Visit to Ireland came as an opportunity due to my husband’s work related travel. Coupling my vacation along with business trip came out as a great idea. As the trip was organized by the sponsoring company (Pernod Ricard for Jameson Whisky), our agenda was pretty much taken care by them.
Date: 25th to 29th March.
Company: Group of people, some with their spouses.
Weather: Cold weather, with sunshine on most of the days and temperature hovering between 6 to 10 degree Celsius.
Travel: Pune to Mumbai via private car, Mumbai to London via British Airways - 9 hour flight, London to Ireland via Aer Lingus – 1.15 hours flight and vice versa.
Visa Process: We had planned to cover Ireland and London in one shot hence, we applied visa under the BIVS (British Irish Visa Scheme), which allows an Indian/ Chinese to travel between Southern Ireland and British States with same visa. This scheme came as great relief as we didn’t have enough time to complete visa formalities before our departure. One has to apply BIVS visa from the country, where they will set foot first, hence we applied for an Ireland BIVS visa. Now here is something that no one will give a clarity on, hence mentioning for everyone’s reference. We received our Ireland BIVS visa with one month applicability but with an approved duration of 7 days. Now this was confusing as we couldn’t understand if these 7 days included London visit duration as well and our plan for both Ireland and London was 9 days and tickets were prebooked. After lots of calls/ emails to VFS global, connects in embassies, travel agents we figured out that these 7 days are meant for stay in Ireland only- great relief (do note that Irish embassy was quickest to provide email responses and clarity). Movement between London and Ireland was very smooth without any immigration checks at all, under BIVS.
What to Carry: As the weather is unpredictable, it is advised to carry warm clothes and raincoat/umbrella. We were fortunate to witness clear skies with no rain.