Sometimes the best part about Ireland is getting to go back! Pat and her traveling companion, Stephanie, had a great time re-visiting the Emerald Isle and were kind enough to share with us their stories and tips for self-drive tours to Ireland!
Who’d you decide to take the trip with?
I traveled with my best traveling buddy. We’ve met on a spontaneous trip 8 years ago and have been traveling together ever since. We plan a big trip every other year or so.
What was the best part about your trip to Ireland?
Driving through the countryside on our own covering a lot of back roads and small villages. Saw a lot of unplanned things on the way.
Why did you choose Tenon Tours?
I requested quotes from 4 tour companies before choosing Tenon Tours. The others sent quotes without contacting me, but Tenon called me and asked a lot of pertinent questions about what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, and what kind of places I wanted to stay in, before they sent a quote. When the quote came in, it was not only the least expensive, but also the most inclusive. Tenon Tours took the hard part of the tour and made it easy.
Tenon note: We pride ourselves on our customer service at Tenon Tours. Reading this and our other traveler stories is why we do what we do!
Anything to add about your personal sales representative?
Andrew Sanborn was our representative and he was wonderful to work with. His original quote came in with a detailed list of places he recommended to stay which gave me a lot of confidence in booking with Tenon Tours. He was always available when I had questions or just needed reassuring about something. That’s just what you need when traveling overseas.
Do you wish you prepared better for any specific part of the trip?
The only thing we didn’t prepare for was the amount of time everything we did would take. Much of that was because everything we did was so much more than we expected that we spent more time than planned.
Any advice about the weather in Ireland?
The weather was very chilly but we expected that. We dressed in layers and were fine. Do take warm pajamas as the heat is often not on late in the evening.
Were there any unplanned parts of your trip that wound up turning into one of your favorite travel stories?
Only thing unplanned were the side trips from the GPS routing but that was one of the best things. We saw a lot of small villages and countryside we would not have seen traveling on major roads.
What Ireland travel tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?
Take the back roads and have a really detailed map in case the GPS can’t find a location.
How did you go about planning your itinerary, picking sights, arranging them and figuring out how long to stay?
Researching websites and multiple Ireland tour books. My travel partner and I live in different states so we both made lists then combined them into what ended up as our “must see” list.
Any advice for getting around?
Using maps, GPS, following road signs, etc.. having a GPS in Ireland was invaluable & took us along all the back roads while still getting us to our destination. Do need a map as a backup.
Any advice for the “round-abouts” while driving?
We devised a system for getting through the round-abouts. We both counted the exits as we went in so we went out on the right one. Also, if you miss the exit or are confused just keep going around till you figure it out.
Any other Irish travel tips you’d like to add?
No matter what you do, talk to the locals. Most people will automatically ask where you are from to start a conversation so go with that. Take their suggestions for places to eat and get out and walk around. One of the best experiences we had was the Hawk Walk at the Ashford Castle. This is something that’s not to be missed. Seeing and interacting with the birds was phenomenal! We also visited the Newgrange passage graves. These were built in the Stone age long before the Pyramids in Egypt. Ultimate time travel!
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