Andy & Bev Fraser's Travel World

34 years of our "UnTour" Adventures
Bev & Andy Fraser
Our journeys are as close as we can come to a good old fashioned no rushing, relaxed time with good companions. This is our 34th year of doing it our way. Hope you can join us. Andy & Bev
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Our “Background Tips” for Ireland and Wales

Background Reading
It would be easy to compile a list of books on Irish and Welsh history. There are tons of them out there. But the dry, dusty facts of a nation do not in any way tell the real story of people.

Especially a Celtic nation. First off, when it comes to the Celtic history you are not looking at a defined border. Sure there are borders for Wales and Ireland (both Irelands) but when you look at the history of the Celts, borders play an insignificant part except in the later years.

Defining a Celtic boundary is like a Celtic knot. There is no beginning, there is no end. The Celts have wandered all over Europe.

Best bet is the shotgun approach.  There are countless books on Irish Celtic lore, legends, myths. To say which is ‘best’ is futile.  Same with Druids, same with King Arthur, same with St. Patrick.

There are so many layers of history for each nation. Look at Ireland. Their history is still being written. The division between the two, the religious strife, the place of both Irelands within Europe. All so detailed and all so different from the early days of Independence and earlier yet to long before Patrick when the Celts had a richness beyond our understanding.

Maybe Thomas Cahill’s ‘How The Irish Save Civilization” could be a bit of intro. It delves deep into the early Christian days of Irish monks copying every book they could lay their hands on and then taking those books into the Europe of The Dark Ages after the Romans had left and the Angles and Saxons had destroyed almost every bit of literature in mainland Europe. But that’s just one.

Same with Wales. We could suggest Gywn A. Williams “When Was Wales” which is a history which includes much of the time when those who are now Welsh were the people of Britain and their language was the language of Britain. It follows their path through the days of the Romans and the forcing back of the Welsh to the mountains of Snowdonia.

How about looking at the tremendous amount of literature put out by the writers, poets and playwrights of Ireland and of Wales?

You can’t visit either country without being involved in their literature, music and song. W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Johnathan Swift, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, an endless Irish list really. Or in Wales, Dylan Thomas, C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Beatrx Potter, Edith Pargater, Sharon Penman.

And of course the music of both nations is part of the history.

So where do you start? Take your pick or maybe be happy with just looking at some of the marvelous coffee table books there are of the all the beautiful corners, many of which we’ll be seeing.

Or maybe just wait and allow the Celtic world to take you on a wonderful adventure!

Tips on weather and clothing
If you think we’re going to give any specific weather for Ireland or Wales, you’re crazy! With what’s been happening all over the world with Climate Change (and yes, it’s real) to make any predictions would be  almost ridiculous. However, having said that we’ll give you what the weather bosses say for the latter half of September and early October.

So they say: - It depends! Profound. But going over the past few years the day temperatures can reach up to a high of 17-18 Celsius going down to about 10 Celsius at night. Or - in U.S. speak, roughly 65 farenheit down to about 50 at night. These figures can be found in the middle of summer or the middle of winter so there you have it.

There could be some rain so bring along a rain jacket. In fact with all of the British isles at any time of years it’s wise to have some rain protection including a small telescoping umbrella.

Wondering about what to wear and bring along?
The day has long passed when ladies and gentlemen dressed for dinner. There are probably places where a dress code is expected but not in any of the places we’ll be staying.

Now, having said that Bev and I like to make a bit of a change of clothes after a days outing. But not required.

This is your holiday and your comfort is key.

A windbreaker might be a good idea for any windy or cooler days.

We’re not going on great hikes over the countryside but foot comfort is paramount for all of us. And maybe a pair of light slippers for your room just in case the hotel doesn’t provide them.

As far as laundry goes, unless you have a considerable pile of money, don’t use the laundry service in the hotel. Doing that will cut you off from a couple of drinks, or a bit more shopping.

