This trip to Ireland was a long time in the making. Which is atypical for Jarrett and me, but planning ahead really worked out for both of us working remotely.
We spent our five-year wedding anniversary in Ireland, combining business and pleasure by working remotely.
Jarrett and I are usually more spontaneous about travelling. As demonstrated by our Scotland trip over New Year’s, when we found a Halifax-Glasgow flight on a super good deal. BUT when we were looking for a one-way flight back to Toronto to visit Jarrett’s family, it was cheaper to fly back from Dublin rather than Glasgow. Ironically, it was ALSO cheaper to buy a round trip Dublin-Toronto-Dublin instead of buying a one-way ticket!
So we ended up buying a round trip to get us to Toronto that looked like this:
Dublin -> Toronto January 2018 (you might remember my post about travelling during the winter months here)
Toronto -> Dublin October 2018
Ta-Da! We had a vacation planned almost a year out! We chose October 2018 as the date to head back to Ireland because of our wedding anniversary. While Jarrett and I have a tendency to be non-committal and rather wishy-washy and unorganized with our travel (which I like to think of as spontaneous), this experience forced us to plan in advance – and we LOVED IT.
In fact, we loved it so much that we are now planning all of our fun travel adventures for next fall. A whole year in advance again!
Here’s why we loved planning in advance:
- We were able to coordinate ahead of time with my super busy fellow travellers and cousins who live in Glasgow, and they were able to book in a meet up over our first weekend in Dublin
- Because our flight left from Toronto instead of Halifax, we went to TO early to meet up with Jarrett’s family
- We were able to meet up with dear friends of ours for a 4-day hiking and party extravaganza in Galway
- Because we booked so far in advance, when things went haywire (which they did, more on this below), we were able to get money back and make new plans easily!
- On the working front, because I knew which days were travel days and which days were ‘stay in one place’ days, I was able to manage my calendar and client meetings, moving everything to Tuesdays. This meant that I was more relaxed closing down my business on the other days, leaving my mind free to enjoy all the sights and sounds of Ireland.
This trip was probably a highlight for us in 2018. Ireland was amazing, though not without a few lessons learned.
Dublin is an absolutely fantastic city and we will be back for sure, as there is a never-ending list of things to see and do.
Lesson learned: We flew in on a redeye from North America, which landed at 5:30 am. We arrived at our hotel utterly exhausted after no sleep, and couldn’t check in until 3 pm. Next time we will book a hotel for an extra night so we can check in right when we arrive to catch up on sleep (I know I’m not the only one who can’t sleep on a redeye!). We stayed in an area called Ballsbridge and took a quick ten-minute cab ride into the downtown core to check out the sights (and the pubs).
Our days were full! We had an amazing meal at The Winding Stair restaurant, which was a serious treat! I highly recommend it for anyone who’d like a nice night out in the city. We checked out the Jameson Whisky Distillery and did the Makers Tour which was an amazing 90-minute immersion experience where we blended our own whiskey.
We only stayed for one night in the city, at Garvey’s Inn on Eyre Square. This was a great location, close to city centre and very walkable. With our short stay, we didn’t have anything planned for our day in the city and tended to just wander around popping in and out of shops, coffee bars and pubs as the day went on.
A highlight: we were walking across a bridge into the West End and saw some twinkle lights on what looks to be a riverfront patio in an old stone building. I was intrigued so we went on a mission to find it and landed in the most beautiful Italian Restaurant, Il Vicolo! We enjoyed a wine on the patio and then went back a few days later with our friends for the most beautiful Italian meal! I highly recommend this place. The location and food simply cannot be beat!
We worked for 5 hours on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening. On this workday, because we were working on a travel day, we had to get creative about where we were working. I had calls that required a good internet connection for Zoom, and Jarrett was video editing so he was a bit more flexible.
We ended up working in the pub in our hotel for the first few hours which was great! But then it turned into happy hour madness, so we went across the street so I could finish up my last call of the day (with a pint of course) and then we met up with our friends from Ontario!
Lesson Learned: Just because the pub is quiet doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way!
Leaving the city, our lovely friends from Ontario arranged for a totally amazing Airbnb just 20 minutes outside of town, where we stayed for 4 nights. It was cozy, had a wood stove, and was perfect for four people! Totally kiddo friendly this would also be a great spot for a family. It also had amazing internet so perfect for working!
During our time in the Galway area, we did day trips to Inishmore and the Cliffs of Mohr, both of which were amazing!
Killarney was a bit more touristy than we had expected so we spent the majority of our time exploring the national park and catching up on sleep after a very full week of (maybe too much?!) fun with family and friends.
The Killarney National Park, only a few minutes drive from the city centre, is one of the highlights of our trip. On our day in the park, we explored an amazing waterfall, did a short hike, and celebrated our anniversary with a picnic that had the most amazing view we saw in our entire time in Ireland. It was absolutely breathtaking and I felt lucky to be able to celebrate 5 years of marriage with my man, literally at the top of a mountain.
Jarrett and I absolutely fell in LOVE with Kilkenny. It didn’t feel as touristy as Killarney. It felt like a normal, working city, where the pubs were full of locals instead of tourists. Refreshing!
We chose an adorable Airbnb 15 minutes from the downtown core. It was in a small village that had a wee grocer, a pub, and an amazing cafe. Our Airbnb also had a wood stove which is so cozy and perfect for getting work done in a cozy environment!
Aside: I LOVE PUPPIES. This Airbnb had 8 week old short-haired german pointers on site, and I nearly lost my mind, they were so adorable.
Why Ireland Was Great for Working Remotely
Ireland has an absolutely fantastic internet with one caveat. The internet is amazing during the day, but around 5:00 pm when folks start coming home from work, it becomes really slow. In fact, during a meeting with Jenn who works with me on all things digital marketing, our meeting to discuss and write this very blog post got cut off three times before we gave up!
If you don’t mind being outside of the city, like we were in Galway and Kilkenny, the Airbnb’s are super affordable and are nice and quiet for working. One of the other perks of working outside the city is you’ll get to know some locals, have better (read, quieter) conversations, and really feel the friendliness of this wonderful country.
The day working in the pub was nice because we could enjoy a pint while working. Not that you can’t do that in Canada or in your own home but it doesn’t feel quite right unless you are surrounded by other folks doing the same things at 3 in the afternoon.
It’s really easy to get around in Ireland, whether by bus, train or car. This means if you plan to have a workday and you have a ton of client calls booked, you KNOW you’re going to make it to your steady internet connection on time.
As I mentioned, we’re already planning our adventures for next autumn and we’re open to suggestions. Where should we go next?
If you’d like to work remotely and travel the world, I can help you prepare your business. Your lifestyle should drive your business, not vice versa! Ready to make a change? Book a complimentary consultation and I’ll help you make it happen.