The trip was great and everything including transportation went very smoothly. The itinerary was what I had requested. The notebook of information sent by our travel agency was invaluable and so well organized. Our travel coordinator did a great job of listening to what I wanted but also providing advice when required.
Also, believe it or not, we had the best weather. It was sunny and in the 50s Fahrenheit the entire time we were in Ireland and England. Our rain weather gear sat in our luggage the entire trip.
I did enjoy spending time in different parts of the country which required six hotels and may not work for other travelers but it was a way for us to get a better overview of Ireland and after 3 nights we get antsy anyway and want to move on. So our itinerary worked.
The Guinness tour and the pub tour in Dublin were the highlights for my husband. For me, it was the falconry experience at Dromoland Castle (the young man who worked with us was extraordinary), the drive from Kenmare to Glencariff which was not our intended destination but the drive through the mountains was spectacular, Windsor Castle, and the Cliffs of Moher. Also, the one hotel we enjoyed the most due to the excellent service and surroundings was Killarney hotel. It was fantastic. The best food overall? Kenmare.
I would take some extra days in Ireland and travel to Belfast. I would also spend an extra day in London. I also would consider going in April or May instead of March. The one thing I regret missing is the "Green" of Ireland. They were just coming off their winter season and things were greener than they were back home in the states, but not the green they are so famous for. A month or two later would have been better but we did experience some fantastic weather in March.
Having been to Dromoland Castle, although very nice, the food wasn't as good as we had elsewhere. The grounds were beautiful but it is a better location if you are a golfer. the course was just outside the hotel and when walking you had to be careful of the golfers teeing off. I would consider perhaps another castle but really we had a nicer experience at Killarney hotel - highly recommended. Though the highlight was the falconry at the castle, I expect we could repeat that experience elsewhere.
After experiencing the train from Dublin to Killarney with our luggage, I changed our travel plans from London to Windsor to avoid the train. While it wasn't all that bad on the trip to Killarney since it was a longer ride (even though we had to change trains), the trip from London to Windsor required a change of trains but each leg was about a half hour each. Instead I contacted the driver the travel agent arranged who took us from Heathrow to London and asked him what the fare was from London to Windsor (which is very close to Heathrow) and it wasn't all that expensive so we had him drive us instead of taking the train. That was great!! We got to sleep in a little longer and relax on the drive rather than struggling with luggage on a train. I would recommend a cab driver over the train for that portion. And, the funny thing is we are comfortable in the NYC subway station and probably would have had not issues with the London tube, but we found we enjoyed walking to the attractions in London much better. We did walk quite a distance on the second day (probably 5 or 6 miles) but we would have missed out on the architecture as well as the pubs and restaurants along the way along the waterfront if we hadn't.
Just a small thing, but I would have appreciated if maps of the cities were provided as well, even though I purchased a few on my own, I did notice that some maps have more details than others and we relied more on the ones we got locally than the ones I purchased. The maps printed on the information pages in the notebook were not all that helpful but appreciated.
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