Considering Ireland

Old Mar 15th, 2023, 09:33 AM
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Considering Ireland

Hello!
My wife and I are thinking about driving / hiring a driver to see the west/southwest side of Ireland in July or August. We are seniors in our seventies, in decent health, but a bit worried about driving on the left with a steering wheel on the right.... at least inside any city. I know this is probably an impossible question for anyone outside ourselves to answer, but are we fooling ourselves to think it's not that big a deal considering that travel on the narrow and winding country roads is probably fairly slow most times? or not?

I suppose the best alternative is to hire a driver for a week who will take us plus maybe one or two other couples? The problem there would probably be the cost, which I hear is somewhere between 5 and 8,000 euros for a week?

I'm sure the third alternative is buses/trains but I suppose this greatly limits the possibilities?

Any advice from someone experienced at this game would be sincerely appreciated! Thank you!
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 11:25 AM
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Just very quick -- Driving in the cities can be a real pain . . . but it is almost NEVER necessary to drive in city centres because they all have excellent public transit. Driving in most of the scenic/rural bits is much different - and a lot easier. Except there are some very narrow roads which do take some getting used to.

I have driven in Ireland a few time and in the UK on countless visits and I actually enjoy the driving. I even used to drive in city centres but they have become ever more congested and harder to navigate so almost exclusively use public transport inside cities.

HOWEVER - Ireland is a special case and there are special hoops one needs to jump through to rent cars after they reach 75, plus most credit card CDW insurance doesn't cover Ireland (does cover in the UK)

Soooooo . . . yes, it is fine to drive in the countryside - but IF using drivers fits in your budget, that is also an option. Relying on trains and buses exclusively really doesn't work that well in Ireland -- but a combo of some private drivers, some buses, and some trains can works.
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Old Mar 15th, 2023, 06:12 PM
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One of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken included a private driver in Ireland. He picked us up in Dublin airport, dropped us at our Merrion Square hotel then a couple days later retrieved us and took us counterclockwise around the island over the next week or so. We stayed in castles and manors each night, benefited from his insight as to when to go where with attractions, and got dropped off at the entrance rather than searching for parking. Don't recall the cost as it was part of a package assembled by a travel agent but it was worth every penny.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Just very quick -- Driving in the cities can be a real pain . . . but it is almost NEVER necessary to drive in city centres because they all have excellent public transit. Driving in most of the scenic/rural bits is much different - and a lot easier. Except there are some very narrow roads which do take some getting used to.

I have driven in Ireland a few time and in the UK on countless visits and I actually enjoy the driving. I even used to drive in city centres but they have become ever more congested and harder to navigate so almost exclusively use public transport inside cities.

HOWEVER - Ireland is a special case and there are special hoops one needs to jump through to rent cars after they reach 75, plus most credit card CDW insurance doesn't cover Ireland (does cover in the UK)

Soooooo . . . yes, it is fine to drive in the countryside - but IF using drivers fits in your budget, that is also an option. Relying on trains and buses exclusively really doesn't work that well in Ireland -- but a combo of some private drivers, some buses, and some trains can works.
We always rent a car for travel in rural Ireland. I am usually the driver, as my husband's English is less than perfect. I've had no trouble driving on the left. We always request an automatic transmission, to have one less thing to worry about.

The main thing to remember is to go clockwise at the roundabouts, and to look to the right, as well as to the left, when turning right. I find it helpful to follow the route beforehand, especially at the turns, on the Google maps video itinerary. That way I can picture the flow of traffic.

The most frequently mentioned rental agency on travel forums (is it Dan Dooley??) is indeed very sticky about age. It's also very overpriced. With other agencies we've had no problem. (I was 74 the last time I rented a car in Ireland.)

On our most recent trip, we rented in Northern Ireland, for five days. The cost was 133.

On a previous trip, in 2016, when I was 68, we rented from Enterprise at Dublin Airport. That was for two weeks, and a larger car (for five people and luggage), and cost 551 They charged 10 a day for an extra driver. The actual agency seems to have been Sixt; I don't remember the details. Maybe Enterprise is a consignment agency, or maybe Sixt is an associate.

Last edited by bvlenci; Mar 16th, 2023 at 02:39 AM.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 08:24 AM
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We are 68 years old and just visited Ireland last May. We landed and spent 2 nights in Dublin and rented a car for the next 8 days. It was worth it to have a car but it was not relaxing. I think you have to be a confident driver. My husband did fine but I think I am past the point of being able to handle it. We did have insurance coverage through our Chase Sapphire Card.

At your age, your ability to rent a car is the first thing to check into. If you can rent a car, and are flying into Dublin, I could see taking the bus right after landing to Galway. Then do a combination of day tours, private drivers, and a short car rental for your must see locations, and your next hotels. Flying into or out of Shannon is also a very easy way to cut the driving times down.
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Old Mar 16th, 2023, 11:25 AM
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Using public transportation in Ireland

We have planned an 18 day trip in Ireland and Northern Ireland using trains and buses because my husband is over 75 and we don't want to deal with the hassle of trying to rent a car. My husband has driven in England and Scotland twice when we were much younger and while he drove fine, he wasn't really able to enjoy the scenery as much for having to pay such close attention on the narrow roads.
I do the trip planning and have found it very easy to plan public transportation and to reserve day trips out of our base cities (Belfast, Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Killarney, and Galway). Whether that would be cost effective for a group vs hiring a driver is something you'll need to determine.
Enjoy your travels!
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