I’d like to go to Ireland

I’d like to go to Ireland

Sometime soon, ideally within the next two years, I’d like to make my first visit to Ireland. “Going To Ireland” is vague. Where would you suggest to go for someone’s first time? Can’t spend the whole time in pubs playing tunes because we have two kids, but I’d like to experience a great session or two.

When others in my family have gone I think they went to Galway, because that’s our closest familial connection (my grandmother’s father was from Galway). I wouldn’t mind defaulting to that if I can’t think of anything else.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

If you’re not familiar with Rick Steves, his books on travel are the best. He will save you money, get you to neat stuff, often off the beaten track, and specializes in B & B’s rather than hotels. Get one at any bookstore. He stays current, so get the 2020 edition. Have fun! I did.

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Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

My two best times in Ireland where in Ennis, which puts you pretty much in the middle of the west coast, and in Belfast. Wonderful people, great playing opportunities, and lot’s of other things to do in both places. By the way, you didn’t say how long you were planning to stay. If it’s just a week your best bet is to pick a spot and stay on it.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

But it’s not that big a country: If I had to choose a couple of places to stay in a short time, I’d say Dublin for a couple of days them head west to Galway, Sligo, Donegal. Use the Sessions tab on here to plan your route if you want to catch music sessions on specific nights.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

You’ve received some good advice above here. I’ve travelled quite a bit and found staying less than 3 nights in one place makes it seem you spend a lot of time packing and moving.
The wife and I spent 2 weeks there in Oct and did Belfast, Galway, Killarney, and Dublin with day trips out from each place. Lots of good music everywhere we went, including passing through Ennis, and we had the Rick Steves book in the car.
And we found that distance isn’t really measured in miles or kilometers, but rather time.
You can’t see the whole country so pick a city/town or two, keep a sense of adventure, and enjoy whatever comes your way. It’s a wonderful place.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

My favorite place is the small town of Kinvara, about 40 minutes south of Galway and on the water. From there you can go to Galway, plus in Kinvara you’ve got great sessions every night. It’s a beautiful place, too.

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Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

Could I put in a plug for Doolin? Not too far from Galway. Lots of music. You could maybe go out to the Aran Islands and Cliffs of Moher is right there. You could even do a side trip to the Burren. And McDermott’s and
O’Connor’s are great for sessions. People are friendly. http://doolinireland.net/
I would go west for the real Ireland. Galway is a must.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

Taking a tour bus might seem like just the wrong thing to do but my wife and I went on a tour with the band Tullamore (Kansas City area group) in 2015 and it was a lot of fun. We’re going again this year and most evenings will be session or music oriented. This time the tour is with two of the members of the band Slide: http://www.thisoldtractor.com/guzzi007/xfer/Mick_%26_Dave’s_Musical_Tour_of_Ireland.pdf . I’m planning to take along my bouzouki if it fits or my mandolin at the very least.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

According to my Irish drama teacher, the Cliffs of Moher can be dangerous. They still seem like such a cool tourist spot, though.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

They’re also popular as they were a filming spot for a number of famous movies, particularly the “cliffs of insanity” bit from the princess bride.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

They’re not dangerous as long as you don’t fall off of them.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

Miltown summer school
Nice beaches

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

Go West, young man, go West! That’s where the "authentic" and different experience will be. Anywhere from Donegal to Cork… but Galway/ Clare/ Kerry are the easy pickings for good travel.

Don’t try to do too much. Ireland is about kicking back and letting it happen at a slower pace. Limit the mileage. Pick a few things and let the rest just happen.

When you’ve set your dates and booked etc. let us know again - and if you end up on my side of the country by accident - I’ll find ya a session or two (or three!).

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

AFAIK the people who die at the Cliffs of Moher are generally those who climb over the safety barriers to get a selfie. Best not to drop acid before you go up there.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher have been "touristised" since I first visted them in the 1960s: then you’d just pull your car in wherever you could, get out and try not to go too near the edge. The last time we went about 5 years ago, there was a big car park, crossing place and barriers, as Alex said.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

I went to Ireland one August—peak tourist season—and saw almost no other tourists by spending a week in Co. Sligo and day-tripping around the area. Then we went to Galway for a few days, with day trips in that area, and it was full of tourists and tour buses. We were just part of the throng in those places, whereas we got to meet lots of locals in Co. Sligo and environs. In the end, the Co. Sligo part of the trip is where most of our best memories are.

