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Don't want to fly to Ireland - considering ferry plus train/coach - with three DSs - am I mad?

(33 Posts)
Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 13:46:04

Trying to decide how to get self and DSs to Ireland for the summer.

I don't want to fly because DS3 (who will be 3 then) will not sit in his own seat unless he is physically forced to, and I don't think the plane will take off unless he is in his own seat with seatbelt on .

Has anyone tried ferry plus train/coach (I don't have a car). Am I mad to even consider it with three DSs? In particular, has anyone travelled from any of the Irish ports to Donegal by bus?

amidaiwish Mon 30-Apr-07 13:51:47

yes you are mad
go by plane!
the air hostesses will make him sit down.

hatwoman Mon 30-Apr-07 13:53:40

not sure about teh bus bit or the Irish sea but in general I think ferry is far preferable to flying. we've done it to France several years now and it's a piece of piss. (it helps that it takes us about an hour to drive to portsmouth). it's just so much nicer being able to wonder around, look in shops, buy colouring books. eat without being trapped in your seat by a precarious tray of drinks, rejected yoghurt and vast amounts of unruly cellophane.

hatwoman Mon 30-Apr-07 13:54:29

wander round....I am way past the age of wondering at ferries...but I guess dds aren't...

themoon66 Mon 30-Apr-07 13:56:23

The summer is some time off and your DS might be aeroplane mad by then.


pesme Mon 30-Apr-07 13:56:27

where are you travelling from?

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 13:57:48

I think the older DSs would love the ferry bit, especially if we did an overnight crossing.

I am more concerned about the last leg, to Donegal really.

naughtynoonoo Mon 30-Apr-07 13:58:33

We used to do it back in the 70's with my mum, aunt and six children. Train from Paddington then boat to Dublin then another train to Castlebar in the West Coast. Travel was a lot more expensive in those days, but even though it was a mega long journey we did get to see my Granny for six glorious weeks every summer - best summers of my life!

If money is not an option I would seriously consider flying. Have a great holiday whatever you decide.

hatwoman Mon 30-Apr-07 13:59:18

yep - we do over night and they love it. I didn;t appreciate being woken by muzak at 6 am though!

Lucycat Mon 30-Apr-07 13:59:27

well to get to Donegal then you would be better getting the ferry from Stranraer to Larne then a bus to Londonderry and on, but that would be a nightmare journey.

Or you could get the train to Holyhead, ferry across to Dublin then train north to Donegal.

Sounds expensive either way and a whole heap of hard work!

where in Donegal btw?

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 13:59:31

I've always flown before but I know that DS3 is going to be very hard work on the plane if he can't sit on my knee.

percypig Mon 30-Apr-07 13:59:32

I live on the north coast of N Ireland, quite near Donegal. I'd get the ferry to Belfast (from either Liverpool or Stranraer in Scotland), train to Derry, then a bus across the border to wherever you're heading in Donegal.

You don't have a car, but can you drive? If so I'd really recommend hiring a car, you could even take it on the ferry. It would make your holiday a lot easier - Donegal isn't near any of the ferry ports, and parts of it are a bit hard to get to without a car.

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 14:00:19

No, can't drive pp. Not a problem when we get there as my dad will hire a seven seater for the hols.

naughtynoonoo Mon 30-Apr-07 14:00:49

Forgot to add, had to wait in Castlebar for an uncle to pick us up for another hour or so drive to Achill!! My mum must have been mad and my dad must have had better sense to stay at home and work - imagine six weeks of peace and quiet!

expatinscotland Mon 30-Apr-07 14:01:39

Go for it!

I've been from Belfast to Donegal on a bus.

It did take a while, but it wasn't an express. In the car, it only took about 2.5 hours.

We went from Stanear to Belfast on a SeaCat and it was FAST. Only about 1.5 hours to Belfast.

Very smooth ride, too.

We'll be travelling this way next year, Stranear to Belfast and then driving all the way to Cork (over 3 days, however).

I hate planes.

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 14:01:43

Yes, we always went home for the entire school holidays too, loved it when I was very small but was bored (and therefore badly behaved) when I was a teenager!

expatinscotland Mon 30-Apr-07 14:02:40

We love Donegal!

DH and I have been 3 times.

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 14:03:18

Oh good! I'm from Ramelton originally - it's quite near Letterkenny.

tarantula Mon 30-Apr-07 14:03:58

I'd say mad having done coach and boat many times till the plane prices dropped. Its sheer hell!!! esp with Slatterys (are they still operating I wonder -cattle trucks is too nice a word for them). that was London to Dublin. Train is maginally better but not much tbh.
I certainly wouldnt liek to attempt it with 3 kids nad certainly not with an added coach journey after the boat journey.

I'd seriously think about getting the plane and look at a very good bribe to get ds3 sitting down for hte few minutes of take off and landing

percypig Mon 30-Apr-07 14:06:23

If your dad is hiring a car could he drive to Derry to pick you up? Then you could just get the train straight to Derry, much easier than having to faff with different trains and buses with 3 kids. Both the HSS and Seacat are pretty fast and have play areas.

themoon66 Mon 30-Apr-07 14:06:58

Your DS would only need to sit in his seat for take off and landing... not the whole trip.

expatinscotland Mon 30-Apr-07 14:07:34

We liked Letterkenny because of its name.

Our fav beach is outside Ballyshannon.

We always drive when we go to Ireland, except for one time when we had no car so we took a bus.

I think you'll be fine.

Dinosaur Mon 30-Apr-07 14:08:04

He would definitely pick us up in Derry, in fact he'd probably pick us up in Larne for that matter (he's very very good like that).

percypig Mon 30-Apr-07 14:08:14

HIJACK alert - how's your son doing with his GCSEs and coursework themoon66?

expatinscotland Mon 30-Apr-07 14:08:28

Could he drive to Belfast to collect you?

Then you could make Letterkenny in a matter of about 2.5 hours.

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