Chai Digest November 24-30: Ireland edition and the 100-page US passport

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I started the week in Denver and now am heading to Ireland for the weekend on the sub-$500 Delta fares that popped up in the fall, where I will chauffeur my miles and points guru and his tolerant spouse, up to Belfast and Giant’s Causeway. I am even ponying up for an automatic so they are spared a chapter in my continuing battle with the stick shift.

We won’t have time to reach Derry, though the NYT’s Where Irish ‘Troubles’ Began, the Arts Heal, makes me wish we could.

Reader KathInJax shared her excellent MilePoint trip report on Ireland. The discussion of rental cars and driving is especially pertinent to my weekend plan.

For that rental car, the best rate I found for my preferred car type is with National, though it is “Serviced by Europcar” so not expecting a fast pick-up experience. I love this line from the terms, where they decide for me what is meant by ‘nominal’:

There is a nominal €34.05 fee when taking a car into Northern Ireland.

Ireland is one of those ‘I’ countries often excluded from credit card CDW coverage, Rick Steves has a thorough discussion. My Diner’s Club Professional card is one of the very few US cards to cover Ireland so I have that AND the Diners Club CDW terms booklet in tow, as various forum reports indicate that rental agencies in Ireland make every attempt to stick renters with their costly CDW coverage. I will get hit with the Diners Club 3% foreign exchange fee but it is a good trade-off. This card needs to be made publicly available again in the US. I recently had their coolest benefit yet in São Paulo, stay tuned.

I just saw that Global Entry Preclearance is available at Dublin and Shannon Airports. I had no idea these have US CBP Preclearance so curious to see for myself.

The one non-Ireland entry this week is a gasp of awe at Jason Around the World for getting the first-ever 100-page US passport. I doff my hat to you, sir.

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dale mJBRapid Travel ChaiRic GarridoSusan Recent comment authors

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dale m
dale m

I found the daily fee for car rental (in Shannon) to be so low (about 5-6 eu per) that even with all the insurance they require of you – up to and including Super CDW – ultimately ends up being about normal. Earlier this month, midweek, it was just under 200 for 4 days all in…it would be much the same or worse most places here with all the absurd facility, “recovery” fees, and eleventeen flavors of taxes.


I found a guy on the interweb selling garmin-sims for $25 delivered (vs $90) and now have Western EU, Africa, South America. very handy when driving in Ireland.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Susan – thanks for the tips and speed warning, I am still smarting from Australia. Our main targets are Brú na Bóinne and Giant’s Causeway on the first day and trying to be more leisurely on the 2nd day back through Belfast so my friends do not de-friend me. So we decided to pass on Derry, always hard to make tough choices.

@Ric Garrido – fascinating story, thanks for sharing.

Ric Garrido

Derry was an interesting place to visit in 1997 when the Troubles were in full force. I recall several children, about 6 to 9 years old, standing on a pile of bricks of a demolished building chucking them at the windows of the public bus I was riding trying to get myself to Buncrana, County Donegal. A showdown was happening on the main bridge of Derry to prevent the Protestant marching bands from parading through the Catholic neighborhoods. The slogan was occupy the bridge and bring your toothbrush. The battle was averted when the march was called off at the… Read more »


Have fun! Pick up car rental at Dublin usually doesn’t take so very long. An hour and a half to two hour drive to Belfast and then only an hour and a half from there to Derry. Doable in a day unless you are planning on stopping in Belfast anyway. Or, unless you will be driving the N roads instead of the motorway. Do watch your speed over there. They are not tolerant at all.

Are you spending the night in Belfast? Or a day or two?….the Titanic museum there is supposed to be outstanding. Check opening times though.