I get to virtually ‘meet' the very best people through this website. The Perry family hired my coaching services and, as we worked together, we discovered that a private, guided tour would be best for their group.
I recommended Ireland Chauffeur Travel and contacted managing director Shane Leahy to work with them. Though Shane and his team were now handling all the planning of the Perry family's trip, I was kept ‘in the loop', sharing ideas and offering my input on the itinerary. It was a terrific partnership that worked out so well for everyone.
If you think a chauffeured vacation is right for you, I would be happy to introduce you to Shane & his team. Or you can contact them directly- please mention that you saw their information here at Ireland Family Vacations!
Kara sent me short notes and photos throughout their Ireland vacation, which brightened my inbox, and followed up with an email of tips upon their return. Enjoy! (Notes in italics are my own)
I've been telling everyone who ask me about our trip how great your blogs are and coaching service. A few things we did on our trip that you are probably aware of but thought I would pass along in case not:
1. Kinsale – We loved visiting Kinsale and wished we had more time to walk around. My kids absolutely loved Charles Fort. It was a beautiful day and they really like just being able to venture around.
2. Kate Kearny's Cottage – Our tour guide, Ita, recommended this one night during our Killarney stay. It was a fantastic night! It's a bit out of the way from Killarney, but worth the trip. It's one price for a very good dinner and then they have traditional Irish music (3 musicians) and Irish dancers, but it's less touristy and commercial than the one at Bunratty (which we also loved! Aidan was called up on stage to dance at that one. Great memories). What's really nice is during the break the musician explain each instrument and let the kids and adults try them out. My middle son, Shane, plays guitar quite well. After they saw him during the break, they then called him up to play during their second set. It was an amazing experience for him! The night we were their the Disney tour was also there, which worked out great for our daughter Morgan (7) as there were a lot of little girls and they all got up to try Irish step dancing. Any way, I would highly recommend it for families.
3. Ita also suggested the Blasket Island Center on Dingle Peninsula, which is a fantastic visitor center with a really good cafeteria we found. Aidan said it was the best fish and chips he had of the trip! They a few interactive exhibits the kids like, and as a former Anthropology & Sociology major, I found it fascinating to learn about life on these island and am now reading several books by the islanders. Tip: the Blasket Island Centre is an OPW Heritage site. If you don't have an OPW Heritage Pass I have also heard that you can get a discount on tickets if you speak a bit of Irish! Learn some at Bitesize Irish Gaelic!
4. Another great stop Ita recommended was the Skelligs Chocolate Factory. Tastings are free, and the staff is so friendly there. They have the most interesting chocolates — gin and tonic chocolate (I decided I prefer to drink mine). We really enjoyed it and it was the perfect stop to hold everyone over before the next meal!
5. In Cobh, we did the Titanic Experience. Really interesting for everyone! Kids and adults both liked it. I had no idea the last port before heading to NY was from Ireland. Cobh was a nice town too and my kids even enjoyed visiting St. Colman's Cathedral there.
6. We also did the Viking Splash Tour in Dublin. We met our friends, and their children who lives outside of Dublin and are my daughters ages have wanted to do it for years. It was a fun time for all! Our guide was really funny. If you get a good guide, I likened it to a good Disney movie–enough adult humor snuck in with fun stuff for the kids.
7. In Dublin we also did Dublinia first day to help us stay awake. It was very interesting and provided great historical background for kids to start trip. Everyone enjoyed it.
Oh, and one other gem I promised I'd mentioned. We found a great Chinese restaurant in Cork! We arrived at our hotel late after a very full day of touring and then a bit of a mix up with rooms. Once that got sorted, we were all famished and on our last nerve really. When we asked the man at hotel if he had a recommendation for place to eat in walking distance, he asked us if we liked Chinese. We nearly died laughing and all the kids eagerly said “Yes”! The adults thought it was a bit crazy coming all the way to Ireland to go for Chinese food, but it could not have been more perfect given the situation. My daughter is a picky eater, but likes Chinese so she was thrilled with the choices. My sister, who has a metabolic disease and can't eat protein, really enjoyed her meal too. And there were amazing desserts, nothing I've ever seen offered at Chinese restaurant at home. Of course we greatly enjoyed the more traditional Irish meals we had on the trip and the food is outstanding, but for some reason that late dinner at Wylam (Victoria Cross, Cork) really hit the spot and goes down as one of our favorite unexpectedly delicious and memorable dinners. Not sure why we thought America had the monopoly on “Chinese” food. (We have had excellent Chinese food in Ireland, too!)
Thanks again for helping to make our Ireland vacation unforgettably wonderful.
Thank you to the Perry family for sharing these tips & photos from their Ireland vacation!
Do you have Ireland vacation memories you would like to share? Please contact me!