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Itinerary - Bus Tour by abbey
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abbey
Unregistered User
(2/1/02 2:39 pm)
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Itinerary - Bus Tour


I am planning to take an escorted motorcoach trip to Ireland in July ... am travelling solo and do not drive so this is the only option. Would like some feedback as to whether the following tour is viable ... I am concerned that it may be packed too full!
Day 1: Overnight flight to Dublin [from Canada]
Day 2: Arrive Dublin Airport and transfer to hotel
City tour [aft] Dublin Castle, O'Connell Street, and Customs House. Evening reception/welcome.
Day 3: Dublin to Waterford
Irelands's National Stud, Japanese Gardens, Kilkenny Castle & Kilkenny Design Center
Day 4: Waterford to Cork
Reginald's Tower, 2 Georgian Cathedrals, Waterford Crystal Factory, Blarney Castle, and St Finbar's Cathedral
Day 5: Cork to Tralee - DINGLE Peninsula
Day 6: Ring of Kerry Excursion
Day 7: Tralee to Galway via Adare & Limerick
St Mary's Cathedral & King John's Castle
Bunratty Folk Park and the Cliffs of Moher
Day 8: Connemarra Excursion inc. Marble Factory & Kylemore Abbey
Day 9: Galway to Donegal
Visit Clonalis House. Drive thru County Sligo to Drumcliffe churchyard. Visit Court Tomb at Creevykeel.
Day 10: Donegal to Ballycastle
Tour the old city gates & walls of Derry. Visit Giant's Causeway.
Day 11: Ballycastle to Belfast
Drive along the Antrim Coast. Panoramic tour of Belfast - city hall, Belfast Castle, and Queen's University.
Day 12: Belfast to Dublin
Travel to Droheda and Boyne Valley. Return to Dublin.
Day 13: Return flight to Canada

My primary concern with this coach tour [other than it seems a bit full] is that it omits both Glendalough and Rock of Cashel. I am really interested in seeing Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, and the Rock of Cashel. If I plan an extended stay [a day or two at either the beginning or the end of the coach trip], I think that some of these sites could be possible. Would it be best to situate myself in Dublin and do local bus tours from there or would Kilkenny be a more suitable site to day trip from? I would appreciate any advice and/or suggestions while I am in the planning stages. Thanks in advance.






mikey
Unregistered User
(2/1/02 3:36 pm)
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daytrips


It would definitely be possible to take daytrips from Dublin to Glendalough/Wicklow/Powercourt. there are several companies that run this tour including Bus Eireann (www.buseireann.ie). As for Cashel, that would be a littlemore difficult. The bus ride from Dublin is about 2 hr 50 min each way which would make a long day



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 383
(2/2/02 12:08 am)
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Re: Itinerary - Bus Tour


Hi abbey,

The tour you have outlined is indeed packed full of things to see and do but to cover so much territory in twelve days in Ireland you really must move right along at a brisk pace.

Mikey has given you good info about the day trip tours and bus options from Dublin to Cashel and Co. Wicklow. Dublin would probably be the best base to do both.

If you want a slower paced tour, why not look at some other tours that are available? There are lots of them out there to suit every taste. You might even find a slower one that includes Glendalough, Powerscourt and Cashel. A good place to start is the Irish Tourist Board's site: www.ireland.travel.ie

I hope you find just the right tour to suit you!

Happy travels,

Michele




abbey
Unregistered User
(2/2/02 4:16 pm)
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Re: Itinerary Bus Tour


Greetings Michele and Mikey
Thanks for the feedback!! Actually, I have looked at numerous tour packages ~ Globus, Brian Moore, CIE, Trafalgar, Insight, and Celtic Tours [to name but a few]. The more packages I look at, the more confusing it becomes. Many packages seems to focus on the "touristy options" versus the more historical and/or religious sites of Glendalough, Clonmacnoise, and Rock of Cashel.
To date the only package that I have located that includes both Glendalough and the Rock of Cashel is the "Celtic Adventure" package offered by Celtic Tours. It seems like an excellent package, but living in Canada I do not know the reputation of this company at all?? Unfortunately, the package doesn't include the Dingle Peninsula or any of Northern Ireland. While I realize that I'll have to make some concessions, I really do not want to forgo Dingle ... sigh :<(
The Celtic Tours package would cost me approximately $650 more for a trip that is 2 days shorter ~ partly because of the single supplement and the CAN/US exchange factor.
Unfortunately,[or fortunately depending on your perspective] I've spent a significant amount of time researching the Irish sites that I want to see by reading the Fodor, Michelin, Let's Go, and Rick Steve guide books to Ireland. I've also visited many web sites and found invaluable tips such as your list of 10 top sites to see. While all very informative, these sites/books almost make the decision process more difficult! I've never taken an escorted coach tour and I am uncertain as to what the structure/pace will entail.
The quandry remains ... do I sacrifice Northern Ireland and Dingle at the expense of my desire to see monastic sites ... or do I book an extended stay and do the monastic sites by day trip? Thanks for any advice you can offer.



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 386
(2/2/02 7:37 pm)
Reply
Information Overload!


Hi Abbey,

It sounds like you are suffering from information overload. Since the tour you have found is cheaper and two days longer plus includes Dingle and No. Ireland, I would say to stick with that one. Then if you extend your stay by two days you can see Co. Wicklow and Cashel. That seems to make the most sense.

