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Post Info TOPIC: What are the Must Sees and Does?


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What are the Must Sees and Does?


Okay, I'll be going to Ireland from July 3rd to the 21st and have already got the plane ticket and booked the accommodations:

#1.) July 3-4: Shannon B&B, Co. Clare
#2.) July 4-11 Adare Farmhouse, Co. Limerick
#3.) July 11-18 Farmhouse between Boyle and Ballymote, Co. Sligo
#4,) July 18-21 Cottage near Corofin, Co. Clare

Not planning on doing Northern Ireland this trip. Focusing on Co. Kerry, Co. Limerick, maybe Co. Cork, Co. Clare, Co. Sligo and area.

We have a rental car for the whole trip and we fly into and out of Shannon.

We want to see some wildlife, forests, hills, cliffs, historical areas, etc. Not huge into overly touristy areas. Also would like to take in some music (but we're not big drinkers, one of us doesn't drink at all). Horseback riding, maybe a boat trip, etc.

I've got some ideas but would love some others to consider. 

Oh, we're staying near Limerick for the first week because some of us are presenting at the St. Mary Emmaculate College so we kind of have to be around there from the Monday to Thursday for some of them (most of us will only be occupied for 2 days with it though and the rest of the week is free!)

Keep in mind that I am a professional photographer and my friends are professional musicians. I would love to photograph some wildlife (ie. puffins, seals, etc.) as well as architecture and landscapes. 

Ideas? Suggestions? 


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One Photographer to another, Ireland will give you a plethora of images that you will want to capture through your lens. There are ruins and breathstealing vistas around every bend and curve. I routinely bring back 3500 - 4000 digital images. Those don't include the ones I have already discarded. That is an average of a thousand captures per week. 
 
For Puffins and other seabirds whilst in Co. Clare, you can do the Cliffs of Moher Cruise out of Doolin. There are many different species of seabirds which nest on the cliffs. Among them, you will find Puffins, Kittiwakes, Fulmar, nesting Peregrines and Kestrels. Down in Co. Kerry, A boat trip out to the Skelligs would suffice for Puffins and such. Loophead, also in Co. Clare would give you a rugged landscape, a lonely lighthouse, birds, wildflowers, seagrasses and pounding surf. Out of Carrigaholt, on Loophead, you can catch a dolphin watching tour. Up through the Burren will give you an entirely different landscape all together. You might consider a day trip to Inis Oirr or Inis Mor. Inis Oirr will give you the solitude you won't find on Inis Mor. Along with that quiet, you will find a several sub species of bumblebees found only on the Arans, well over thirty bird species and a profusion of wild flowers. Whilst in Co. Sligo, try to find a way to visit the Gleann an Chairthe Falls and the surrounding Forest park. Gleann an Chairthe was the inspiration for Yeat's poem "The Stolen Child".
You are traveling over at the height of the tourist season so expect crowding just about everywhere you go.Loophead will be an exception and perhaps the wilds of Connemara, as well.
 
As to music, you will find the pubs are filled with it during the summer season. The caveat is to get there early enough to stake out a table. Most of the Trad music won't start until well past 9 o'clock in the evening. Ask at the local village grocer, as they will know when and where the music is happening. Are the musicians carrying their instruments with them? I found that having ours with us in the boot of the van was enough to start a conversation and, in some cases, shortly after, an impromptu seissun.

I see you are doing self-catering which is an excellent money saver. I would ask your hosts at each place when and where the farmer's market is occurring, as that will allow you to save some money and experience the local culture.

I hope this will be of some help.

Slan Beo (Take Care),

Bit

-- Edited by CowboyCraic at 12:43, 2009-02-19

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Photostyle,

How nice that you will get to experience Ireland at a slower pace than most people. I love doing self-catering in Ireland, settling into a place and just exploring the local area.

As Bit has said, there is a wealth of things to do and see. Each area has its own tourist office full of free info. The brochures, maps and friendly people there will be of great help directing you to photo ops and other sightseeing.

