What destination(s) did you visit and why?
We traveled to Ireland. Alex and I met traveling and working on cruise ships years ago. When were deciding on our honeymoon, we wanted to do something different, somewhere we both hadn’t been, and somewhere that was top of both our lists. Ireland has always been a dream destination for us both!
Who did you travel with?
I traveled with my husband, Alex. Alex and I have been together for six years. We just got married this past October in San Diego, California. It really was the best day! We are addicted to travel and it’s not only a big part of what makes us happy, but how we met in Hawaii. We think people who travel are just kinder and more fun.
What were the top three places to visit on your wish list? Did you make it to them? Did they meet/beat your expectations?
We really packed our trip with as much as we could, while still being able to enjoy each town and site. We had more than three for sure, but a few were: Dublin, Blarney/Cork for both the Blarney Castle and Jameson Distillery, the Dingle Peninsula, the Cliffs of Moher, and Ashford Castle. We made it to all of these and then some. We went from two days in Dublin to Kilkenny (Probably are favorite town.), to Cork/Blarney and hired a driver who took us to Kinsale, Old Head and Jameson in Middleton. We then spent two days in Killarney National Park and the Dingle Peninsula. The last two days were spend driving to see the Cliffs of Moher, Galway for shopping, and a nights stay at Ashford Castle, which was just a dream!
What was the best part about your vacation?
I think just driving the country ourselves and stopping where we wanted to was really great. We enjoyed Kilkenny a lot. It’s a smaller town, but lots to do with shops, pubs, historic restaurants, and of course-Kilkenny Castle, which was our favorite. I think that city and then the Falconry and Private Wine Cellar Tasting at Ashford Castle was top notch!
Why did you choose Tenon Tours? What advantages did you have booking with Tenon Tours?
We looked at various options for tour companies or doing it ourselves. Tenon Tours offered a mixture of both for us. We were able to plan our trip the way we wanted, but get a sort of all-inclusive price for our hotels, castle stays, B&B’s, car rental, pick up from Dublin airport, and support/trip insurance. We also loved having Taryn help us with suggestions and ideas for how to plan our trip! She was the best!
Anything to add about your personal sales representative?
As mentioned, Taryn was really just the best. She understood we were a younger couple that wanted to kind of do our own thing, but have structure to where we went and the important things we wanted to see or do. She also gave sound advice on where to stay-Ashford Castle was AMAZING and so romantic for our honeymoon trip! She was extremely responsive and attentive every step of the way. We really appreciated that kind of service. She also got my sense of humor, and laughed about a frantic moment we had the night before we were to leave for our trip. Thanks for everything Taryn!!!
Any advice about the weather?
It was quite cold in November (Not that we minded.), but colder than I had expected. It did not, however, rain the entire time! YEYAH! We thought we went at a pretty perfect time if you don’t care to have warm weather. There were no lines for hot spots like the Blarney Castle or the Cliffs of Moher (Actually, we walked right in and up to them all.). We also found it was dryer, so we had mostly sunny or partly cloudy weather, rather than rainy days that kept us from seeing the beautiful coasts.
Did travel insurance come in handy for you?
We almost weren’t able to go last minute on this trip, but it all worked out. That said, knowing we had the insurance made us feel a bit better if we would have had to reschedule or cancel. I learned on this trip that the insurance for big trips like this are worth the peace of mind!
Tell us about any new friends you may have met along the way.
We feel like we met friends every day we were out and about! In Dublin the first six hours we were there, we met a group of gentlemen who were co-workers who bought us a few rounds and then had the live Irish musicians at the pub play us a song for our honeymoon! In Kilkenny, a group of younger men answered our questions about how Rugby is played. We really loved watching the big game against Australia while there! Ireland won, so the pub was really fun to be in. Funny enough, in Dublin the two days before, we stayed at the same hotel as the Australian Rugby Team, and were joking about it with the locals in Kilkenny. I think every night we had a story like this to share along our travels.
What are your favorite souvenirs you brought from home?
By far our favorite was a Jameson Caskmates bottle with a red cap. There were only 3,000 distributed and made with the red cap as the first batches of Caskmates. Jameson brand does not outwardly talk about the red cap bottles, and if you find one, you want to buy it and keep it! All other bottles after the first batches have black caps. Our bartender at Dylan’s Whiskey Bar in Kilkenny had told us about them since it is Alex’s favorite Jameson whiskey. We ended up finding a red cap bottle of Caskmates in a small pub in Galway while shopping. The clerk had no idea it was worth anymore more than a normal bottle, so we were able to get it for the same price as a normal bottle of Caskmates.
What tips do you have for others planning a Self-Drive Tour?
As a good tip, we didn’t plan on this, but we purchased the MiFi device instead of navigation. This was a money saver AND so much better if you upgrade your phones to work in Ireland! We used google maps everywhere we needed to go and had MiFi anytime we wanted it while walking, in pubs, etc. It charges in the car or plugged in. Also, go ahead and pay the extra to get the full insurance that covers anything that happens to your car. The roads are narrow, and sometimes they can take advantage of travelers claiming a scratch or bump wasn’t there before. With the upgraded insurance, whatever happens to the car, you’re covered.
Please feel free to add ANY extra experiences, tips, notes, advice or stories you may have.
Ireland was truly our dream honeymoon. Every part of that country is beautiful and historic. The people are the heart of that country. Everyone was overly friendly and helpful to us. Be sure to make friends and buy a round when you can. Those conversations with locals guided us to other adventures along the way, knowledge to take with us, or just a good laugh. We really enjoyed the authentic jam sessions from local Irish musicians most nights and a few pints of Guinness. The Guinness tour in Dublin was worth every penny, by the way! As was the Jameson tour in Middleton (Near Cork, not the Dublin location.). We were lucky that everything we planned and wanted to do, we did! We are happy to share our itinerary with anyone who’d like to use or reference it (Dublin, then south, and west.). Ireland was a perfect place to honeymoon if your adventurous, enjoy constant scenery, and get bored with just sipping a margarita on a beach somewhere (Not that we don’t enjoy that once in awhile.). We are so thankful we found Tenon Tours and a package that worked for us as more independent travelers!