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Winter in Ireland
Winter in Ireland was as expected - "misty" and cold! But the incredible hospitality of the people was amazing! The hotel accommodations at the airport, in Malahide and then in Dublin were very good. I was most impressed with the Grand Hotel in Malahide - centrally located and right on the Irish Sea! The Alexander Hotel was centrally located and very convenient for the Hop On/Hop Off bus as well as close to Trinity College. The B&B in Cushendall was nice - but a bit out of the way. I am sure it would be wonderful in the spring or summer, but winter was not the greatest. I would have preferred something a bit more on "the main road." I highly recommend anyone traveling in Northern Ireland to make sure to see the Giant's Causeway. An absolutely wonderful geological wonder!
Aisling was a delight to work with - very patient and accommodating as my trip plans changed. She is wonderful! I did have some issues with Hertz - the GPD system did not work well and I had to rely on some wonderful Irish citizens to provide me with directions and guidance to get the car back to the airport. Great experience!
We decided to book a tour to Ireland in less than week before our departure. Authentic Ireland responded with a customized quote, itinerary and schedule right away. Everything was above and beyond our expectations. Would recommend or use again!
Lynn and Self-Drive Ireland
A big thank you to you, Lynn H. Your assistance from planning our trip to helping with packing tips, providing names of stores for ‘forgotten’ items and even your weather updates made us realize we chose well with Authentic Ireland.
5 of our Clan made an 8-night self-drive vacation, which offered its narrow, winding challenges. But, what are a couple flat tires between family? We arrived Shannon, picked up our rental van and drove directly to Adare Village which is a charming spot and where we had our first Irish breakfast. The sun shone bright and we were surprised at days end with sunburnt noses. We arrived Ballyseede Castle for our first night and we enjoyed the castle stay tremendously. Good choice, Lynn. We had dinner in Tralee at the Bella Bia and all 5 of us would HIGHLY recommend it. The food was phenomenal; a definite 5 star.
We explored the Dingle Peninsula driving Slea Head and Conor Pass, (although many of the locals recommended we hop a tour). Ah, but we are a daring clan. The beauty of the Irish countryside is something to be seen rather than described. The Dingle Peninsula and Kinsale are beyond beautiful and the extreme difference in the countryside throughout Ireland is amazing. Kinsale’s Charles Fort on a beautiful sunny and warm day was historically wondrous and with gorgeous views. We stopped at Inch (or Inse) beach; again, a landscape unfamiliar to this American family.
We stayed a night at a B&B, The Applecroft House in Killarney. Although quite picturesque, we found the beds uncomfortable so no one slept well and we started our next day a bit fatigued. But, we became excited traveling to the homeland to some of our ancestors, and the home of Blarney, The Blarney Castle that is. The River Lee Hotel in Cork City was absolutely top-notch and Kathleen, who served us a much later dinner in the hotel restaurant, was far more than a server. She was patient, friendly, conversational and informative. We made a special journey to Doneraile to the church were our grandparents were wed. It gave me goosebumps. From there we hit the road in search of a highway to Dublin.
Yes, off now to our 2 nights in Dublin and flat tire #1. Ooops! The Ashling Hotel, although located conveniently to all public transportation, was a tad uncomfortable and we did not find the staff to be as pleasant as the rest of the Irish we’d met.
There is well too much to see in a quick two day dash through Dublin. We did the Hop-on/Hop-off bus, the best way to get around and we made as many stops as possible. First stop was Trinity College and the Book of Kells. If you enjoy learning about some of the history, this is well worth the visit. The library is a beauty. If you are a shopper or a partier, you will also be overjoyed and your senses over-stimulated. There is truly something for everyone. The Little Museum of Dublin was an unplanned stop but we were very pleased we popped in. DO NOT MISS Food, Folklore & Fairies at the Brazen Head in Dublin. The food was beyond tasty and the event itself was a night of “deadly craic.” It is a must! Thanks for meeting us for a pint, Lynn. It was fun putting a face to the name. And it was grand being able to thank you in person.
From Dublin we travelled west again to Ennis, this writer’s personal favorite. We spent two nights in a cottage in the country. It was so peaceful and the town of Ennis had the best, if tiniest, breakfast spot, Café Aroma. We had our breakfast there both mornings. The Rowan Tree served an indescribable dinner. Both establishments, again 5 star.
