Tom Gehrels, travel consultant at Adventure Coordinators travelled to Ireland on a self-drive at the beginning of October. We asked him some great questions about his experiences.
AC: Why Ireland?
TG: I had never been and each year I explore new destinations for my clients. This year I had a narrow time window squeezed between family birthdays. During that time I did a self-guided hike in the Dolomites in Italy. As I was looking around for another trip in Europe my eye fell on a self-guided hike in the Ring of Kerry in southwest Ireland. And since I grew up listening to a record of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers, music brought an extra fun dimension.
AC: How much time did you have?
TG: Between the Dolomites and the Ring of Kerry, each of which were a week long, I ended up with an extra week which I decided to spend on this self-drive in Ireland.
AC: Where did you go?
TG: I landed in Dublin and made a beeline for Connemara where I spent two nights. From there I made my way down the west coast via the epic landscapes of The Burren, the Cliffs of Moher and the spectacular Dingle Peninsula to Killarney (where my Ring of Kerry hiking trip started). After the hiking trip I drove back to Dublin via the famous Rock of Cashel castle and the beautiful monastery at Glendalough.
AC: Why did you pick these places?
TG: Having access to so many travel resources I had compiled a list of the best places and experiences in Ireland and this route allowed me to see most of the places and have some great experiences in only one week.
AC: What were the highlights of your trip?
TG: Hiking in Connemara and The Burren was great, even though the weather didn't always cooperate. When it rained there were the tea and coffee shops which made for great breaks. For lunch I often had some of the freshest seafood. At night there were the pubs, often with live music and with fire places lit.. And of course the landscapes - from emerald green pastures to rough mountains to epic coastlines. Even the driving, while in the beginning a tad nerve-wrecking, became real fun too. I spent my last morning at Glendalough, a beautiful serene monastic site south of Dublin, which turned out to be another highlight.
AC: What would you have done differently?
TG: I would have spent more time! It would have allowed me to do more hikes and include the northwest coast. I would have also gone earlier in the season as the one place I missed out on was Skellig Michael, the remote monastery on a rocky islet out in the Atlantic Ocean. The seas are too rough in October to make a visit possible.
AC: Can your clients book this trip with you?
TG: Yes, at Adventure Coordinators we can book customized self-drive packages of clients' chosen length and level of comfort in Ireland (as well as many other countries). We also offer self-guided hiking and cycling trips in Ireland as well as small-group guided tours.