Northwest Sherpa Tours

Northwest Sherpa Tours

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Frequently Asked Questions

"Allow me to take some of the stress out of planning your trip by answering my most commonly asked questions."

It's been well said that "There is no such thing as a dumb question". Well that's certainly true when you're planning a foreign adventure. Knowledge is power, and knowing what to expect can give you a much greater sense of relaxation on your vacation. Here, I'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions I've received from visitors to Ireland, in the hope that you can feel the peace-of-mind you deserve when exploring our little island. If I've missed a question which you deem to be important, please don't hesitate to get in touch and I'll be happy to assist you with your query.

What Is the currency in Ireland?

The currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro and in Northern Ireland it is the UK Pound. Some establishments accept currencies from across the border if they are close to border. However, it is safer to assume that both currencies are required when visiting both areas. 

What is the weather like in Ireland?

Ireland's weather is controlled by the Atlantic Ocean, as such we have far smaller temperature variations across the seasons than other countries this far north of the equator. Temperatures vary from an average of 8C/46F in the winter to 19C/66F in the summer. I cannot recommend enough the importance of bringing waterproof clothing as rain is with us all year round. Layers are the best option as it's seldom freezing but moisture can make the weather feel more extreme. I provide umbrellas for guests which are useful when conditions are not too windy. When the sun does come out, which it does, I recommend high SPF sun screen as our fresh air means we get plenty of sunlight between the clouds.    

Will we have free time throughout our trip?

I will always choose routes that offer you the attractions you want to see most on the trip. However, I do try to keep the driving to a minimum and offer more time out of the minivan so that our guests have time to explore towns and villages if they so wish. I'll give you plenty of gastropub, cafe and restaurant recommendations for lunch. Alternatively, some guests like to just pick up a snack and keep going.  At the end of the day, it’s your adventure tour. You decide how much you want to do during your days here.


Can you recommend accommodation and restaurants?

I most certainly can. During the booking process, I'll recommend various 3, 4 and 5 star hotels along with boutique B&Bs and alternative accommodation such as luxury glambing pods and other quirky quarters. For accommodation, early booking is essential during peak season as many places fill up quickly. With regards to restaurants, I'll be happy to discuss restaurant options with you during the booking process. I will also call to make reservations for you if you like the sounds of a certain place. To get you started, here is a list of what I would recommend in various locations around the north and west of Ireland;

