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Maireann croí éadrom i bhfad.
A light heart lives long.
-Irish proverb



Glendalough monastic site, Co. Wicklow


Two Irish classics - 18th century Georgian architecture and the gentle giant Irish wolfhound



The Galway Bay of Bing Crosby fame


Lonely mountain climber in Co. Donegal


Trinity College, Dublin


Modern-day devotion at the ancient 15th century ruins of Quin Friary, Co. Clare


Rugged Connemara countryside, Co. Galway


The "Cantwell Fada" - 14th century tomb effigy in Kilfane Church, Co. Kilkenny


Brooding Co. Wicklow mountains


Stone carvings at 13th century Kilmallock Priory, Co. Limerick

"I was born on a storm-swept rock and hate the soft growth of sun-baked lands where there is no frost in men's bones."
-Liam O'Flaherty

Air Travel

The festivities are conveniently located about an hour from Shannon Airport in the west of Ireland.

Aer Lingus has direct service to Shannon from New York, Boston and Chicago.  USAirways has direct service from Philadelphia.  American Airlines has direct service from Boston.  Delta has direct service from Atlanta.

For Philadelphia-based folks who travel out of New York, I recommend Trinity Limo for great, friendly service.  They will pick up individuals at designated points such as King of Prussia and Fort Washington, and take you straight to your terminal at JFK.  Fare is $50 per person one way (tip not included).  If a group wants to travel together, a 10-person van can be chartered at a reduced rate of $35.40 per person (including tip).  Contact Trinity at 610-586-6005 and tell them Marnie sent you!

For general travel assistance, or to coordinate travel with a particular group of guests, please contact Janine Ortell at Travel Flair at 888-360-1199, or via e-mail at
jortell@travel-flair.com. Just tell her you're with Marn!

Glac bog an saol agus glacfaidh an saol bog tú.
Take the world nice and easy, and the world will take you the same.

-Irish proverb

Car Rental

Transportation for the group will be provided on the day of the wedding ceremony, however there are several unplanned free times during the wedding weekend, and you may also be considering staying on after the wedding to continue touring further. Therefore, renting a car is essential to give yourself the freedom to explore the Irish countryside.

Of course, driving is done on the opposite (left-hand) side of the road in Ireland. While this may seem daunting, with care you will quickly become acclimated. Note that most cars in Ireland are manual (stick-shift) transmissions, so you must ask for an automatic if you need one. Unfortunately, this can add a good bit to the cost, but the thrill of cruising around the fantastic countryside is certainly worth it! Just watch out for the hedges, narrow roads, and wandering livestock!!!

"What's the use of being Irish if the world doesn't break your heart?"
-John F. Kennedy

Most of the major rental car companies, such as
Avis, Hertz and Budget, operate out of Shannon Airport. Be sure to make a reservation in advance of your arrival. A valid U.S. drivers' license is sufficient to drive in Ireland as a tourist. Please note that neither your U.S. auto insurance nor your credit card are likely to provide coverage for any damage to the rental car in Ireland, so you should discuss purchasing the additional insurance from the rental agent.

If you are planning to tour around Ireland on your own by car, the
Ordnance Survey's Complete Road Atlas of Ireland is an indispensable favorite of mine. Alternatively, your rental car agent, or the airport gift shop, should have local maps available if you are not venturing too far afield.  Or, map out your journey online with this route planner to get detailed driving directions.

An rud nach leigheasann im ná uisce beatha níl aon leigheas air.
What butter and whiskey won't cure, there is no cure for.
-Irish proverb


Time

Ireland is 5 hours ahead of U.S. East Coast time.

Because of its northern latitude, Ireland enjoys long summer days. In late May, expect sunlight from around 5:00 am until as late as 10:00 pm.

"The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir, the Irish are a fair people - they never speak well of one another."
-Samuel Johnson


Weather

The Irish climate is generally a mild and temperate one, without extremes of temperature. But, weather can often be on the cool side, so warm clothing such as jackets, sweaters and long pants will always come in handy, even in the summer months. It's also good to dress in layers, as the temperature can change throughout the day.  Rain is of course always a factor, so don't leave home without an umbrella! Generally though, I find that the rain usually passes quickly and doesn't get too much in the way of your daily activities. The best rule of thumb is to just be prepared for anything weather-wise. As they say, in Ireland you can experience all four seasons in just one day! Average daytime temperatures in May should be in the 50s-60s. Click here to check out the
current local weather in Ireland.

