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  1. #21

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    Check out www.tripadvisor.com. Put in the name of a hotel and city and you can see reviews. Very helpful.

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    I swear by trip advisor! I have used it to book many trips and have found the recommendations and reviews to be a very accurate picture of what you will actually get. I try to remember to contribute to the site whenever I return from a trip as my way to "pay it forward". They've sent me freebies like luggage tags and a little backpack for submitting reviews.. nice surprise

    Thanks for the thread! I'm heading off on my own UK adventure on Monday... 15 day trip to Northern parts of England and Scotland (Scarborough, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries, Liverpool being our main bases). Used trip advisor as my main planning tool for this one, too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murdoch View Post

    1) We have not decided which city we are flying into or out of... and we even talked about the ferry at one point. We can either come into London and leave from Manchester, or vice versa.
    Just had a look at your tour itinerary in Ireland and as your trip ends in the Shannon region it might be more convenient for you to fly to the UK from there. Shannon Airport has flights to London (Stansted and Gatwick) and Liverpool with Ryanair and to London Heathrow and Manchester with Aer Lingus.

    Just be aware that both airlines charge extra for luggage and Ryanair's checked luggage limit is 15kg and not 20kg as is standard on most other airlines.

    Both airlines fly from Dublin Airport to the UK with greater frequency and the fare will probably be cheaper. As time seems to be a limiting factor, I would say you can probably rule out the ferry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Murdoch View Post
    2) We are taking the below tour through Ireland:http://www.authenticireland.com/tour...Irish+Opulence
    I am fairly familiar with everywhere on your itinerary, except Waterford. Do you have an idea on what you would like to see in Ireland or would you like suggestions? Would you like some info on restaurants. pubs and cafes?
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allezfred View Post
    I am fairly familiar with everywhere on your itinerary, except Waterford. Do you have an idea on what you would like to see in Ireland or would you like suggestions? Would you like some info on restaurants. pubs and cafes?
    WOW! Thanks for that info! It will help immensely and the flights are considerably cheaper than I have been finding!

    We know very little about Ireland - just that we have hotels and transport! LOL! Suggestions are more than welcome and very much appreciated. We are road trip people and seem to explore quite well... alas, suggestions for our honeymoon and making the most out of the vacation would be fantastic!

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    As is Hampton Court!
    Thanks............that is the name of the place I couldn't remember. My all time favorite picture of my sister and myself was take (with our backs turned to the camera) at a fountain there!
    DH - and that's just my opinion

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murdoch View Post
    WOW! Thanks for that info! It will help immensely and the flights are considerably cheaper than I have been finding!
    Just be aware that, especially with Ryanair, you need to be careful about the weight and how many pieces of luggage (hand and checked) you have. In addition, Ryanair only have online check-in so you need to do that and print out your boarding pass before you go to the airport. You can do it 14 days in advance of your flight though, so you could take care of it even before you arrive in Ireland

    Quote Originally Posted by Murdoch View Post
    We know very little about Ireland - just that we have hotels and transport! LOL! Suggestions are more than welcome and very much appreciated. We are road trip people and seem to explore quite well... alas, suggestions for our honeymoon and making the most out of the vacation would be fantastic!
    From the link that you posted, I see that you'll be staying in the Ballsbridge area of Dublin or D4 as it's sometimes called after the postcode. It's the poshest part of Dublin with most of the embassies located here (although the Canadian is in D2 in the city centre ).

    I don't know if tour includes transfers from the airport, but if it doesn't you can take the Aircoach from Dublin Airport to Ballsbridge. It stops at Pembroke Road and Merrion Road (RDS). Find out from your hotel which is nearer. Single fare is €8. A taxi will cost around €30 and perhaps more, depending on time of day and traffic.

    There are a few restaurants and pubs in the area, but it's busier during the daytime than at night, unless there is a concert at the RDS or a football or rugby match at Lansdowne Road stadium. My pick of restaurants in the Ballsbridge area would be:

    Roly's Bistro - Bit of a local institution. Can be hit and miss. Like so many mid to high end restaurants in Dublin, lunch can be better value than dinner. They've also opened up a more casual dining cafe and deli downstairs. Bread and cakes a highlight.

    Bella Cuba - Next door to Roly's. Cuban cuisine, surprisingly enough.

    The French Paradox - French wine bar serving cheeses, meats, pates, etc.

    Also quite a couple of Indian, Chinese and a Japanese restaurant in the area if that's what you fancy. There are plenty of pubs in the area, all pretty standard and they all should also serve food during the daytime.

    Having said all of the above and as you'll be doing your sightseeing in the city centre (about 10 minutes by bus or 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly you walk), I'd recommend you do most of your dining there. I'd describe most of the food in the better restaurants in Dublin as French/Irish. Most are located in D2 (south city centre) with the odd one or two in D1 (north city centre). Dublin city centre is separated by the River Liffey, so it's fairly easy to get your bearings.