Last year I stayed in a self-catering cottage right in the village of Adare. There is plenty to do and see from there:

Limerick
King John's Castle
St. Mary's Cathedral
Hunt Museum
Bunratty Castle & Folk Park
Lough Gur
Kilmallock
Foynes Flying Boat Museum
Carrigfoyle Castle
Cliff Walk & Beaches at Ballybunion
Day trip to Cashel & Cahir
Day trip to Killarney

From Corofin all of Co. Clare is open to you. Just a few things are:

Loop Head
Cliffs of Moher
Burren.

From Boyle:

Sligo
Co. Mayo
Strokestown House, Gardens & Famine Museum

There are so many places to see. I have lots more in my book. And the tourist offices will direct you to others.

Hope you have a fantastic trip. Let us know how it goes. And we would love to see some of your photos if you post a few online.

Michele


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Thank you for the wonderful, detailed information!!

The one musician carries her "instrument" with her every where she goes (she's a professional vocalistic) but she's shy so I doubt she'll be advertising too much. All of the musicians are classically trained so their instruments aren't easy to bring along.

Self-catering was to save money and to experience living in an irish home. Plus it's relaxful and cozy, important for a longer trip. I have already asked about grocery stores and farmer's markets.

I have a question for you though. I am travelling via Air Transat and they have very limited weight allowed for both carryon (11lbs) and checked baggage (44lbs). I don't think I'll be able to bring all of my 'normal' gear with me and was wondering what advice you would have concerning which equipment is a must and which I may be able to live without. I shoot Canon and have the following lenses: 10-20mm, 24-105mm, 100mm macro, 70-200mm, 1.4x TC and 400mm (definitely can't bring the 400mm) - plus extension tubes. Others have suggested I leave my macro but I use it alot for flowers, insects, abstracts, etc. I definitely can't bring them all , unforunately. Any words of advice? I'm not use to even considering this.



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Photostytes,

I am assuming you will carry your camera and equipment onboard the plane? Are you traveling alone or with others? If with others, can they perhaps tuck some things into their carry on? Does the airline allow one personal item and one carry on? Most do. In that case you can have two bags such as one purse and one carry on. Or one computer bag and one carry on.

Does any of that apply?

Michele

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I would definitely take the macro lens. You will find a bounty of blossoms and fine details that you will want to capture. I would also take the 10-20mm, which will come in handy for capturing the expanses of scenery. Between the 24-105mm and the 70-200mm, I would be hard pressed to choose. The 70-200mm is best in low-light situations. The 24-105mm is lighter weight.  I might suggest placing all four lenses and your camera in your carry-on and weighing it to see what the approximate weight might be. I have a Case Logic Backpack which I use on long trips. It carries my lenses and my camera with room for my laptop. I shoot Nikon, a D90. I usually carry the 18-105mm, 55-200mm, 200mm and a 105mm. I think my total carry weight is around six pounds without the laptop.

We travel with a guitar, mandolin, two bodhrans and a harmonica, as well we carry our voices everywhere. We are quite the distraction in the airport waiting areas, as we are given to bursting out in song without notice. Then here is the amusement, at the harmonica man's expense, of creating a commotion at the security screening area when they misidentify the harmonicas as handguns. Your vocally shy companion may find she is less so in Ireland, where just about everyone sings, whether they can carry a tune or not! biggrinbiggrin 

I hope this helps some!

Slan Beo, Bit


-- Edited by CowboyCraic at 11:28, 2009-02-20

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The airline does allow one carry on (max 11 lbs) and the website says Please note that in addition to our carry-on baggage allowance, the following items are permitted onboard: camera, laptop computer, and purses. I'm going to call the airline to get specific details as to whether AND was the word they were going for and what the restrictions are on these additional items.

I will be travelling with one other person who is willing to take some if I really need her to but obviously she has the same limitations. It's also been suggested to put some things in pockets and such since they wouldn't count that as carry-on weight.

