Author: W O’Leary
Date of Trip: August 2009
Planning a trip to Ireland started early for this family of 5 adults who have never traveled together. Used British Airlines (Gatwick) Ryanair to Dublin & Edinburgh. After reading all the bashing blogs about Ryanair I was very concerned, but they were wonderful and didn’t charge us for overweight or extra bags.
Even though I have a travel agent background I had difficulty getting from Dublin over to the west coast with ease. So decided to bite the proverbial “$” bullet and book a van & driver with Journey Through Ireland. It took the stress out of driving on the other side of the road, considering the ages were 70, 65,49,46,28,& 26. Who would take on that responsibility? The tour company booked all hotel, sightseeing entrance fees, supplied us with a mobile phone, an Ireland tabletop book, plus the van and a driver who also had vast historical knowledge of all places we visited, and was not stumped once.
We varied the tour somewhat because we were the only ones in the van for the week: Dublin to Galway and its environs, Cliffs of Moher to Limerick, to Killarney & Dingle peninsula, to Cork & Kinsale, and back up to Dublin. Hundreds of photos of castles, ruins,green countryside, etc. etc. All accommodations were excellent: Mespil Hotel-Dublin, Forster Court Hotel-Galway, Killarney Lodge-Killarney & Radisson Hotel-Dublin APO.
Then it was on to Edinburgh for 4 nights. I booked a second floor apartment called Castle Mews Apartments through a site called Edlets. This 2 bedroom Grassmarket apartment was spacious,clean and across the street was the castle. There was no comments to be found on any websites about this apartment, but everyone was happy with the arrangements and location.
If you can plan your trip during the Tattoo, it is worth it. We had no tickets, but stood in line in the morning to buy tickets that had been returned. And during this time period there are many street vendors, street performers, and loads of plays & musicals throughout the city.
The last 4 nights were unplanned, so some family members had never been to London, so we took the train. I used VRBO.com to book a 2 bedroom apartment (Listing #245944) on the Thames-Isle of Dogs. Great choice as we had the view of the river, used the riverboats for transportation, had excellent upscale accommodations and NO CITY NOISE! London as everyone knows has lots to offer.