    The Exchequer - Gastropub. Ate there again on Tuesday and it was fairly busy. You can reserve a table or just show up and eat at the bar.

    Queen of Tarts - Tiny original branch opposite Dublin Castle or newer and bigger branch on Cow Lane about 50 metres away. For lunch or afternoon tea. Cakes and pastries are fab.

    Chez Max - French cafe at gates to Dublin Castle.

    Silk Road Cafe - Located in Chester Beatty Library (more of which later) behind Dublin Castle. North African, Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food.

    Green 19 - Wexford Street/Camden Street area is the happening part of Dublin at the moment. Mains are all €10.

    The Winding Stair - Just over the Halfpenny Bridge in D1 in what used to be a bohemian bookshop/cafe. There's still a bookshop downstairs. Try to get a seat by the window for some quintessentially Dublin views.

    La Maison - French bistro behind Powerscourt Townhouse shopping centre

    L'Gueuleton - French again. They don't take reservations, but I've never had to wait.

    101 Talbot - One of my favourites. It's quite lively and generally frequented by theatregoers attending plays at either the Abbey or the Gate. Casual, but great food.

    Thornton's - One Michelin star. Lunch is incredibly good value. Best to reserve ahead. Just don't ask for chips.

    Chapter One - One Michelin star. Next to the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square in D1 hence the name.

    Pearl Brasserie - Across the road from Government buildings. French/Irish.

    Patrick Guilbaud - Two Michelin stars. Next door to Pearl. Expensive and possibly the only restaurant in Ireland that could be described as somewhat stuffy. Incredible food though.

    OK, that's the restaurants out of the way. Next is pubs and bars. Where do I even begin?

    The Brazen Head - Ireland's oldest pub. Near Christchurch

    The Church - In D1 in a, yes you've guessed it, deconsecrated church.

    The Library Bar - Inside the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street. Always reminds me of Blake Carrington's study from Dynasty.

    The Dawson Lounge - Probably the smallest pub in Ireland, but plenty of character. Not for the claustrophobic though.

    Cafe En Seine - Near the Dawson Lounge, but worlds apart in atmosphere and size.

    The Long Hall - Victorian era pub. One of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin.

    The Market Bar - A converted sausage factory. They also do tapas.

    Just across the road from the Market Bar and above L'Gueuleton, there's a bar with no name that's frequently referred to as the Secret bar.

    That's just scratched the surface as far as pubs and bars go, so hopefully they'll be something there that you fancy.

    Sightseeing in Dublin:

    Guinness Storehouse - I suppose if you come to Dublin, it has to be done. Booking online gives you a 10% discount on the (expensive) admission and you don't need to queue for your ticket. You can just pick it up at the information desk. Entry includes one drink (Guinness or otherwise) at the Gravity bar

    Trinity College - Ireland's oldest university and home to the Page Book of Kells. The Old Library is worth the price of admission alone. Small discount for booking online. Student guided tours over the summer months are apparently quite good, although I've never been on one.

    Christchurch Cathedral - Ye olde ancient church.

    St. Patrick's Cathedral - Ye another olde ancient church.

    Dublin Castle - Seat of British rule when Ireland was still a colony of the UK. Entry only by guided tour.

    Chester Beatty Library - One of the largest collections of Oriental and Islamic art in Europe. European Museum of the Year 2002.

    The National Museum - There are actually three separate museums within Dublin that come under the banner of the National Museum. The National Museum on Kildare Street (next to Leinster House, the Irish Houses of Parliament) displays archaelogical artifacts (mainly Celtic and early Christian). The Natural History Museum on Merrion Square has recently reopened (it was closed a few years ago when a marble staircase collapsed ). It's frequently referred to as "The Dead Zoo". Further away and across the river from Guinness is Collins Barracks which is the Decorative Arts and History branch of the museum. Admission to all the museums is free.

    National Gallery - Lots of paintings.

    The Hugh Lane - The modern contemporary Irish art can be ho-hum, but the reconstruction of Francis Bacon's studio is fascinating. Admission free.

    Dublin Writers Museum - Next to the Hugh Lane. No shortage of material for display.

    Besides the above places, I'd recommend just walking around Grafton Street, St. Stephen's Green, check out the Georgian Houses around Fitzwilliam Square.

    Other tips:

    Butlers Chocolate Cafe - Several branches in Dublin and around Ireland (there's even shops in Karachi and New Jersey ). With your coffee, tea or whatever you get to choose a chocolate truffle or praline.

    Penneys - Irish retailers do affordable fashion really well and this is the king of them all. The mens selection can be a bit meh, but the womens and childrens are bang on trend and inexpensive.

