Ireland is a destination that has long been in our sights, but we’ve just never got around to it. This was reinforced when I experienced a brief taste while working in County Wexford a couple of years back.
The final decision was made after a flying visit from my Czech friend Joe, who had just spent six weeks touring Ireland and Scotland in his camper van. On his way home he stopped off for a cuppa, and we hatched a plan for him and his wife to fly over this year for a tour of the Scottish highlands, with me offering to be the chauffeur for the week. However, we soon found that suitably priced accommodation was hard to find along our planned route – a rethink was obviously required.
Our Irish tour was hatched in December. We picked a date in May, Joe booked his flights to Dublin and we booked a ferry from Holyhead to Dublin.
I then spent most of the winter months trying to work out a route. Joe had a couple of places on his visit wish list. I had a couple of my own to add to it. Between us we formulated a round trip from Dublin, taking in as many sights as possible.
I booked various places to stay on booking.com, and using the free cancellation, we tweaked and re-tweaked our route until we agreed on a final itinerary.
While Joe knew the Ireland well after many tours in his van over the last few years, I only had my brief experience of Wexford and the surrounding area to go by. Were we in for a surprise!
Our tour began with the drive up to Holyhead, about 3 1/2 hours plus a 30 minute stop at the Stockport McDonalds for breakfast.
A very smooth crossing with Stenaline had us quickly disembarking in the port of Dublin right on time at 5 pm, just in time for the quick drive to the airport, where Joe and his wife Renata had just landed.
Cases in the boot, introductions made (Sue had not met Renata before), we set off for our first stop in Camolin, an easy drive down the M50.
Note: If you are intending on Irish motorways, remember some of them have tolls, so don’t forget to register online with eflow to pay them. It is so easy and takes all the worry out of paying.
Next thing to remember is, DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO THE SAT NAV!
Despite seeing the sign for the M50, I foolishly followed the satnav and ended up driving straight through the city centre. Not a pleasant drive (although our guests enjoyed the impromptu city tour!).
This added a good half hour to our drive, but fortunately the owner of our first B&B was very accommodating, and even called to check where we were.
Arriving at the “Kilbora” bed and breakfast in Camolin, Anne Marie wasted no time giving us a whirlwind tour of the rooms and our keys, before pointing us towards the “Courtyard” restaurant in the village of Fern, so that we could get dinner before they stopped serving.
And what a wonderful first meal it was! Fed and watered, we headed back to the B&B for a well earned rest before day two of our tour…
Rob and Sue visited Ireland in May 2019. Watch the Irish Tour video on Youtube.