Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time of year to travel?
Each year our summer itineraries are purposely planned and coordinated. We feel that each tour has a distinct personality and advantages that provide a consistent level of enjoyment. In late May and June the gardens are at their peak and the evening sun casts a golden glow dramatically across the landscape. In August and September, the wild flowers peak along the road sides and the colors change on the valleys, while the days shorten and the sky casts a soft hue on the countryside.
How often does it rain?
Ireland is green, green, green for a reason! Rain falls evenly throughout the year, with light frequent showers, (Irish mist) throughout many days of summer. So it is wise to pack an umbrella and light raincoat. Having said that, spring and summer do bring dry and warm days and one should plan on light layered clothing. Temperatures range in the 60's during the daytime and fall into the 40's/50's at night. A typical weather report from Dublin might read, "Dry spells, misty rain, showers likely, sunny periods throughout, windy and mild." You figure! While you cannot count on the weather, you can count on the sunny dispositions of the Irish!
How many people are on each trip?
Our trips are limited to small groups. Typically we host from 8 to 12 guests. This allows for personal interaction and intimacy among the group, particularly when guests are invited into a private home.
What age are most travelers?
Age is no criteria to enjoying our trips, but a good level of physical fitness makes for more enjoyable travel. We have entertained guests ranging in age from 7 to a young 90! The activities, events and venues presented are not geared to the interests of children or to those with health, disabilities or weight issues that would curtail normal activity. Family trips can be custom arranged to suit the needs and desires of a family on an exclusive tour basis only.
Are all meals taken with the group?
Independent dining is the norm, so that guests may enjoy their own special moments. Full Irish breakfast is included each day and is served at your leisure in the Dining/Breakfast rooms of each hotel. Guests dine together at the first and last night's Welcome or Farewell Dinners and when invited guests in a private home or at lunch along route. Some special "evenings out" are planned. You may choose to dine independently and at your preferred seating time. For local faire, there are opportunities to dine "in town" at the restaurants of your choice.
How much walking is there? Is there "free time?"
The level of activity is very personal and guests can be as active or inactive as they wish. Charming towns are most interesting enjoyed on foot. You may walk/jog as much as you like on your own time. There are stairs in many of the historic houses and buildings we visit, oftentimes important rooms and bedrooms are on the upper floors. Though all of our hotels have elevators to upper floors, walking up stairs should not hinder normal activity. Wheelchairs are not permitted. We travel at a leisurely pace, usually departing on Travel Days between 10:00 and 10:30 AM, so that "early birds" can get in their morning walks/workouts and "sleepy heads" can catch more ZZZZ's and we generally arrive at our final destinations between 4:00 and 5:00 PM. Travel Days are broken up with stops at interesting venues or sights selected per the itinerary.
Leisure centers, spa treatments, gyms, swimming pools, and tennis courts are available at most of our hotels and there are acres of beautiful country lane walks nearby. There is ample time for individual pursuits, from golf at championship parkland and links courses, (guests may choose either golf, leisure activities or the daily itinerary) to go horseback riding or fishing, hill walking, biking, tennis, archery, clay pigeon shooting, swimming and Spa treatments, even spectacular and exhilarating scenic helicopter flights! The choice is yours!
How "dressed up" do I have to be?
Do I have to bring a tuxedo?
Traditionally, Europeans tend to dress a bit more formally than their American friends, but for our travel holiday, formal attire and long dresses are not suggested! Some occasions do call for cocktail attire for the ladies and a jacket and tie for the men. Most evenings are "Smart Casual" dress, gentleman wear jackets to dinner in a dining room with open collar. Ladies can wear dresses or pants suits. There are "Casual dress” days and nights, with slacks, open collar and sweater. Most daytime travel is "Casual," with a jacket requested at only a few select invitational lunches. Denim jeans and walking shorts can be worn on casual travel days and around the hotel premises, but are not appropriate when as guests in a private home or after 6:00 PM in the hotels main dining room. In the end, wear what is most comfortable and pack lightly.
What sorts of people take your trips?
IBS programs are cultural and broad based in their scope of interest and appeal. The itineraries and standard of excellence of an IBS tour appeal to a select group of discerning, well-traveled individuals, who enjoy camaraderie and social interaction and a full and active life rich with a unique Irish cultural influence. The tours highlight the decorative arts and important houses, castles, gardens and estates through the personal interaction of owners and curators. Guests may learn a variety of Irish national pastimes, sports to farming, a cookery school, stud farms, gardens, cuisine, and meeting artisans and the finest craftspeople. But in the end, it's the people of Ireland themselves who will capture your heart and send you home as friends!