Starting Early

I’ve decided to head back to Ireland next summer. Three more weeks of touring that amazing island. I’ve even roughed out an itinerary for this trip you can see here.

I loved my last trip, but I learned a fair bit, and missed some things, and hope to make this trip even better. I’m still planning on relying on public transport – no car rental – so the format for my trip is going to be about the same as last time. But here are some things I’m thinking about, in no particular order:

  • Pack lighter. I wasn’t terribly overburdened, but I was carrying some dead weight that I didn’t really need, which reduced how much I could bring back as souvenirs.
  • Check to see if I can get a reasonable roaming package for my iPhone/iPad to save some hassle getting set up on the Irish network.
  • Start in Belfast. Belfast was my last stop on the previous trip, and I just didn’t have the energy left to focus on it the way it deserved. I feel I missed a lot there, and want to correct that. So, I’ll head there from the plane in Dublin, and see it while I’m fresh.
  • Take better advantage of the hosts and concierges at the guest houses, B&Bs, and hotels. Whenever I had a question, they were ready and happy to answer and advise, but I didn’t ask as much as I should, and I think that meant I missed out on a lot.
  • Spend more time in pubs. I always feel awkward in pubs, not being a drinker, but that’s where the music is, and that’s where the social life is. If I want traditional music and less-touristy interactions with the locals, this is what I need to do.
  • See the south-east. I’ll spend a few days in Kilkenny, and want to take some day trips from there and Dublin to see a little more of that area. I sort of missed it entirely on the last trip.
  • Leave more blank days in the schedule so that I can take advantage of interesting things that come up.
  • Be a little more touristy. Take the tours of places like Christchurch, the GPO, the Guinness Storehouse, etc.
  • Make sure to see the Rock of Cashel – take the bus out from Dublin one day.
  • There are trips running from Killarney out to harbours that have boats going out to Skellig Michael. That’ll give me another chance to see the Skelligs, and won’t “strand” me somewhere without other amusements if the boats don’t run1.
  • Go in a different time of year. Not that going in the fall was bad, but I’d like to see the country in a different season.

The only two cities I’m staying in that I stayed in last time are Dublin and Belfast. Galway and Londonderry are other place I’d like to revisit, but I need to balance my time, and there are lots of new things to see and experience.  I’d like to try and get back to Tara, Newgrange, the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and Carrick-a-Rede if I can do that when it’s not raining.

So, there’s the plan. I’ve got several months before I can start actually booking stuff, but the research has begun.

  1. That’s not really fair. Portmagee was lovely, and the Moorings was a very nice B&B, but being in a larger town means that, in the event of weather that keeps the boats from going out, there’s still stuff I can do without being soaked to the skin. []

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