The other thing to consider, in addition to tourist density, is cultural density. By this I mean Americans are used to covering large amounts of ground on a vacation. In Europe—and in Ireland—there’s much more to see in a very small area. So driving around Co. Sligo (and into Co. Donegal) while staying at one B&B kept us plenty busy for a week. If one tries to do, for instance, Dublin to Cork to Galway to Sligo and back to Dublin, one will see far less than digging into a single locale.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

"Dublin to Cork to Galway to Sligo and back to Dublin, one will see far less than digging into a single locale." bearing in mind that while the green heart of Ireland is very lovely indeed……

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

As of last October, once you’re away from the visitor center there are no barriers on the Cliff so any eejit can fall off. But if you do, not to worry; it’s only about 700 ft down and the rocks will break your fall at the bottom.

We didn’t get too close to the edge as it was windy enough to stagger you and a stagger in the wrong direction could have been fatal. Not a place to be missed though if you’re near by.

Then pop over to Lisdoonvarna into The Roadside Inn for a bite and a pint and play "The Road to Lisdoonvarna" on whatever you’re carrying. For me it was my fiddle.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

"According to my Irish drama teacher, the Cliffs of Moher can be dangerous. They still seem like such a cool tourist spot, though."

They’re as dangerous as any other large cliff if you do stupid things near or on the edge of it. There are safe(ish) ways to get close to the edge, but if you don’t know what those are, don’t hang over the damn cliff. And definitely don’t take yourself out of the gene pool by getting a selfie dangling into space.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

"…the Cliffs of Moher can be dangerous."

Statistically a lot less dangerous than Out On The Ocean.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

I could read y’all’s banter for days. Thanks for the tips!

My brother-in-law is also trying to get the whole family to his family’s place in Mexico, so who knows which will happen first.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

I asked a local if tourists fall off the cliffs often. "No," he said, "Once seems to be enough."

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Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

I had a similar situation a couple years ago with the family/pub music balance. We went in March and stayed in Dublin and Clare. I did well in Dublin and I would recommend the Cobblestone first and foremost - one night they had back to back sessions with the second hosted by Jesse Smith (who is awesome if you didn’t know). I also had a great time at the Piper’s Corner which is owned by Sean Og Potts though I mostly listened because the music was on a really high level.
I didn’t do so well in Clare (Doolin’) I think mostly because we were there in the off season. I have a really good friend who’s living there and I could reach out to her and get a session schedule for the area if you need it.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

Haven’t been to Ireland since 1997 (visiting Cork city and West Cork). Skibbereen is lovely though some sad history as v badly affected by the Potato Famine. If you go down to the s. west coast, visit Baltimore - in summer the sea is delightful. Played piano in a bar there and loads of tourists around who were clearly interested in trad. music - scores of Americans.

I was impressed by how musical Cork city is and in those days music books galore to be found in bookshops, probably not as many these days though. The English Market is I hope still going strong, food from all over Europe, lots French then but surely from Eastern Europe, Poland etc in the 21st century too. I found people very friendly.

If in N. Ireland, Rathlin Island is worth crossing the sea for. Faces the Mull of Kintyre, so has a certain Scottish feel. Ceili bands, accordions and plenty of dance music - but I went way back in the mid 1960s so I wonder what changes time has wrought there.

Keep it rural. Local. Small.

