Lauren Yocum

Middletown, DE

Lauren and our very own Marketing Manager, Cara, just got back from an Irish Adventure of a lifetime! These two best friends decided to travel to the Emerald Isle and drive around the country exploring new places each day. Read about their experiences below:

Lauren and Cara at a quick photo stop along the Antrim Coast. How beautiful!

What made you want to travel to Ireland?:
“Cara had traveled to Ireland last year with Tenon Tours and was planning to travel again. I have always loved the idea of traveling, and when she asked me to go with her and sent me the preliminary itinerary created by Tenon Tours, I knew that it was an opportunity that I had to take. The itinerary included destinations all throughout Ireland, and I loved the idea of going on a vacation and being able to experience the whole country. I also have some ancestors who were from Ireland, and learning more about the country of my ancestors was a good excuse to go on a vacation.”

How was it traveling with your bestie?:
“It was great not only being able to spend time with her, but I feel like traveling with only two people is a lot easier because we had the freedom to do whatever we felt like doing. We had so much fun together!!”

Here are the girls at the Wicklow Mountains National Park!


What were some must see sights on your wish list while traveling in Ireland? Did you make it to them?!:
“The Giant’s Causeway, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Carrick-a-Rede bridge were all places that kept showing up on my internet searches of must-see places in Ireland. We were able to make it to all 3 places, and they definitely exceeded my expectations. They are so beautiful and we were able to explore them all on beautiful days so we were lucky!”

Tough question alert! What was the best part about your vacation?:
“Honestly, it’s difficult to choose a best part, because the whole vacation was amazing. However, if I had to choose, I would say that Northern Ireland was so beautiful that I think everyone traveling to Ireland should make a point to go there. On our trip, we stayed at Galgorm Resort and Spa in Northern Ireland, and then we drove along the Antrim coast for sight seeing. Galgorm Resort and Spa is a place I would highly recommend as all guests have access to their Thermal Village which is like an adult playground with pools, jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, heated lounge chairs, and so much more! Cara actually was lucky enough to win a gift card from Manor House Hotels, one of Tenon Tours very close partners, so we were able to stay there one night complimentary! Also, driving along the Northern Ireland coast was an unforgettable experience, as the views were breathtaking.”

Enjoying pints at the famous Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

How was your experience traveling with Tenon Tours?:
“The trip was so perfect that I’ll definitely be using Tenon Tours for any vacations that I take in the future! I would say the biggest advantage of booking with Tenon Tours was that everything was worry free because everything was already booked for us. We had vouchers for everything that we needed including our rental car, hotels, and even the tours that we wanted to go on. Not only was it worry free having everything planned out, but the vouchers were useful because we were also able to pass on waiting in lines to buy tickets at popular tourist spots, because many of the locations had separate lines for people with pre-paid tickets.”

This is the Riverside Bathing Experience that the girls did at Galgorm Resort & Spa in Northern Ireland!


Do you wish you prepared better for any specific part of the trip?:
“If I were to go on this trip again, I would go prepared with currency. Cara and I totally forgot to take out any foreign cash prior to our arrival and even on our arrival. (We were too excited and kept on forgetting!) Just to note, in Ireland they use the Euro, and in Northern Ireland they use the British Pound. We were able to take out money at local ATM’s, but when we first arrived, we didn’t have any cash on us, and there are many shops and transportation systems that only accept cash. Not having currency wasn’t really a problem though, as there were ATM’s and there were places that accepted cards, but I would have currency next time just to be better prepared.”

How was the weather while you were traveling?:
“The weather was amazing while we were there! It was in the 60’s and 50’s every day, and it was sunny for most of our trip. Everyone kept telling us to not get used to the weather because they said it is not normally that nice out, but even on the few days that it rained, we only experienced rain showers that would come and go. Since they do expect rain frequently, I would advise to go prepared with a rain jacket, even though I only had to use mine once. I would also advise to bring a coat for nighttime too in case the weather is colder.”

A shot of the lovely Galway Bay by Lauren


Did travel insurance come in handy for you?:
“I would recommend always purchasing travel insurance just to be safe. We purchased travel insurance, and even though we did not need to use it, I think it’s always best to have.”

