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Old 03-15-2008, 10:46 PM
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We are 2 couples who would like to take a Mediterranean cruise and somehow jump over to Ireland for a land tour. What would be the best way to get to Ireland, i.e., fly, train, etc.? Has anyone used a tour company in Ireland for a land tour? Feel like I'm grasping at straws here. Not sure how this would work so thought I'd throw it out there and see what suggestions I get.
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:36 AM
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Why not consider cruising from Southampton in England
RCI and P&O both have some nice cruises from there
You could then fly to Ireland
Southampton has an airport -not sure if you can fly to Ireland from there but easy from London
Low cost air lines make this the cheapest way to go
When in Ireland why not hire a car?
Outside Dublin the roads are quiet and as Ireland is not huge it is quite possible to see all of the best places-Ring of Kerry etc-in a relatively short time
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Old 03-16-2008, 02:43 AM
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Further to my earlier post I have established that it is possible to fly to Dublin or Galway in Ireland from Southampton
Details at www.southamptonairport.com
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:47 AM
 
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If you end your mediterranean cruise in any major port, all should have flights to Dublin. There are plenty of tour companies which offer land tours to Ireland. For lower cost airlines, try some of the european airlines which fly between countries but generally not out of Europe (Air One and Ryanair, along with others)
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:13 AM
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I have been to Ireland three times. Ireland is about the size of Maine. On the first trip to Ireland most people spend it in the lower half. To see that half properly you should have at least 7 or 8 days. In that time you could go from Dublin down to Waterford, across to Cork, Blarney, Ring of Kerry, up to Cliff's of Moher and Galway. You would probably want to go back to Shannon to fly home. I highly recommend staying in a Castle around the Shannon area on your last day. I stayed in Dromoland Castle. What a way to end a wonderful vacation.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:27 PM
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Hi Judy,
I'm an Englishwoman who's married to an Irishman and has lived in Ireland for nine years so I hope I can help a bit.
Ireland is a great place to visit, as long as you accept that it can rain at any time of year! But it is beautiful, friendly, has amazing history and is like no other place in Europe. I love it here and wouldn't want to live anywhere else now.
Southampton is not a major airport, but you can fly from there to Dublin with Flybe (www.flybe.com). Otherwise, from London Stansted you can fly to Shannon or Dublin or even Cork with Ryanair or Aer Lingus. I am sure there are other options too. You can fly home easily from Shannon.
I wouldn't recommend train and ferry to Ireland - British trains are extremely expensive and I don't think there is an uncomplicated route. Ferry travel can be grim -I absolutely hate it and avoid it at all costs unless we really must take the car on visits to England. We will have to do so this June on our way to Southampton for our first ever cruise on the Med - we can't wait for the cruise, but I'm not looking forward to the ferry!!
Once in Ireland, hiring a car is a great option and gives you lots of freedom. The roads are fairly quiet outside the cities, but the surfaces may not be what you are used to! You also need to remember that it takes longer to get everywhere than you might expect from looking at the map as the roads are usually single lane and can be winding, and you can often spend time stuck behind a slow vehicle that your can't overtake. That said, driving here is generally fine.
I know of one tour company you could try, run by a guy I know called Dermot Buckley. His website is www.dbcsireland.com and he operates out of Shannon and Dublin. I've no personal experience of his tours, but I know Dermot and his family because they live near me and our kids go to the same schools. He's a really nice guy, a qualified tour guide with a great knowledge of Ireland. At least his website will give you some idea of the type of tours that are available.
There is so much to see in Ireland it's difficult to know where to start. Dublin is great - you'd need at least a couple of days to get a taste. The prehistoric site of Newgrange is reasonably close and is fascinating. In the South the must sees for most tourists are those in Cruise Fanatic's reply, and I agree about Dromoland Castle - I haven't stayed there but I have eaten there a few times & it is amazing. It has a website - worth a look.
I hope you manage to arrange your trip and I hope you all have a wonderful time!
 
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