Spanish singer Julio Iglesias was on a British talk show and was explaining to the host the use of the word 'mañana'.  He said it means 'maybe the job will be done tomorrow, maybe the next day, maybe the day after that. Perhaps next week, next month, next year. Who cares?'.  The host turned to the other guest, an Irish soccer player, and asked him if there was an equivalent term in Irish. "No. In Ireland we don't have a word to describe that degree of urgency," he replied.

Currency

Ireland's currency is the Euro, which is also used around most of the rest of Europe (with the exception of the United Kingdom). Click here for
current exchange rates.  Unfortunately, the dollar is quite weak at the moment, diminishing spending power.  Let's all hope for some improvement!

I don't personally recommend use of travelers' checks or trying to exchange a supply of cash through a bank before leaving on your trip. By using credit cards and retrieving cash from ATMs once you arrive, you'll get more favorable daily exchange rates and avoid major fees.  (Check with your bank and credit cards for details, as they may assess some small transactional fees). The airport is a great place to stock up on cash as soon as you arrive.  Note that the village of Doolin has no banks or ATMs, and 2 of the 3 pubs do not take credit cards, so stocking up at the airport or in another village along the way is important.

Is maith an scáthán súil charad.
A friend's eye is a good mirror.

-Irish proverb


Jet Lag

Jet lag can be a problem when taking a long-distance flight across several time zones. One of the best ways of overcoming it is to 'force' yourself into activities appropriate to the local time at your destination (meal times, sleep times, etc.). Since you'll be arriving fairly early in the morning local Irish time, it is best to stay awake and take advantage of the daylight to help re-adjust your internal clock. Resist the urge to go to sleep right away - in fact, on the first day this will be nearly impossible anyway, since you will likely be unable to check into your accommodation until atleast mid-afternoon. The Welcome Breakfast (see
Itinerary) is a way of helping to keep everyone occupied and eased into the new time zone on the first day. Click here for more tips on overcoming jet lag.

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy which sustained him through temporary periods of joy."
-Willam Butler Yeats


Security

People often ask me if Ireland is a safe place, because of the political conflict in Northern Ireland which has led to much tragic violence over the years. My answer is, unreservedly, YES. Ireland has been largely peaceful for well over a decade now, as the conflict has shifted to the political arena and both countries have enjoyed prosperity and modernization. Even so, you're probably unlikely to find yourself in any of the sectarian areas in Northern Ireland that are potential hot spots anyway. Having said that, I would not discourage anyone from visiting Nothern Ireland, should the opportunity present itself - it is a fantastic place with wondrous scenery and wonderful people.  Just use common sense and avoid the topics of politics and religion, and you won't risk offending anyone on these sensitive issues.  As with anywhere in the world, you should simply use common sense and good judgment to ensure your own personal security and safety when travelling in an unfamiliar place, especially when in a large city.

Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam.
A country without a language is a country without a soul.
-Irish proverb


Passports

Valid U.S. Passports are required to enter Ireland, however a Visa is not necessary if you are staying for less than 90 days. For
information on applying for a passport, click here. Note that processing times can take up to 6 weeks, and you are required to apply in person under certain conditions, so don't delay applying to avoid any last-minute problems with your travel plans.  [Update: Because of new U.S. processing and security requirements for passports, significant delays are being reported - be sure to get your applications in!]

"The people are thus inclined: religious, frank, amorous, irefull; sufferable of paines infinite; very glorious, many sorcerers; excellent horsemen; delighted with warres; great alms-givers; (sur)passing in hospitalitie. They are sharp-witted, lovers of learning, capable of any studie whereunto they bend themselves; constant in travaile, adventurous, intractable; kinde-hearted; secret in displeasure."
-Fr. Edward Campion, travelling in Ireland in the 1580s

Finally, click here for some amusing travel tips for the first-time visitor to Ireland!

"May you live all the days of your life."
-Jonathan Swift

"I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer."
-Brendan Behan


Co. Donegal lakeside