The above photo notwithstanding, Limerick’s not the most scenic city in Ireland, but it could easily be the friendliest, or the most fun… I can highly recommend:
- Squire McGuire’s pub, where I had about the very best pub night humanly possible – singing, dancing, drinking, hugging total strangers…
- The Locke Bar, where I had what might be the very best hamburger I’ve ever devoured in my entire 57 years of life…
- Kyoto Sushi and Noodle, which we visited twice – protein loading at it’s most delicious!
- La Cucina – right around the corner from our AirBnB – where I dropped in frequently for coffee, and where I had delectable spaghetti bolognese one lunch. You will not meet nicer staff anywhere, and if you’re patient you might get to eat near some Munster rugby players! (sort of a dream come true for me…)
- The Limerick City Hotel. These people were amazing… We weren’t staying there, but when we needed ice at a ridiculously late hour, the bar staff gave us a bucket of ice, just plain trusting that we would bring the bucket back the next day. When we needed a cab to the airport, we walked here and had them call one – it didn’t seem to even VAGUELY amaze them that a couple of people would walk in off the street and ask them a favor. Kindness of striking sincerity…
- Leonidas Chocolates. Yes, this isn’t even slightly Irish, but when I was looking for chocolate-covered raisins for my friend (some pre-contest prep ritual for him…), the woman working there gave me a LIST of places that might have them. Not her shop, mind you – she didn’t carry them. But she spend quite a bit of time thinking of places for us to check. WHO DOES THIS?
- Hook and Ladder Cafe. I had time on my own while my friend was in the gym, and thus I ate some of my meals alone. Well, never TRULY alone – there’s always a bit of chat, and quite a lot of true friendliness… Couple that with some excellent falafel and a piece of lemon curd tart that’s the stuff of dreams, and it’s a memorable lunch…
I’m sure there are lots of places that I’m forgetting (some brain cells were sacrificed to propitiate the body-building gods…) but overall I highly recommend Limerick as a stop in a tour of Ireland. There’s an historic island with an amazing castle and very atmospheric cathedral, so you can pretend to be doing “real” tourist things…
I’ve also thought of a few things recently about traveling – in general – that I want to share…
- If you’re leaving from the International Terminal at O’Hare Airport, allow more time than you ever imagined to get through airport security. Recently, we’ve experienced delays of a half hour just going through the stupid X-ray procedure! It’s nothing for a line to stop, and STAY STOPPED, with no explanation, for ages… If your schedule is pressing, it’s very stressful.
- Please please please, try to avoid changing money at the airport – it’s absurdly expensive! I saw exchange rates that were literally 30% higher than bank rates… I understand that sometimes there’s no alternative, but try to find a way to avoid enriching strangers…
- It’s worth investigating bus service from airports into cities. (same for trains, if they’re available) I’ve taken the bus from the Dublin Airport into the city, and from the Shannon airport into Limerick, in just the last few weeks. It costs literally only about 20% of what a cab would cost. Sometimes a cab is the right choice, but this again is a chance to save substantial money with very little effort.
- If you need snacks on a flight, buy them before you get to the airport. I paid a shocking amount for some tasty empty calories recently! I don’t begrudge the purchase, but in the future I’d be smarter.
- Generally, it’s wise to think through the physical movements that you’re going to make at the beginning (and end) of your trip, and try to find the best options available for anything that requires payment. If you’re packing light, your can save some hard-earned money that can be squandered on delicious meals while at your destination!
My next trip is Paris – 1 month from today! (yes, it’s a lot of travel, but this is another attempt to make the trip that got cancelled in December, and again in February – it’s overdue!)
When traveling through Portland, OR International Airport (PDX) don't worry about pricing of your snacks! The City has ruled that the vendors at the airport are not allowed to charge more for their wares at the airport location, than they charge at the local Portland stores.
Taste of France says
Save your euros for your next trip. It's so much easier now than when I started traveling and had to change money for every single country.
Don't Irish taxis take credit cards? (Parisian taxis take cards since 2015–but you need a chip card, not the magnetic swipe.) Usually there's an ATM in the airport–that's the best way to get money (with your debit card, not credit card–getting cash with a credit card can bring on huge fees). Usually the exchange rate is excellent. You might want to notify your bank before your trip, so they don't think someone has run off with your card and put a block on it.
Ivy Bromius says
Tips from my own travel:
* If you don't have it, get TSA Precheck — much faster through security and a lot less trouble
* If you travel internationally frequently, you can also get Global Entry (which gives you precheck as well) and will make it much easier to come back into the US
* Try to fly through the primary airport hubs for your airline (not hard to do as they have the most flights) as you'll have better amenities and a higher chance of your incoming and outgoing flights being near one another
* Get a travel credit card (one attached to your favorite airline also gives benefits like lounge access — free food!) with a chip and no foreign fees — their rates are good and in a pinch you can go to the ATM (though cash in advance is still better)
* Get Uber and Lyft on your phone in case you are in a city that has them, they are frequently better than cab rates
* For cities with standardized public transportation, get a transport card and load it when you arrive. I have an Oyster card for London and a Suica card for Japan — major Western cities have much better public transport than we in the US are used to so give it a try and you'll save a ton of money
Wait, you're 57?! You seem so timeless and energetic and trendy… I would've pegged you for half that given your picks on here, or maybe my age which definitely rounds up to 40…. hopefully I can be YOU when I grow up!
Janice Riggs says
Well, I've been asleep for a third of the 57 years, so I've only been awake for 39 or so…
Jan Windmiller says
Sounds like we Americans should go to Limerick and take lessons in hospitality and politeness. I fear we have lost some of that.
Janice Riggs says
I'm pretty outgoing, but I don't feel as comfortable here in Chicago being that friendly with strangers. The violence and political divisions here have affected us all…
Wonderful tips for our [hopefully] trip to Ireland in October! xoxox