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Top tips for an incredible Ireland self-guided tour

Having visited Ireland several times over the past year, I have learned a couple of lessons the hard way. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, here are a couple of ways to make the most of it.

ClareTake your time

Ireland is a relatively small country with lots to see. The pace of life is relaxed and locals take their time which is great if you’re looking for a relaxed holiday with friendly locals. The downside is that roads are often narrow and slow and traffic is not generally in a hurry to get anywhere. It’s easy to get stuck behind slow farm vehicles and with overtaking places few and far between, my first tip is take your time! Don’t expect to travel between destinations quickly but take your time, pack plenty of food, allow for lots of stops and breaks to get out of the vehicle and take in the scenery. You’re here to enjoy it so we suggest that you allow yourself plenty of time to simply get lost in it rather than charge around from place to attraction to place getting frustrated that it’s all taking so much longer than you expect it too!

Irish pubTalk to locals

One of the most striking factors about Ireland is the friendliness of local people. Everyone we met was keen to chat, help with directions and show us their corner of Ireland. The country is packed with interesting history and loads of stories that you won’t find in guide books or museums but local people will be more than happy to share with you. If English is not your first language you might need to ask them to speak slowly, the Irish accent is beautiful but can be hard to understand at times! Talking to local people is one of the best ways to engage with the strong Irish culture.

Don’t plan every detail of every day

There is so much to see in Ireland, castles, old buildings, beautiful scenery, small towns and many of them you hadn’t realised you would see. We suggest that each day you plan to visit 1 or maximum 2 attractions but leave plenty of time to discover those hidden gems (which talking to locals will be invaluable for!) which you may never of heard of but those little places will make your trip truly special.

Choose your food carefully!

Each trip from Ireland see’s us putting on a lot of extra weight! We discovered that everywhere we went the food is generally good hearty, well prepared fresh food but there is so much of it!! Portion sizes at almost everywhere we visited were enormous so if you have a small appetite order carefully so as to save money and not waste food!

Ruth Lancey, Great British Trips team, February 2013

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