“AN TÉ A BHÍÓNN SIÚLACH, BÍONN SCÉALACH”
“He Who Travels Has Stories to Tell”
Growing up, vacationing in Ireland was always on my bucket list. I knew I had to get there one day, although I never actually believed it would happen. But it did! Let me tell you how we vacationed in Ireland on a budget!
My husband, Tim, also happened to share this dream with me. Thankfully, he was more determined to make the dream a reality than I was! I’m excited to share with you how we vacationed in Ireland on a budget.
How The Dream Became Reality
Tim and I were sitting around one night in March of 2016, talking about what it would be like if we could afford to take our dream vacation to Ireland.
Just out of curiosity we started browsing the good ol’ internet to get ideas of just how far off we were from being able to pay for it. To our surprise, there were quite a few options for traveling to Ireland without spending an arm and a leg.
Once we had an idea about how much our dream vacation would cost us, it hit us that this might actually be do-able! I didn’t want to touch the money in our savings account, though, because we were also in the beginning stages of buying our first home.
That’s when Tim did something I never imagined he would do.
What did he do?
Before Tim started up his awesome company, Izzy’s Comics and Collectibles, he was collecting comics as a hobby. Because he knew how important it was for me to visit Ireland (I was working on family ancestry at the time and we both have roots there), he made a huge sacrifice.
Tim took it upon himself to sell the comic book collection he had been building up for several years and to use that money to fund our dream vacation!
We were able to spend 3 days and four nights in Ireland, without having to touch our savings account! It took a lot of planning and research, but we did it! The only complaint I have is that we couldn’t stay longer.
We were both working full-time jobs at the time, so we were limited on the amount of time we could take off. His parents were also using their vacation time to babysit for us. We are so blessed to have family that is willing to do that for us!
How we Vacationed in Ireland On a Budget:
Book the trip in advance
We booked our vacation a year in advance. Not only did this help us save money, but it also gave us plenty of time to research the places we wanted to see and learn about the culture. It also gave me a year to get over my anxiety of flying over the ocean for several hours!
Look for Travel Packages
I found a ton of deals on travel packages to Ireland online. Some of them involved using vouchers for lodging, and that wasn’t something we were interested in. We wanted to be sure we knew where we would be staying the night, so we went with a travel package from Travelocity.com.
Our package included roundtrip airfare, 4-night stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast (more on that later), and car rental for the duration of our trip.
Plan Your Itinerary Ahead of Time
There are so many amazing sights to see in Ireland! We knew that we wanted to visit the Trinity College Library, as well as Glendalough, and we budgeted those into our trip budget.
We also planned outings that were free of charge, which was easy to do with the beautiful Irish sea within a 30-minute drive of our bed and breakfast.
Eat Pub Food
Not only does eating pub food save money, but it’s a no-brainer if you’ve never visited Ireland before. It’s not just about the food, but the environment as well.
People-watching in Irish pubs is probably one of the best aspects of visiting the country. The locals are friendly, and everyone seems to know each other. There are no strangers there.
Avoid Airport Food
I think this is relevant no matter where you’re traveling. Airport food is just expensive. Because you’re starving from a long flight, or maybe you eat when you’re anxious like I do, it may be tempting. But I would recommend packing snacks instead, it’ll save you a ton of money!
Let me tell you, $6 for a bottle of water from the airport during our layover in Paris was not easy for me to spend.
Find Cheap or Free Souvenirs
Although I did splurge on an Irish wool beanie for myself (it was gorgeous and I couldn’t help it!), most of the souvenirs I brought back consisted of seashells or rocks I found on the beach, travel guides, maps, etc.
I bought chocolate and candy for the kids from a little market in the village where we stayed, which made them very happy and didn’t cost me a ton!
What we did in Ireland Without Spending a Ton of Money
I won’t lie, the flight was long and boring. I slept most of the way, and watched movies while I was awake. Tim didn’t sleep much on the flight, so guess what we did our first day in Ireland?
After a brief afternoon stroll through Dublin, and an hour-long drive to our B&B in Aughrim, County Wicklow, we slept. And slept some more. Then the next day, our first full day in the beautiful country of our dreams, Tim was hit with jetlag and slept some more!
Our Bed and Breakfast
While we were looking through travel packages, the most important thing for us was to find a nice place to stay the night. I was a little nervous about being in a strange country and trusting the people there.
Although, it became clear once we actually arrived in Ireland that shouldn’t have ever worried me! Ireland is full of amazing, friendly people who are excited to share their culture with others.
We were lucky enough to find the Clone House in Aughrim. Built in 1605, Clone House was originally a manor house on a large estate. During the 1798 Rebellion, Clone house was burnt down.
It was restored in 1805 and is now used as a guest house. Svetlana was our hostess and provided us with the most amazing Irish breakfasts each morning.
See the Sights
We spent the majority of our time in Ireland wandering the area between Dublin and County Wicklow. We visited Glendalough, an Early Medieval Monastic settlement where the spirit of Ireland seems to have been magically sealed in over thousands of years.
The cemeteries offer a glimpse into the past and the stone buildings have somehow withstood years of weather and progress. It’s easy to believe the fairies I’ve read about in Irish folklore actually exist in places like Glendalough.
Another bucket list item I was able to check off was visiting the Trinity College Library in Dublin. I have never been so impressed by a library before, and that’s saying a lot! Libraries are my favorite!
Another place I knew I needed to see was the Irish Sea. With its jagged rocks and rough waters, I could have watched it for hours!
Driving the Irish countryside and seeing the hills dotted with sheep, it was easy to appreciate that life is completely different in that part of the world. I felt a sense of peace I haven’t felt here at home.
You know I found a thrift shop while in Ireland! Tim and I were driving around the village of Aughrim, and we came upon this cute little thrift shop. I couldn’t pass up the chance to go thrift shopping in Ireland!
Although we have checked Ireland off of our bucket list, it’s still at the top of my list of places to visit again. Thankfully, we now know that Ireland is not just a dream vacation that can never be achieved. We’re proof that you can enjoy the wonder of such a beautiful country without ending up in debt.
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Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think of my tips for how we vacationed in Ireland on a budget!
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