I was feverishly planning our upcoming trip to Ireland and wondered whether my itinerary was too ambitious when I saw a post on the Facebook page for our local Social Media Breakfast Club. The speaker that week was Jody Halsted from Ireland Family Vacations. Coincidence? Serendipity? Divine intervention? I call it simply the luck of the Irish. Check out Jody’s website at http://irelandfamilyvacations.com. Although her presentation that day was not about Ireland, I introduced myself before she spoke and asked if she had a few minutes after the meeting to look at my itinerary. She graciously agreed.
Jody spent over half an hour with me discussing Ireland and offering suggestions. She commented that the schedule was ambitious but doable at least until we got to Galway where she expressed the same concern I had. Planning to drive from Galway to Connemara then to the Dublin area so that we could be at Newgrange the following morning was too much driving in one day. I feared as much. I couldn’t bear cutting Connemara so I finally decided we’ll take a “wait and see” approach. It’s at the end of the trip and if we’re tired of riding in the car, we’ll save it for the next trip. On the other hand, if we’re feeling fresh and raring to go, we’ll attempt it.
When she saw Dan Dooley Car Rentals on my itinerary, Jody mentioned that she especially liked that company. Renting a car is risky business in Ireland because it’s one of a few countries where the collision damage waiver (CDW) benefit on your credit card won’t cover. I even called my credit card company just to make sure and yup, I’m right. No coverage in Ireland. That makes renting a car in Ireland more expensive (and less attractive) but if you have limited time and an ambitious schedule, it’s still the most efficient way to get around albeit driving on the left side of the road. My research led me to Dan Dooley and I found they had the best rates including insurance. It’s still nearly $700 for 10 days but I feel confident about my choice after Jody’s endorsement. They also offered wi-fi in the car for an extra $10 per day. I hope this feature keeps us from getting lost and allows some tweets and instagrams en route.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a 2500 km (approx.1550 mi.) route along the western coast of Ireland from County Donegal to County Cork. This is the itinerary I wish we could follow. Below, however, is the itinerary we hope to complete in 10 days. We’ll start in Dublin, head south to Cork and Kinsale, west to County Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, then north to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway, and finally back east to Newgrange and Trim ending in Dublin. The entire route covers half the distance of the Wild Atlantic Way at nearly 1250 km or 800 miles. Driving on the left on narrow Irish roads promises to hold adventure with a dash of challenge. Ten years ago we explored Dublin and the area southeast to Kilkenny and Waterford with our son, Michael. We especially enjoyed County Laois because the Lalor family, my husband’s people, are from this area. This trip, we’re looking forward to seeing an even larger area to the south and west with our son, Brian, and daughter-in-law, Abi. I’d love to have the time to stay in one place and explore an area fully but this itinerary requires that we stay in a different town each night. I’ve reserved B&B’s, guesthouses, and hotels in advance which means we have to keep to the schedule every day. I hope you’ll follow my future posts as I explore and tell you about the geography, history, and culture of this magical island.
If you’ve been to Ireland and have suggestions along our route, I’d love to hear from you. I’m especially interested in points of interest, historical sites, and restaurant recommendations.