First of all, although everyone in our group had an amazing time, I think some travelers may not be suited to a tour like this. If you are looking for 5 star hotels, 2 - 3 days in each city, lots of shopping and a tour guide holding your hand the entire trip -- Paddywagon isn't for you.
If, however, you are somewhat independent, enjoy exploring, entertainment and restaurants on your own during the evening, relish a good breakfast, like a soft, cozy bed with thick, luxurious duvets, fancy learning the history and stories of the Emerald Isle, want to personalize your own tour, and appreciate a bargain -- then Paddywagon is exactly what you're looking for. You just have to realize that with only 6 days, you're not going to get an in-depth experience, but instead, a pretty good glimpse. We were a mixed group of 8 (until Killarney, anyway) adults, family and friends, ranging from 35 - 60 years old. Our dilemma was:
We wanted to see as much of Ireland as possible
We only had 7 days (including air travel from U.S.)
We didn't want to drive
We wanted to learn about the history and myths of Ireland from someone who lives there
The guys wanted to golf at least twice
We wanted to pick up a friend visiting from England along the way
We were on a budget
I spent a lot of time reviewing different options -- rail, group tours and private tours. Paddywagon was easy to work with and really allowed our group to do everything we wanted.at a very reasonable price. We chose the 6 day All-Ireland deluxe tour that included bed & breakfast accommodations and a full Irish breakfast every morning. We were picked up at the airport and headed straight to Belfast, where we took cab tour of the city walls, then visited Titanic Experience. Both were deeply moving and educational.
Was our 6 day tour perfect? The only thing that didn't go well was breakfast in Belfast; the restaurant that we were directed to go to wasn't open and didn't look like it had been open for awhile, and we didn't have time to try looking around for another place to eat at our own cost. However, it was off-season in mid-October. Luckily we had leftovers from Ryan's Restaurant - terrific food, right down the road - and we heated it in microwave. That was the only snafu the whole trip. As for all the accommodations, the Titanic Apartments in Belfast looked a little shabby on the outside, but was really roomy and comfortable, as were all the B & B's we were at. After Belfast, on the way to Derry, we dropped the guys off at Ballycastle Golf Club and our driver, Joe, took us gals to the Carrick-A-Rede Bridge and Giant's Causeway. Joe was TERRIFIC!!!! He was a little older than most of the drivers at Paddywagon, but he sure knows the stories and history of every area we went to. He also pointed out the best spots to head to in the evenings. From Derry, we headed to Donegal on the way to Galway, where we partied in the Latin Quarter at night -- great shopping there, too. Stayed .in an adorable thatched B & B the next night in Annascaul on the Dingle coast.. It was too late for food at most places, but there was a small bar open that had very good pizza, and afterwards we went to South Pole Inn for drinks; fell in love with Tom Creen beer -- good stuff. Great breakfast in morning, as were all of them. After breakfast, Joe dropped some of our party off at Dingle Golf Club (Ceann Sibéal), them took the rest of us to Dingle to shop and explore. Our last night was in Killarney, where we picked up a friend visiting from England, In the morning, we went to Blarney Castle and back to Dublin, where we took the Guinness factory tour, then Joe dropped us off at our hotel. Paddtwagon even picked us up at our hotel and took us to airport the next morning. If anyone is looking for a way to personalize a trip to Ireland, consider Paddywagon Tours. Charlie at Paddywagon really went out of his way to customize our tour, and in return, made this the trip of a lifetime. I am planning on going back some day and taking the 9 day All-Ireland
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