Hilary and Erika attend the SpeakEasy Stage Company Gala every spring and were thrilled to convince Tenon Tours to donate a self-drive vacation to Ireland for their raffle this year. The SpeakEasy Stage Company has distinguished itself as Boston’s premiere theater, consistently winning acclaim for presenting top-quality productions of vital, cutting-edge plays and musicals. The gala raffle (for the free trip to Ireland) helped to raise over $182,000 for the SpeakEasy Stage Company! The winner of the free trip to Ireland,
(also the Gala “queen”) agreed to share her advice for future travelers and fabulous pictures with Tenon in our newest Traveler Spotlight!
Where did you go?
Ireland and Northern Ireland
What were the top 3 places to visit on your wish list? Did you make it to them?
Giant’s Causeway, Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. (We didn’t make it to the Ring of Kerry due to bad weather).
What was the best part about your self-drive vacation to Ireland?
Meeting the locals and driving through breathtaking countryside.
What advantages did you have booking with Tenon Tours?
Erika at Tenon Tours was extremely helpful in mapping out our travel plans and booking
our B&Bs. And thank goodness for the GPS that we rented!
Anything to add about your personal sales representative?
Erika booked everything in advance for us. All our B&Bs and hotels, many of our sightseeing tickets (Cliffs of Moher, Hop on Hop off buses, Guinness tour, etc). It was great having so much done in advance of our travels.
What’s your advice about the weather in Ireland?
Bring heavier rain gear (not just a windbreaker) and a scarf!
Tell us about any new friends you may have met along the way.
Ireland is populated with the friendliest, most helpful people we have ever met (and we travel a lot!) Find the less touristy pubs and sit at the bar with the locals.
Were there any unplanned parts of your trip that wound up turning into one of your favorite travel stories?
On our drive from Westport to Galway, we took the longer, coastal route and it was one of the most beautiful drives I can remember. We found cows sunbathing on a beach!
Favorite romantic thing you did?
Staying at Lough Eske Castle was above and beyond our expectations.
Did you learn any new Gaelic or Irish phrases?
Another pint of Guinness please!
How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?
I was very nervous about it (even though my husband was doing all the driving) but it turned out fine. The most difficult part is city driving. And the secondary roads are ridiculously narrow!
What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour of Ireland?
Get a diesel standard (we got amazing gas mileage) and drive slower than you usually would.
How did you go about planning your itinerary, picking sites, arranging them and figuring out how long to stay?
We did a lot of research on the internet and we knew we wanted to drive along the coast as much as possible.
So after landing in Dublin, we drove to Belfast and basically circumnavigated the country counter-clockwise. Erika, again, helped us to decide where we would stop for the night, which towns were quaint, which sites were best, etc.
Any advice for getting around?
Road signs are very well done in Ireland (and the highways are painted with arrows and directions as well). GPS is a MUST!! You WILL get lost without a GPS on your self-drive tour in Ireland. Road maps helped us as well, but it was the GPS that was a life-saver.
Any advice for navigating the “round-abouts” while driving?
They’re much easier than you think. And there are a million of them so you get used to them. Just stay left! (Again, the exits on the roundabouts are very well marked).
Would you like to be considered for our traveler spotlight?
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