As for the pace of the tour you outlined it will be a whirlwind (as it is with most packaged tours). With most tours you must have your luggage packed and outside your hotel room door at a certain time like 7am (this differs from tour to tour). Breakfast might be at 7:30 and you might be on the bus by 8:30. Why not check with your tour company and they will be able to provide you with details like that?

If you decide to see either Powerscourt and Glendalough or Cashel, I'd vote for Powerscourt and Glendalough. They are absolutely lovely and scenic plus you can get a day tour from Dublin. For Cashel you must decide whether you will take the bus or perhaps hire a driver or taxi for the day (be sure to negotiate the price in advance).

I hope it all goes well with your trip and you have some good weather. Let us know your verdict when you return. We would love to know your opinion.

Happy touring,

Michele




abbey
Unregistered User
(2/2/02 8:23 pm)
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Re: Bus tour Itinerary


Hi Michele~
Exactly ... funny how the decisions seem so much easier the less information you have! C'est la vie!
Choosing between historic/religous site and scenic countryside is never an easy decision. I've read so many positive things about Dingle that I didn't want to sacrifice it.
I'm leaning towards the package as outlined with the 2 day extension at the end. My first option definitely is the day trip to Glendalough and Powerscourt. I'll check into how difficult and/or expensive the trip to the Rock of Cashel will be.
The early morning start doesn't really bother me as I'm always up and ready to travel when on vacation!
I'm going to assemble a list of questions and email the tour company about some basics such as start times, shopping and/or free time etc.[as well as anything else I can come up with]
While I'm not going to shop, I do want to purchase something Irish -- maybe a piece of Celtic jewellery and/or an Aran sweater. I'm really looking forward to this Ireland adventure as I've wanted to go for 9 years ... it makes a great birthday gift.
Thanks for you advice.




DarrenA
Registered User
Posts: 9
(2/2/02 8:56 pm)
Reply



I would recommend sticking with the original tour. But then again, I would say that, wouldn't I?



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 387
(2/3/02 12:55 am)
Reply
Bus Tour


Hi Abbey,

I'm very glad to have helped out. Hope everything goes well and you find a perfect souvenir of Ireland to remember your trip by.

Darren: Of course you would! ;)

Michele




mikey
Unregistered User
(2/3/02 10:58 am)
Reply
your trip


I definitely think you're doing the right thing. It is a wole lot easier to stay a few extra days and do things from Dublin vice trying to get to out of the way Dingle. They're are many daytrip opportunities from dublin since many tour companies operate there and all the bus/train service begins and ends there. Go to www.visitdublin.com to find out all the daytrip possibilities.

Here is a summary:
www.buseirann.ie
www.dublinbus.ie
www.guidefriday.com
www.wildsoachtours.com
www.railtoursireland.com

or you can take the bus/train to many different places inluding Cashel, Kilkenny etc.



abbey
Unregistered User
(2/3/02 1:56 pm)
Reply
Re: Bus Tour Itinerary


Thanks for the bus/rail links. The feedback and folks on this web site are awesome!



mikey
Unregistered User
(2/4/02 12:27 am)
Reply
your trip


Your welcome!

Should have been www.wildcoachtours.com



mikey
Unregistered User
(2/4/02 12:32 am)
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another mistake


also should be www.buseireann.ie



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 389
(2/4/02 1:21 am)
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Thanks Mikey


Hi Mikey,

Many thanks for posting all those links for Abbey. I'm sure she will find them extremely useful. It's people like you who make doing a forum like this a pleasure! Feel free to add you comments any time.

Michele



mikey
Unregistered User
(2/4/02 10:50 am)
Reply
thanks


Now if I could only learn to type!!!!!



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 391
(2/4/02 5:53 pm)
Reply
Typos


Mikey,

In your case we will be happy to overlook the typos!

Michele



buckspc
Registered User
Posts: 6
(2/4/02 6:49 pm)
Reply
Re: Itinerary - Bus Tour


Hi Abbey,
Just a quick note to say I have taken many escorted tours all over the world, China, Africa, Fiji, 11 countries in Europe, reasons, I don't like the driving, I like to set back and let someone else worry about the traffic and such, by the way, the drivers are excellent, and what I would tell you. The one nighters are kinda tough but most of us want to maximize the trip to see all we can in the time we have there, then you can always go back later and stay at your own pace if you like. We are taking the 12 day CIE tours Irish Classic in April, first time for Ireland.
The people that take these escorted tours, we have found are super people and very friendly unless you happen to get into a large group that know each other and are traveling together, they have their own little jokes and such, its happened to us a couple of times and you tend to gather with the other ones who are not in that group.
Just some things for you from my travels, I am sure you will have a wonderful trip. Bobby Grace



abbey
Unregistered User
(2/6/02 7:31 pm)
Reply
Bus Tour


Thanks B.G. for your input. I am looking forward to the tour and was hoping that everyone would mingle and enjoy the beautiful Irish countryside as a group! Let me know how you April tour goes.



Michele Erdvig
ezOP
Posts: 399
(2/7/02 1:07 am)
Reply
Feedback Wanted


Abbey & Bobby,

We would all be delighted to hear how both of your tours of Ireland go!

Michele

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"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

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