I’m Irish so naturally Ireland is always going to be near the top of my list of places to recommend for family travel but right now is a particularly good time to visit and here’s why…
Legacies of the Celtic Tiger Boom
Dublin Airport’s new Terminal 2 opened in November 2010. It is, as BigB said “Very fancy, futuristic even.” And it is. All shining glass and steel with wide open spaces and lots of great light its a tremendous improvement to the airport. For me, having a smooth and fairly pleasant experience just getting in and out of the country help set a good tone for our visit.
Infrastructure in Ireland has improved vastly over the past fifteen years. It’s easier to get from the airport out into the country and now there are motorways linking Dublin with other major cities (Belfast, Cork and Galway).
Motorway tolls are automatic. You may think this is trivial bu if you’ve ever had to sit in the waiting line for the toll plaza on the M50 (Dublin’s ring road) with an infant screaming in the back of your car you’d understand why, to me, this is a huge improvement.
There are new family-friendly tourist attractions such as the Sea Life Aquarium in Bray and Dublin’s Children’s Museum. Around the country historic sites such as the passage graves at Newgrange have improved visitor facilities with cafes and informative displays so that you can get more out of your visit.
The wealth years have left Ireland with a many great new hotels and resorts and the whole country looks as if it’s been spruced up. Freshly painted and newly whitewashed main streets in pretty villages up and down the country look even more charming.
Side-Effects of the Crash
On our recents visits to Ireland my husband has commented on how surprising it is that the country doesn’t appear more dreary – given the extreme economic deceleration that’s happened. That said, on our last visit (April 2012) we did notice that restaurant food prices appear to be falling which is a nice bonus for visitors: a hearty and filling cooked breakfast for 5 euros anyone?
While driving in Ireland we heard a radio interview with the head of IDA Ireland. This development authority is busy at work trying to bring international investors back to the Emerald Isle. Indeed, during the interview, he says that they have had some “encouraging discussions” driven by falling local labor costs and an educated, English-speaking workforce.
This is another reason why now is an excellent time to visit Ireland. If the IDA is successful, increased employment will create upward pressure on prices. If they are not successful, sadly, there won’t be enough money available for maintenance of those new roads, buildings and tourist facilities.
Right now is a sweet spot for any tourist who’s ever had a hankering to see if that fabled Irish Cead Mile Failte (a hundred thousand welcomes) is real or not.
Information on traveling to Ireland with kids.