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Post Info TOPIC: Just back from our first trip to Ireland: The basics


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Just back from our first trip to Ireland: The basics

Many thanks to all who helped us plan our first trip to Ireland.  This was our first trip to Ireland.  We traveled with my husband's sister and her husband. This website, Michele's book,Fodors and Trip Advisor were wonderful resources as we decided on an itinerary and made our reservations.

The highlight of our trip was the weather.  I don't know who enjoyed it more--us or the Irish--they were very joyful.  We felt extremely lucky.

We had one free flight on AA and purchased one flight for $700 including taxes.  Flew Cleveland/Chicago/Shannon arriving in Shannon at 8 am

Trip insurance
We do buy trip cancellation/interruption insurance.  It also covers medical, lost bags, several other benefits.  We purchased it through Travel Guard 1-800-826-4919  I read all the fine print and chose the plan that works for our needs.  If worried about what to purchase, an agent will help you when you call the 800 number.

Car rental
We rented an automatic Ford Fiesta from Dan Dooley.  I paid extra to be a driver(actually woke up at midnight after our first day of driving, fearing I had made a huge mistake.  I assure you, it is easier to drive in Ireland than to be sitting in the front passenger seat).

I liked renting from Dooley because all fees--airport location fee, road fund fee, extra driver fee are included.  Gas is not included--65 euros(can you imagine that this is $91?)which is refunded if you return the car full.  We filled the car once when we were half full--it cost 38 euros.  We returned the car near empty--that was all the gas we used for our visit.

We had no problems with Dooley.  I would rent from them again.  Total cost for 9 days 307.16euros (431.21)--seems like a lot of money but I never beat that price.  Your credit card will be charged as soon as you make your reservation.  It is refundable if you cancel.

We just used the map from Dooley and it was fine.  I had printed out directions on  These were great when planning our drives.  I converted the distance to miles and planned on 30 miles/hour.  As far as using them on our drives, they are very detailed.   I would note the route numbers and the towns or cities we were driving through.  We did travel a popular route and were able to easily follow signs from city to city.
I also printed out an itinerary that listed our lodging, the owners, telephone numbers, the directions to the lodging and the cost of each place and if we needed to  pay in cash.  I slipped this in plastic and had it in the front of my notebook--this was helpful.

We used our bank card and credit card.  We were charged 3% on our withdrawals--bummer. 

Cell phone
I bought an unlocked GSM quadband phone for $20 on e bay and bought an Irish SIM card at the Vodaphone store in Ennis for 9.99euros when I arrived.  Worked great.  All incoming calls from the states were free.  The bank was right across the street in Ennis so I got our cash there on our first day.

Internet cafes were everywhere and some B&Bs allowed us to use the internet.  My husband used this to contact the office.

Nest post:  Our itinerary



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I share your thoughts on Dooley for car rentals. You read all kinds of frustrations on this site when describing what people go through with rentals there, yet when I have used Dooley it has been easy, all inclusive, and affordable in comparison with other agencies. Not saying others aren't as good, but I can sure say that they are the best I've used in Ireland.

-- Edited by Sidz at 12:11, 2007-09-17



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I'm so happy to see your mini report here at Michele's. I hope you post all of your wonderful, detailed report. I loved it.

Folks, you are in for a treat.

Regards, Joan

joan chatham


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Thanks for the comprehensive overview of your trip and tips to help others start theirs. I am delighted that you had a successful trip and that the weather was good. It was such a wet summer that I'm sure the Irish despaired of it ever clearing up again. They must have been happy to see the sunshine! I am looking forward to hearing more.



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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You must have caught the one good bit of weather.....It has been very regional too; often Donegal has been wet when Wexford and Cork have been dry. Otherwise, rain, rain and more rain. Now there is frost forecast already.

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