Greetings from Ireland!
Earlier this week we flew from London to Dublin, and for the past few days we’ve been exploring the Emerald Isle. My wife’s parents, who have generously funded the bulk of this trip, booked us on a series of rail-and-bus tours of Cork, Cobh (Queenstown), Killarney, Waterford, Kilkenny, and the ring of Kerry. As a result, I’m getting a crash course in rail travel, which is something new to me. (I’m also reading a lot of personal finance books — there are huge blocks of downtime on these trips.)
The Irish countryside is beautiful — very much like Oregon.
I’ve been impressed with the mass transit systems in both London and Dublin. Portland has a network of buses and light-rail trains, but I rarely use them, so I’m not able to speak to their cost or convenience. (In the next decade, the light-rail line may extend to within a few miles of our home, making it more accessible.) I like the notion of paying €1.40 (roughly $1.90) to take a bus or train ride from one part of the city to another. Because gasoline here costs about $8/gallon, mass transit is an attractive alternative.
My spending continues to be within my $100/day budget, though it far exceeds my $50/day target. I have no doubt that — airfare and lodging aside — left to my own devices I could vacation in the U.K. and Ireland for $50/day with ease. The logistics of my group make this impractical. While I’m fine with grocery store meals, my in-laws prefer for the family to eat together in a pub or restaurant. They also like to see the big attractions, which often cost money.
As commenters noted last week, however, there are many free (or cheap) attractions in and around London and Dublin. London, especially, has some great free sights:
- The National Gallery
- The British Library
- Natural History Museum, which we did not see
- Tate Britain and Tate Modern
- Victoria and Albert Museum — this was one of our two favorites on the trip highly recommended
- The British Museum — the second of our two favorites
All of those are awesome, and all of them are free. The last two are each worthy of an entire day. (The National Gallery may be worth an entire day, too, depending on how much you love art.)
Another cheap way to have fun, in my opinion, is to walk the city. Unfortunately my companions don’t seem to agree. My best day so far was walking London from Victoria Station to Buckingham Palace to Piccadilly Circus to the British Library to the Embankment to Westminster Abbey and then back to Victoria Station. It was awesome. I walked over ten miles and saw parts of the city that I would have missed if I had traveled only by the Tube.
We still have two days here in Dublin and then we’re off to New York. My notebook is filled with outlines for Get Rich Slowly entries, and I’ll have half a dozen books to review by the time the trip is over. For now, though, there’s another week of great guest articles to go!