One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.
I had wanted to go to Ireland for quite some time, but my stipulation was that I had to travel in summer. For most destinations I’m fine gambling with a trip in the off-peak season when prices are low but weather can be challenging. Because Ireland is rainy most of the year, I decided early on that this was a trip I was going to have to bite the bullet and pay high season rates. Of course when I happened to go, all the locals kept saying that it was the wettest July they had seen in a long time. I guess high season weather in the Emerald Isle isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
The actual country of Ireland was just what I expected it to be -- full of friendly people, lots of good beer and green grass. The only major surprise was how easy it was to get around. I say this as the navigator, seeing as I don’t know how to drive a manual car and the price jumps significantly when you upgrade to an automatic. My boyfriend did a great job driving -- it he had to get used to driving on both the opposite side of the road and of the car but he managed beautifully. My role in the passenger seat was quite simple; I just had to look out for the correctly numbered road sign and I was set.
The two of us decided to let go in terms of planning this vacation. We booked a southern Ireland package so our airfare, car and all of our hotels from Dublin to Limerick were reserved for us. We just had to show up with our guidebook. As much as I like being hands on with my vacations, it was a nice treat to only have to worry about sightseeing. It was the perfect road trip adventure and more relaxing than my past European vacations.
One of my top highlights was the Dingle Peninsula. It’s to the northeast of the gorgeous national park in Kilarney. A local told us that the Ring of Kerry was far too crowded and not worth our time. She suggested this smaller peninsula drive in the same area and even called a friend that lived there to insure that the weather was nice. I just love the locals! The ocean views were fantastic and the little villages along the drive were charming.
Another must-see spot was (of course) the Cliffs of Moher. It’s worth planning your vacation around having good weather for this day trip. If the area is socked in by fog, you’ll have to make your way back. You can actually get rather close to the cliffs’ edge for some amazing shots if you walk south and climb a little barrier. This was at our own risk but we felt lucky. The official staff at the Cliffs said that this was off limits but the trail was well trodden and every guide book I came across suggested the walk, not to mention about 70 other tourists were already making their way along the path by the time we got there.
My last highlight to share is simply Guinness -- it really does taste better in Ireland.
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