I don’t write much about touristy things on this blog, mostly because I am living here now so have other priorities, but every now and then I come across something or think of a tip for visitors. It has been on my mind a lot this summer just how expensive it can be to travel here. (I may get pelted for saying this) If you rent a car you will pay more than any place in Europe (after adding on the horrendous extra insurance that is required for Ireland and…… Israel!!). Hotels and BnB’s do this really tricky thing called “per person”. You think you find a great rate, but then BAM, they charge you that rate for EACH person in the room. That great price suddenly doubles when you try to plan a romantic getaway. And don’t get me started on the price of petrol or eating out! So, here are some tips…..

Cook your own meals. Find accommodation that allows you to use the kitchen. Irish grown produce is good value, and the meat and dairy are top notch! I shop at the Midleton Farmer’s Market every week, purchasing fresh farm produce and grass-fed, ethically raised meats for a very good price. (shout out to Woodside Farm)

Check-out AirBnB. This company allows regular folks, like me, to list their spare room for you to rent by the night, week, or month. Some traditional BnB’s are listing their rooms on there, which I think is against the spirit of it and slimy (besides traditional BnBs don’t let you use their kitchen!) but there are loads of great values. Besides, you will get to stay with someone local to the area, in a low-key family setting that is often far off the tourist path (big tour buses), AND pay so much less!

Grab an O.S. Discovery map (Ordnance Survey) of the area you are staying. These wonderful maps list every ancient stone, ring, well, castle, fort and tomb. Ireland’s greatest treasures are NOT the pubs….they are the history and beauty of her countryside. Scattered literally across every square mile is an artifact older than most of us can fathom. Seeing these out of the way wonders is FREE. It just requires rain gear and wellies (which are easily gotten for cheap at ANY store here).

Now, book your ticket! Autumn and Winter are my favorite times to visit. You get the crisp feel in the air, the great smell of peat from chimneys, and Off-Season Prices! 🙂