Ned H. | Ireland | October 2022

Ned traveled to Ireland in October 2022, with a group that had been looking forward to it since Covid stunted all of their travel plans. They had a wonderful time and enjoyed the ease of having a driver to get them from point A to B. Their group was intrigued by the history of Northern Ireland and they said that getting to visit areas and meet people affected by the troubles was very special.

Here’s what he had to say about his trip:

How would you rate your trip? 5/5
Who was your travel expert? Bridie
How were your accommodations? Great
What did you love? Bushmills Inn, Lough Eske, Hotel Minella, Brooklodge and Stauntons on the Green – my group loved these accommodations.  Bushmills is a charmer – historic and very comfortable, excellent kitchen, wait staff and pub.  Lough Eske is 5 star in all aspects but some spa services need to better train their masseuses and estheticians.  We staid only one night at Hotel Minella but we’re well received and very nice accommodations – restaurant was good – breakfast excellent. Brooklodge is a country charmer – the rooms are excellent.  Too bad Strawberries was closed for our visit – it still is the best restaurant I’ve ever eaten in Ireland – I’ll be back to this one.  Stauntons is the Georgian charmer – excellent service and excellent breakfast .  Rooms are Georgian small as is the bathrooms.  The rooms open to the gardens through French doors expands the room – best in warmer weather. I’d be careful here – no AC.  Knockranny was at best 3 star.  Restaurant is very good food and service.  No hot water one morning and no wash clothes?  Subpar.
Did everything go smoothly with your transportation? Yes
What did you love? My first time not driving and I loved it!  Van was very comfortable though electrical outlets did not function – no problem since the charge ports worked fine.  Our driver, John Fleming of Kennedy Coaches , was excellent and service above, and beyond.  One of my group left her wedding ring in Conmel.  She noticed as we were about to reach Kilkenny.  We called Hotel Minella and ring was secured.  John Fleming dropped us all of in Kilkenny as planned and then drove the 2 hours back and forth to retrieve her ring.  She was overjoyed.  John earned his place in heaven.
What tours, attractions, or activities did you particularly enjoy? Black Taxi – many in group historians so getting up front with real men who lived the Troubles was very special though rough emotionally.  Titanic was enjoyed by all.  Derry was a surprise – we walked the walls and John told the history and stories – in the rain!  We got wet – it poured across the Peace Bridge but we enjoyed it.  Donegal and Slieve League – the climb in 50 mph winds was memorable. Cahir castle for historians was a delight as was the Rock of Cashel.  I forgot our stop after landing at Newgrange – all were fascinated.  Bushmills Distilleries is still very authentic (unlike Guinness – though it was the groups favorite drink). Glenda Lough is magical and the Spec hike of 8 miles up and down – we’ll that likely is the last time I’ll do that.  Dublin is itself.  Finally got to Kilmainham Gaol – the best representational museum of the 1916 Easter Uprising and birth of modern Ireland.
What was your favorite part of the trip? I enjoyed it all.
Would you travel with us again? Yes
How can we improve for next time? Bridie is the best and worked well with a very particular traveler and she did a grand job!
Any other questions or comments? We were a group that had to traverse 2 years of Covid to get to this trip.  Some of us got Covid on the trip – all were boosted so mild cases.  And we soldiered on but had a great time.