In the larger centres the Concierge or reception can tell you where laundromats are in relation to the hotel. Much, much cheaper.

Again, should you have any questions, give us a shout.

And one other point. Most of us pack way more than we need. We’ve been doing this for decades and still fall into that trap.  Just keep it in mind.

What about the currency?
 We will have two currencies to deal with. The  Republic of Ireland uses the Euro throughout and cash machines are available throughout the country from countless numbers of bank machines or banks if you prefer. 

We have used bank machines for years now. That way you control the amounts of money you take out so you won’t have great amounts in you pocket that you worry about.

Value of any of the currencies we will be using is somewhat ‘iffy’ at the moment thanks to the Brexit confusion to say nothing of the various trade wars presently underway. The markets are jittery.

However, a ball park figure as of today is One Euro is ‘about’ $1.51 Canadian while the US rate is ‘about’  $1.12 U.S. dollars. 

Market figures will change but you can keep up to date with any of the various calculators on the web.

OK, so much for The Republic of Ireland.  Keep in mind that after our arrival day we head north and inside of an hour or so we’re in Northern Ireland where we’ll spend five nights, three in Belfast and two at The Brown Trout Inn, a lovely country inn up in the north.

Pound Sterling is the money for Northern Ireland. Again the rates are flipping and flopping for the same reasons as the Euro.

One pound Sterling is about $1.75 Canadian and the US rate is about $!.30. They’ll change as we go along. Heck there are small changes daily.

We should point out that in Northern Ireland you’ll find English notes along with some unique Northern Irish bank notes. They are the same value in the North but these Northern Irish notes are NOT accepted outside of the North. Don’t worry, we’ll remind you before we leave.

After our five nights in Northern Ireland we’re back into the Republic with stays in Sligo,  Ennis and Dublin which is back in Euro country.

For those going on to Wales after our final Dublin night or joining us in Wales we’re back to Pound Sterling once again.

That’s it. If you don’t want to bring cash with you bank machines are readily available at the airport. They will also be found with the same frequency as we find in North America.

And keep in mind we’ll be with you all the time in case you have questions.

A bit about our Meal Policy...
Breakfasts...First off, all our hotels provide full breakfasts which are included in what you will have paid. They can range from blood pudding and tomatoes, to eggs of all sorts, various meats and the like. There will also be a lighter breakfast to choose from.They can also be full buffet or table service depending on the hotelAnd - you do not have to come down at the crack of dawn. Choose your time, relax, enjoy - but don’t be late for the coach!

Lunch...You’re on your own at your own cost. We’ll generally find a  nice town with plenty of options, or at times if we see a larger place, like a Dobies Garden Centre which many of you are familiar with and which is a larger menu.

Dinners...Our evening dining is generally at a set time of about 7 or 7:30 p.m.We have a mixture of fully included dining to some places where you are given the option of going out and exploring the various restaurants in the town where we happen to be. An example of this would be Dublin where we have a couple of nights dining in and then a night for you to explore.

While on the subject of meals, if you have special needs we need to know ahead of time so we can inform the kitchen. A form will be sent out to everyone traveling with us which will include a space for special needs.

The same goes for rooms. If you have trouble with shower/tubs combination let us know and we’ll try and make arrangements. We need to know ahead of time.

Hanging around the Bar...Usually we’ll be down in lounge a half hour before dinner for a bit of social time and just perhaps a wee drink. Please feel free to join us.  It’s fun and gives a chance to go over the days events and just relax and get to know each other.

For those traveling with us...We will be sending you a mailed copy of all the above as well as an Emergency contact form and a request for your flight information so we can keep track of you while en route and also for arranging to get you to the airport for your return home.

No rushing - ever. No one night stands. And no added on tax! Maximum of 12-14 guests. Free time built in. Escorted by Andy & Bev Fraser who have been organizing and escorting their tours for 33 years! Quality and experience all the way.  That's why they're "Un"Tours.