Our final days were spent driving the Clifden Sky Road witnessing more sheep, cows and dramatic views of the differing landscapes and an afternoon walking the streets of Galway where we had a late lunch/early supper at yet another incredible restaurant, McSwiggans. Unlike most of the eating establishments which are quite small, McSwiggans is indeed large. After filling our bellies we walked Galway’s shopping district purchasing some traditional Irish jewelry such as my new Caddaugh Ring.
We saved the best for last as we went to Country Clare and the Cliffs of Moher. We had purchased tickets for the ferry specifically to see the sea birds (Puffins in particular) and to get the ocean perspective of this natural wonder. We enjoyed the ferry but were so taken by the visuals we then went up top and walked the path looking down. Both views are glorious. It did take the better part of a day to enjoy the Cliffs. Well, our second flat tire helped lengthen that trip. My bad!
We spoiled ourselves at the Bunratty Castle Hotel on our last night. A relaxing time in the hot tub after packing my suitcase one last night was just what I needed. I was not looking forward to seeing Shannon Airport that next morning. I had so much more to do and see in Ireland.
The two biggest surprises 1) although we worried what we would live on, food-wise, while in Ireland, being rather picky eaters, 8 out of 10 eateries were simply outstanding, 2) the weather was sunny and warm for 80% of our stay! The luck o’ the Irish was with us on this once in a lifetime vacation. Our only sadness was in our inability to prolong our stay.
Honestly, the differences in the landscapes throughout, truly defy description. You have to see Ireland to believe it. Beware; you need a strong heart and courageous constitution to take on a self-drive vacation. We spent 85% of our traveling time on very, very narrow roads or literal cow paths. The locals are very familiar and therefore drive quickly and without incident. One of the topics of conversation, on the Cliffs of Moher Ferry amongst us tourists, was of flat tire experiences. I found the driving unbelievably frightening, and I do not scare easily.
This is but a snapshot of a much too short but splendid trip to Mother Ireland. Personally, I am extremely anxious to get back. One of my favorite things turned out to be hotels breakfasts. I fell madly in love with the ever so fresh mini-croissants and raspberry preserves.
Lynn was an absolute gem in creating reality out of what had been but a dream. I am so grateful to her for getting me and some of my clan to Ireland.
Thanks Lynn, hope to see you stateside someday. You made Ireland Authentic for us.
You did Authentic Ireland proud, Lynn and I look forward to booking a vacation next year with your help.
Jeanne and the Mini-Clan
Boston, MA, USA
ireland and scotland in 19 days
we arranged a tour thru you and our travel agent in town and left Aug 26/2014. had asked for upgrades to larger rooms on the days we were staying overnight and you did a great job. The fitzwilliam hotel in Belfast and the apex Waterloo in Edinburgh were way more than expected. Our first experiences with B&Bs and have a few comments about these. Valleyview outside of Bushmills was beautiful, but had to drive everywhere--would have liked something more central. Gills View was a SMALL bedroom and you could barely walk around the bed. Would not reccommend that one.Aran Island hotel was quaint and wonderful. The stays at Ballyseede and Markree Castles were great as well. B&B in Pitlochry was nice and location allowed us to wander downtown..Best B&B ever.. Wanted to note that all the hotels were great.
Your itinerary was easy to follow and chock full of great ideas. We enjoyed the walking sections and took a detour thru the Wicklow mountains which was enlightening! Sheep, cattle and goats on the roads, which were maybe 20 ft wide with stone fence shoulders.
In Summary I would highly recommend this company for their knowledge of the area and their ability to fine-tune the trip for you. We made quite a few extra requests and they more than complied. You cannot go wrong and Thankyou!
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our recent tour of Ireland. We had been to Dublin before so it was great to renew our acquaintance with that wonederful city. Our self drive holiday included visits to Kilkenny, Kilarney, Balyseed Castle and Bunratty. Our accommodation was superb with Balyseed Castle being the standout. We enjoyed having a sample itinerary although we didn't always comply. We found so many interesting places to see and explore!
I would recommend this company for the professional and efficient ways they handled our enquiries and then presented the package to us. Thank you very much, Amanda Lyn for your effort. A word of advice for would-be travellers, choose a car 1 size bigger than you think you need. We upgraded to a Compact size to accommodate our luggage.
