Ireland Journals

Final Wrap-Up on Our Ireland Holiday

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An April 2012 trip to Ireland by MilwVon

OPW Site Reginalds Tower Photo, Waterford, Ireland More Photos
Quote: This journal will contain information about planning a trip to Ireland, largely with an American perspective. Hopefully it will also contain some useful tidbits for travelers from other parts of the world too!

Travel Insurance - Yes or No?

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Flight Delays Are Inconvenient Photo, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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We recently traveled to Ireland from the USA, with my MIL flying from Indianapolis to O'Hare connecting with us (hubby & me) from Milwaukee. I bought two travel insurance policies through InsureMyTrip.com primarily to cover us in the event of medical emergency/evacution. Fortunately both came with very basic trip delay coverage which paid on additional expenses we incurred, both going to and returning from Dublin.My MIL missed her connection due to mechanical issues in Indy, so she was delayed to Dublin by one day. She incurred hotel & meal expense, plus the added expense of gas + tolls for the additional trip from County Wexford back to the Dublin Airport. The policy we had for h...Read More

Planning & Flexibility Are Essential

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David & Ellie Photo, Dublin, Ireland
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Everyone is different when it comes to how fluid they like having their vacation planned. For me, I'm a planner . . . it's what I do in life so it is all I know when getting ready for a vacation. Others are "take it as it comes" in how they approach vacationing. Often people will ask for advice on various travel forums "Should I book my hotel in advance?" or "Do I need to make reservations for this tour before I get there?" My general advice is that yes you should schedule and book in advance if it really matters to you as to whether or not you get to stay at that particular hotel or take that tour on a certain day. If it doesn't really matter, take it as it comes.With the intricacies...Read More

Rental Cars in Ireland

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David Driving in Ireland Photo, County Tipperary, Ireland
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As much as everyone seems to enjoy an Irish holiday, what with the friendly people, delicious food and beautiful scenery . . . what's not to like. OK, I'll give you something . . . CAR RENTALS!Of all of the arrangements I had to make for our trip, the rental car was the biggest worry. Reading on other travel blogs, you cannot miss the ranting and bashing that the rental companies get especially from Americans. The top complaints include (1) too expensive, (2) hidden costs, (3) damage assessments for previous damage, and (4) pre-buy gas policies . . . and not necessarily in that order.While I do believe there may be some unscrupulous rental car companies and employees, I do n...Read More

What About Money?

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Ellie Spending US Dollars Photo, Ireland, Europe
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Talk to anyone planning a trip to a foreign country, you will certainly hear them speak about the hassles surrounding "the money". Travelers checks are not as popular today as they were 20 years ago. I remember my first international trip in the mid 90's, everyone told me to take all of my cash as travelers checks. Originally viewed as a safer way to carry cash, with today's access to banking around the world via the ATM networks that operate world-wide, you don't need to take a lot of cash with you.My advice is that folks sure carry enough of their home currency to handle emergencies. For the two of us, I plan on $100 per week and that is in US dollars. Once you have traveled to your...Read More

Lodging Options in Ireland

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Another Cottage at Ballagh Court Photo, County Wexford, Ireland
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Traveling to a foreign country can be rather intimidating especially if it is your first time or if you don't do it very often. Some of these comments may seem to be rather obvious and yet, you would be surprised at how many times questions come up on various travel forums indicating some people are just new to the whole experience.During our trip, we had enough time and wanted to cover much of the country, so we had the opportunity to sample most of the lodging options available in Ireland: hotels, self-catering cottages and a bed & breakfast home. All were fantastic in their own unique way. The only other option we did consider was a hostel.Understanding what you and ...Read More

Communications in the 21st Century

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David Checking Email Photo, Ireland, Europe
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Here in the United States, David and I are what I would consider "low-end" cell phone users. We use our phones as phones . . . not web browsers or cameras . . . not datebook reminders . . . and not a GPS device.In planning for our 15 days in Ireland, we felt we needed to have the extra security of a cell phone in case of emergencies as well as to make contact with various service providers with whom we had made advance arrangements with.Our home cell service is with Sprint. Frankly, they don't do Milwaukee very well so I couldn't envision them being an option overseas. I did however look into a variety of options including purchasing a used phone and then buying a SIM card o...Read More

OPW's Heritage Card

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OPW Site Grennan Castle  Photo, County Kilkenny, Ireland
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The Republic of Ireland's Office of Public Works (OPW) has been around since 1831 and today is responsible for the preservation and conversation of over 700 historical monuments and landmarks throughout Ireland. Most of these are free and often only noted by signboards along some rural road through the countryside. Grennan Castle sitting out in a County Kilkenny is one such example. It was one of our first stops that we just happened upon during a day trip. Through the work of OPW, these landmarks' stories can be told to those passing by who otherwise would have no way to know about the historical ruin they are viewing.Around 100 of these historical sites have received signi...Read More