Ireland!

In case you haven’t heard the news from Hobgoblin’s blog, it looks like we’ll be going to Ireland next year! It’s not 100% for sure, but it’s likely enough to get excited about. What happened is that Hobgoblin’s university offers a study abroad option there a couple times a year, and Hobgoblin will have a chance to teach a course as part of the program. The course is two weeks long, and our plan is that I’ll join him for the second week and hang out there while he teaches, and then we’ll spend the following week traveling on our own, perhaps to London and Paris, unless we change our minds and decide to go somewhere else.

Even though we’ve wanted to go to Europe for a while, it was just a vague plan, a nice idea, until this opportunity came up. Not only will Hobgoblin get paid for teaching the course, but his airfare and lodging will be covered, so the trip will cost only my airfare and the cost of the London and Paris trips. The one thing that has to fall into place is that enough students have to register for Hobgoblin’s class, and as long as that happens, we’ll be going. Woo-hoo!

I visited Germany and Switzerland when I was in high school and again in college, but that’s the extent of my European travel, so I’m thrilled to be able to go back. Interestingly enough, the town in Ireland we’ll be visiting is the place where one branch of my family originated. I actually have no idea whether this is my branch of the family or not, as people with my last name come from both England and Ireland, but still the possibility that I’m visiting my roots is pretty exciting. Perhaps it’s time for some genealogical research? Hobgoblin tells me that someone with my last name will have an instant crowd of friends in this particular town — all I’ll have to do, apparently, is tell people my name, and I’ll have people buying me drinks and inviting me over for dinner. It sounds like fun.

We have a whole year to plan, as the trip will be next May, and in the meantime, if anybody has any advice on how to find cheap-but-not-dreadful places to stay in London and Paris, let us know!

21 Comments

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21 responses to “Ireland!

  1. That sounds wonderful! It’s nice to hear that you’ll be able to join the Hobgoblin for part of the time! Maybe you can have an international blogger meet-up while you’re there? I’ve been to Ireland and it is mind-numbingly gorgeous. It’s the one place I literally cried when I had to leave! Isn’t it great having such an exciting trip to look forward to!

  2. Way cool! I hope you get to go and have a great time!

  3. Thrilled for you guys! I always stay with friends in London, but one thing I’ve done in Paris is rent an apartment, which means you have more room than in the usual miniscule Parisian hotel room. I’ll check out my links and send you one.

    If there’s a chance of an international blogger meet-up, let’s make it Paris. It’s three hours from me by train …

  4. How wonderful! Do let me know your plans in case there is any chance we could coincide. I wish I knew more about London accommodation – if ever I stay there (and that’s once a decade or so now) I find a cheap hotel on expedia.com or somewhere similar. Wow – I’m sure you’ll have a marvellous time!

  5. How wonderful! That may sound selfish but I’m very enthusiastic about a Paris blogger meetup… I could recommend some cafes and bistros and hostels and meet you all guys!
    Dorothy, please email me separately if you need help for accomodation in Paris, depending on your budget and what you want to see, I’ll be able to help and even book for you if needed.
    About London, I went to great B&Bs through londonbb.com agency (good experience twice for central location rooms).

  6. Danielle — an international blogger meet-up is already in the works — yay! (I was thinking that Hobgoblin and I need to do a tour of the midwest, so we can see our favorite bloggers there!) I’m so, so glad to hear you felt that way about Ireland — I can’t wait to see it!

    Bardiac — thank you! Hobgoblin is going to do his best to talk students into signing up, and he’s pretty persuasive, so I’m betting it will work out.

    Charlotte — three hours! Yes, definitely, let’s have the blogger meet-up in Paris. And thank you again for sending the link — the idea of renting an apartment is very useful.

    Litlove — one of my first thoughts when we talked about going to London was that we might get to see you! Cambridge isn’t far, right?? Perhaps we could take a train up. I think we’re farther away from NYC than you are from London. I’ll email when our plans are firmed up.

    Smithereens — it’s not selfish at all, particularly since I’m already planning on making use of your knowledge of the city to help us make plans! Let’s definitely have a blogger meet-up. I’ll email soon.

  7. Oh, how wonderful! I am so jealous and so happy for you. What fun! I think one of the best things about taking a big trip is the planning and the anticipation. Two former coworkers were Irish and had friends and extended family members who live there and they have told me how absolutely beautiful the country is. I would think May is a good time of year to go too.

  8. Cam

    I’ve had both good experiences and not-so-good (okay, BAD!) experiences in London, but one of my rules, aside from cost, is the convenience of your hotel. There is nothing more wearying at the end of the day than to have a long walk from the tube or bus stop after you’ve spent all day walking already. Add some rain and it’s even worse. So, keep that in mind when you book a hotel. I have stayed at various places in the area off of Bayswater Rd. (tube: Lancaster Gate, Queensway). You won’t find any place really upscale here, but convenient, and I love the multi-ethnic feel of Queensway Rd. Makes the grocery stores fun. Plus, you’re right by Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. My son stayed in area near Imperial College (Knightsbridge/Brompton Rds) two years ago & thought it was a great place. Of course that may have been because he was, for the first time, in a plae where he could legally consume alcohol and I think he loved any pub he went to. :)

    I used to have a favorite hotel in Paris near the Bastille, that met my 3 c’s: convenient, clean and cheap. I haven’t stayed in a hotel in Paris in 10 years, but I’m scheduled to be at this same hotel in 2 weeks. The trip is, unfortunately, up in the air right now, but if I do go and it is still an okay place, I’ll send you the details. Found this place on advice of a former colleague who was married to a Parisian — and refused to stay with her in-laws. It’s not a place you’d find in any tourbook, but it’s perfect because of that — no tourist crap or crabby (American) tourists. I love staying in areas that are local.

