More and more people are confident planning their own international trips, but it’s not always easy to be sure you’re experiencing everything a destination has to offer in an efficient and fun way. That’s where one of Vacation’s expert travel agents can help you plan an extended journey through a fascinating multi-layered country like Ireland.
We sat down for a casual chat with Amy Mutscher, a frequent traveler who recently traveled with her husband and two sons to Ireland on a multi-day itinerary custom-planned vacation.
Amy and her family were already somewhat familiar with Ireland and the city of Dublin; however, there were other areas of the country they wanted to explore. Despite their familiarity with the destination, experienced traveler Amy understands how crucial working with a travel consultant is to execute a stress-free planning process. Find out first-hand how it was done.
Was this your first time out of the country? If not, what are some of the places you and your family traveled before?
We’ve been to many destinations in Europe, the Caribbean and across the U.S. Our first trip to Europe was to Ireland about six years prior, so this was a return visit to the Emerald Isle.
What piqued your interest in traveling to Ireland?
I was interested in visiting my uncle and his family who live in the village of Roscrea which is an hour and one-half southwest of Dublin. We’d been to Dublin before, but none of the rest of the itinerary. We really like visiting family and friends who live overseas. We get a more intimate look at our destination when we see it through the eyes of a resident.
What were some of the experiences you recall in the cities you visited?
Dublin is home to the original, still-working Guinness Factory. We toured the facility on our first visit, where we learned how to pull a proper pint. We enjoyed our complimentary beer in the rooftop bar after the tour ended.
The Book of Kells in Trinity College is definitely worth the trip. (it’s under glass – no smell!) It’s a hand-written, illustrated version of the gospels and dates back to 384 AD. We were drawn in by the fascinating video of a book-binder sewing together a book in the way the Book of Kells was made.
In Cobh we loved the hands-on exhibits at the Titanic Experience museum located on the spot where the Titanic docked before it set sail for New York in 1912. It was a great history lesson about the ship itself, but also about the communication tools they used to radio the RMS Carpathia and other Canadian ships for help.
Near Tipperary we took a detour to Killarney National Park and rode in a traditional jaunting cart (horse-drawn buggy) to visit Torc waterfall. We didn’t find a pot of gold, but we took some fun photos in front of the falls!
Did you sample the local food? If so, what did you eat? Where?
“As part of the B&B plan, we had a home-cooked breakfast served by our hosts each morning. The Brown Hen B&B is located on a working farm, so their eggs were incredibly fresh! The traditional ‘fry up’ includes a fried egg, rashers (bacon), pudding (sausage), baked beans and half of a roasted tomato along with Irish soda bread and butter.
We found out about something called a ‘carvery’ meal. A carvery is when a roasted meat like chicken or ham is freshly sliced to order and accompanied by a number of side items like stuffing and vegetables, but always potatoes cooked several ways.
You are served at a central station and take your filled plate back to your table. We enjoyed a carvery lunch at the Lilly Bridges restaurant in the Racket Hall Country House Hotel in Roscrea.
Did you work with a tour company? Do you think you could’ve planned a similar trip without their assistance?
We were on a self-drive B&B package through a tour company. They were very helpful and told us exactly what we could expect, and how to prepare for the trip. They also sent us coupon books that I used at The Titanic Experience and at the Rock of Cashel.
If they didn’t use a tour company, would you recommend family and friends use a travel agent for this or any international trip?
Of course! A travel agent can help you sift through the overwhelming amount of choices and really help you get your money’s worth from your vacation budget.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable family vacation to Ireland? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who will customize an itinerary you’re going to love.