome and worth the time and expense. We booked our trip through Travelocity. I spent two months checking sites and chatting with the online helpers about the trip. Their help was free so why not use it. I prioritized low cost, five star accommodations, and a central location in Dublin. My online advisor suggested the first two weeks in October as being the cheapest as it is the least booked.
Comparing hotels seemed to be the most daunting. Location being the most important, but I had other needs—free wifi, gym for Cindy, historical vs. new, proximity to pubs and sightseeing. In all my sorts and pages, The Shelbourne Dublin Hotel, built in 1824, met the all my needs. We received an upgrade to the booked double room thanks to the early arrival of Cousin Carol. We stayed in the lovely Peter O’Toole Suite.  Listed price of our room was 700 euros—about $1,000 per night. With round trip air fare, rental car for a week, trip insurance and our suite, we paid $1,450 per person. I could not have booked a like trip to San Francisco for that.

Mistakes were made however. The rental car was not necessary. We stayed almost exclusively in Dublin. The city is teaming with tourist, walking, horse carriage, bicycle, and bus tours. We did use the car to travel to Rock of Cashel and to Cork on a one day trip. The rental car could have been procured from the hotel for that day only or we could have transported by bus or train.
Thanks to Uncle John, I had researched the history and ancestral information prior to arriving. A few blocks away from the Shelbourne, Irish historic society, and natural history, and art museums line the streets. And we had a beer in the very place it was first made. Enchanting.
I packed mostly the wrong clothes. Although all of us complained about carrying coats, we did eventually put them on in Cork. A bit of wind in that town. Scarves, hats, and sweaters were needed. Fancy dress was not. So many shops offered bargains on clothes and jewelry, I wondered why I packed anything at all.  Oh London Airport security was down-right squirrelly about liquid containers. I left most of my travel bottles behind in Dublin so not to worry about customs.
Food ate up most of the cash.  Breakfast ran about 5 euros. Lunch 12-15 euros. And Dinner 15-25 euros. The most expensive splurge was on high tea at the Shelbourne Inn. The champagne and tea meal ran $45 euros—$62 each.

Now that you are expecting to go on the same adventure at the discounted Travelocity price, I need to confess the discount comes with some pain. The trip over was a breeze even with connecting with three flights Sacramento to Dallas to London to Dublin.  Coming back, we had a twelve hour layover in London and a nine hour layover in Dallas.  Oh yes there are direct flights from San Francisco to Dublin but that costly ticket does not come with a five star hotel. It’s a matter of priorities and desire. Have fun in Ireland.