2017 – Ireland Baby!

I love to travel. I love (almost) everything about it – I love being at the airport watching people, I love sitting on a plane and have captive time to just read or watch a movie, I love meeting new people, eating new food and seeing places I’ve never seen before.

The obvious problem is the amount of time and money available to travel. When I was in university I had a chance to travel a bit but since then I have been working to build a practice, had very little vacation time and no disposable income.

In the last couple of years I have started to have a little bit more leeway in all of those areas but I also realized after that night in the hot tub with my girlfriends I realized I can’t risk waiting for the right time because I might never getting to all of the places I want to see.

Make time for friends

A few years ago (in the middle of the aforementioned busy period) I realized I had not seen my fabulous friend Colleen in more than a year. She also has a young family and is a busy professional and we hardly even spoke. I had this feeling that I would wake up in 10 years and I would have no friends because they all would have slipped away from these years of being busy.

Colleen and I made a pact that once a year we would go somewhere together so that even if our lives are busy we will reconnect and foster our friendship regularly so it won’t be the ashes from the fire that is life with young kids, household responsibilities and a busy job. It has always been a weekend in the fall, we have gone Christmas shopping or just spend a couple days somewhere close. Last year we realized that in 2017 we both turn 40 so we decided that we should make this year a bigger trip.

Why Ireland

We both decided we could use about 1 week of our vacation allotment for the year for the trip which restricts where you can go because of the time to travel there. From the east coast of Canada it can take several hours to get almost anywhere and because I live in Saint John, NB, which is a small place, you have to fly somewhere to get anywhere.

We didn’t want to go somewhere in Canada or the USA and based on proximity, interest in the destination and travel time we have decided to go to Ireland!

The planning, making mistakes and a shout out to Linda at Westjet

I have to say the planning part of the trip is probably the most fun for me. We sat down with our computers and worked it out together. The first thing was to look for a time and flights, and we lucked out to find a sale right after Christmas on Westjet, so we went ahead and verified the flight numbers with eachother (we were each booking separately on our own computers) and booked.

Then we set to find accommodations and a car rental. Colleen offered to start on the first night so I said “great I’ll start on the last night – Saturday in Dublin would be fun” to which she replied “but we are flying back on Saturday”. Have you guessed it? Yes I had booked to come back Sunday and she had booked to fly back Saturday – YIKES! So here is a good tip – if you call the airline (both Air Canada and Westjet have this policy for sure) within 24 hours of your booking they will make a change for free (subject to the price difference in available fares)– which lucky for me Linda at Westjet did without a hitch and she even took a couple minutes to tell us the highlights to her two trips to Ireland just last year. So more than just being fun planning together it was practical because we caught the problem and fixed it before it cost more money or lead to me being alone in Dublin for 24 hours. A HUGE shout out to Westjet and Linda for great customer service!

The Plan

We went on to plan most of the outline of the trip and booked hotels and here is what it will look like.

September 15             Drive to Halifax and fly overnight to Ireland

September 16             Arrive Dublin, get rental car and take day to
explore and drive to Galway
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD

September 17             Hike – Cliffs of Moher

September 18             Driving south and castle day

September 19             Hike – Killarney National Park

September 20             City day in cork

September 21             Blarney Castle and Kilkenney Castle

September 22             City day in Dublin

September 23             Fly home

The Cost

I know you are probably thinking “I can’t afford to do that”. This trip is actually very reasonably priced. The easy part is that because I am travelling with a friend so we are sharing the cost of a lot of the expensive stuff (like hotels and car rental). The other big thing is finding a good price on the airfare and being flexible to move your dates around to improve the fare – we are only paying $650, all in, round-trip from Halifax to Dublin. We are also staying out of the big cities, especially for accommodations and we are using a lot of AirBNB spots, which has the added benefit of giving each of us our own room.

Its not cheap for sure and we could do it cheaper (I’ll have to write about my recent hostel experience in California) but it is infinitely affordable and I am already sure absolutely worth the time and money.

More to come

Please come back and check out the trip itself which I will blog about when I get back. But more importantly, get out there and see the world, travel at home or abroad, explore and have your own something special to look forward to. I have set a countdown clock to the trip, really for myself, because as we trudge through the winter and get back into a busy workload after Christmas having something to look forward to is very valuable.

6 thoughts on “2017 – Ireland Baby!”

    1. HI Diana,

      My first comment! Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my space and for being part of the start of it.

      Veronica

  1. Good morning V
    There, I think I’m caught up now and I have enjoyed reading each and every blog to date. I am finding out lots about you that I didn’t know. At the age of almost 66 years young I totally agree with you about the “b” word…busy. Like “busy work” at school, not productive just filling time. That’s not what you are. You are vibrant and making a difference. Keep writing and I will keep reading.

    1. Hi B! Thanks for taking the time to read it! I had a great conversation about the busy thing yesterday. I was talking to a friend about how they had a dinner party and all of their friends were too busy to come or those that came were on their phones and watches too busy to participate. Made me think of exactly what you are talking about – we are all “too busy” and probably not really living life! Would love to have you keep reading! Have a great day 🙂 V

  2. Hello Veronica,

    Sounds like it’ll be a great trip!

    I too was pretty freaked out about having to drive on the other side of the road. In the end it ended up being not as bad as I thought it would be. Having the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle really helps!

    Any chance of fitting in the Dingle Peninsula into your itinerary? It’s not far from Cork and Kilkenney. We had a really nice time there. We stayed at Beenoskee B&B (booking.com), which I recommend. The owner Mary is very friendly. She has uncanny psychic abilities, and her breakfasts are awesome. The B&B overlooks Ireland’s longest sandy beach. You can walk the beach to the far end, where there’s a pub for lunch. It’s a very scenic hike. In the evening we enjoyed listening to Irish music at the Dingle pub, in the town of Dingle.

    Enjoy!!

    Arie

    1. Thanks for the great idea Arie! We were looking at that area and will definitely take your suggestion as it sounds like a good one! If nothing else the hike and lunch sounds like something we definitely have to fit in!

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