Post # 1
Fiance and I are going to Ireland next week and I’ve been thinking of some questions, mostly silly ones probably.
I’m not a drinker (I’ll have the occasional drink here and there) and I don’t want to look like a baby when we go to the pubs. What kind of “girly” drinks are popular (if any) in Ireland?
I’m so nervous to drive on the other side of the road and car…How did you visitors find it?
Do we have anything to worry about when we travel between the North and South?
Post # 3
You can always get a shandy – half beer, half sprite. It’s more of a summer drink but I think you can get it year round. I haven’t been to Ireland in a few years but I lived in London for a long time and for a lighter drink, that’s what we always got.
Driving – not a big deal, just always remind yourself LEFT, LEFT, LEFT 😉 Actually, just make sure the driver is always closest to the centre line and you’ll know you’re on the correct side of the road.
I never had any issues going from North to South, don’t worry about it.
Must sees: Giant’s Causeway (Northern Ireland), Dingle Peninsula (Rep of Ireland), Galway (most fun city EVER!), Ring of Kerry is nice, and Cliffs of Moher. Pretty standard tourist stuff, but they’re on every tourist itinerary for a reason. You’re going before the big tourist season so you should hopefully beat most of the crowds. Bring a raincoat though!!!!
Post # 4
A good one is a Guiness with black currant syrup, so good!!
Never drove over there so I’m no help there
As for North and South, your money changes at the border, Bring your passport just in case, I never had to use it but it’s nice to have. As for the “Troubles” don’t talk politics, religion or sports. Be warned that people will be wary of you, regardless of your American accent. Depending where you are going in the North, there are towns that are walled and the gates do close at night, as well as make sure you’re in a neutral taxi if you’re going between Catholic and Protestant….ummm….PM if you have any other questions specifically about the North, I spent 6 months studying up in Belfast and travelled both North and South.
Post # 5
I only drank the Guiness so no suggestions on the drink.
Driving – It strangely wasn’t that hard. And I was also relearning how to drive a manual. I drove with my mom and aunt and I feel they helped a lot. I also mostly stayed on the outer of the roundabouts. 🙂
I think the only thing about the North and South is they use different currency but I didn’t go to the North so I can’t remember.
Must sees – Blarney Castle, Guiness tour, Durty Nelly’s and Bunratty Castle with the folk park in Shannon. We did a medieval tour at Bunratty Castle and it was awesome!
Post # 6
My husband and I were in Ireland for 3 days during our Honeymoon.
I’m not a big drinker at all as well but being in Ireland I had to drink Guinness! They also had a hard cider that was nice as well.
My husband drove and he’s a really good driver so it was no issue but the left was definitely hard! I HIGHLY Recommend getting a GPS on your rental!!! All the street signs are in Gaelic! 🙁
We only stayed in Dublin, then drove north for a golf course then south to Wexford then Rosslare for a ferry to Great Britian.
Post # 7
I <3 Ireland so much!! I spent a summer on Achill Island off the West coast.
I’m not a huge drinker, either, but Bulmer’s (hard cider) with black currant juice was the best drink I ever had. I can’t find it (it’s called Magner’s in the US) anywhere in TX, which makes me so sad.
Dublin is a great place, but I liked Galway so much better. It’s really fun and relaxed. If you have time, I’ve heard that the Aran Islands are really beautiful. I’m pretty sure you can take a ferry from Galway to get to them. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, I can’t say enough about Achill Island. It’s breathtaking, but a little off the beaten path.
As far as North/South relations, I wasn’t too far from the border and I honestly never heard of any issues. Several of the students in my summer program took trips to the North and nobody had any issues.
Make sure you have waterproof shoes and a good rain coat that you take EVERYWHERE. It can be gorgeous and sunny one minute and literally a minute later it will be raining sideways and the temperature will have dropped 20 degrees.
Post # 8
The hard cider there is pretty good for a girlie drink! I would also recommend if you do want to try a beer, go for Murphy’s, it tasted sweeter to me than Guinness, but only like 2% sweeter.
I drove the whole week we were there and it was scary as shit! Straight out of the Dublin airport there’s a 5-6 lane roundabout to greet you. I actually like the roundabouts but the worst is the small country lanes with a stone wall practically touching your left sideview mirror and then a gigantic tourbus on the right. I’m not gonna lie, a couple times I shut my eyes and prayed while driving – just for a second! After driving, I now know why people drink heavily, you need to to cope with a rough day of driving.
Post # 9
Can’t suggest any drinks… I despised Guinness and was turned off to the drinking immediately (which is strange because I’m 90% Irish… guess I thought it was supposed to be in my blood or something).