I really don't want to leave any of my lenses. I would even love to bring the 400mm but that's just not realistic. I weighed the camera (with battery and card) and the four lenses. They're about 7-8lbs all by themselves. Then there's the weight of a bag and whatever else you need to carry onboard. Ridiculous, eh? I even considered upgrading to their "Club" tickets but they only offer it on the way back for some reason. I know I could carry a bag plus my camera with the heaviest lens onboard by hand, so there's some of the weight. Sigh. Have to call them to find out what my options are.

That's a lot of instruments. How do they confuse a harmonica with a handgun?? Hmm.

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Usually, airlines consider a backpack or computer case/camera case the same as a purse. Then they look at the carry-on. That is why I purchased the Backpack style camera bag. That allowed me to carry on my camera gear and a carry-on besides.

I have had to downsize my lenses on a couple of trips. I always seem to be wishing I had the one lens I left behind.

As to the harmonica, there were two, side by side in his briefcase. Apparently one shifted to a diagonal position and the Screener mistook the two in the shifted position for a small caliber handgun. Homeland Security's finest on duty there! nono

Slan Beo, Bit




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Photostytes,

The only place I have ever had my carry on weighed was in Germany. I think that weighing every piece of carry on would be too time intensive to get each plane out on time. Probably as long as you are within the size allowed they won't give it a second look. Also, check into some very lightweight carry on, totes or backpacks.

Looks like you need to do your homework with your airline to find out all the rules.

Michele

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Photosytes,
I have flown to Ireland and Scotland a number of times with Air Transat and have never had carry-on weighed. Have a great trip.


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According to the Trans Sat website:

                     " Please note that in addition to our carry-on baggage allowance, the following items are permitted onboard: camera, laptop computer, and purses."

They don't specify a laptop CASE or camera BAG, but if you call, I'm sure they would give you an answer of 'YES', since they DO allow a purse -- which is often VERY liberally interpreted, in my experience!  aww 


I've seen 'purses' that DWARFED some carry-on bags!


Last year, we flew into Amsterdam and out of Dublin, using Delta FF miles.  I had to purchase two, one-way tickets from AMS to Cork, from Aer Lingus, which uses the RyanAir 'everything is extra' scheme for flights to/from Europe.  Included, were QUITE draconian baggage restrictions concerning weight and quanity of bags.

I loaded many of my smaller, heavier electronic items into the pockets of my coat, in order to 'make' the target weight.  I was QUITE proud that our checked bags seemed to tip the scales at EXACTLY the weight limit!  biggrin biggrin



But when I arrogantly pointed out that fact to my wife, the girl at the counter found it necessary to CORRECT me -- "ACTUALLY, you are 100 grams OVER."  disbelief   disbelief

But, then, she smiled -- and let me 'slide'.



Security screening is at the gate, in Amsterdam, so I fretted about the carry ons until then.



They NEVER even weighed those!

Bob



-- Edited by Itallian Chauffeur at 11:07, 2009-02-22

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I phoned Air Transat this morning. They claim that the UK is very strict, especially concerning only one carry on. I've also heard you have to be careful because you could be allowed a certain amount one way but then be declined it or charged for it on the way back.

Air Transat says that the additional carry ons can be a P&S camera (which I don't understand because it can be attached to your belt or in your pocket so how does that get counted??), a small laptop in a minimalistic case (not a case with a bunch of pockets or oversized) OR a purse (a "normal sized purse" not a large one). I didn't ask about things on a belt or in your pockets. The girl was less than forthcoming and very vague. One person's idea of a "normal sized purse" is definitely not the same as someone elses. I also asked about having my camera plus lens around my neck and she claimed that wouldn't be allowed.

So, I don't know what to do. I know they're probably like going through customs at the border (I live in Canada in a border town and frequently shop in the US). One day you could go through with $100 worth of stuff and they just wave you through. Another day they might catch you for $30 or $40. I think it depends on the day, time of day, individual customs officer and the items, but to me it seems random and very unpredictable. That's okay but I can't be declined carrying on photographic equipment and put it in an unsafe checked bag.

