Advice needed: Ireland on my own or tour


Jan 24th, 2006, 02:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
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Glad you found the link helpful.
First, if Budget will honor that quote, GRAB it. That IS an EXCELLENT price. Bear in mind, though that the vehicle WILL have a MANUAL TRANSMISSION. Automatics are PREMIUM priced (do to fuel and tax costs, mostly). I always rent a manual, myself. The left hand shifting isn't that hard to get used to. The Nissan is a cute, little (but NOT teeny) car. It looks a bit like a VW Beetle.
Curiously enough, the best 'deal' that I ever got on a rental was also from Budget (Feb, 2002), but ONLY by accident. I had booked a nine passenger mini-van (for six adults) for pickup in Shannon through another company at a rate of nearly $500, but when I arrived, they kept trying to talk me into taking a "BRAND NEW, but slightly smaller" van, instead. Now, my party consisted of two men (my brother-in-law, who is 6'5", and myself) and four women who fail to grasp the concept of "packing light". When I insisted that we NEEDED the larger van, I discovered that it looked as if it had just been returned that morning from a long term rental to a touring rock band! Seatbelts broken, tires worn and nary a panel undented. While I returned the keys and had the contract voided, my sister-in-law walked the line asking for quotes. It being Feb, there was very little business and Budget offered us a brand new Mercedes Vito (slightly bigger than what we had booked) for $250! It was a great ride, too. Yet, when I had been booking the trip, Budget's best quote had been for over $800 ...
There will also be a few for the first tank of gas and a 20-25 Euro Airport FEE, that don't show up in the quote. They will also point out at pick up that even with the CDW coverage, you are responsible for a 5-600 Euro deductible, "which you can reduce to 100 euro, with Super-CDW, for only a few (usually 5 or 6)Euro per day" extra. If you have a Gold or Plantinum MasterCard or 'certain' Canadian Visa Cards, you can DECLINE the CDW and end up with NO deductible. I'll post a link for that info.
Your plan sounds good, but I would think 162 miles would take AT LEAST 5 hours (remember the 30MPH rule?), but since it's broken up, that's not too bad. You might 'drop' Wicklow if you wanted to OVERNIGHT in Belfast. That would be your call.
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Jan 24th, 2006, 02:29 PM
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Here are two links on Irish Car Rentals and CDW:

Hope they help.
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Jan 24th, 2006, 06:28 PM
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D'uh! I was wondering how it was so cheap. I was pretty sure I selected automatic but I guess the form got reset or something. I've only driven stick once or twice before...I rather stick with automatic for everyone's sake!

Bob, I checked with some of the other rental companies and Budget by far is the least by a 150 euros. There's no option for getting extra insurance though and I don't believe my credit card has the extra insurance.

My Itinerary
This is a rough plan, I'm sure I'll probably change it around once I'm there as I do with most of my travel plans.

I was doing some research on Belfast...apparently 2 hours is enough for the city so a day trip is definitely do-able. If I'm able to arrive in Dublin early enough, I might take the train to Belfast that evening so I full day in Belfast and might go to the Giant Causeway which looks beautiful.

I will be getting a Michelin road map but is there a particular Ireland guidebook someone would recommend? From all the ones I've had, I preferred Moon (at least for Peru)...but I dont' think they do one for Peru...I guess I shouldn't be asking this one a Fodor's site...hahaha

To all of you, especially Italian helped a great deal and I really really appreciate it.
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Jan 24th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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One more questions...on Apr 3 - Cliff of Moher, which town should I spend the night in? I think Ennis will be out of the way and I heard Limerick isn't that nice or safe...thoughts?
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Jan 24th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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Actually, Ennis shouldn't be too far from the Cliffs, and if you are coming from Galway, you should have plenty of time to see the Burren and the Cliffs and drop into McGann's and Gus O'Connor's (the Guiness Stew in O'Connor's WAS quite tasty when I had it a few year's back). If you DID want to 'Push' it, you could continue on to Bunratty. Neither is as far, or as Citified as Limmerick. In the Burren, Ballyvaughn consistently gets good reviews, but it would be a bit of 'backtracking', though not too much. You could even drive back to Galway for the night if you wanted to 'nest' a little longer.
Doolin has three pubs, spread out over a fairly wide area and no real TOWN to speak of. Might not be as interesting as some of your other choices.
I realize this probably isn't much help, but personal taste plays a big part, particularly this far into the trip.
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Jan 25th, 2006, 01:23 PM
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Surprise, surprise! I was wondering how realistic is this...not changing my mind or anything but just wondering:

Mar 31 - Dublin
Mar 30 - Clonmacnoise & Galway
Apr 1 - Galway
Apr 2 - Aran Island
Apr 3 - Burren & Cliff of Mohers
Apr 4/5 - Killarney
Apr 5/6 - Cork
Apr 6 - fly from Cork to Belfast (possible?)
Apr 7 - Belfast
Apr 8 - Dublin

This might be silly but I'm just wondering. Is there an overnight train from Cork to Belfast? Or is there a air carrier that flies directly.

Would I be able to see Burren and Cliff of Mohers and then drive down to Killarney (which says 3.5 hours but let's it's 4.5 hours)?
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Jan 25th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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Here is the Cork Airport website, to search for flights and with links to Shannon and Dublin Airports:
The Irish Rail site:
Links to the Tarbert Ferry:

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Feb 11th, 2006, 07:39 AM
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just a keep my mind off second guessing my itinerary!

