Happy late December 2020! This year was a roller coaster of uncertainty when it came to Ireland travel – so let's all hope for the ‘luck of the Irish' to be with us in 2021!
Huge thanks to everyone to took the time to complete my Ireland travel survey! In today's podcast I will be sharing those results in today's episode of the podcast, as well as answering all the travel questions you sent in – at least to the best of my ability!
Ireland Travel Survey Responses
85% of respondents had an Ireland vacation planned in 2020 (wow!)
Nearly 20% of those cancelled their trip completely.
Most have not rescheduled yet (I would guess you are waiting to see when Ireland will fully reopen. Me too.).
One person was actually in Ireland when the shutdowns began (just before St. Patrick's Day.
“What started out as a nice trip for our 30th birthdays turned in to a memorable experience of eating a lot of takeaway meals in our hotel room.”
Most people said they would not be comfortable traveling for the foreseeable future, but a few intrepid souls said they would hop on the first flight available (me too!!).
57% of respondents plan to travel to Ireland in 2021- safety permitting.
For those that don't plan to travel in 2021, 57% plan to visit in the next 2 years.
Your Ireland Travel Questions Answered!
I received quite a few terrific questions – thank you! Some were similar so I have grouped those together.
Q: I have a credit for the airlines. Will it be available if Ireland does not open up soon.
A: This is entirely dependent on the airline you booked with, and also if you booked direct or with a 3rd party (like Expedia, Travelocity, etc). Each airline has different terms so your best bet is to visit your account and see what their terms say. Many have extended airline credits up to 2- and even 5!- years.
If you can't easily find the information use the contact email on the website and ask!
Q: Will all sightseeing be open? Is everything open? When will things be open?
A: This changes by the week, it seems. Ireland just came out of a Level 5 lockdown and are on a ‘restricted Level 3' right now. Some attractions are open, but group tours are not allowed. Hotels are currently open, with some restrictions.
The latest news from Ireland is that the country is “expected” to be fully open by late May or June. But that could change.
There is also an expected shut down in January, following the holidays, if cases rise.
Q: When will this be over? Health & safety regarding COVID. When can I travel from (anywhere)?
A: If only I had a crystal ball! Ireland plans to reopen fully by summer, but it is still unclear if there will be restrictions on travelers coming into the country – and if there are, what those might be.
I share all the updates on this type of news on the Ireland Family Vacations Facebook page as I get it.
Pro tips: Be sure to ‘LIKE' the page, then click the 3 dots at the right and choose ‘Follow', then click ‘Follow Settings' and choose ‘Favorites' so you don't miss an update!
Q: With so many lockdowns, will a large number of pubs and B&Bs go out of business?
A: Right now the prediction is that 25% of small businesses (which pubs & B&Bs are) will not reopen in 2021. I think that is a very conservative figure, but we won't know until things begin to reopen.
I am keeping in close contact with my tourism partners as well as tourism networks in Ireland to be sure all my information and recommendations – on my website and itineraries- are up to date.
Q: Will Flights to Shannon be reinstated? What has closed permanently?
A: I am hopeful that routes to Shannon will reopen by summer, but no word from United or American (the US airlines that had routes to that airport) on when that might happen.
There are restaurants and pubs that have closed across the country, but I don't have a definitive list at this time.
Q: General research.
A: My website Ireland Family Vacations has loads of tools to help you research your trip!
On the home page click ‘Let's get started‘ to see all the ways I can help you!
You'll find links to my vacation planning page, my book, Planning the Ireland Vacation of Your Dreams, itinerary planning, free itineraries, and even a FAQ page.
Q: Is it best to rent a home in a neutral location and travel out from there or stay in different places along the way?
A: This really depends on how long your trip lasts, and how much you want to see.
If you want to visit the North as well as the Cliffs of Moher and Dingle there is no good ‘central location' for all of that. I would choose 2 bases and split your time.
If you wish to visit a smaller area (I recommend splitting the country into quarters and choosing one), then a central location to journey from is a terrific idea. This is how my family travels when in Ireland.
For more tips visit IrelandFamilyVacations.com and read Planning an Ireland Itinerary that Won't Ruin Your Vacation.
Q: Other than the most popular sites, what are some experiences/food/drinks that are must do, see, taste?
A: Ah, that is a loaded question! There is so much beyond the marquee sites in Ireland! And then, of course, it depends on where in Ireland you are!
A few of my favorites: Lough Gur & Grange stone circle in County Limerick, cycling the Waterford Greenway, Carrowmore megalithic site in County Sligo, eating at either of Anthony Gray's restaurants in Sligo town, Loughcrew in County Meath, walking the pathways above Giants Causeway, Cahir Castle in Tipperary, Dunbrody Abbey & hedge maze in Wexford…
Honestly, I could go on and on!
I include so many of these ‘off the tourist trail' spots in my free itineraries, as well as my guided tours (you can view the full itineraries for those).
Q: Best places to stay (hotels/ B&Bs)?
A: There are so many terrific places to stay! A few of our most memorable experiences: The Old Bank B&B in Bruff, Limerick, Fitzgerald's Woodlands Hotel near Adare, Limerick, Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford Castle in Cong, Mayo, Lough Eske Castle in Donegal, Doolin Inn in Doolin, Clare, cottages at Mount Falcon in Mayo… and so many more!
You will find accommodation recommendations in my itineraries, or search the county pages using my clickable map at Ireland Family Vacations.
Q: How can I book B&B's? I used to just call around as I went, is that still a thing? With kids and a bigger group (5) places to sleep are key 🙂
A: While you can still call and book in same day I recommend pre-booking, especially with larger groups. Keep busy times and locations in mind. You're not likely to find multiple open rooms in Doolin in the middle of summer, for example.
Q: Information on accommodations, group tours and car rentals. (or anything else)
A: Ireland Family Vacations has you covered! You can sue the handy search bar to find information on any Ireland topic – including Everything You Need to Know About Car Rental in Ireland– or you can use my chat feature to send a message!
For those who celebrate the Yule, Nollaig shona duit (happy Christmas to you)!
Happiest of holidays everyone!