I have to say I'm really freaking out about this. I wish there was a way to "preapprove" your carryon and checked baggage ahead of time. That way you would have time to make adjustments, leave something behind, etc. There are fewer choices once your flight is getting ready to leave you and your stuff at the counter.

I just think their weight restrictions to the UK is ridiculous. How's a person who is travelling for 3 weeks suppose to bring what they need in 11 lbs + 44 lbs?? Especially since the bag is part of the weight??

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If you are flying a direct flight from Canada, in and out of Shannon, then the admittedly arcane UK restrictions don't apply.

THAT said, the airline sets the weight/size restrictions (particularly weight).  Since I reside in Florida. I ALWAYS carry on a heavy overcoat -- even in June.  On the plane, I use it as a blanket or pillow, but I DID use it to 'smuggle' my heavier electronic items past screening, (NOT Security disbelief ) on the belief that while they MAY limit the weight of my bag, there is NO weight limit on coats!  biggrin biggrin biggrin


Dunno if this helps --

I just purchased a Lowepro Slingshot 100AW for my wife's Digital SLR (an Olympus E 510, 4/3 format with only two lenses - so NOT Pro Grade).  It has ample spare room for us and the bag, with gear, weighs around 7 pounds.  LowePro also offers a 200AW and a 300AW in the same series, with each being larger than the preceding one.

Bob



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Bob, why do you say that "If you are flying a direct flight from Canada, in and out of Shannon, then the admittedly arcane UK restrictions don't apply." I understand that The Republic of Ireland is not UK but as far as Air Transat is concerned the rules are the same for weight, size and number.



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Taxes and fees are functions of the Government and the UK has some of the HIGHEST.  I say 'arcane', because, curiously, the majority of those fees only apply to TAKEOFFS, so it is generally CHEAP to fly INTO the UK, but substantially more expensive, to depart.

Regulation of baggage weight and quanity are set by the Airline.  For the airline to place the blame on the Government is just plain wrong -- and they didn't even blame the RIGHT government! aww aww


Have you inquired as to what the overweight charge for carry ons is??  If it's only a few dollars per pound extra, that would not be terribly unreasonable, given the value of your items ...


For example, if the Airline charges 9 Euro per kilo for overweight and your properly sized bag weighs in at 14 lbs, then paying 18 Euro to keep you stuff safe is probably well worth it.


The only time I've EVER known an airline to make someone Check their carry on bag, was when it was OBVIOUSLY well beyond the size limits and CLEARLY would NOT fit in the overhead.


Bob



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Photostytes,

You said in your post "I think it depends on the day, time of day, individual customs officer and the items, but to me it seems random and very unpredictable."

You hit the nail on the head. It will depend on all those things. No one here can tell you exactly what will happen. It is the luck of the draw. You cannot know in advance but you can prepare. It is quite possible you will sail through without a glitch or glance. Then again, you may run into a "gatekeeper" who abides by every rule like they own the airline. 

As for Bob's comment about arcane UK restrictions, perhaps I can add my own experieces to that. I often fly into London and then on to Ireland. In the UK (no matter what the airline's rule for carry-on is) they will allow you only one bag through security. Last time I was forced to remove everything from my purse, stuff it and my purse into my carry-on (which was full already) and then proceed through security. I watched them for a long time and they made everyone do the same. One bag. Period. No arguments. No exceptions. 

On the other side of security everyone was taking their purse, extra bag, etc. out of their carry-on in view of the person who just made us pack everyting up and that was perfectly fine. But to go through security it was ONE BAG. So that's the Brits for you.

In Ireland they don't have that rule. They do abide by government mandated laws but tend to be pretty lax otherwise.

How about bubble-wrapping your camera and carrying it in a lightweight cloth tote bag? They hardly weigh anything.

