Reader question: What's the best way for a multigenerational group to travel in Ireland?
Oh, how I love this question! My mother has joined us in Ireland a couple of times, and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have her along. The benefits are so numerous! Firstly, my mom gets to see places she wouldn't visit alone. Secondly, any child-grandparent interaction is magical – and in Ireland it is only more so. And third, it allows my husband and I a night out, alone, which we rarely get when traveling.
Without knowing the group size this question is a little tougher. Obviously, a smaller group is a bit easier to plan in terms of lodging and transportation.
For our family group of 5 we utilized both B&Bs and self catering cottages. A larger vehicle – a Range Rover on one trip, a ‘people mover' (minivan) on the other- kept us comfortable. As my mom and I are quite similar, she allowed me to plan our activities.
So, easy peasey.
With a larger group you have a few more things to think about. I'll break them down, along with options.
Step by Step Tips for a Multigenerational Ireland Family Vacation
1) Transportation to Ireland
If everyone is arriving into Ireland on the same flight, you don't need to think much about this. But if everyone is coming in on different flights, I recommend having some way to keep track of arrivals, whether it's a simple spreadsheet or a tool like TripIt. The Pro version of TripIt is perfect for group travel as multiple people can add their travel information – and TripIt will notify you if any flights are delayed or cancelled.
2) Transportation around Ireland
This is something to consider carefully, especially if you have wide age ranges in your group. It's likely not everyone will want to do everything together.
Considerations: How many vehicles would your group need? How much will your group do together and apart? Who is comfortable in the role of driver (on the left and likely with a manual transmission)?
You might find that only a small group will break off each day. In this case a single rental car paired with a hired guide might be your perfect answer.
3) Lodging in Ireland
If your group is large you may find that a single B&B just ins't large enough. Consider self-catering accommodations. Large group options include everything from private castles to large country estates. And, with a large group, the cost breakdown per person can be less than you would pay in a hotel.
Use these sites to search for lodgings by date, group size, and location: Sykes Cottages – Air B&B – FlipKey – HomeAway
4) Activities in Ireland
Once you decide where in Ireland you will stay, if you will change lodgings or do day trips from one location, and how you will get around, it's time to plan your activities.
I recommend letting each family unit within your group list their ‘must see' sights, then use the tips in this post to create a reasonable itinerary. You'll probably see a few sites appearing on everyone's list – those are your ‘big group' trips. I would definitely look into hiring a private driver with a minibus for those days. Your hosts will be able to help you find a local driver if needed.
Don't be afraid to let small groups break off! You'll all come back together at the end of the day and be able to share different stories & experiences over dinner.
5) Using a Private Tour Company
If you really just want to leave the scheduling and booking to someone else, I have three private tour companies, all based in Ireland, that can help you plan everything- lodging, transportation, and activities. Ireland Chauffeur Travel, the Irish Tourism Group, and Brack Tours of Ireland are all companies I have worked with and trust to provide you with the best, most personalized tours of Ireland.
If you would like a personal introduction to any of these incredible operators, just email me (see below) and I will be happy to connect you!
Do you have a question about Ireland travel? View the Ireland Travel FAQs page or email your question to Jody(at)IrelandFamilyVacations(dot)com. I will reply directly to you as well as add your question to this page- because if you need an answer, it’s likely someone else does, too!