    Carrolls - For cheap and tacky souvenirs!

    Avoca - On Suffolk Street in D2. Cute and stylish clothes, home furnishings and food. Deli downstairs and restaurant on top floor.

    Kilkenny Design - On Nassau Street in D2. Full range of top quality Irish souvenirs.

    While there places worth visiting, in general I would give Temple Bar(f) a wide berth unless you want to spend your whole time in Dublin with other tourists eating overpriced, substandard food and dodging hen and stag parties.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  7. #27
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    allezfred, my word I want to pay my membership ASAP JUST to rep you - WOW! I cannot thank you enough! I am sending my FH the link to this so he can do some searching!! YOU ARE AMAZING - THANK YOU!

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    You're welcome. I'll try and add some more info over the weekend. What time of year are you going to be here? There might be some seasonal stuff you can catch (or avoid ).
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  9. #29
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    Allezfred is a LEGEND> Seriously! That is uber nice of you.....

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by allezfred View Post

    While there places worth visiting, in general I would give Temple Bar(f) a wide berth unless you want to spend your whole time in Dublin with other tourists eating overpriced, substandard food and dodging hen and stag parties.
    Having said the above, there are three reasons to go to Temple Bar:

    1. Get a photo of Wall of Fame

    2. Get a photo of the Temple Bar

    3. Get gelato at Botticelli
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  11. #31
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    OK, since you are going to Waterford you might want to check one or two of these places out en route:

    Powerscourt House & Gardens - Lovely country estate in the Wicklow mountains with beautiful gardens. The Powerscourt Waterfall is the highest in Ireland. Avoca Cafe on site for a spot of lunch.

    Glendalough - As well as the 6th century monastic settlement, the walks in the "Valley of the Two Lakes" feature some stunning scenery.

    Irish National Stud - If you like horses, this place might interest you. The Japanese Gardens are very nice too.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  12. #32
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    The first time that I went to London, I spent the first day of the trip on a double-decker tour. It really gave a good overview of the city and helped me plan for things that I wanted to see more indepth later on. This particular tour also included a guided boat ride down the Thames. That was cool for a different perspective of the city.

  13. #33
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    If you like quaint old buildings you should have a look at Chester. It's not far from Liverpool and it's small enough you could get a decent feel for it in only half a day (though of course as with anywhere you can easily spend much longer poking around its hidden treasures!)

    The Sheffield area will take you into the Peak District which is well worth a look even if only by spending slightly more time travelling through it, the scenery is spectacular.
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  14. #34

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    Chester was something. My train went through it (or a bus? I forget. I'd been on a ferry for decades, and it all blurs) and I remember looking out the window and just oogling the architecture. I couldn't believe it was real.
    Use Yah Blinkah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bev Johnston View Post
    The first time that I went to London, I spent the first day of the trip on a double-decker tour. It really gave a good overview of the city and helped me plan for things that I wanted to see more indepth later on. This particular tour also included a guided boat ride down the Thames. That was cool for a different perspective of the city.
    A variation on that is a Hop-on Hop-off tour bus which can take you around the city to see the main sites. You can get off when something strikes your fancy, then pick up again. Tickets are good for 24 hours.
    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity”– MLK

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    I'd better crack on with giving you the rest of the tips I promised for your tour of Ireland.

    OK, so I can't give you any info on Waterford. You're on your own there.

    Waterford to Cork should take about 90 minutes by car, but there are a few places worth stopping off at on the way.

    Youghal - Pronounced Yawl is a port town dating back to the time of the Vikings. Interesting history. Sir Walter Raleigh lived here for a period of time at Myrtle Grove and was said to have introduced potatoes to Ireland. It's a good place to do some whale watching, if you're interested.

    Midleton - You can visit the Jameson Distillery or have lunch at the excellent Farmgate Restaurant. There is a branch of the Farmgate in the English Market in Cork city.

    Close to Midleton is Ballymaloe House, the home of Ireland's first family of cooking. There is a restaurant, a cafe and a shop. My mother swears by the Myrtle and Darina Allen's cookbooks, if you want to buy an Irish cookbook as a souvenir.

    Cork City

    I grew up just outside of Cork city so I can say with all honesty that it is a fabulous place to visit even though that there are not many must see sights within the city itself.

    The hotel you'll be staying at (at least according to the tour website) has the feel of a country hotel and it is in a quiet part of the city centre, about a 10 minute walk to the main commercial area. University College Cork is right next door and the campus is lovely to have a stroll around. There is also the Lewis Glucksman Gallery on the grounds of the university.

    Walking towards the city centre, on your left handside on Lancaster Quay you'll see Cafe Paradiso, one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country.

    Walk a little further along and on your right you'll see the spires of Saint Fin Barres Cathedral. Saint Finbarr is the patron saint of Cork.

    TBC
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

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