Mar 30 - Arrive in Dublin, spend the rest of day exploring city, resting
do hop on hop of bus hop off at Kilmainham Gaol and Book of Kells (really enjoyed the library), maybe do literary pub crawl, it's not a late night out but lighter taste of pubs/history

Mar 31 - (rent car) Boyne River Valley is full of history...such as Newgrange/Hill of Tara/Trim -all great(could also do on a tour from Dublin)

Apr 1 - Galway via clonmacnois

Apr 2 - Aran Island or Day in Galway (have you researched how weather would be at this time of year, I don't know?...especially for water travel?)
I personally would skip Galway...but...
(I would add 2 days, 3 if you cut of one of Dublin days at the end, and go to Dingle or Killarney after Cliffs of Moher...really enjoyed historic sights around slea head...could take arch. tour instead of driving on own, also liked Killarney Nat. Park/Muckross House and Abbey/and Ross Castle)

Apr 3 - Burren & Cliff of Moher-great!

Apr 4 - Cahir Castle/Cashel Rock-great!

Apr 5 - Kilkenny/Jerpoint Abbey-great guide!/ Glendalough

Apr 6 - explore Wicklow or area outside of Dublin/or explore more of Dublin (return car)
(this could be a trade off for 3rd day in Dingle or Killarney)

Apr 7 - day trip to Belfast via train

Apr 8 - Spend day in Dublin until I fly out

If you go to all of these get the Heritage Card and save some $$!
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Feb 11th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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To fly from Cork to Belfast go to and you can book online.
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Apr 19th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Just thought I'd let you know that I've come back from my trip to Ireland and Scotland and an amazing time with the itinerary I made for myself Just as reminder, that is it:

Mar 30 - arrived in Dublin in aft spent afternoon exploring north of River Liffey
March 31 - Drove to Galway, was there early afternoon spent the day exploring
Apr 1 - Aran Island
Apr 2 - Connemara
Apr 3 - Drove to Cliffs of Moher via Dingle, Ballyvaugh,etc and headed to Bunratty after that spent the night there
Apr 4 - checked out the castle as soon as it opened and made my way to Cahir Castle adn then Cashel Rock via Limerick and ended in KilKenny by 5pm
Apr 5 - Kilkenny castle and area and headed back to Dublin in the late aft and dropped the car off and spent rest of the exploring south of the river
Apr 6 - bus to belfast arrived before 11 am spent the day exploring city
Apr 7 - took the Giant Causeway tour and headed back to Dublin that evening
Apr 8 - all day in Dublin visited the castle, trinity college and 2 musuems before taking my flight to Glasgow.

I had gotten a lot negative comments about my itinerary (and from the Lonely Planet site too) that I wouldn't be able to do it and that I was too jam packed. All I can say is I'm glad I stuck to it because I had an amazing time and it was the perfect pace for me. I saw what I wanted to see (considering the time I had), for me it was enough time at each place. I drove at my own pace and stopped when I wanted to.

If I could do it over again I would NOT have rented a car from Dublin, this made no sense at all and I wasted 3 days not to mention parking. Instead of should've rented it from Galway.

The longest drive I had was from Dublin to Galway which was 3 hours and I the only time I experienced a traffic jam was when I was heading back into Dublin from Kilkenny and even then it was b/c they were doing massive construction and I don't think I was delayed more than 20mins or so. I did get a little lost getting back into Dublin but not too much.

Despite the warnings, the public transporation was pretty good I found. There were frequent buses to all major cities and tourist spots.

I'm glad I did drive because it was neat experience but I wasted a lot of money by renting from Dublin and having the car just sitting there for 2 days, not too mention the insurance, gas and parking.

My tip would be those travelling to Ireland, don't get bogged down with the negative comments the driving and public transportation isn't that bad as it's made out to be.
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Apr 20th, 2006, 02:24 AM
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Glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip and very, very glad to hear from someone that packs more into an itinerary than I do and enjoys it too!
I loved every fun filled minute of mine as well. (Sometimes I admit to having to cary my weary fellow travellers across my back at the end...although it works out well, I am never bored with taking the same people twice )

Would love to hear more about your favorite sights and places, especially North as we did not make it on our first trip. Will be starting my planning for a 2nd visit soon.
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Apr 20th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Hi Dawn,

Honestly, I don't think I would enjoy my trips if I didn't pack to the fullest, that's just the kind of traveller I am. I figure, if I spent all this money going there, I want to get the most out of it. I spend time lounging around at home!

Apart from Dublin (which wasn't bad) I loved every part of Ireland I went to, particuarly the west coast. I think the day to Aran Island was one of my favourite and Cliffs of Moher. Fortunately when I went there wasn't that many tourist and I went toward the left and I walked almost the way around the coast line and there was nobody else there! The weather was perfect adn it was just so serene and beautiful...just breath-taking beautiful. I immensely enjoyed the black cab tour in Belfast as well. The cabbie, even though he was incredibly biased, he was very informative and clarified a lot of misconceptions we hear in the media.

I wasn't too overly impressed with Giant Causeway, I think mainly b/c of the weather it was a cold bitter wind, rain and ice pellets and it made it hard to see the actual causeway. Also the tour started late and ran late and I didn't like that fact we had only one option for a tour and it was difficult to make my own way there.

I really enjoyed learning about the history and the Irish culture. I honestly didn't have much a clue before I left so I relished everythign I learned, particularly during the medieval period.

I would've love to have spent more time in Ireland but just didn't have it.

I noticed a mistake in my previous, I said Dingle when I meant Doolin.

Dawn do you have a post with the details of your trip?
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Apr 20th, 2006, 11:54 AM
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Hey oceania,
Glad you enjoyed your trip, I feel exactly the same way...sitting around is for home!

Here's my trip report
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Apr 20th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Hurrah!! Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip!

Now: Where to next?!
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Apr 21st, 2006, 06:14 AM
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Thanks for the reassuring note about the public transportation system - I'll be relying on it in August/September, so it's good to hear some positive comments on it.
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