The Good, the Bad and the Thank-you’s – Ireland

Today I get to tell you about what was good (or, dare I say, great), bad (or perhaps terrible) and who deserves thanks for helping to make this trip unforgettable. These are people and places you should make every effort to see if you do a similar trip. I’m also providing you with a list of the links throughout the articles all in one place, as well as what things cost me so you can have an approximate idea of what your budget should be for a similar trip. If you have further questions, you can ask me via a comment below or privately through the “contact” link at the top.

The GoodShamrock

– The Guinness – seriously, it’s so different here. I don’t enjoy Guinness at home. Here, I could live on it.

– Let’s include the porridge, fish and chips, Irish stew, beef and ale stew and every other unhealthy thing I tried here. Going home to eat salads now.

– The Cliffs of Moher – It was my Irish Grand Canyon. You should make the time, whether it’s on and organized tour, or as I did it, on the public bus.

Cliffs of Moher flowers

– The history – I’ll admit it, I knew very little about Irish history when I arrived. During my time here, I learned that the history is fascinating. From famines, to sieges, to rebellions, this place has it all. It’s even found in their drinks as Guinness and Jameson’s have rich and interesting pasts. And all of it’s ingrained in today’s society.

Dublin Castle

Treaty Stone with Peader– The hospitality – I cannot say it enough, these people give new meaning to nice. I’ve not met such nice people before. Well, that’s not completely true. The people in St. John’s, Newfoundland give the Irish a run for their money (read about them in Oh Canada). This shouldn’t be surprising as most people in St. John’s are either from Ireland or of Irish descent.

The walkability – The cities I visited – Limerick, Galway, Dublin and Adare are all very walkable. You may do a lot of it, but things are very close to each other and the walks are enjoyable.

The public transportation – The trains and buses (as well as the LUAS lightrail in Dublin) will get you most places in a comfortable and efficient manor. And, if you choose public transportation, you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the really nice locals as well as some fellow travelers ( a great place to get tips on places to see and things to do).

The Bad

– USAir – Yup, I said it. The unnamed airline is USAir. Between the three mechanical issues and the incredibly rude staff – all except the Irish ones upon check-in at the Shannon Airport (big surprise, hospitable Irish) – it has convinced me to avoid this airline, along with its partner through merger, American Airlines, at all costs. I should note that I’ve spoken with “customer service” and was not only treated rudely by them too, they lied. According to them they “proactively” sent an E-mail to all on the Philly to Shannon flight, the day after the flight finally arrived, apologizing and offering a whopping $75 voucher towards future travel. While I receive every other bit of information they send, I received no such E-mail nor did the family I met on that flight. They also say that the EU regulation doesn’t affect them. I’ve read the wording of the regulation and beg to differ and have submitted the official complaint forms to the EU regulating authority as well as the US Dept. of Transportation requesting the €600 I believe is required as compensation.

– The coffee – Seriously, have tea instead. Or better yet, have Guinness!

– A room facing the front of the Limerick City Hotel. Be sure to ask for a room not facing the front which is also over the bar with live music and loud drunk people.

The Thank-you’s

– The general hospitality of the Irish people. As we in America say, “You Rock!”

– The Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau – Thanks for the support which allowed me to visit so many of your city’s wonderful sites. The hop-on/hop-off bus through Dublin Bus Tours was a great way to get the lay of the land and I found some interesting restaurants and sites I never would have known.

Film Crew– The many people I met who helped make this trip better because, for me, travel Guinnessis mostly about the people you meet. Gareth, Min, Albert, Orla, Dolph, Rich, Celine, Madonna, Sheila, all of the various Pats and everyone else who, like me, talks to strangers. You have left a mark on me, not like a bruise, but like a kiss from Ireland.

– Karen – Who not only saved me $100 by driving me to and from the airport, but came to my house and turned on my air conditioning and water before picking me up so that I’d be able to relax upon my return. If only she’d unpack and do my laundry for me. Still, everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend like this.

