After I posted yesterday I got to thinking about our trip to Ireland, romantically thinking, about how incredibly wonderful it is. My hubs and I both agree that you can walk out of the airport in Ireland and be good to go. Meaning, Ireland is a place where you feel safe all the time, you feel welcome all the time, no one ever gets pissy with you – even if you don’t know how to maneuver the roundabouts, are trying to sort out how to drive a stick shift in a parking lot, or accidentally bump someone’s car as you are trying to get the hell out of the busy streets of Dublin. In my last post I shared my top 5 (okay, really six) places that I loved the most.
Now, I want to share about the planning and prep-work that we did to get ready for our amazing travels. I hit the local public library and checked out every book they had on Ireland, literally every book. I have the library fines to prove it. I watched all of the Rick Steves episodes about Ireland – in the end deciding I am not sure I like Rick and his ambiguous accent. After religiously pouring through the travel books, I decided, to buy these three books:
So as you can see I love the DK Eyewitness Travel books, they are very visual which I like, it also gives a little snippet of historical info which I find to be super helpful. The reason that I would recommend these books above the others, are mainly for the maps, visuals and accuracy of the information in them(as long as you get a recent one). The back roads book was so helpful in looking at the different ways one could drive around and points of interest along the way – I loved seeing the potential of our trip(this was the book that got me the most fines). The Dublin Top 10 may not have been necessary, but we had used one of the DK Top 10 books when we traveled to Washington DC and it was so helpful, gave a lot more detail of places to eat and have a pint etc. Another reason why the DK books worked well for us is that we chose a B&B package where you paid all up front and then got a little travel book of all the B&B’s that qualified. So we didn’t need a book that would offer places to stay…if you are looking for a travel book that will offer advice about places to stay these are not the books for you. Books that give advice about where to stay that I really enjoyed are, wait for it: Rick Steve’s Book, they have a lot of staff working to make their guides awesome – and unlike the reruns of his trip to Ireland from what seems like the 80s, seriously, with the backpacks, I can’t handle it – thankfully the books are up to date.
But here’s the real deal, when you’re traveling you have limited space, so you’re not going to bring a library with you that will take up space in your suitcase when you consider how much room you’ll be needing to bring back bottles of Jameson. At the time, I read a blog that said you should take the books apart and make your own book. EEK! As a book lover, taking a book apart is…well it’s not going to happen. So, I opted to copy the pages that I thought I would need and made my own book (see below), I took notes on places that were of interest to us all in this little composition style notebook. I personally loved having this as we would pull up to places, I could spout out what I knew about it and write down other notes about the places we went. I also kept lists of the things we wanted to see, and then marked them off as we saw them. It was great. But I am a bit of a nerd, and I loved putting together this special book. If this is not your thing, the books listed above will be great, if I had to buy just one book, DK Ireland would be my go to guide. In thinking about it, we have been other places and I have not done anything like this again, I think I did it because I knew how special this trip would be to us, how it was our dream adventure that I would never want to forget.