On Sunday, September 14, 2014, Kathleen Acker posted the following request here in The Wild Geese Global Irish Travel group:
I'm hoping that this will be the source I've been looking for. My husband and I are planning a trip, to Ireland, next year - 2015: it will be our 35th wedding anniversary and the 100th anniversary of my father (I'm second generation Irish American on 3 of my four ancestral sides.) Chuck has never been to Ireland and I haven't been there since college - so very long ago.
I'm hoping to see the Western part of the Country the most: Mayo and Donegal are where my Dad's parents came from, Roscommon and Armagh on my Mom's side. I can only identify Ballina as home to any of them - my father's Mother. I know that the rest of the country is wonderful but if we only have 7-8 days I'd like to see that part of the country that I most identify with.
Any, and all, help will be appreciated. We have the passports, we just need to tie down an itinerary! No specific date scheduled: Chuck is lucky enough to be retired but I'll be able to be off. I've heard early spring is nice, fall even nicer. We live in the Washington, DC area and can leave from either Dulles or BWI.
Thank you, in advance, for any assistance.
Can you help Kathleen out with suggestions and tips about the trip she and her husband are planning for 2015? Please leave your comments below, and thanks for showing the warm community spirit that makes The Wild Geese what it is!
Just as a quick starter suggestion, Kathleen. I'd suggest you think about going in June. The weather is a little warmer than spring, though you'll still likely need a light jacket for mornings and nights. It's also a little less rainy in June than it is in the sping or fall. There's no way to know if you'll get a week that's rainy most days or dry most days no matter when you go, but your odds of dry weather are increased a little going in June.
Since Mayo is one of the areas you want to see, here's a suggested place for you to visit: Hennigan's Heritage Centre . It's not far from Ballina, where you said your grandmother was from. If you want to know something about what her life was like growing up in that area, Tom Hennigan is "yer man," as the Irish say. Here's a link to a review of the centre that I posted here last year.
Thank you, Joe!
I will indeed check out the center. Haven't had much luck on my own - time to call in the true ancestry warriors!
Kathleen, a chara,
I usually suggest to my clients that they chose a minimum stay of 9 nights... Usually flying out of their home airport on a Friday... and home on Monday or Tuesday, as that gives you two full weekends.
Something to pay attention to is Bank Holiday weekends, as that can mean congestion at popular travel destinations.. Your June Bank Holiday weekend in 2015 will be 1 June, Monday.
With eight days in total, You will be hard pressed to see all of the towns on your list unless you aren't opposed to one night stays...
If you had a few more days to add, you could do something like this:
Day 1 - Arrive in Dublin and head to ArmaghDay 1 & 2 Armagh Day 3 & 4 DonegalDay 5 & 6 MayoDay 7 & 8 Roscommon
Day 9 & 10 Dublin
Flying home on the 11th day
With a few tweaks, a couple of one night stays, you could make this work for an 8 day stay, as well.
I would recommend late May to early June... everything is in bloom and there are lambkins gamboling about
Early October is also usually a nice time to visit, again with less congestion in the tourist popular areas.
Another advantage is that it is still "off-season" and so it won't be as crowded...
Regarding time of year, I'd have to recommend September. Having lived here year-round for several years now, September is often the nicest month of the year. Hearing that comes as a surprise to many folks who have been here at other times of the year. It's held true again this year ... September has been glorious, for the most part. Plus, most of the throngs have gone home once August is over.
As always, no guarantees about the weather at any time of year, but I've been recommending September to a lot of folks I know ... and it's worked out very well more often than not.
Yes, Ryan is on the mark as usual. September is a great month, the summer crowds have gone, the rates on flights and travel packages come down, and the weather is more likely to be dry than at other times. At least that's what I've found in about a dozen trips.
Kathleen Bits advice is top class and as I live in Roscommon and help out with the local museum ( finding peoples roots ) and do town tours you can contact me whenever you like, firstname.lastname@example.org
I will help anyway I can, Frank.
All this help is just amazing. Then, again, it's not: look who the participants are!
I'm leaning more towards late September as the anniversary is actually the 20th. OK so I'll look to a Friday flight and the two weekends.
I will also contact the kind people here, who have offered to help because help we need! If we leave Virginia on September 25th where best to land and what shall we do first?
I don't mind being with a small group, but lots of new people trigger a shyness that can sometimes be hard to quell. Course Chuck has never met a stranger but a smaller gathering works best for me.
We have the date, the areas are set, what next?
Thank you each! Have a wonderful day!
If you can fly into Shannon, that is the best since you looking at are mainly Northwest and upper midlands.
What's next? hunting out your lodgings .. though most don't start booking for next year until January or shortly after
I have your email and will get back with you shortly
I will take up your kind offer, Frank, and thank you.
What next do we need to do? September 2015 seems like forever but I'm sure the time will go fast.
Your advice will be greatly appreciated.
Kathleen ... I'd suggest not letting your trip not bleed to far into October (if at all). October is, on average, the wettest month of the year in Ireland. Early to mid-September gives you a better chance for good weather. As I said before, though, you never know. It's just playing the odds.