So, we went to Ireland — and it was more beautiful than I could have imagined.
A word about Ireland
- The people are tremendously friendly. I’ve never been anywhere where people are more ready, willing, and able to not only help you, but engage you in good conversation.
- If you’re a history buff – or even if you’re not – there’s so much to learn from the country’s past. Whether you’re fascinated by artifacts from a hundred years ago or prefer 16th-century castles, it’s hard not to be swept up in Ireland’s storied history.
- If you like cheese, visit Ireland. Some of the best and freshest in the world.
- If you like Guinness, visit Ireland. You can get some on every corner – and in 90 percent of cafes, sandwich shops, you name it.
- If you don’t like Guinness, visit Ireland. It just tastes different there – apparently, it’s because they use Irish water. (The more you know…)
There’s so much more I could say about our trip around the country – from Limerick to Killarney, Waterford to Dublin. We saw so many beautiful things, and met so many beautiful people – all thanks to an awesome tour group called CIE Tours.
A word about a guided tour + CIE
CIE is a full-service tour, starting from the moment you step foot in Shannon to the time you head home. For the whole week, Pat and I traveled with the same group of 37 Americans – all from different parts of the country, from California to New York, and from all walks of life. We stayed in the same hotels, ate the same dinners, and spent several hours trading stories on the coach bus.
CIE plans everything for you. Our guide, Liam, brought us to main attractions, like the Blarney Castle. He also brought us to some off-the-beaten-path ones, like the Foynes Flying Boat Museum (where the first Irish coffee was invented) and the Cobh Heritage Center (the last port-of-call for the Titantic). He narrated all along the way, ensuring we left knowing more about Ireland – old and new – than when we came.
The coach tour through Ireland is really foolproof, and I couldn’t recommend it more for folks (like us) who’ve never been to the Emerald Isle. Excursions are included in your tour package, making the decision between grabbing a pint of Guinness and exploring an ages-old castle easy – with CIE, you can do both. Our tour guides couldn’t have been more clear about where we had to be, and when – all we had to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy all that Ireland had to offer.
CIE forces you out of your comfort zone. If you wouldn’t catch a medieval banquet at the nearby Renaissance Fair in the US, you’ll visit one in an old castle in Limerick – and probably enjoy the mead and entertainment more than you first thought.
If you wouldn’t imagine yourself setting foot on a sheep farm, you might still find yourself smiling at the border collies at work. (I knew this would be a highlight for me – the dogs are so intelligent, and do such important work on the farms.)
All in all, CIE gave us an amazing first experience in Ireland. We can’t wait to go back.
‘Til next week,