Reader Pauline Mankoff wrote the Traveler staff a few weeks back, asking for any advice or help we could offer her for her upcoming, but yet-to-be-planned, trip to Ireland with her children and grandchildren—eight travelers in total. The family doesn’t currently have a computer or Internet access, and with seven weeks and counting until the presumed departure date, Team IT came to the rescue.
“We want to fly into Shannon, in mid- to late-August, for eight to ten days,” she told our researchers over the phone. Mankoff herself has already visited Dublin, and would like to show the kids the “the historic sites, the genuine Irish culture,” she explained.
Okey dokey. A lofty assignment for this first installment of Ask IT, but we were all over it. Mankoff told us she was looking for inexpensive lodging and budget and family-friendly activities. “Nothing luxurious,” she warned.
So here you have it, Mrs. Mankoff. You asked for IT, you got IT.
Because the family is based near New York City, flying to Ireland is a cinch. Delta offers non-stop service from JFK to Shannon, with a total flying time of less than seven hours.
Bus Éireann's tours average around $30 per adult (or $20 for students and seniors) for a day trip and include itineraries through spectacular scenery, like the Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher (pictured), Bunratty Castle, and more.
What to do:
Many of Ireland’s most authentic sites are free or have only a nominal entrance fee, from castles and churches to prehistoric sites and hiking and biking trails. Plot your itinerary at DiscoverIreland.ie, where you can hopscotch by county through Ireland’s offerings.
Where to stay:
Remembering Mrs. Mankoff’s words, (“budget, budget, budget!”) IT recommends the family find a vacation rental, first and foremost. And don’t city-hop too much. Not only will that add transportation costs, most vacation rentals are more economical the longer you stay. Plus, in rural Ireland, eight people lugging ten days' worth of luggage would be an unnecessary pain.
But in which city? We’ve offered up a few suggestions (Cork, Dingle, Galway), all located within three hours (by train or bus) of the Shannon airport. Choose wisely.