Ireland has been on my list since forever, but I kept putting it off as something I could do later. I ultimately chose to go to Ireland for a week because the plane ticket was only $150 roundtrip from Istanbul, and, let’s be real here, I needed a hit of Cadbury creme and caramel eggs the week of Easter. Little did I know how expensive the rest of the week would be. I now understand why everyone waits till they’re retired to visit the Emerald Isle.
Now, when I say expensive, keep in mind that I’m pretty cheap. All together, my week cost me under 900 euros. I think food in the pubs runs a standard fare. Hostels were a bit more than I expected, but there may have been cheaper dorm beds available had I sorted myself out more than two or three days in advance. Day tours, I thought, were very reasonably priced, especially if you are a solo traveler who doesn’t wish to rent a car. It was the transportation between cities, however, that shocked me.
I landed in Dublin, made my way to Zone 13 and caught the next bus to Galway. I purchased my ticket on the bus and was distraught to discover a one-way adult fare was 21 euros. Last September I went from London to Edinburgh (Mega Bus) overnight for only 6 pounds, so how, pray tell, is a 2.5 hour bus ride (CityLink Bus) 21 euros? If you have a student card and if you are making a return journey, the tickets are significantly cheaper.
Consider Renting a Car
If you’re traveling with someone and you’re comfortable giving the left side of the road a try, I’d recommend renting a car. Sharing the expenses between multiple people, I’m sure, would be cheaper than the transport between cities and the day tours. It would also allow you freedom and flexibility with your timetable and routes. As I was chauffeured from place to place, I often felt that I’d be comfortable taking a spin on the Irish roads. Drivers seemed patient and courteous.
The objective of my trip was to hear great music and hang out with nature. I didn’t want to be busy, thus, my itinerary covers just West Ireland, which, if we’re being real, is the prettiest part of the country. Having traveled much of Europe, I didn’t feel it was necessary to castle hop, and since I live in one of the biggest cities in the world, I didn’t want to spend much time in Dublin, except to visit my friend there. You could certainly do more in a week than I did, but I was very satisfied with my itinerary.
Day 1: Istanbul to Dublin Airport to Galway
Day 2: Inis Mor (Aran Islands)
Day 3: Day trip to Cliffs of Moher and the Barren
Day 4: Bus to Killarney
Day 5: Day Trip through the Dingle Peninsula
Day 6: Gap of Dunloe
Day 7: Afternoon Train to Dublin
(I certainly could have done a day trip around the Ring of Kerry or stopped for a couple hours in Cork this day, but I wanted to meet my friend in Dublin)
Day 8: Dublin – Afternoon Flight to Istanbul
The nice thing about all this is that I didn’t book anything in advance except my flights and hostels. I felt like Ireland offered a lot of flexibility.
For details, catch my next post.