Eleanor O'Neill - New York November 2000
"Thank you for letting me know about the Vacation Planner. I'm glad you sent this email it is a reminder to me to personally thank Margaret of Discovering Ireland Vacation for all the fine arrangements she made for Rody Shanahan and I during our August vacation in Dublin and Galway . She did a great job with the bookings, her follow up was much appreciated as well as the easy availablity when we needed to change hotel arrangements. Rody had a little mishap in Galway (Hotel name escapes me at the moment- it was an excellent hotel near the bus depot.)She had taken a fall getting out of bathtub and needed to be rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a dislocated and fractured shoulder - wham! The ambulance drivers,hospital staff were wonderful. She had to have an operation when she returned to the States and is now on the mend. We managed fine getting from Galway to Dublin. It was a wonderful vacation and thanks to Margaret for all her assistance. Sincerely, Eleanor O'Neill"
Kel Jones - Shropshire England November 2000
"Dear Ann, Thanks for arranging everything the honeymoon was a glorious sucess. You were right about Ballynahinch Castle absolutely excellent. Adare Manor a little too formal but excellent quality, Muckross Park Hotel not on the same level at all service wise nice enough hotel otherwise. the Hibernian were fantastic transfered us to the Merrion and gave us dinner and booze on them due to they not being able to vacate the room! Quite a result. Altogether very pleased. Thank you very much. Yours sincerely. Kel Jones"
Paul & Phyllis Moore - Florida October 2000
"Nula I Hope We spelled your Name right . Just got back from our self drive tour of your beautiful country. And we must say you have done a fabulous job for us. The only reason we came back is I have to make more money so we can come again. The only draw back was the flight on Continental , Next time I think we will take Aer Lingus Not so cramped. The food was great, the people were great (Even the opinoniated one's like Me HA HA) Such a pleasure to just be who you are. Again Thanks From Both of Us"
Arlene Jennings - New York October 2000
"Dear Ann, I think your last message is on my computer in Massachusetts, so if I miss any specific questions you asked let me know. The trip was a dream. I can't get Ireland out of my head! There were those who wanted to do it again, and I can't say I'd object even if I had to do the work again. What I may do actually is come to Dublin on one of Aer Lingus' really cheap winter fares to do some research at the National Library. I spent an afternoon there, but reading microfilm of 19th c. parish records for long is exhausting!
Some specific feedback which may be useful to you:
1. The coach. A nice small bus, really comfortable in terms of space and visibility and a charming knowledgeable driver - John Galvin. Not the driver we expected, and we ended up with 3 different drivers over the course of the week. Mick took us for two days while John went to to a wedding. Mick was excellent, but of course we were already attached to John. (Except for Katy who enjoyed Mick more.) On the last day for transfer to the airport we had the 3rd driver, someone really very irritable whose name I've forgotten. Only the early departure got the airport transfer. Kaye, Blase and I took a taxi for our 3 pm flight. Also on our arrival there was some confusion as we had been told to expect a Kelleher sign and he had a Discovering Ireland Vacation sign. In fact, we saw no sign when we arrived and I phoned Galvins.
2. The hotel in Adare - Woodlands House. Lovely setting, very comfortable hotel with a superb new health club - which several of us really appreciated. I think it may have been my fault for saying we'd have dinner in the hotel the first night, but to tell you the truth, though the menu read well, the food was pretty awful. However, it was the only bad meal we had in Ireland! The hotel was buzzing that night with folks waiting for the conquering hurling team to show up so we got quite an introduction! I loved the Adare location but if I were doing it again obviously I'd choose a restaurant in town for dinner. And, of course, the town is so lovely going in the first night would be nice.
3. Cliffs of Moher . . .Bunratty. Perfect day.
4. Killarney. Cahernane. The hotel has a heavenly setting and great potential, but it really needs the shut down and refurbishing it's about to get under the new owner. It's looking a bit shabby, and there is litle evidence of management on the premises ensuring that things run smoothly. We loved it, and it irritated us too. The chef is obviously brilliant. The first night dinner was superb in terms of food quality. Service was very efficient. Breakfasts were problematic. Excellent if you could get them. If there was another group at the same time as us, the staff just couldn't keep up. And the last morning there was no service at all. We finally went in search of our own tea and coffee. The sleeping room was very comfortable and pleasant. The bathroom was impossible. No hint of a shower curtain and the bathroom flooded despite the most careful efforts. Killarney was an excellent base for us, not only because our ancestors came from there but also because the shopping and restaurants were excellent (West End on the last night that you set up and also Dingles. We did have one dinner at Paddy's and liked it very much, but the West End was even better.) And of course travel from there worked well.
5. Tours: All wonderful. The Glengariff day was perhaps the least interesting because it's past the season for the gardens. On the other hand, that was our rainy day, and maybe I should just chalk it up to that. The drive over the mountains to Cork was gorgeous. (As John said the best thing about Kerry is the road to Cork - though we didn't agree.) I missed the Gap of Dunloe, which I'm sure was a mistake - it was the favorite of others, but I took the train to Tralee to go to the county library for research. Had to do that one day just to know I could. I could have missed the Blarney Stone though I know others wanted to do it. It's such a crush, and the shopping was better in Killarney. In Dublin we just had John do a half day city overview and then all headed out on our own, which worked quite well.
6. Dublin: I adored the hotel - The Hibernian. Beautiful, elegant comfort. Excellent food. Lovely rooms. And best of all the perfect location - charming neighborhood right around the corner from a variety of nice restaurants and only a 15 min. walk to city center. I would definitely go back and recommend it to others. I hope this is balanced in a way that is useful for you. I've given you the critical bits just because I know that helps you make others' trips even more wonderful. We can't thank you enough for putting this wonderful experience together for us. I hope we do get a chance to do it again. And I hope we get to meet one day. Good luck in your studies! Arlene