Looking forward to our Best of Ireland trip. Any tips by recent travelers would be appreciated. Anyone else going??
You are in for a treat. We went on this trip in September 2015, our first Tauck experience. Have now been on 3 more since then with another one planned. We were lucky and only had 1/2 day of rain, but be sure to take light weight waterproof jackets and umbrellas. Athletic shoes are fine. Dress is very casual in Ireland, and although there are a few hotel restaurants that require a jacket, there are usually other less formal restaurant options. We found there was plenty of free time on this trip to see things we wanted to at our own pace. Don't miss the falconry experience. We especially enjoyed Northern Ireland. Let us know if you have specific questions.
Since you are on a Small Group departure, the falconry experience might be held at the beautiful Mount Juliet Estate where the tour spends two nights. It was for us last year this time- it was free. Other optional activities there included golf (lesson?), archery, riding, and fishing. If you really don't get enough falconry, you can probably do it again at Ashford Castle (for a fee?). During our falconry experience at Mt. Juliet, in addition to flying hawks, we also had the opportunity to hold large barn owls- they were docile, beautiful and incredibly soft. Like a cat, they like to be rubbed/petted on their foreheads between their eyes.
This is a wonderful trip. Oh, and believe what I said about being prepared for weather- it was a bit damp during our falconry experience at Mt. Juliet and again at Jerpoint Abbey (and a few other times) but no real downpours- we get more rain in one afternoon here in North Carolina than we had in two weeks in Ireland.
During free time at Mt. Juliet (before/after dinner or after breakfast) take a short walk down to the breeding farm paddocks behind the estate- you can see them from the dining room windows- where you'll see a bunch of mares and new foals.