An American tourist, visiting Ireland for the first time, was checking that his hire car was in good order before setting off on a day trip around the beautiful Causeway Coast. He was parked in the hotel car park so he called to one of the hotel porters, Seamus, to help him. The American tourist asked Seamus to stand at the back of the car and make sure his indicator lights were working. He turned them on and called to Seamus “are they working ok?” Seamus called back “Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No”.
There are two main ways to get around Ireland – by coach, or by hiring a car and driving yourself, like the American tourist in the Irish joke. For many people, the coach option is the straight forward one. It is the hassle free option. Directions, maps or satellite navigation systems are not needed when on a coach. Nor do you have to deal with jokers like Seamus when checking your indicators – that sort of thing can be left to the coach driver.
Also, on coach trips, all accommodation is sorted for you, and the coach companies plan the trip so you do not even need to research the landmarks and places you want to visit. It is as easy as climbing aboard after breakfast, sitting back and waiting for the driver to stop and say “we are here”.
You often do not even need to worry about where to buy lunch.
It is therefore easy to understand the appeal of booking a coach trip to explore Ireland. Driving yourself, however, is an option that should not be discounted.
I was recently staying in a hotel in Derry, Northern Ireland’s second city. The hotel itself is used as a stop-off for many of the coach trips visiting this part of Ireland. Derry City itself is historical, with its walls, history of clothes manufacturing and connection to Ireland’s troubled past. Today it is a city being transformed, with a vibrant music and arts scene – it is the 2013 European City of Culture.
So the City is a destination to see in itself. However, for many of the coach trips, it is merely a stop-off. The hotel is probably the reason – it is one of the best in the region for quality and price.