Two people in Dublin but one is alone
March 21, 2011 6:25 PM   Subscribe

What should my wife do while accompanying me on a business trip in Dublin?

I am going on a business trip to Dublin from April 3 through April 13. My wife is accompanying me (hooray!) and is trying to plan what she will be doing while I am at work. While I will have a day off or two, I am assuming that I will be working, and she will have working hours to herself.

I have been to Ireland before as a tourist, so I have seen the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, the Ring of Kerry, Bunratty Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, and more of the Irish landscape than I really need to revisit. While I have seen my fill of Ireland, that was with a rental car driving around the landscape and stopping anywhere that was convenient after seeing the relevant sights in the area. My wife has never been, and we're trying to figure out what the best use of her time is going to be when I can't be with her, and she won't have a car.

Assume that I will have at most 2 consecutive days off, and focus on her itinerary. Dublin, as such, is not a week's worth of tourism, and it would be a waste of time to try to make it the only focus of her trip. I would prefer that she travel with a tour group (she is a mighty woman, but any individual is small and vulnerable when not part of a group) and we have found a few agencies that look like good groups to utilize for day trips, but we have no primary experience with either.

I have suggested that she take day trips to see Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Ring of Kerry from Dublin, and dedicate at least 2 days to exploring Dublin qua Dublin. What we need is specific recommendations of tour agencies, day trips, and things to do in Dublin, as my experience in Ireland was with my grandparents and a rental car, where we drove around the nation without restriction, stopping where we felt like it, and seeing what the B&B recommended.

Budget approximately 75 euro per day, cheaper if possible, but spendier if absolutely worthwhile. We already bought her plane tickets, and the hotel in Dublin is covered by my company, but any other entertainment, food, and accommodations are out of pocket. She is comfortable with hostels, but I would prefer that she be with a tour group if she will be away from me overnight.

Especially welcome will be recommendations of tour agencies, specific tour groups, and worthwhile activities that can be pursued independently by a small American woman alone.


What should my wife do for 10 days in Ireland while I am working? It's a business trip, so I can't accompany her for most of it, but we will have one weekend together, and I have seen the parts of Ireland that I care about. Make it all about her, and maximize her Irish experience. I will have a weekend with her, which we will probably use to visit the Giant's Causeway because I haven't seen it, but otherwise, she needs to be able to spend her days usefully.
posted by Lifeson to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
While in Dublin in the fall of '09 my husband and I really enjoyed this tour
posted by ridiculous at 6:39 PM on March 21, 2011

Taking the DART out to Sandycove makes for a pleasant afternoon, especially if the weather holds up. Likewise Howth, as mentioned in the previous thread.

Galway and the Arans? That means overnighting, but I'd imagine tour groups head out west fairly frequently -- there were buses rumbling around when I was out there in April some years back. If not, B&Bs offer a good balance between hostel and hotel w/r/t expense and having someone keeping an eye out.
posted by holgate at 6:59 PM on March 21, 2011

Response by poster: Overnight stays are OK, as long as she can be with a tour group. My assumption is that I will be working, and that she will be safe with a tour group, so if there's something that has her away from Dublin for 1-3 nights that is fine with me.
posted by Lifeson at 7:01 PM on March 21, 2011

I've got to admit, I'm a little confused about the "safe" thing. Do you have some reason to think that she wouldn't be safe alone? I'm a 5'3" woman, and I've traveled pretty extensively around Ireland alone and have never had any problems. I totally understand that some people prefer tour groups because they don't like traveling alone, but I don't think you have to be concerned about your wife's safety.
posted by craichead at 7:16 PM on March 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: "Safe" is only because I love my wife dearly and want to be sure that no harm befalls her. I have no reason to believe that Ireland is intrinsically unsafe, but I think she is better off in a group whenever possible. Having traveled the country before with my grandparents, I don't think Ireland is dangerous, but I feel better when she could travel with a group (and she is more comfortable traveling with people than completely on her own) than otherwise. This is largely because we won't have cell phones or a comparably easy means of communication if anything happens, but we know this is not especially rational or likely to be a problem.

She has only ever traveled with family, a large group, or me, so she has no experience with solo travel. I believe she can handle herself, but company is always a plus, and more fun.
posted by Lifeson at 7:25 PM on March 21, 2011

I highly recommend the walking history tours of Dublin. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's the only tour I've been on besides my Dad's that was worth going on.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:28 PM on March 21, 2011

Maybe it's a good time for her first overnight trip alone! It could be amazing to have that experience of exploring a place on your own... for the first time ever. Really, that in and of itself would be awesome, and that it's in such a ridiculously safe place as Ireland makes it even better. All "risk" with no real risk.

