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Old 06-25-2009, 08:17 AM   #1
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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Ireland -Just back! Pics Added!

Just back from Ireland. I am not planning on doing a full scale trip report -but will post a few thoughts and highlights.

We had the BEST time. Ireland is the prettiest place I have ever been to. The people are so friendly and warm.

Our ABD guides were great. So friendly and funny.

So......
Highlights:
The people. We never encountered anyone that was rude. Seriously every store clerk, guide, hotel staff -everyone was just so charming. Without being desperate. (No one tried to braid your hair LOL)

The sights. There is no way we could have crammed in all we did and saw on our own. Days were full and there was plenty to see.
We really liked the Dublin Castle, Rock of Cashel the boat ride in Kenmare bay -amazing views time after time.

Guides -great with the kids. Patient and funny with a lot of knowledge about Ireland. I never felt worried that we were out of our depth. I felt safe and taken care of.

The Bus. Seriously our bus driver was a rock. Totally unflappable. We encountered closed roads, cows, other tour buses -nothing he couldn't handle. The bus was comfy we loved just looking out the windows while watching the scenery go by.

Other Adventurers.
Such nice people! Meeting other people who liked to travel and knew about Disney was the best! For the most part the adults sat with their spouses or traveling companions and the younger kids (below 12 or so) sat in the back of the bus together.
We all talked at group meal times and group activities.

Some adults hung out at pubs at night together -but we didn't. We were too tired!! I don't think you have as much of that kind of thing with the family trips as opposed to the adult only trips. I really enjoyed meeting a few of my fellow disers. I would love to travel with them again!!

Hotels -all good -all different


Lowlights. -No real ones!
Sometimes the kids would get a little rowdy on the bus. I am really uptight about my kids behavior though -so this just might be my hangup. If noise gets on your nerves -I would get to the bus early to stake out a good up front seat. We did not have assigned seating and we moved seats around some-but some people routinely got up front.

There were a few activities that I felt went a bit long -but other people were loving it. I think this might just be one of those personal tastes issues.

Food. I thought the food was good -but not amazing. Some of that might be my "Americanized" palate. There was always plenty to eat and I never went hungry. The food we got on our own was not amazingly better that the group meals -so it was not an ABD issue. I think it may be a "Clarabelle" issue.
Besides I don't think that Ireland is known for it's amazing cuisine. My husband loved the Guinness and I loved the cider.

I hope that tigger ttfn and Wonders10 will chip in here -even if they disagree. They may have a totally different opinion on some things.

In conclusion I LOVED this trip -best vacation ever and would do it again in a heartbeat. Andrew one of our guides does the Provence France trip and we may do that next year.(He highly recommended it) Some of our fellow travelers were talking about doing Spain.

I considered this trip as good for my family (my husband and I would have been squabbling and I would have been uptight and nervous if we had been doing it on our own)

I loved Ireland and would love to go back.

I am happy to answer any questions

Last edited by clarabelle; 06-27-2009 at 08:01 AM.
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:34 AM   #2
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Yeah clarabelle! So glad you enjoyed your trip.
Have to agree completely with your observations about the friendliest people and gorgeous scenery!
Did you have George as a bus driver?
These trips are addicting because of the care and detail that ABD puts into them ... I also would love to do another ...
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:29 AM   #3
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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Our bus driver was John. Francesc called him J.C. He was a big hurling fan.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:21 PM   #4
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And the weather? How was it?

How much did you spend (not including tips) for extras and meals?

The fancy dinners, how dressed up did folks get?

Thanks in advance. We leave for Portugal (the first leg of our trip) on Saturday, and then we are off to Ireland on July 21! Super excited and anxious and also wondering, why Portugal and Ireland? I need to pack two separate vacations!
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:46 PM   #5
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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The first two days were a little cool and rainy. After that it was really nice. High 70s in the afternoons some days. I wound up wishing I had brought more short sleeved shirts.

Layers are the key. Short sleeves with a hoodie or sweater over and then a raincoat for the bus. The Rock of Cashel was super windy.

The Castle is not air conditioned so for the farewell dinner I was wishing I had something cute with short sleeves. I saw all kinds of things at the farewell dinner. People barely seemed to notice. I wore a knit skirt with a plainish kind of shirt. Not that dressy at all. I saw some jeans and lots of Khakis. The guides wore black pants that night with ABD shirts.
I don't think anyone was really super dressy. Just maybe a little dressier than they were the rest of the week.

I don't have a total yet for spending (my husband has most of the receipts)
I think we spent about 40 euro on most pub meals. Some more and some less. I bought some earrings that were around 12 Euro and a ring that was 22.
I hope this helps
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:08 PM   #6
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Clarabelle:

How big is the duffel bag that you get? Is it easily foldable and packable? Is it something that you can pack clothes in and check through? How many might a family of 5 get?