– Randy, Stewart and Shaunah – Old friends who have been incredibly supportive of me and this project. They’ve provided moral support, encouragement, proof-reading and, when needed an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on (actually six ears and six shoulders, they’re not circus freaks).

– My new family, Peadar, Áine, Siobáhn, Aibha and Aisling (Greg too, although I didn’t get to spend much time getting to know you). I can’t explain how hospitable they were. Between giving me a lift (and a tour) from the airport, to inviting me into their home and giving me a walking tour of their beautiful village, to a lovely dinner and tea (oh and porridge!), to a piano concert, to a lift back to the airport, there aren’t words to describe how wonderful these people are. If I were staying in my house I’d wish you Céad Mile Fáilte. For now, I’ll simply raise my glass of fine Irish Whisky and say sláinte!

Piano Concert

– Finally, a big thank-you to all of you, my Virtual Travel Buddies. Thanks for reading, for your feedback, and your encouragement. I’ll be selling my house after this next trip in order to finance this project and future book stemming from it. It’s a big step and I currently live my life in a constant state of fear, but sometimes you’ve just gotta leap. Your feedback at least makes me feel as if I’m not talking to a wall and, at most, makes me think that you find informational travel humor, well, informational on travel and, dare I say, a little entertaining.

Tomorrow, please tune in for the next vote. I can’t wait to find out where in the world you “drop me” next! In the meantime, please read about Limerick Pride Week 2014 which I profiled in this series in the fresh off the presses article on www.Rebel-With-A-Cause.org

The Links (most of the links I provided in the series all gathered up for your clicking pleasure).

Retail Me Not

Cheap Tickets

Limerick Youth Service

Limerick City Hotel

Generator Hostel

AirBnB

Eliza Lodge

Dolan’s Pub

St. Mary’s Cathedral

King John’s Castle

Hunt Museum

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park Bike Hire

Writers Museum

St. Stephen’s Green

Trinity College

Book of Kells

Old Jameson Distillery

Guinness Storehouse

Gravity Bar

Brazen Head

Christ Church Cathedral

National Photographic Archive

Gerry Andrews

Dublin Castle

Adare Manor Castle and Golf Resort

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Holy Trinity Abbey Church

Augustinian Friary

An Post Museum

Temple Bar area

Temple Bar Food Market

Smock Alley Theatre

Café en Seine

The Church

Queen of Tarts

Dublin Bus Tours

Maccoole Tours

Bus Ēireann

Irish Rail

LUAS

Cliffs of Moher

The Hunt Museum

ILoveLimerick.com

Limerick LGBT Pride Festival

Budgeting

Air – $1331 – yes, last minute air can get expensive. I booked on July 6 to depart on July 23. If I had booked on July 3, it would have been $400 less.

Accommodations – $531 – Please note, I stayed at my Irish family’s house for free one night, I booked an + 4 night hotel package through Cheap Tickets with a coupon code from Retail Me Not (see links above). I booked other reservations through Cheap Tickets and got some great rates at Generator Hostel and Eliza Hotel.

Activities – $175

Food and Beverage – $526- Yup, I ate dinner, tea, breakfast and some whisky at the Irish family’s house on the final day (and some fine food and drink it was). Also, I might not have kept great track of every Guinness I had as, Guinness may be good for you but, it can cloud your brain a bit. And no, I did not eat breakfast lunch and dinner on most days as I was just too busy taking in this beautiful country.

Transportation (Buses/Trains/Taxis) – $222

So, the total is $2,786. I generally included the full price even if I received a media discount. Remember, I went during high-season and you might find some great deals (and a whole lotta rain) during the winter. I’d say you can do this in the summer for around $3,000.

The Exchange Rate used during my trip was .721

Some business including Cafe en Seine, The Church, various activities in Dublin and Generator Hostel  provided discounts or comped services for media. While I’m grateful, my opinions in all articles remain honest and based on what I would perceive as the value based on full rates.

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