“My lord protector’s hawks do tower so well; They know their master loves to be aloft
And bears his thoughts above his falcon’s pitch.”
— Henry VI, Part II
— Henry VI, Part II
Recently Dana, a member of the Grand European Travel team, went on the new Ireland’s Castles & Manors Guided Vacation. She enjoyed new experiences like exploring Dublin, staying in the tour’s castle hotels and visiting Sligo, the area where the poet Yeats lived. She also enjoyed traveling as a single person on a guided vacation. Read about her experience below.
This year I decided to try something new, I usually go on one of our guided vacations at least every year, if not every other year, but normally I go with a friend or family member. This year I decided to try traveling as a single in a single room. I choose our Castles and Manors Guided Vacation. Having been on several such vacations before I knew that most people that embark on vacations like this one are friendly people that enjoy traveling with like-minded people.
I found this to be true again, everyone on the trip welcomed me and I made instant friends. I was welcomed at the dinner tables, invited to join smaller groups for drinks and included in inside jokes among longtime friends on the motorcoach.
For those that haven’t traveled alone much, a tour like this is a great way to get out and experience another country and culture in the company of people you can trust and that will look out for you. The Travel Director was always there to guide me on my restaurant selections. The entrance fees and ins and outs of the site were already handled and I never felt nervous being alone in a big city.
I happen to be a good independent traveler so I enjoyed the design of the trip. I could join in with the group or if I wanted to wander by myself to explore the Cliffs of Moher for a while I could do that too. Then I had people to share my adventures with when I got back on the motorcoach.
One of the best parts was the people I met and the friends I made. I made friends with several other single women and now have friends I can travel with, visit or exchange travel stories with via email.
For anyone that is considering traveling as a solo traveler on an guided vacation I would highly recommend it. You will have an instant group of friends, feel the safety in numbers that you might not feel otherwise and as a bonus you have people to take your picture so you can show the people back home what a great time you had!
Did you miss Dana’s write up of the Castles & Manors Guided Vacation? Click here to read.
Dana, a member of the Grand European Travel team, traveled to Ireland on a Guided Vacation this past summer. She shares her experiences of the Emerald Isle below.
I have been lucky so far in my life to have traveled to many countries in Europe and throughout the world and have to admit Ireland is now one of my favorites. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the country. From the lush emerald hills of Yeats country that bring his poetry to life, to the scenic vistas of the ring of Kerry, to the barren Burren, I loved it all. The people were also extremely friendly, there’s nothing like stepping into an Irish pub for a pint and being welcomed by a smile and friendly conversation.
The tour began in Dublin. I booked an extra night at the beginning (something I highly recommend) so that I could see a bit more of Dublin. Our hotel was right by Trinity College and Grafton Street so I could walk on my own to many of the sights and sounds of the city. I found Dublin to be a vibrant city with something going on around every corner. There were street performers well into the evening on Grafton Street and the restaurants and pubs literally spill out onto the street at night.
Once we departed Dublin, we headed for the countryside. As I mentioned before, there was a breathtaking site at every turn. Then it was off to Killarney, where we had the chance to explore the city center in a jaunting car!
It was in Killarney that I started staying in some of the most amazing hotels that I have ever experienced. Whether it was The Malton Manor in Killarney or one of the three castles we stayed in, I was amazed at the luxury and by the quality of the food. These accommodations were a step up even from first class, many felt like four and five star hotels and the meals were always three or four course gourmet meals.
Many people have asked me what my favorite part of the trip was. My favorite castle was Ballynahinch Castle, with its winding hallways and hunting lodge feel. It seemed the closest to castle life you can get, but with modern day luxuries. The grounds were extensive too, with the original castle from the 14th century still standing in the middle of the lake and many pathways and fishing platforms for diehard fly fishermen.
My favorite area was Sligo, where the poet Yeats lived, with its boggy countryside, fjords and lush green hills. And lastly, my favorite activity was dining and enjoying the companionship of my fellow travelers.
I saw a lot on this tour, covered a lot of ground and enjoyed every minute of it. When I bid farewell to Ireland, I promised myself I would go back and visit again.
Have you been to Ireland? What were your impressions of the Emerald Isle?