My brother and I want to spend 2 weeks in Ireland. As we are Austrian students, we don't have lots of money. So we will stay in hostels or very cheap hotels all the time.
As we are thinking now about where we should go, we are not sure, which airport we shoud choose for our arrival (Dublin, Belfast, Cork???).
We want to go to Ireland by the end of July (21. July to 4. August).
I read many things about the MUST SEES, e.g. Cliffs of Moher, Guinness Storehouse, Temple Bar, Christchurch Cathedral, National Gallery, Wicklow Mountains, Dingle...
We want to spend our time in the Republic of Ireland, but if we have still enough money left, we want to fly to Belfast to visit the Giants Causeway and a little bit of Northern Ireland.
Can you give me an advice, what I really HAVE to visit. But as we are both among 21 years old, we are not allowed to rent a car (we have to travel by bus).
We have about € 2400,-- together.
Please, help me. I would be very grateful for every advice.
First of all don't try to pack in too much, Ireland is near enough so you can always fly back again sometime for a citybreak etc. If you really want to see Northern Ireland then you could fly into Belfast first and go up to Giant's Causeway from there. The train (Enterprise) from Belfast-Dublin is good/frequent and only takes 2 to 2.5 hours to Dublin so no need to fly.
I would say 3-4 days in Dublin would be good, maybe a few days for Galway City? It's lovely. Day or two in Cork maybe? There are hostels in the cities and you can find B&Bs in the smaller places although they are more expensive. Also although I've never been, I think you should definitely consider visiting West Cork and Kerry, supposed to be gorgeous.
Big sights? Dublin: do the city bus tour to orientate yourselves, it's hop-on and off for a day I think. Trinity, Guinness Storehouse, and museums are great, depends on personal taste I guess. Have a few drinks anyway! And just enjoy it, don't rush around too much. i have lived in Dublin a long time so any questions about that you can pm me.
Best of luck
I think if u can fly in to Cork it would be easier as u can do the trip without going back over the way u came. There's the Blarney Stone in Cork. U can then head to Dingle,small but nice. U may have to backtrack a little from Dingle though, not many buses in and out of there. Cliffs of Moher in Clare would be next, worth visiting. I would recommend going to Galway next,nicest city in Ireland for me ( I'm from Cork). U can get a bus to Dublin from there should take about 4hrs. Wicklow mountains are only about an hour from Dublin city. If you have the money definitely go to Belfast and Giants Causeway. You can get a train from Dublin to Belfast. Only internal flight to Belfast is from Cork with http://www.aerarann.com/ if u decide to use a different route. Just so u know they don't use Euro's in Northern Ireland its English pounds. You should have plenty in your budget, most of your money will be prob spent on eating and drinking. To give u an idea a pint of beer in most places costs around €4.00-€4.50. Expect to pay at least €5.00 in Dublin.
Hope some of this helps.
You might want to consider Paddywagon tours, www.paddywagontours.com. It is a great deal for students and young adults who wish to see Ireland. They not only hit the tourist spots but also some out of the way places. The price for their tours include lodging at their own hostels or you can opt for a B&B, plus all entrance fees for the attractions they transport you to and breakfast each day. I especially like their pub, The Randy Leprechaun, in Dingle. Their ten day tour might be just the deal for you. I think it takes you to Belfast, Donegal, Galway & Dingle among other places.
Barring that, I would chose either Belfast and N.I. to explore OR traveling the Republic. Bus travel will be your most cost effective means of transportation in Ireland. Dublin will be more expensive than Cork or Galway, especially at the time of year you are considering. Because you are traveling in High season, you shouldn't expect many bargains.
Have a most excellent adventure!
You may think my reply now is biased, but be aware I lived in the Republic before I moved up north, so I try to give honest advice
In terms of cities, I think Northern Ireland is a lot more interesting than Eire.
Dublin is excellent for 1 or 2 days including a lot of shopping and the busy nightlife, including the Temple Bar district with its old houses - a must see. However, Dublin's centre is quite small and I would not recommend spending more than 2 days there. Add an extra day to visit the Glendalough National Park which has some amazing scenery.
Galway is a very cosy city with its narrow streets, vibrant pubs, and canals. Also, the beautiful Aran Islands can easily be done on a day trip from Galway and they are a must see also: cliffs rising above the ocean, very old stone walls, ... I would also recommend a day or two here, maybe a bit more if you also wish to see the Cliffs of Moher.
However, Northern Ireland is city-wise more interesting, while Eire is more a beauty for those who love nature. In terms of cities, Belfast is by far the most interesting on the island: a vibrant town with a lot of cultural activities and parties, a lot of shops, but also a lot of historical sights and beautiful architecture, the murals are a must-see as well (take a bus tour through the city for that) and then there's a lot of interesting museums as well.
Also, Derry/Londonderry is surprisingly interesting with its old city walls and its vibrant cultural scene.
Also worth seeing in NI, are the coastal towns Newcastle and Bangor, the most beautiful seaside resorts on the island in my opinion (note that both can be very busy though if the weather is allright!).
Enjoy your trip!
Thanks for your replies (until now)...
I think that I got the main messages of the "Must See counties", which are:
Bit Devine, the website you have mentioned (www.paddywagontours.com) is exactly that what I needed.
I think that I will book there the "10 Day All Ireland Tour", which contains all "must see counties" and the price is also very, very good.
And Gerrit_BE...I think you are totally right. I have to visit Northern Ireland, which I will do now, for sure.
You also said in your post:
>>Also, Derry/Londonderry is surprisingly interesting...<<
Just because I am interested, why are there 2 different names for the same county. Is Derry the Irish and Londonderry the English name?
To say the North has more going on or to see city-wise is misleading for a visitor. i have lots of friends from the North, not being discriminatory
Go to Donegal, its lovely. so are the people. so is the accent. Dublin is fun, and yeah - expensive. a great city when the sun is shining as there are some lovely parks and everyones in a good mood Has some nice beaches too. one particular one i love. PM if you want info.
i wouldnt really bother much with Cork City but go to West Cork for sure. Galways nice for 1 or 2 days. Wicklow has some incredible walking areas.
I think that Paddywagon tours offer a great deal for reasonable money. I am glad that you are consiering their 10 day tour, whihc will allow you to see a bit of each of the regions of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well. Best of all, you won't have to drive and you will make new friends whilst seeing all the best bits of Ireland. I was the "mother" of the group when I took their tour, with being the eldest by a good twenty years. However, I had a fantastic time! The drivers are delightful story tellers!
As for Derry, it was originally called Derry Calgach. Calgach meaning fierce warrior and Derry meaning Oak wood. It became Londonderry when it was given over to the plantation system and the Ulster Scots. I rarely hear it referred to any more as Londonderry, except by tourists. Once upon a long ago, during the Troubles, what name you called it by signified your religious affliation. If you called it Derry you were deemed a Catholic, Nationalist or Republican Supporter in the eyes of the R.U.C. or British Army who called it Londonderry for the most part.
There you have it, a nutshell history lesson for Monday!