Go to one place that is neither huge nor tiny. Stay there. Ireland is about neighbors. Locals. Dublin is a borough of New York City and fine if you like big cities and that sort of crack. Doolin is fun, but it will be filled with Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Not why you’d go to Ireland. I haven’t been everywhere in Ireland but I did learn to love my neighbors in County Clare.
Ennis is great and is at the center of a great musical tradition that includes East Clare, West Clare, Doolin, etc. I love Galway, which is a bustling college town. Sligo town would be fun. Again, it’s all about meeting and talking with locals. They’re Irish, thus gifted at conversation. I have heard great things about Dingle. It isn’t about monuments or historical places. I mean, a rock is a rock. It’s the people that make the country.
Cork is fun, but it’s an urban scene rather than the rural scene made famous in jokes like this:
A big shot Dublin lawyer went duck hunting in rural County Clare.
He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer’s field on the other side of the fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, the old farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing.
The lawyer said, "I’m retrieving my duck. I shot it and it fell in this field."
The old farmer Peter said, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here. That’s my duck now"
The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial lawyers in Dublin, in fact in all Ireland, and if you don’t let me get that duck, I’ll sue you and take everything you own."
The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don’t know exactly how we settle disputes in Kilshanny. We settle small disagreements like this with the ‘Three Kick Rule.’ The lawyer asked, "What is the ‘Three Kick Rule’?"
The Farmer answered, "Well, because the dispute occurs on my land, I get to go first. I kick you three times and then you kick me three times and we go on back and forth until someone gives up."
The lawyer quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the little old guy.
He agreed to abide by the local custom.
The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the attorney.
His first kick put the toe of his heavy work boot right into the lawyer’s groin and dropped the lawyer to his knees! The farmer went over to him and his second kick to the midriff bent the lawyer double in pain.
The lawyer was on all fours when the farmer kicked him in the butt, sending him face-first into a fresh cow pie.
Summoning every bit of his will and remaining strength the lawyer very slowly managed to get to his feet, delighted that at last he could get his shots in on the old guy.
Wiping his face with the arm of his jacket, he said, "Okay, you old bollix. Now it’s my turn."
"Nah," the old farmer said. "I give up. You can keep the duck."

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

"…the Cliffs of Moher can be dangerous."

"Statistically a lot less dangerous than Out On The Ocean."

But a cooler way to go than simply tripping up the stairs?

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That’s a great joke David, I like it!

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I’m from Dublin, so here’s my take:

Rent a car and focus on the west of the country: choose from Kerry, Clare, Galway, Sligo, Donegal, etc. Don’t try to fit too much in.

Dublin is great for historical and cultural attractions, but it is possibly less like the Ireland that you might be looking for. It also has some of the problems that you associate with a big capital city. If you’re flying into Dublin, then spend at most 2 nights in Dublin before heading out west. While in Dublin go to the Cobblestone for the best trad music in Ireland 🙂

Rick Steve’s is the best travel guide for Ireland, in my opinion. Other guides seem to copy/paste the same old stuff and I sometimes wonder if the authors have really spent much time here. As far as I can remember, he calls out Temple Bar for what it is, and describes Doolin accurately.

Doolin might be a disappointment - it’s become a victim of its own popularity. Busloads of tourists doing Doolin/The Burren/Cliffs of Moher. Musicians paid to perform for said tourists. It’s quasi-authentic. But it’s a handy spot for visiting the Aran islands or seeing the Cliffs of Moher from another perspective.

Cliffs of Moher are perfectly safe if you observe the rules. If you’re driving, drop your passengers off on the road before going into the car park. Car park charges by the number of occupants in the car…

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Sometimes when you’re a tourist you want to avoid other tourists and get off the beaten track and soak up the authentic local feel.

Sometimes you just want to enjoy being a tourist and do unabashedly touristy things.

I work in the Southern California tourist industry. Many locals here avoid touristy stuff like the plague; there are people who live less than a mile from Disneyland who have never been there. It’s that local elitism thing.

Re: I’d like to go to Ireland

"It’s that local elitism thing."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_33#Interior

Sorry, Mr. Cook. I’m sure Disneyland has plenty of wonderful experiences for local visitors and I’m sure you know the best of what is available. I don’t mean to be elitist. I know at least 2 people in Chico who Disneyland
is their favourite place. I have been there & had a wonderful day, though it began with a very secretive man
at the gate approaching me and telling me the rules I needed to follow before I could go inside.
It was more than a bit creepy. About Club 33? Never been there but I’ve heard a handful of stories about it; including a musician friend who talked to Michael Jackson there. Incredible stories, nothing like what
I imagined watching Walt Disney on TV growing up.

Having said that… I grew up in a "tourist town" & sometimes you need to give into the flowing tide & join the masses flooding into the park. Resistance may not be futile but it can be tiresome. Good to ease off periodically.
;

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