Liz T. | Ireland | August, 2022

Liz and a group of 6 navigated their way around Ireland in a Ford rental last August and made unforgettable memories by taking the scenic route. Along their way, they revisited places they had not seen in twenty years and compared the past and present. The group had a wonderful time exploring Ireland in the sun, but they did not let the rain towards the end of the trip, put a damper on their plans.


Who was your travel expert?


How were your accommodations?


Did everything go smoothly with your transportation?


What did you love?

I loved that I succeeded in packing with carryon only.  Flights good.  Van an easy drive and comfy ride.  I have to laugh about the driver part.  I think she did an admiral job, especially since it was me.

What tours, attractions, or activities did you particularly enjoy?

I loved the ploughing festival!  Only wish I had had a good camera as it was so immense my phone just did not do it justice

What was your favorite part of the trip?

I enjoyed our brief driving tour of Donegal.  I had not been there in 20+ years

Would you travel with us again?


How can we improve for next time?

I think you covered all the bases well.


I wanted to thank you for all your work, which was a lot, getting everyone and everything organized for our great trip.  I hope and think that everyone got to do and see what they wanted or at least most of it.  The Ford van was an easy drive and nice ride.  You were quite right that a maximum of six for such a trip was the maximum.  Doreen was the navigator and I was the driver which seemed to work well.  Passengers were good too, as I only heard a few gasps on the early days.  I elected for the scenic vs major roads although the trucks are still the same size while the roads are not yielding to a prayer or two.  The trip to Newcastle and Slieve Donard was pretty.  Doreen had wanted to see some ancient tombs which required a pass that was not attainable on the spot but I think overall was ok as I took them via the coast road which is scenic.   I enjoyed staying at Slieve Donard.  It has a nice walking path along the ocean and is a couple of blocks from the downtown. The hotel lived up to my 20+ year old memories which is quite a feat. Service was good and the place has years of history and character.  

We made it to Portrush by early afternoon as I bowed out of driving tourist sights in Belfast.  Actually I had planned to miss it entirely but navigation tools redirected us right through it on the major highways.  All ok.  The hotel location at Portrush was outstanding. The hotel was full of British character, the town itself was packed full of people in narrow streets, an early challenge for my driving skills but successful.  

Our second day there was the only day we had any rain except the day we left and this day it was minimal.  We went to see the Giants Causeway.  I have to say it confirmed my statement that I am not a touristy traveler on the whole.  I was appalled at how commercialized it was.  I do not think anyone else even had such thoughts and I do realize that to maintain the area it must be managed.  It was done well just not expected. Overall a nice outing with walking paths of choice.  Some of us took the path up and out onto ridge above which had good views.  I am glad to have seen it, satisfied my curiosity.   Doreen and I walked to but not over the Rope bridge.  That was a good choice as the coastal walk was the best part except perhaps the views from the other side of the bridge.  I hiked from the hotel to the old castle in the afternoon then enjoyed a quiet evening from my balcony at the hotel.  The picture is the sunset from there.

The drive from Portrush to Donegal Town was an all day adventure.  Once I got to Donegal I was surprised how much old memories kicked in.  I was going to stop in the village of Glenties for a pub lunch but it was having a fair and the Main Street was packed with people.  We headed for another memory place which did not live up to 20 year old memories, a little bigger a little more run down but good for lunch and for some shopping for the rest of the crew.  From there, I drove them through Glendish Pass which is worth the trip and on to Donegaltown.  We left that day about 9 am and arrived about 6pm.  The Mill Park is a nice hotel, nicely situated for walking to town.  The next day was my day to hike and view old memories.  The rest of the crew took a boat trip around Donegal bay and shopped.  They were good sports.  

Donegal to Connemara was another long day with stops in Knock at Linda’s wish, which was well received.  From there we went to Sean’s pub in Athlone, the oldest pub in Ireland, at Terry’s request.  We had a late lunch, Terry in Sean’s old pub and the ladies across the street in a bright open spot with lots windows and light for soup and salad lunches.  By now Myra had taken on the task of narrator so provided some of the history of the town.  

The only bit of hitch from Athlone to Connemara was we hit Galway rush hour slowing us down so that we arrived at the Screebe House about 7:30.  Myra thoughtfully called to let them know we were delayed.  The Screebe House is a gem!  I love the historic homes turned into guest houses, small number of guests, delightful service and beautiful settings.  It seems as though you are a guest in someone’s home which you are.  Food was great and wonderfully presented.  They even helped me book my train ticket to the Ploughing Festival.  

Next stop was Inishmore.  Bless the good weather as the ferry trips were smooth sailing, literally.  My impression of this was similar to that of the Giants Causeway.  My curiosity satisfied.  I spent my day biking.

On the way to Kildare we drove through the Burren, not sure what the group thought but they seemed taken with the Cliffs of Moher.  Again I was appalled as it is so very commercialized now.  Well done, and again the numbers of people and bus loads of them are impressive so it has to be managed.  I just remember strolling along the green pasture without vast numbers of people.  Life has changed probably so has my memory.  You know about Eagle Hill B&B.  For a B&B it was fine, a bit far from town.  My major issue was the attitude.  I had told Liz when we were planning this trip that the Irish make you welcome and feel at home and do not mind accepting your money for it.  That was not the reaction that B&B elicited from me.  I think everyone enjoyed the Japanese Gardens.  Again l like the history, the setting and the Garden was lovely.   Both Doreen and I enjoyed the Irish Stud farm.  It is manicured to the hilt and worth the trip just for the history I think.  It was a pleasant morning stop before our short and uneventful drive to Dublin.  We did see traffic backed up for the exit to the ploughing festival with special signs for the vendors to follow.  That was the first visible indication how large the event was going to be.  We arrived at the Camden Court Hotel easily just after noon, unloaded and turned in the van without any additional damage than when we picked it up.  The passenger mirror back cover was missing and the left rear hub cap was missing when we picked it up.  I felt both successful and relieved to be done with driving.  We spent the rest of the day and the next walking.  I took the crew  to a small exclusive sweater and tweed shop that was still in existence.  After that, the other stores did not hold much appeal I do not think.  Doreen had a restaurant recommendation for The Bank near Trinity College that was about the best place we had eaten. Wednesday was my festival day.  I used the tram to get to and from the train station, it is very easy to use. Train was easy and shuttle service was just out the exit gate when I arrived, 3 double decker buses at 8 am.  It took 30 minutes to get to the festival sight as the roads were packed with cars and all the intersecting roads had Gardia directing traffic.  It was also a gorgeous day, set in rolling hills with higher hills in the distance.   I could only see about a quarter of the activities and sights.  One gentleman I spoke with said he understood over 90,000 people had attended so far and it still had a day to go.  I chatted with one gentleman from Donegal who was competing in the manual ploughing on Thursday. The festival was so immense I could not get good pictures but will send a few.

The Camden Court Hotel was pleasant, if you used the tram system with the stop about a block away, it was easy access to many things, otherwise it was a hike.  The hotel catered to bus loads of tourists and business meeting venues, has no real character or history but was modern and well serviced.

Thursday it really rained.  The suggestion of a shuttle to the airport was wonderful.  It made the end of our trip and the first leg of our return effortless.