We've been talking about it for a long time. I love Ireland and have visited before. Darwin has always wanted to go. He was uncertain about going this summer, and I pointed out that for the first time in years, I'm not under contract this summer, meaning I can go without worrying about a writing deadline. So he decided it would be a good idea.
The first part was settling on a date. After some finagling, we choose the second and third weeks of August. And then when we had the dates all set, I played with the ticket buying program and discovered if we stayed one more day, the plane ticket prices dropped by over $200 each. That would more than pay for an extra night in Dublin, so we happily extended the trip.
Then we had to figure out where to stay. After more finagling and discussion, we decided to do what I did last time--spend a few days in Dublin, move to a rural cottage for several days, and then come back to Dublin for the end. In fact, I discovered the same cottage I stayed before at was available! Clonleason Gate Lodge is an easily driveable distance from several archaeological sites we want to see, and there's a bog and a ruined castle nearby, so it's a perfect place for us. We booked it.
And we ran into problems with finding places to stay in Dublin. Man!
Darwin and I don't like hotels much. (Who does, right?) They're sterile, the amenities are limited, they're small, and if you're tired and just want to hang out for part of a day, you feel foolish sitting in a hotel room to do it. That's why we like renting cottages or flats. You have all the amenities of home, you have more space, and if you want to zone out for a day, you feel like you're doing it in your own living room.
Like a lot of people, we use Airbnb to book places and have had wonderful results in the past. This time, though, the places that turned up were too expensive or badly located. When we were looking for a place to stay at our arrival, two times we tried to book places and the host turned the booking down, once because the host said she was looking for people to stay for at least a week, and another who just didn't answer. At last we managed to find a nice flat.
But the REAL challenge was for the few days before we left. We needed a place Friday through Monday, and the number of places dwindled sharply, or were REALLY expensive. In the end, we gritted our teeth and booked a place that was quite a distance from the center of the city and still more than we wanted to pay.
And then . . .
I was surfing around the web site for Trinity College. TC houses the Book of Kells, which we'll want to see, and I wanted to find out what the College's museum hours were. Quite by accident, I discovered Trinity College rents out its student rooms and apartments during the summer. (!) The location would be perfect, of course, and the prices were startlingly low. In fact, booking a two-person apartment for three nights would cost about $200 less than the flat we'd found, and several hundred less than any hotel.
I canceled the flat and booked the flat at Trinity. My only regret is that there wasn't an apartment available for when we arrived--they only had rooms with a single bed.
So now we just need to rent a car!