Michele


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So there isn't the Only One Bag Rule in The Republic? That's good to know. I talked to my friend that I'll be travelling with and she said she'll take whatever I want in her carryon even if she has to check more things or take less. I think I'll have to go pretty minimalistic in order to get all my gear over there. There are three other people going but they're heading over at different times and leaving earlier, so that doesn't really help.

Luckily for me, all of the places that we're staying have laundry facilities so I'll just take less clothes and do a couple of loads. The sacrifices that we photographers have to make to bring our gear with us. It's worth it considering I sell fine art prints so if I don't take the right gear I'm shooting myself in the foot during and after the trip.

Anyone have any problems recently with having things in a coat pocket?? Obviously going through security the jacket will be scanned but the airline wouldn't be weighing it. Can put extra things in there, like an ipod, extra batteries/cards, snacks for the place, etc.

It should be interesting to meet the weight requirements. I don't mind paying a little to get a few more kg out of my checked baggage but as long as my gear gets to go and is safe.

Nice to be able to get advice from people who have travelled to Ireland recently. Things change so quickly these days that you never know what you might run into at an airport.

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I usually only pack enough for the first 5-7 days of my trip. There are laundry services in most villages where you can drop off your laundry and pick it up at the end of the day, washed, pressed and folded. At a reasonable price, I can justify having it done as it gives me more time out and about with my camera.

As for items in pockets, as long as its not a harmonica, you should be in good shape. biggrinbiggrinbiggrin I am sure that it is within reason though.

I will assure you that, even playing by all their rules, you will see people boarding with larger carry-ons than specified. It truly does depend on the day, time and fullness of the flight as to their rigidity.


Slan Beo, Bit


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Bit,

My husband worked at Miami International Airport years ago. The airline he worked for had flights to Cuba (for Cuban immigrants only). They had extremely strict carry-on and baggage allowance rules. 

As you can imagine everyone boarding was taking their full allowance (and then some) as gifts to their deprived relatives in Cuba. In order to free up space the passengers would dress in many layers of clothes. They could hardly walk and looked like little kids dressed up for a snowstorm in 95 degree heat! One woman had a huge beehive hairdo with an electrical cord dangling out of it. She had hidden an electrical appliance in her hair. biggrin

Now that is ingenuity for you.

Michele



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Michele

London Heathrow no longer enforces the 1 bag only policy as of this past Oct. You can now bring one carryon plus purse/computer bag/etc..

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This is the email I received from Air Transat the other day:

Dear Client,

Thank you for contacting us. Please note that passengers are allowed one piece of carry-on baggage, which must not exceed 5 kg (11lb.) for economy class passengers and 15kg (33 lb.) for Club Transat passengers, in weight, or 23x40x51cm (9x16x20 inches) in size including wheels and handles for. Any article of baggage that exceeds either of these limits must be checked.

To accelerate the process at the security check-point, we recommend that passengers reduce contents and size of their carry-on baggage.

Please note that in addition to our carry-on baggage allowance, one of the following items are permitted onboard: camera, laptop computer or a purse, these items must fit into your carry-on bag.
You can put either the camera or laptop into your carry-on bag. The camera will only be accepted as a second carry on if it is for a regular personal camera, without accessories such as film and extra lenses. If the camera bag contains these items or other camera equipment, it will be considered as the main carry on bag."

It will be very interesting and frustrating to pack for my 3 week trip. I may have to grow out my hair so that I can hide something in it!!


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Irrover,

Thanks for the update on Heathrow. I now try to avoid that airport whenever possible and fly directly from Atlanta to Ireland. But it is good to know they have relaxed their restrictions somewhat. I appreciate your correction.

Michele

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



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Sounds like you all have quite the musical adventure wherever you go! Bursting into song unexpectedly must add a lot of fun to your travels, and I can only imagine the amusement at the security screening when they mistake the harmonicas for something else entirely. Ireland sounds like the perfect destination for you all, where singing is practically a national pastime. I bet your vocally shy companion will find themselves singing along in no time! Thanks for sharing your musical journey with me!



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