Travelling in Ireland On Your Own
Nowadays, a lot of people travel on their own. Whether they are young or old, people travel alone, with friends or families, they go on a holiday, travel because of a job, or they just want to see another country, get to know different culture or experience new things. The borders are opened, the flights are cheap and the possibilities are almost infinite.
If your friends or a family are not willing to travel with you, or they just simply can't, and you hesitate whether or not to go on a holiday on your own, or if you are afraid because you have never traveled alone, Ireland may be the right choice for you. It is a very beautiful country, very safe (you can travel there without worrying even if you are a girl) and people there are very friendly and are willing to help you or give you an advice.
Ireland is a very small island country in the western part of Europe. Approximately five millions people live there, one million in Ireland's capitol, Dublin. Ireland is the part of European Union.
Ireland is surrounded by the Irish Sea, the North Channel and the North Atlantic Ocean. So basically, if you stand on Cliffs of Moher (number one location you should see, if you are visiting Ireland) and look over the ocean, you can tell yourself, that there's America across the water (if you're not looking at Aran Islands).
Ireland is a very flat country with a lot of grass plains, where especially sheep and cows are bred. There are mountains on the coasts of Ireland, very small ones. I was told by one guide on a tour that since Ireland is a small country then there are also small mountains, although, most of foreigners wouldn't call them mountains.
There's also quite a lot of rivers in Ireland, on their mouths bigger town were built. Cities like Dublin, Cork or Galway are like that.
The weather in Ireland is very mild. Summers are usually colder. Although, Ireland has a lot of very beautiful beaches, if you are not hardy, you may not be able to enjoy them fully or only for a few days in a year. On the other hand, winters are warmer and there is rarely snow in Ireland (maybe except the mountains). It is caused by warm currents. The most beautiful season in Ireland may be an autumn - it is not warm, not cold yet and it doesn't rain as often as in winter or summer. But let me give you an advice: Ireland's weather is very changeable. It's better to wear an umbrella around because it does rain a lot in Ireland, not the whole days but it may rain a few times a day for a couple of minutes or hours. And then there will be the sun again.
Transport in Ireland
If you travel in Ireland, you have a few possibilities how to travel:
- City Services
Of course, flights are the fastest. There are airports in Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry, Knock and Donegal which accept international flights. There is also an airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Buses are the cheapest, if you want to travel from one town/city to another one. On the other hand, it takes a longer time if you want to get to your destination (for example: it takes four hours to get to Cork or Galway from Dublin). Good thing is that bus seats are very comfortable and you can take a really long nap.
The best option for traveling on long distances are most probably the trains. They are comfortable, you won't spend the whole day travelling if you go by train instead of by bus, and the prizes are acceptable. It is better to book your ticket really soon, though. If you know the date you want to travel by train, book your ticket as soon as possible. Prizes of train tickets double about three or four days before departure. That goes only for train tickets: prizes of bus tickets are the same all the time, so it doesn't matter whether you buy a ticket five or one day before departure.
Every bigger town/city in Ireland has its own City Service. City Services are easy to go with, drivers are willing to tell you where to get of the bus, if you're not sure, and prizes are about two euro for one way (Dublin is little bit more expensive).
Since Dublin is a really large city, it has its special city train except City Service. The train is called Dart and you can travel with it to distant locations.
Tours X Travelling on Your Own
If you travel to Ireland without travel agency, you don't feel like renting a car and you want to explore Ireland as much as possible, you can either take tours or travel on your own with City Services or local buses. Let's talk a bit about pros and cons of both options.
There are a lot of one day (or more days) tours going from Dublin to other towns or cities or places of interest. I highly recommend those ones which take you to harder accessible locations. It is really comfortable, for coaches will take you to those places, let you out and collect you again and bring to another place. You will see a lot of interesting places, you wouldn't see if you went on your own (or it would take you a lot of time travelling with local buses) and you will be given a time to explore the most interesting destinations. Also guides will give you a lot of information about the place, about history of Ireland or other interesting facts.
If you have more time and you want to see other big cities in Ireland (Cork, Galway, etc.) I recommend you travel there on your own. Don't take one day tour to those cities if it's not necessary. It's better to travel there with a bus or a train and stay there for a couple of days.
There are information centres in bigger cities and it's easy to plan your journey through the city and explore it on your own. From the city you decide to stay in, it's easy to take tours. You will have more time for everything than, for example, if you went on a one day tour from Dublin to Galway.
Travelling on your own can be real fun and you don't have to be afraid of it. If you're wondering where to stay, you can choose one of common possibilities such as hotels or hostels or you can stay in Airbnb.
- Hotels - are really comfortable, but at the same time they can be expensive
- Hostels - may be probably the best option, if you want to meet new people and you don't mind staying in the same room with other people; they are also very cheap, with modern facilities and you may get a breakfast for free
- Airbnb - if you want to have more privacy, go for Airbnb; Airbnbs are houses or rooms rented by people (basically, you will stay in their homes) - it's family accomodation, it's very comfortable, it may be a little bit expensive, though (depending on the town/city you want to stay in and distance from the city center)
If you want to travel alone for the first time and you don't want to spend a lot of money for hotels, or you don't feel like staying in hostels, Airbnb may be the right choice for you.
If you travel on your own for the first time, Ireland is really great choice. It's really beautiful country with overwhelming sceneries you will see on your way, whether you will decide to travel by bus or by a train. Tours are interesting as well and guides will make sure, that you will have a great time and that you will enjoy your trip. And people are really friendly and nice, so whethever you will need an advice on your way, don't be afraid to ask. And don't be afraid to travel on your own, it can be fun and you will meet a lot of interesting people.