SO and I drove from Dublin to Galway (about 3 hours) and it seemed fine. The passenger was in charge of reminding the driver to stay on the left. Other advice: never get comfortable (that’s when you’ll forget which side to be on), make sure one of you is good at driving stick, get a GPS!
As for must sees, I loved the historical buildings in Dublin, but the atmosphere and people were AMAZING in Galway (to echo other bees). Highly recommend going there. Also loved the Cliffs of Moher (though it was really foggy when we went, still worth it!). We went on one of those bus tours through the sights of the west coast (County Galway and County Clare). We only had a day in Galway, so it was the best way to see all the cool things there!
Enjoy it!! Have sooo much fun 🙂 I miss it and can’t wait to go back!
Post # 10
We went there for our honeymoon. I like beer but it doesn’t like me back, so I drank wine or water at all the the pubs. No strange looks.
We drove around the whole country for a week in a rental. My husband did the driving and didn’t have a hard time at all. He actually enjoyed the empty rural roads with liberal speed limits a lot.
We didn’t go North so can’t help you there.
My favorites (in no particular order): Dublin, Glendalough in Wicklow Mountains, Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, Cliffs of Moher, Adare, dinner show at Bunratty, a night’s stay at Ashford Castle in Mayo.
Post # 11
@meliss: “I like beer but it doesn’t like me back” – ditto!
I can’t drink alcohol anymore, but in my heyday, I loved a good Guinness – I think it taste like chocolate. Irish car bombs REALLY taste like chocolate, but that’s not something i would recommend ordering there.
I would try hard cider.
Post # 12
@Ryansgirl: First of all Yeah! for an Irish vacation! I love Ireland and miss it so much! I lived in Belfast for about 3 years, and my FH is from a small town in Northern Ireland…So here’s my advice:
Girlie drinks: Guinness with black currant cordial; lager shandy (with say Harp or Carlsberg); WKD or Smirnoff Ice if you are into that kind of really sweet thing (and many girls in Ireland are!); or rose wine. Actually I found more American girls that like beer than Irish women. Irish women are REALLY into their girlie drinks, so don’t feel bad ordering them.
Driving: Just try and remain calm. And remember when you are pulling into parking lots, etc, to stay to the left! Also, maybe educate yourself a bit about the rules of roundabouts. They have more of those than lights and stop signs, and most Americans aren’t used to how to use them. But you’ll be fine!
North/South: DON”T WORRY AT ALL!! As someone who travelled constantly between the north and south, it ain’t no thang. I also lived in Belfast. I found that people didn’t mind me even asking them about their history, etc. I found most people like to talk about it and explain their country’s situation. Like any other city, stay away from the bad areas, and you will be grand. And you may get stopped and your passport checked as you cross the border. It’s not typical but it does happen. And the currency changes.
Must sees: North Irish coats road including the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. Also the Bushmill’s whiskey factory. Galway! Belfast! I find Dublin full of tourists and foreigners and SUPER expensive but its fun for a day or two. County Mayo is amazing. I really love the less travelled areas in Northern Ireland (I did live there, so I am partial) but it feels much less touristy than the rest of Ireland and its a good bit less expensive. So check out County Antrim and County Down.
Most of all have an amazing time! And eat lots of soda bread and lamb whenever you get a chance!
Post # 13
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the roundabouts! My husband did pretty well with them but if it was me driving I know we’d be circling all day long.
@jedeve: From one IC girl to the other, happy early St.Patrick’s day! Sad to remember just last year I could handle wine just fine, if not beer. This year it’ll just be Fiji water from a Guiness glass for me.
Post # 14
Wow, all the tips are amazing!!! I’m definitely worried about the round-a-bouts. I’ve driven in 2 laned ones in Calgary, but I’m sure it’s nothing compared to the 5 laned one at the Dublin airport which I will be driving in…eeek. I’m assuming if I stay in the 2nd to last outside lane, I should be okay until I want to exit. We checked about the GPS and it’s 15 euro a day, so for us that would be about 200 for our whole trip. Does anyone know if it would work if we bring our own GPS?
The Guiness with black current sounds really good though, I’ll have to try that!!
I didn’t hear about people being wary of us. We’re Canadian, but who knows if they’ll be able to tell the difference with our accents. If we say “eh” a lot, maybe they’ll know . I always heard that the Irish were very welcoming and the nicest people! Plus I’ll have Canadian goodies to give to people we meet so hopefully they’ll enjoy them.
Also, we’ll be sure to have our passports with us at all times!
Thanks so much for all the info, I’ll make sure to write it all down before we leave 🙂
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Post # 16
Thanks @Gerbera:!!! Great piece.