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Trip Report Ireland 2011 Trip Report

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We are back from two weeks (June 15-June 29) in Ireland! We had a great time, I appreciate all of the help I recieved on this forum, so I wanted to post about our trip in the hopes that it will help some of you with your planning. As a preface, my husband and I are 24 and 26 and we tend to travel at a quicker pace.

Weather:
In the two weeks we were in Ireland it rained every day except one. While we hoped for better weather this is about what we expected it to be. Some days it was pretty heavy rain while others it was light. The temperature varied from 40's at night to 65 during the day with most days being in the 50's. I wore layers (jeans, t-shirt, sweater, jacket) and rarely went outside without a jacket on. I was glad I had brought my hooded rain jacket as well as a nicer trench coat jacket. I noticed that most places were pretty casual but in the cities the dress code was a little bit nicer. Most people on this forum seemed to think an umbrella was useless in Ireland due to the wind, but I wished I had brought one and ended up buying one while we were there.

Car Rental & Driving:
I really do think renting a car is the best way to see the country, it was so nice to be able to go at our own pace and stop when we wanted to. The public transportation is not as efficient as other coutries in Europe especially if you want to really see the countryside. We decided to rent with Dan Dooley, opted for all of the extra insurance and were not surprised by any extra fees once we got there. We rented a small manual car and my husband drove... I don't know how to drive a stick, we didn't want to pay for an additional driver and I didn't feel comfortable driving on the left. My husband didn't seem to mind it though. While the roads were windy and narrow, we didn't find the driving to be that difficult. We were advised to estimate 30 mph for our driving times, but we found that on the country roads we were able to go the speed limit of 80-100 km.
Although it wouldn't have hurt, we did not rent a gps and did not buy any additional maps, just used the one that came with the car rental and the area maps provided by our b&b hosts. We also found that stopping to ask the locals for directions proved to be helpful. We got lost a few times the first two days but then we became familiar with how the signage is posted and it was pretty easy to navigate.
My suggestion: definately rent a car, get all the insurance so you don't have to worry, study the maps and ask the locals for help and you will be fine. Go at the speed you are comfortable with and pull over to let others pass you if they need to.

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