Our trip through Authentic Ireland was incredible! My husband and I went for our honeymoon and enjoyed the romantic escape. We started in Doolin at the Churchfield B&B (Mauve was amazing!!) then traveled on to Killarney to stay at the Lake Hotel and ended our trip in Bunratty. The sights were incredible, the food amazing and we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere being able to drive ourselves where we wanted to explore. A couple of our included vouchers were not completely finished (our jaunting car ride was cut short and we did not get any chocolates and wine upon arrival at the Lake Hotel) however they did not detract from the trip. I would recommend this company to everyone who wants to explore Ireland!
Authentic Ireland put together a great trip for our group of 4. Aisling was very responsive to our changes pre-trip, and questions during the trip.
The primary activity of the trip was the Dublin Marathon, the rest was traveling and touring. The car was very tight with four people and luggage, but it was an automatic transmission. Some of the extras were unexpected (insurance, satnav, etc.), but well worth it.
The accommodations were largely great. In fact, with the exception of one place (Aisling, you might want to me email me for details), the other accommodations were world-class. The Waterford Castle, The Europa- Belfast, the Temple Gate in Ennis and the Davenport in Dublin. The Dublin Hotel was chosen due to its proximity to the marathon's start/finish lines. The Waterford Castle was amazing! On it's own island and accessibly by a 3 minute ferry ride, it was simply a stunning locale!
I would heartily recommend Authentic Ireland to any and everyone who is considering a trip to Ireland.
We thoroughly enjoyed our recent trip to Ireland. Amanda Lynn was extremely helpful. She took all of our needs into consideration. We appreciated the suggested sites to visit plus the well-written descriptions of each. It was quite helpful to have directions to each B&B along with a photo of each. We stayed at the Lough Rynn Castle and it was exceptional. Among the B&Bs, the Marless House and Maggios were our two favorites. Our last night at the Portmarnock Resort was a marvelous ending to our trip.
Many thanks, Amanda Lynn. It was a pleasure working with you.
Honeymoon in Ireland
Thanks Michaela! The itinerary was extremely well done. The suggested site seeing was perfect because it gave us the options to have full days of touring or just taking it easy. As we were in the midst of planning a wedding when we booked our trip we could not have possibly come up with such a well done itinerary without Michaela's assistance. We had one issue with a hotel having our reservation wrong all we had to do was write a quick email to Michaela and she had it resolved (on a Sunday) before we had settled in to our room. Thanks a million for everything!
First trip to Ireland
I have to thank Emma for making great choices as our first itinerary was changed as our castle was sold and then closed. Loved the Hotel in Dublin and Clifden and cannot say anything but wonderful things from the people to the hotels. I also loved that we encountered many things, like how halloween is celebrated everywhere for a week, a marathon in Dublin, and a horse fair in the middle of the road (!). We did drive ourselves, no GPS but using downloaded maps onto my tablet - exciting. Wonderful just wonderful, already planning next trip. Thank you
thanks michaela.you did a great job and we had a great vacation because of your great itinerary. we had experienced b&b's to nice hotels.the golf was awesome and the people were beyond nice.we also got service when we needed something there.you think you're taking a chance when your booking a trip like this,but rest assured we got our money's worth.thanks again guys
Lovely Ireland Tour
We just completed a splendid visit to Ireland. Great work by Authentic Ireland it making it happen. The Opulence Tour they put together was great. After booking, we changed our dates, changed a hotel, added 2 people, and changed our rental car. Authentic Ireland made every change quickly and easily---no worries. We just showed up and our car and lodging were ready. I love how we were able to tweak their itinerary into our own. They changed our travel advisor pre-trip, but it was seamless; many thanks to Emma. We had problems using our cell phones at first, but a tip by Emma fixed that. I love the self-drive tour; we were able to change our itinerary each day to our liking.
Our car was too small for 4 people with much luggage, so we upgraded to a Ford Galaxy minivan which served us well but increased the cost. The GPS was worth every penny; I would never do without it. We stayed 2 nights each at Powerscourt in Enniskerry, Hayfield in Cork, Castlewood in Dingle, and Old Ground in Ennis. Each was great yet different---the first 3 hotels are the very best. Staying 2 nights at each made for a more relaxed journey; I highly recommend it. The breakfasts were lovely and set us off on our daily journey well fed.