What does she like to do? Bike, religious history, political history, wander around the countryside, see different nature, try beers? Because there's lots to do in Ireland, on her own or with a group, even in small day-trips from Dublin, so a little more context would probably help.
posted by barnone at 7:34 PM on March 21, 2011

This is largely because we won't have cell phones

Cheap unlocked GSM phones; PAYG SIM cards; 10 euros' credit on each. Sorted. There is no reason to be without a cell phone when travelling these days.

("Ireland has a low rate of violent crime." Especially outside Dublin. But I don't want this headed to MeTa.)
posted by holgate at 7:41 PM on March 21, 2011

Powerscourt and Glencolmkille are an easy bus trip.from Dublin, near Enniskerry and are both very nice. Is make it 2 separate trips if the weather is nice. Avoca Handweavers is nearby too and worth going to though requires more buses. In Dublin the castle, Viking exhibit, trinity library (book of kells etc), historical tour on the bus and Kilmainham Jail are the things I'd recommend. Plus clothes shopping: lots of stuff in Dublin you can't get in the US. The National Stud and nearby Japanese gardens are also a very nice daytrip. Most of these ate of the "show up and join a tour on the hour" kind of places, although if you want to be accompanied door to door I'm sure you can find someone to do it.

Going to Moher or ROK as a daytrip is lunacy imho. Theirs plenty to do in and around town.
posted by fshgrl at 7:59 PM on March 21, 2011

Glendalough, not glencolmkille. Really auto-correct? Really?
posted by fshgrl at 8:02 PM on March 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I liked going out to Newgrange and surrounds - Bus Eireann has tours from 10am each week day or this one looks more informative as a tour, and this looks like a good selection of tours of the Dublin surrounds too.

I know it's a cliche, but if your wife hasn't been to Dublin, the Literary Pub Crawl is not as feral as it sounds and is really good fun - mix of street theatre, city guide and drinks. I really enjoyed it.

My favourite place in Dublin: The Winding Stair bookshop and restaurant is a great respite from thinking you have to be out and about to be gaining anything of value from a trip. The view over the river from the restaurant is relaxing, almost Amsterdam-ish, and the food is heavenly. There's a reading nook upstairs. I heard from friends that the bookshop is/was close to closing down in the depressed economy. [I really hope not]

Actually I would hang out at The Winding Stair after a good few hours at The Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle. I love the building, especially the deck garden on the roof which is a lovely place to sit with a newspaper or book and look over the castle grounds and city.

And, although there are so many places outside of Dublin I could recommend, I think Kenmare in Kerry is a beautiful town, and a trip out to see the seals and eco-life from there is a great twist on mountain walking and driving tours.

And I haven't been there as yet, but a trip out to Giant's Causeway [warning: hideous webpage colours], if that is possible, would be feasible in a day trip [this one seems like a better deal?]

I hope she enjoys Eire!
posted by honey-barbara at 9:23 PM on March 21, 2011

Bus tours, definitely! There are some awesome ones. I was quite impressed by how many tours were available to me out of Galway. Don't do one every day, because that would get overwhelming, but I would definitely recommend doing a few.

I can tell you that I took a public (Bus Eireann) bus from Dublin to Galway, by myself as a 20-year-old woman, and it felt quite safe and not at all sketchy. Out of Galway, I did a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher and other picturesque things in the area (old churches, a castle, a pub for some Guinness), with a totally awesome charming old bus driver/tour guide. I'm 98% sure that the tour was through this company and it was terrific. They do have a pretty decent sounding package involving a two-day trip from Dublin to Galway that could be a good tour-group sort of thing like you are hoping for. Their Dublin-Galway bus looks like quite a good deal, too, if your wife would rather stay longer and/or pick out her own selection of tours.

Also, wow, I wish I'd known about that Giant's Causeway day-trip that honey-barbara linked to. My greatest regret of my trip to Ireland is that I didn't go to Giant's Causeway. Argh! Still kicking myself for that years later.

Things I recall enjoying about Dublin: Kilmainham Gaol is super worthwhile and easy to get to by public bus (just don't leave your camera on the bus like I did, ugh, that's why I have no pictures of Ireland). There are some great museums - the National Museum is free! I hear the Guinness Factory is great but I didn't care enough to spend the 10 Euros on it. The National Gallery is nice (and free!) and the adjacent Merrion Square Park is very pretty. It's nice to just wander and explore, too, if you have the time. I was really only in Dublin for a day so that's all I can say about it.
posted by mandanza at 11:12 PM on March 21, 2011

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