Thanks in advance again. I appreciate your answers. We're just finishing our packing now.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:18 PM   #7
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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I will go and measure the bag -but it comes zipped up in a little square -super easy to pack. We got one for each room.
When it was time to go home we packed them with dirty clothes and checked them through. They came out just fine!
I would not want to put anything but clothes in them -as they were a bit thin.
We put the stuff that was breakable or leakable in the hard sided suitcases.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:22 PM   #8
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Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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When the bag is full it is about 17x10x10 (inches)
We crammed a good many dirty clothes in there.

Keep in mind that if you have a full tour the undercarriage of the bus will run out of space. After the first day we were told no more luggage underneath the bus- that any souvenirs we bought that would not fit in our luggage had to go with us on the bus. The bus had bins over the seats.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:31 PM   #9
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Clarabelle, welcome back and thank you for the report! I wish you'd reconsider and write a long trip report -- you write so well! Ireland is on my short list of where I want to go next.

I actually met Andrew -- really nice guy! We crossed paths briefly in Paris (or Aix-en-Provence?) and then I met him again on the Disney cruise in January. He amazed me with his memory -- "I met you in France.. you're Dotti!" I was floored! I'm a little easy to remember (almost 6 feet tall), but it still impressed me that he remembered my name.

I recommend the Flavors of France as well - really great tour! I think Bella Italia is now my number one of the four we've taken, and if I ever get my thoughts typed up it may explain why. It's a little like saying you have a favorite child, though... there are great things about all of them and it all balances out.

I love when everyone starts coming back and this board becomes more active! It's great to hear everyone's impressions!

Dotti
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:32 PM   #10
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Our suitcases are very small...just carryon (except for one medium). We won't be buying much I don't think.

Question about footwear...what were most people wearing? Sandals? Runners? Flip flops?

Was the $1600 US you spent including the tips?
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:45 PM   #11
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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SLG

I saw mostly running shoes -or the more athletic kind of Mary Jane shoe -do you know what I am talking about?

My girls bought flip flops -but only used them within the hotel- say going down to breakfast or for a group activity within the hotel. My oldest DD wore Sperry Top siders most of the time.

I am not the one that said 1600$ I think that was someone else. I am pretty sure we spent more than that -but I have not added it up yet. My guess would be about 2000 with tips -maybe a little more with the shopping.


Meals would be the biggest expense. Wine was included with a couple of the ABD meals -but otherwise you have to pay for that out of pocket.
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:48 PM   #12
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Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
What happens after the poo is picked up?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdwsos View Post
Clarabelle, welcome back and thank you for the report! I wish you'd reconsider and write a long trip report -- you write so well! Ireland is on my short list of where I want to go next.

I actually met Andrew -- really nice guy! We crossed paths briefly in Paris (or Aix-en-Provence?) and then I met him again on the Disney cruise in January. He amazed me with his memory -- "I met you in France.. you're Dotti!" I was floored! I'm a little easy to remember (almost 6 feet tall), but it still impressed me that he remembered my name.

I recommend the Flavors of France as well - really great tour! I think Bella Italia is now my number one of the four we've taken, and if I ever get my thoughts typed up it may explain why. It's a little like saying you have a favorite child, though... there are great things about all of them and it all balances out.

I love when everyone starts coming back and this board becomes more active! It's great to hear everyone's impressions!

Dotti
Andrew was amazing. Such a good memory and a good limerick writer!
He knows a lot about Disney and is very much a company man.
I think he will go far.

Thanks for your comments about my writing.
Maybe I will add some more comments later. I keep thinking of more things I want to share.
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Old 06-26-2009, 04:24 PM   #13
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Hi Clarabelle!

Glad you made it home safely...we arrived back in Florida last night around 11pm - 4am Ireland time, after 3 separate plane trips. It was a LONG day! I agree with your thoughts. The kids did get a little loud occasionally on the bus which is why my mom and I opted to sit more towards the front/middle for the rest of the trip. Not that they were that rowdy, but when you were back there, it was hard to hear the guides talking about the scenery, etc. I have to agree that meeting my fellow DIS-ers was great! And I would love to do another ABD with them...I'm really wanting to do another. France is high on my list so we will see. Let me know if you all book something! I still need to upload my pictures, and then I will try to start a trip report!
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Old 06-27-2009, 07:45 AM   #14
clarabelle
Pandas don't seem to have much of a survival instinct
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A few picture highlights
This is Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)
It is not on the tour -we did it on our extra day in Dublin

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Old 06-27-2009, 07:47 AM   #15
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If you look really close you can see a shamrock in the foam

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