We limited the recommended itinerary to lessen drive time and enjoy each place more---quality over quantity---which required some tough choices. The castles, the views, the towns, and the pubs were wonderful. Highlights included: Grafton St. in Dublin and the towns of Kilkenny and Dingle. We toured 3 castles (Kilkenny, Blarney, Bunratty) and drove the incredibly scenic drives of Kerry and Dingle. The many pubs, including those at the hotels, provided great ‘craic’. The Irish people were friendly hosts and wonderful to talk with. Cannot wait to return!
We had a fabulous trip. Every detail was taken care of for us by Michaela. We drove ourselves, combining Irish Opulence and the Pub & music your in Ireland. The hotels were as we expected, opulent. We were spoiled! Saw amazing sights. I reached out to Michaela while we were traveling and she responded right away, very helpful. Our experience with Authentic Ireland was top notch, highly recommend.
Ireland is beautiful! I could have stayed forever on the Dingle Penisula!
Maggie planned on my trip and included everything that I wanted! Even though, it seemed that wouldn't be a possibility.
I loved the variety of b&b along with hotels. Driving in Ireland helps give the visitor a sense of what Ireland is all about. This was the way to travel . . . not by bus. When I go to Ireland again, I would definitely book through authenticireland.com.
One more thing, land cruises are about 4x more in price than driving. Of course, the traditional breakfast is already part of the package. It was much cheaper to travel this way and also see the country side.
I recently returned from my trip to Ireland which was planned by Michaela Cox My driver/guide was terrific and I saw everything I hoped to see. Michaela was very attentive during the planning process and created my itinerary. She answered every question promptly and thoroughly. I loved Ireland and look forward to returning sometime
Can't wait to return!
A trip we wont soon forget! My girlfriend and I booked through here and Michaela was fantastic! Like everyone else posting on here, we certainly didn't plan enough time here. Everything was perfectly laid out and we had ZERO issues with hotels/rental car and the suggested sightseeing was awesome as well. We even wanted to switch our plans midway through and stay an extra night in Kilkenny and arrive in Dublin a day late. We called the office and within moments we had our reservations changed and the rental car extended an extra day. We look forward to returning and visiting the North!!!
Kudos to Maggie !
Our trip was everything we had hoped for and so much more. The hotels you selected were centrally located to the attractions we wanted to experience. Each hotel had it's own charm and character. We found the restaurants in each to be culinary gems.
Driving through the Irish countryside was exciting and provided us with the opportunity to experience the Irish culture up close. We would do it again tomorrow.
One regret, we did not spend a couple of nights at Dromoland Castle.
Maggie, I am recommending you to everyone I know that is considering a holiday in Ireland. I will be in touch, I am going back.
Wow! What a trip! We have been back for a month now and love telling our vacation stories over and over again! The scenery was breath taking-we didn't realize how beautiful the mountains were overlooking the ocean and couldn't imagine more green rolling hills. Most of our hotels and bed and breakfasts over looked the mountains, ocean, and lakes. (Also, everyone should have a stay in Ashford Castle!) We took over 1,000 pictures! The people of Ireland are so friendly and the pubs so lively! Thank you to Maggie and Authentic Ireland for our trip of a life time! Maggie was quite patient with us when we were making our plans for our trip and it turned out perfect! We never experienced any problems at all! If we decided to go back or visit Ireland again or Scotland- Authentic Ireland will definitely be our travel guides! Thanks again Maggie and Authentic Ireland!
For our honeymoon we decided to go to Ireland. After having several problems with the wedding, we were wondering how the trip was going to be.
It was perfect, nothing went wrong and we had our perfect honeymoon. I am so glad we went through this company!
It was the best, customer support was very friendly and helpful. When we travel again to Ireland and Scottland, we will go to this company first and last.
Thank you so much Authentic Ireland! You made our honeymoon the best it could ever be!!
Thank you so much!
Gabriel and Karissa
My agent was great and super helpful, couldn't ask for more, helped me change the trip all up to suit our needs and everything worked out perfectly. Ireland was great and the ashford castle and dromoland castle were just amazin . Thanks