One of the best ways to travel to Ireland from the UK is via the Pembroke ferry in Wales. We drove the coast a bit, noticing multiple fish & chips restaurants as well as a few charming Inns that would have put our last hotel experience to shame. Once arriving in Pembroke, I found it was much larger than I had read. Plenty of great restaurants to grab some lunch, the Pembroke Castle where Henry VII was born, and a Priory Church where we met our “neighbors” from back in the USA. We ate at Williams Food, a locally sourced produce café in the heart of town and enjoyed their fish pie. A cousin of the American chicken pot pie but with potato instead of a flaky crust. Not bad, but the pea and ham soup with crème fraische was to die for. Add in my chicken Greek salad, two local Celts beers and an espresso, lunch was excellent and only 35 pounds (about $50 US Dollars). Keep in mind that at lunch we tend to splurge and opt for a smaller dinner, so it is our biggest meal expense of the day. I’ve found grocery stores easily in every country where I’ve stocked up on lemons, avocado, bananas, nuts, dried fruit and water, so we always have some healthy snack food in the car. Not much, but it’s saved us quite a few times.
The ferry from Pembroke, Wales to Rosslare, Ireland takes about a 3-4 hours depending on the weather. This was our third ferry, so we have become pros to the procedure. The ships are always grandiose with plenty of food, duty-free shopping, and seating by windows. When leaving Ireland and headed to France, you can either ferry back to the UK and drive across to Dover, or take a direct ferry to Roscoff, France. It’s actually cheaper to take the ferry to France, even though it takes 14-18 hours. Most people book a cabin with beds and spend the night, although there are reserved seats like an airplane for less money. This crossing to Ireland was the most expensive at $227 USD, but the previous ferries were incredibly cheap ($60 USD from Germany to Sweden, and $65 from Calais, France to Dover, UK). It seems the prices fluctuate almost as much as airfare. There is a club lounge on the top 11th deck that allows better seats, viewing, drinks & snacks for around $20/pp, which reminds me of a Delta Skyclub. It was nice to kick back in style and quiet, with a little extra space to catch up and enjoy the crossing.