Should You Book a Fall Vacation in Ireland in 2020 | Traveling in Ireland Podcast Episode 95

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As restrictions and fear around COVID-19 begin to ease and vacation deals begin to appear you may be wondering if now is a good time to book a fall vacation in Ireland.

sheep on Slieve League cliffs in County Donegal, Ireland

2020 Fall Vacation in Ireland Advice

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(1:47) Ireland's 5 Stages of ‘ReOpening'

Phase 1 – May 18

The 2 km lockdown will extend to 5 km. People are allowed to meet with others outdoors. Outdoor workers and retailers who are primarily outdoors can reopen. Some outdoor amenities.

Phase 2 – June 8

Visits to other households allowed. Small retail and marts can be opened if social distancing can be observed. Public libraries can reopen. Plan development to open other businesses.

Phase 3 – June 29

Allows small social gathering and a return to work for those with low interaction jobs. Non-essential retail with street level entrance/ exits can reopen. Playgrounds will reopen.

Phase 4 – July 20

Childcare and pre-schools reopen as people are allowed to return to work. Higher risk services (like hairdressers, massage, etc) restrictions ease. Hotels, museums, churches, can reopen.

Phase 5 – August 10

Larger social gatherings can take place as all sectors return to work. High risk retail restrictions ease. This is when pubs are expected to be allowed to open.

Phases 4 and 5 have the most impact on your trip to Ireland. And any increase in COVID case numbers will bring the reopening plans to a stand still…

You can see the full ‘Roadmap for Recovery' here.

Northern Ireland has a very similar plan, but does not list specific dates. The lockdown has been extended to May 28 (release day of this podcast).

(4:20) 14 Day Quarantine Period

Currently Ireland has a mandatory 14 day quarantine in place for anyone arriving in the country. This is in place through June 18 and will be re-evaluated at that time.

The Irish Tourism Industry Confederation is calling for this to be relaxed as soon as possible, subject to public health and safety.

Other European countries, including Greece and Spain, have recently relaxed quarantine measures and will be welcoming international visitors beginning mid-June and July.

(6:10) Public Health Passenger Locator Form

Anyone arriving from overseas will be required to fill out this form on arrival in Ireland. This is currently to be sure people are quarantining; it is unclear if this will remain in place after the 2 week quarantine is lifted.

(7:50) Should You Plan a Fall 2020 Vacation to Ireland?

Assuming you are comfortable traveling in this environment my advice is to begin planning but hold off on making any bookings.

If you do book anything be sure it is all 100% refundable.
Aer Lingus has no change fee on flights booked through September 30; but this is not a refund and you will have price difference to cover as well as a booking window.

Flights are going to be quite different. Social distancing measures will be in place and mask wearing will be mandatory. I am honestly unsure how well that will work as people will need to drink water during a long overseas flight, and they will eat; bringing food onto the plane if it is not offered.

(9:55) Will I Be Taking a Fall Vacation in Ireland?

I'll be honest here- I am hoping to. A Celtic Experience, my guided tour of Ireland, is scheduled for August 29- September 6. At this time it is still a ‘go' – and still has a couple seats available- though the final decision will be made on June 18, when the 14 day quarantine ruling will be re-evaluated.

Even if my tour does not go forward I may plan to visit as soon as I am able. It is my job to share up to date Ireland travel information and some of that information can only be learned by experience.

I understand that some people may disagree with my decision to travel, but my job is dependent on it. I will, of course, take all recommended precautions and will do so as safely and responsibly as possible.

(11:50) Where to Visit – Ireland Fall 2020

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If you do make your way to Ireland this fall I recommend getting off the tourist trail and taking part in outdoor activities. Consider basing in these 3 areas to experience Irish history, culture, and beautiful outdoor explorations.

County Sligo – this oft overlooked county on the Wild Atlantic Way offers ancient history, wonderful water activities – think SUP & kayaking, eco-tours- and incredible dining.

The Ballyhoura Region (the crossroads of Cork, Limerick & Tipperary) – this heartland region is often driven through but few tourists take the time to explore. Mountain biking is popular here, but you'll find stunning gardens, magical sites (Lough Gur is a personal favorite), and easy access to popular spots like the Rock of Cashel, Cliffs of Moher, and even the Ring of Kerry. I recommend basing yourself in Bruff, a charming village in Limerick.

The ‘Sunny Southeast' – think Wexford or Waterford (we love Dunmore East!). Here you can enjoy wonderful beaches and coastal cliff walks. You'll have easy access to ancient sites (both well-known and unknown – I use Neil Jackman's wonderful guide), greenways, and blueways.

(16:00) Thanks for Listening

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