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  • Writer's pictureGregory Besterman

5 Avoidable Mistakes When Planning A Trip To Ireland




We know a thing or two about planning the ultimate Irish vacation. Even a short trip to this beautiful part of the world has a knack for becoming one of those irreplaceably fond memories, even for the most worldly of travellers. From a quiet breakfast overlooking one of the busier bays for fishing boats and the area’s resident seals to a non-stop day in Cork City surrounded by life and motion, colour and sound – Ireland’s got everything to offer. 

All this experience has taught us exactly what any new visitors should and should not do when planning for their arrival on the Emerald Isle. Take a look at some of the biggest mistakes holidayers make, and how to do things the right way. 

 

Planning time in your trip to Ireland for nothing at all 

We understand the temptation to pack as much as possible into your trip. Ireland is a country that keeps giving – as soon as you’ve explored one city, there’s another beckoning you to unravel the secrets of its cobbled streets and historic nooks and crannies. As you finish that first once-in-a-lifetime hike, there’s another path up ahead just beckoning you to traverse it. As you come face to face with ancient history, there’s something older still waiting just around the beinn.

Anyone who’s planning a trip to Ireland could be readily forgiven for pouring over the guides, scrolling the blogs, and making an itinerary that would make even the most local of local’s head spin. 

But remember that Ireland is a country of secrets. Some of the most memorable experiences you have here may entail wandering from the beaten track, being a little more spontaneous, and going where the wind takes you. 

There’s no way to experience everything Ireland – or even just West Cork – has to offer in one trip, so surrender a little to Ireland’s magic and leave some time for nothing in particular. 

Staying in one of the chain hotels

The bigger chains may offer consistency, but the very best way to experience Ireland authentically is to stay somewhere that’s really part of Ireland’s landscape. This is another one of those times when wandering from the beaten track will land you exactly where you want and need to be.

From the cosy B&Bs run by locals who have called the area home for generations, to luxury self catering like our very own Gortadrohid, we have no doubt that dodging the bigger name hotels will make your trip much more memorable, and give it a special place in your heart. 

This is how you immerse yourself in the heart of the country, and it can be truly profound – particularly if you’re coming here to retrace old roots in your own family and want to see the country from their vantage point. 

Limiting yourself to one season

While Ireland may have a reputation for tempestuous weather, that’s no reason to stick to the one or two warmest months of the year to see the place. In fact, it really does depend on where you go – while the northern parts of the country definitely fall on the chillier, wetter end of the spectrum, West Cork enjoys unique environmental conditions thanks to its proximity to the sea.

The area enjoys warmer temperatures than you’ll find even a short drive northbound. The weather is more predictable and more forgiving, even outside of the summer season. In the gardens on Inish Beg, you’ll even find a range of tropical plants thriving! 

If you’re still on the fence about coming during the ‘off’ season, take a look at our guide to just 10 of the best reasons to visit West Cork in the winter.

Not bringing or renting a car

Whether it’s a little trepidation over driving according to a different highway code – or, if you’re not used to it, on the left side of the road – or just the intention of taking a slower, more relaxed approach to your vacation, we can’t fault your willingness to tackle Ireland on foot and master public transport. 

The trouble is, Ireland can feel very vast when you’ve got nothing but your own two feet to get you where you need to go. Particularly once you’re outside of the bigger cities, a car is all but essential if you want to take in a broad spectrum of Ireland’s wonderful offerings. 

From Gortadrohid, for instance, plenty of beaches, restaurants, and a couple of smaller villages are within walking or cycling distance, but you’ll get a lot more out of your trip if you’ve got the option of a car as well. True, there are some windier roads to master, but it’s a rite of passage for any first-time Ireland vacationer. 

Not Checking What Events Will Be Taking Place in the Local Area

Ireland is abuzz with local events throughout the year – even our small corner of West Cork always has something to offer anyone with a taste for the sweeter things in life. From live music nights in the local bars and pubs to music festivals, farmer’s markets, art exhibits, and literary events, there’s no bad time to find yourself in Ireland. 

There are plenty of ways to keep on top of local events. Explore West Cork is a great resource, but so are the locals. West Cork is a friendly place, so strike up a conversation in the local pub or corner shop, and you’ll be put onto plenty of local happenings in no time. 

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