    You will LOVE Dingle. My 2nd favorite coastal place in the world in terms of sheer beauty of the land & sea. My personnel recommendations: take a tour of the Ring of Kerry (you can bike it). Although it is across an inlet from Dingle, geologically & culturally, it is so different. An amazing contrast. North to Cliffs of Mohr. See huge puffin colony and climb lots of steps at Skellig Michael (island off of Kerry peninsula). Skip Cork and Blarney Castle (but be sure to go to some castle or fortress) unless it just happens to be on your way to Kinsale. Kilarnney seemed the Irish equivalent of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but there is a Nat’l Park nearby that has some nice hiking trails. Have only been in western and southern parts of Ireland, so can’t give any advice on Dublin, etc.

    You might enjoy reading Around Ireland with a Fridge (about a guy who traveled around Ireland with — yep – a fridge). I bought it as a gift off of a friends wishlist a few years ago, and, while I wasn’t able to finish it, I read enough of it that I felt like I was giving a used book as a gift. Funny tale of an Englishman exploring Ireland and the wonderful people he meets along the way.

  9. My parents live within a 25′ metro ride from downtown Paris. They love to take boarders if it means they get to practice their English. It would be both cheap (I mean free) and certainly not dreadful (unless you had rather not spend some time with a French literature teacher). Let me know, then I’ll ask.

  10. verbivore

    What wonderful news! I’m sure Smithereens will give you the best advice on where to stay in Paris but I have two places I love to stay when we go, so can pass those along as well. One is a tiny apt and not very expensive at all (located right in Montmartre) so you can do some of your own cooking, which always helps a bit.

    And please keep me informed about a Paris blogger meet up, I would be there in a heartbeat (or three hours trains!)

    And if you have the time, you and Hobgoblin would be more than welcome to swing through here and stay with us at the farm!

  11. This sounds absolutely wonderful! I have to admit I’m more than a little jealous. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. :)

  12. You’ll love it! Head over to Scotland if you can; the Highlands are my favoritest place in the whole world!

  13. this sounds like so much fun! I can’t wait to hear al about it, and in the mean time have a lovely time planning. Something tells me hobgoblin will have to turn students away from registering…

  14. As I said to Hobs: may I join you?

  15. This is so exciting! I’ve never been to Ireland but my friend’s family is from there, and she might be able to help. I have been to London but only with family so I’m afraid I can’t advise on hotels. I hope you have a wonderful trip!!

  16. Oh how fun! I hope it all works out perfectly and you guys can enjoy a great time in Europe. I’ve never been to Ireland but as with books, I’ve got a list of places to go! haha….

  17. Stefanie — yes, we’ll definitely have a lot of fun planning the trip, and already have, in fact! I’ve heard from lots of people how beautiful Ireland is, which makes me SO eager to go!

    Cam — wow, thank you SO MUCH for all that great advice! Do send along the information about the Paris hotel if you are able to go on your trip (and I hope you are!). I’m going to consult your comment frequently, because there’s a lot of great information there — thank you! That’s exactly what I need.

    Mandarine — thank you! I’ll email you at some point to discuss the possibility further. It’s very generous of your parents to consider taking on boarders, and Hobgoblin and I will think about it and let you know. We’re really intrigued by the possibility!

    Verbivore — thank you for your offer too! I’ll definitely keep you updated on a blogger meet-up, as I’d love to meet you! I’ll be in touch if we end up in need of specific suggestions for places to stay in Paris. Thank you!

    Lisa — I can’t believe how lucky I am! I’ve wanted to go too, but didn’t think it would happen quite so soon.

    Chartroose — I’m not sure we’ll make it to Scotland this time around, but if we get to go back, I want to go there. I’m sure it’s wonderful!

    Courtney — I think you’re right about Hobgoblin’s class — he’s a very popular teacher and I think students will be eager to sign up for the class.

    Emily — why not take the class? It’s Old Irish literature, and I’m sure you’d love it! :)

    Debby — thank you! I’m greatly looking forward to it, and I’ll appreciate any advice I can get.

    Iliana — yes, it promises to be great fun. It’s definitely on my list of places to go too, and I’m glad it’s become possible!

  18. LK

    This is very exciting – I hope it works out for you both! This is a book I’ve been recommended re Paris, if that helps: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Gustafsons-Great-Sleeps-Paris/dp/0811853950/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1242257386&sr=1-1

  19. Thank you, LK! It’s nice to hear from you again — I hope you are well.

  20. How wonderful for you! You are certain to have a delightful time. I wish I had some advice on lodgings, but it seems as if others have ideas for you.

    I did something similar a few years back and it was fantastic.

  21. Writ — I’m glad to hear your trip was so great, and I’m sure mine will be too! Thanks for stopping by.

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