Tell us about any new friends you may have met along the way.:
“We met so many people during our trip, from the plane ride to every town we were in! Everyone that we met was very nice, and we met people from countries all over the world which was a great experience. Trying to remember, we met people from Finland, Spain, Brazil, Ireland, the UK, Boston, Canada France and more!”

Lauren at the majestic Cliffs of Moher


What are your favorite souvenirs you brought home?:
“My favorite souvenirs are the postcards that I bought and whiskey blends that can only be purchased in Ireland. Although I took many pictures that turned out beautifully, I am glad that I bought postcards because they have professional images of places that I visited. In addition to the unique whiskey that I purchased as souvenirs, I also have a whiskey that I blended myself that I have as a souvenir. While we were in Dublin, we went to the Old Jameson Distillery and did the Whiskey Makers tour, which is a new tour at the distillery and an experience that I would highly recommend. Not only did we get to blend our own whiskey, but we learned about the history of whiskey making and the Jameson Distillery, we tasted multiple whiskey blends, and we even got to taste a matured whiskey right out of the barrel in the maturation room. Our tour guide told us that the whiskey out of the barrel that we tried would typically sell for €60 a glass!”

Were there any unplanned parts of your trip that wound up turning into one of your favorite travel stories?:
“Every night we stayed in a different town (except we stayed in Galway for two nights), and each night we would walk around to explore the area that we were in. Most of our planned travel was during the day, so at night we just looked around for activities that we would like. This led us to going to many different and great restaurants, bars, parks, and even a casino and an arcade. I felt like we had a perfect mix of planned and unplanned activities, and I loved our planned activities just as much as our unplanned activities. Ireland really has so much to experience.

The girls at the Giant’s Causeway!


Also, there was this one instance that as we look back on we can’t help but laugh. We were in Kilkenny and parked our car in a car park (car garage) and went to dinner. By the time we went back to the car park it was closed and the gate was shut with our rental car in it. After seeing the gate and slowly looking at each other with very large eyes and started cracking up. Luckily our waitress was able to tell us how to get security to open up the gate. We kept the ticket to this particular car park for the memories. ”

How did you feel about driving on the “wrong” side of the road?:
“Since the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, I felt like it just made sense to drive on the other side of the road. It really wasn’t too difficult to get used to.”

What tips do you have for others planning a self-drive tour?:
“I would recommend purchasing the super CDW car insurance coverage just in case there are any issues. We did not have any problems driving, but we did hear some other tourists from the U.S. that had gotten themselves into minor accidents. I think it’s always best to be safe, especially because many of the roads are narrow and curvy, except for the highways.”

Can you spot Lauren? This is on the Red Trail near the Giant’s Causeway

Any advice for getting around? Using maps, GPS, following road signs, etc..:
“We had a MiFi with us, which is a personal wifi hotspot that we connected to with our phones so that we were able to use our phone maps as our GPS. I would suggest using a MiFi, especially if you are in a large group, because it can connect up to 5 devices at a time for the same price as an international data plan for one person (at least for most cell phone carriers). With the wifi, we were able to use our iMessages and GPS, and other phone applications, while leaving our phones in airplane mode during the whole trip to avoid international charges. The wifi worked for most of the trip, except maybe when we were in the middle of nowhere and bad reception areas, like when we went to the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Every day, we took screenshots of our directions and screenshots of the maps, in the off-chance that we lost connectivity, and this made it easy for us to travel around. The directions that we had were easy to follow, and round-abouts actually were very helpful for directions! Many of the directions would say “in 8 miles, take the second exit at the round-about” then “in 3 miles, take the third exit at the round-about.” Because of this, we didn’t have to worry about looking for our turns, because we knew our next move wouldn’t be until we arrived at a roundabout.”

What destination is next on your list?:
“ICELAND!”

 

Well, maybe next we will get to hear about Lauren and Cara’s Icelandic adventure! Thank you for sharing Lauren, and we look forward to working with you again. 🙂




SEE IRELAND SELF-DRIVE TOURS

 

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