Eastern Border Area

3 Star: Flagstaff Lodge, Mourne Country Hotel

4 Star: Canal Court Hotel, Killeavy Castle Estate

5 Star: College Hill House and Gardens, Slieve Donard Hotel

B&B: The Sands B&B RostrevorGrove House Bed & Breakfast

Alternative:  Greenview Glamping, Hilltop Hideaway Pod

Restaurant: Art Bar FunkelLarkin's - Brasserie & Lounge

Belfast

3 Star: OYO Standing Stones LodgeBelfast City Cathedral Quarter Hotel

4 Star: The Titanic HotelThe Gregory Belfast

5 Star: The Merchant HotelThe Fitzwilliam Hotel

B&B: Millbrae LodgesJames Clow Bed & Breakfast

Alternative: Contemporary Nordic 5 Bedroom VillaRiverside Cottage

Restaurant: Molly's Yard, The Muddlers Club Restaurant

Derry/Londonderry

3 Star: The Iona Inn, Arkle House

4 Star: Everglades HotelCity Hotel

5 Star: Bishop's Gate Hotel, Shipquay Hotel

B&B: Abbey Guest HouseLegenderry B&B

Alternative: The Avish CottageLower Mill Restoration

Restaurant: Fitzroy's Bistro, The Exchange

North County Donegal

3 Star: Loch Altan HotelLake Of Shadows Hotel

4 Star: Shandon Hotel & Spa, Rockhill House EstateRathmullan House HotelCastle Grove Country House Hotel

B&B: Sea Vista Boutique B&BKillererin House B&B

Alternative: The Birdbox TreehouseThe Barn

Restaurant: The Red Door Country HouseThe Singing Pub

South County Donegal

3 Star: The Sandhouse Hotel & Marine TherapiesThe Gateway Lodge

4 Star: Mill Park HotelThe Great Northern Hotel

5 Star: Lough Eske Castle, Harvey's Point Hotel

B&B: Ard Na Breatha House B&B, Rossmore Manor B&B

Alternative: The Round HouseThe Hare's Leap Highland Cabin

Restaurant: Quay West Restaurant, The Rusty Mackerel

Sligo

3 Star: Riverside HotelOcean Wave Lodge

4 Star: Sligo Park Hotel, Strandhill Lodge & Suites

B&B: Tree Tops Bed and Breakfast, Philmar House B&B

Alternative: Kathleen's Carrowkeel Cottage, IgluPod

Restaurant: MontmartreEala Bhan

Mayo

3 Star: Cill Aodain Court HotelThe Mariner Hotel

4 Star: The Castlecourt HotelDelphi Lodge

5 Star: Ashford Castle 

B&B: Deerpark Manor B&B, Drom Caoin B&B

Alternative: Ireland West FarmstayAn Claddagh Fairy Hut  

Restaurant: The Pantry & Corkscrew RestaurantThe Dining Room

Galway City

3 Star: HYDE HotelAdare Guest House

4 Star: Park House HotelThe Hardiman

5 Star: Glenlo Abbey HotelThe G Hotel

B&B: St. Judes Lodge B&B, The Heron's Rest Townhouse

Alternative: Galway City Thatched Cottage, Beside the Sea Apartment

Restaurant: Ard Bia at Nimmos, Zappis Restaurant

Connemara

3 Star: Leenane HotelFairhill House Hotel

4 Star: Ballynahinch CastleArdagh Hotel & RestaurantAbbeyglen Castle Hotel

5 Star: Ashford Castle 

B&B: Hillside Lodge - B&BRyans Riverlodge B&B

Alternative: Castle Carin, Alpaca Glamping Hut

Restaurant: Veldons Seafarer Bar & RestaurantPádraicíns Seafood Bar & Restaurant

Dublin City

3 Star: Buswells Hotel,  Temple Bar Inn

4 Star: Clontarf Castle Hotel

5 Star: The Shelbourne, The Merrion Hotel

What kind of plug sockets are in Ireland and Northern Ireland?

In both Ireland and Northern Ireland we have type G plug sockets with three prongs. It is advisable to bring plug adapters to suit your gadgets and devices. I carry a few adaptors for various countries which I can share with you if you happen to forget yours or don't have enough for the group.

I understand that your favorite gadgets are essential during your holidays. Throughout the tour, you’ll need to keep your phone, camera, and other electronic devices charged. You can also conveniently charge your phone or other USB chargeable devices in the vehicle if you bring your USB connection with you.

Do Passengers Move Their Own Luggage?

Although my policy is that clients do need to move their own luggage, I will always lend a hand except if there are porters at the hotels to great you, then we all leave it to the professionals.

What’s included In your Northwest Sherpa Tour?

I offer a comprehensive package that goes beyond the offerings of most other companies, ensuring a worry-free experience for my passengers.

Each day, I'll work to make sure that your main concerns will be deciding on your choices for dinner after a fun-filled day of adventure.

My stylish, safe and comfortable SPSV certified vehicle includes Air-Conditioning, reclining leather seats and ample luggage space. I supply umbrellas, nordic hiking sticks, complimentary WiFi and other items which may make your holiday more enjoyable and stress-free.

I'll offer my recommendations on the many activities to can take part in or sights you can visit along with lunch, dinner, accommodation and music bar suggestions. Ultimately, you will decide the direction and pace of the journey so that you have the best possible experience.

Do you offer tours to individuals with mobility issues?

