Mom and the Girls' Trip to Ireland - 2016

Beyond the Pale


 

Trip Details

Our trip was booked through Celtic Tours, using the option for the self-drive tour, which includes the airfare, car rental and vouchers to use at participating B&B's. I made the booking using their online resources (did not use a travel agent.) I was able to telephone and speak with (real, live!) persons whenever I had questions or needed to clarify the arrangements. Our rental car arrangements made via Celtic Tours were with Hertz, and our airline travel was via American Airlines.

When departing Ireland either via Shannon or Dublin airport, travelers heading to the U.S. would be wise to arrive at the airport well in advance. These airports have a special arrangement with the U.S. to conduct border control and customs screenings prior to departure from Ireland. I would estimate that this portion of the process required an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Upon arrival in the U.S. then, no additional immigration or customs checks were done.

We identified our B&B's in advance (Clareview House B&B and Bothar Alainn House B&B,) and we made reservations in January for our arrival in May. For Dublin, we made advance reservations at the Trinity City Hotel, primarily because of their proximity to Trinity College. The staff there was professional, friendly and very helpful with accommodating our schedule and needs.

The wheelchair rental was arranged through the Ireland Wheelchair Association (via their division called Wheelchair Solutions.) We took with us the U.S.-issued handicapped access permit issued to Mom. I confirmed with the Irish Tourist Board that our U.S. permit was also valid in Ireland.

Celtic Tours, the B&B's and the Wheelchair Association were very helpful in responding to email inquiries and, when necessary, were reachable by phone (I used Skype to make the international calls, which cost less than 50 cents per call.)

For navigating, we used a Tom-Tom unit I had already purchased in the U.S. I downloaded and installed the current maps for UK and Ireland and made sure it was up-to-date prior to our departure. I also entered most of the desired destination points in advance so that we could simply select them and follow the directions. We were also equipped with a recent hard-copy of road maps for Ireland, which was mostly enjoyed by the backseat passengers but also served as good confirmation for us whenever there was any doubt about the GPS directions. The GPS worked well, by the way, giving me plenty of advance information about roundabouts we were approaching and which exit to take off of each one.

The planned itinerary went like this:

Sunday 5/15 - Day 1 – depart from Urbana and catch flight in Indianapolis

Monday 5/16 - Day 2 –arrive at Shannon, pick up rental car and drive to Kinvara. Stay at the Clareview House B&B

Tuesday 5/17 - Day 3 – sightseeing in the Kiltartan parish (pre-arranged trips with Sister DeLourdes)

Wednesday 5/18 - Day 4 – Sightseeing in Galway area (self-drive tour to the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin)

Thursday 5/19 (Mom’s birthday) - Day 5 – Depart Gort and stop for photographs at Ballyee. Drive east and arrive at Navan around 5 pm. Check in at Bothar Alainn House B&B

Friday 5/20 - Day 6 – Kells, Longford, Trim

Saturday 5/21 - Day 7 – Bru na Boinne (Newgrange); Hill of Slane

Sunday 5/22 - Day 8 – Attend Mass at Slane; Hill of Slane, Monasterboice, Hill of Tara. Deliver passengers to the Trinity City Hotel in Dublin, then return the rental car at the airport and take a city bus back to Dublin.

Monday 5/23 - Day 9 – Visit Trinity College Library (Book of Kells), Dublin tour, shopping.

Tuesday 5/24 - Day 10 – depart from the hotel around 6:30 am for check-in for the flight from Dublin to Indianapolis.


 
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This page was last edited on 16-Jun-2016

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