Although my vehicle is not wheelchair accessible, I do offer tours to those with more minor mobility concerns. Walking can be kept to a minimum and I can call ahead to some venues which offer extras services for those who are physically impaired. Please let me know of any concerns you have during the booking process and I'll be happy to discuss the ways in which it will impact the tour. There are so many sights and activities to choose from here that I can assure you that you'll have a fun-filled time in Ireland regardless of your mobility level.

I have a special diet; will I be able to find places to eat?

Please inform me of any possible allergic reactions or religious-based aversion to food or beverages or other health concerns at least 14 days before the tour date. That will give me time to contact potential dining locations to ensure that they'll provide to suit your needs on that day.

Gluten-free – Ireland is nowadays, thankfully, a very diverse and modern country so there are many cafés, restaurants and pubs that offer gluten-free options. Ireland has one of the highest rates of gluten-sensitivity and coeliac disease in the world so there is more awareness of the need for gluten-free options in Ireland than in most other European countries.

Dairy-free – Nearly all cafés have plant-based milks as an alternative to dairy for their coffees. Unfortunately, this doesn’t translate to the menus you’ll see in pubs or restaurants. Most places offer one vegetarian/vegan option. However, I am well aware of many specifically vegetarian and vegan restaurants and will be happy to give you my recommendations.

Halal, Kosher, Shellfish – There is a wide choice of Middle-Eastern restaurants in Ireland now. Shellfish can easily be avoided in even the finest seafood restaurants in the country.

Is tipping customary in Ireland?

Tipping in Ireland is not required or expected, but it is a good practice to show appreciation for good service or food. Although Irish minimum wage means that nobody is dependent on tips, it has become customary here in recent years. The amount of tip can vary from 10% to 20% of the bill, or rounding off to the nearest euro for a coffee. Some staff may refuse the tip at first, but you can insist politely if you want to reward their service. Tipping is more common now for workers in restaurants, hotels, guesthouses, or B&Bs.

Do I need a Visa for Ireland?

Whether you need a visa or not depends on your country of origin. Generally EU countries do not require a VISA to visit Ireland but countries outside of the EU do, but there are exceptions. If you are not a citizen of the EU, EEA, Switzerland or UK and you do not need a visa to come to Ireland, you still need to have documents with you to show the reason for your visit. You must present yourself at immigration when you enter Ireland. The list of countries that do not require a visa can be found on the Irish Citizen's Information website. Citizens from countries listed below are exempt from requiring a visa.

Andorra, Honduras, Samoa, Antigua & Barbuda, Hong Kong (Special Admin. Region), San Marino, Argentina, Israel, Seychelles, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Bahamas, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Barbados, Lesotho, South Africa, Belize, Macau (Special Admin. Region), South Korea, Botswana, Malaysia, Swaziland (Eswatini), Brazil, Maldives, Taiwan, Brunei, Mexico, Tonga, Canada, Monaco, Trinidad & Tobago, Chile, Nauru, Tuvalu, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Ukraine, Dominica, Nicaragua, United Arab Emirates, El Salvador, Panama, United Kingdom (see note below), Fiji, Paraguay, United States of America, Grenada, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Uruguay, Guatemala, Saint Lucia, Vanuatu, Guyana, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Vatican City

Note Visa free travel also applies to the following types of British nationality:

British national (overseas)British overseas territories citizen (previously called ‘British dependent territories citizenship)British overseas citizen  



What currency will I be charged on my cards in stores or at an ATM?

While at an ATM many of the machines will ask if you want to be charged in your home currency OR the local currency (€ 0r £).

We suggest choosing the local currency (if available) with this option your bank/credit card company will pre-determine the exchange rate (which may be more favourable for you, especially if they have no International Transaction Fees associated with your account).

If you choose your home currency then the establishment you are in will determine your exchange rate (note: you may also still be charged an International Transaction Fee even if it is your home currency, this will be dependent on the type of ATM and the provider e.g Bank of Ireland).

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