Crappy Driver Seeks To Avoid Driving

Jan 22nd, 2001, 03:21 PM
  #1  
Laura Trevino
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Crappy Driver Seeks To Avoid Driving

This March, I'll be travelling though Ireland for two weeks. One week, I'll spend in Dublin and Galway with two friends. One week, I'll be on my own.

For that second solo week, I want to get out and explore the countryside but I also really want to avoid renting a car. Right now, I'm trying to devise a car-less itinerary which is turning out to be a little tough. I'm down with travel by foot, train, bus, taxi, horse, bike, skateboard, whatever. The problem is that, from the guidebooks I've looked at, it appears that buses and trains don't go everywhere I'm interested in and don't run as frequently in winter. And many tour operators aren't even open in March. Responses to an early post advised me not to take the train south and hike Wicklow Way by myself, one car-less alternative I considered.

The bottomline is that I'm an urban coastal flatlander with a healthy fear of heights and a few points on her license for being such a horrible driver. I'd hate to unleash my crap driving skills on the unsuspecting Irish public. The stories about driving through Ireland sound great but only if I'm a passenger. The idea of me behind the wheel contending with mists and fog, third world (not my term) conditions, poor signage, mountains, etc. wigs me out a little.

Anyone do Ireland without a car? Any advice?


 
Jan 22nd, 2001, 06:50 PM
  #2  
Ann
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Well, yes, Laura, we did do a part of Ireland without a car. How adventurous are you?? We rented a "gypsy" caravan (a round-roofed, horse-drawn camper with a half-door at the front) and traveled the byways of County Cork for a week, which was WONDERFUL! The horse wouldn't even let us take a wrong turn when we tried! We got to eat in pubs and family homes (arranged by the caravan company), meet others traveling along the same route in the same way, stop in at small-town castles and manors, and in general, stop to smell the roses. The company even gives short lessons on harnessing, catching and feeding the horse! Overnight stopping is arranged so the horse can be turned out to pasture... it's actually very easy, even for city slickers, but it IS camping out. There is a small stove and sink in the caravan, but honestly, who uses it? The overnight stops include shower and bathroom facilities... Definitely different, LOTS of fun, and a GREAT way to meet the people you'd never see via auto/tour bus/train.
 
Jan 22nd, 2001, 07:46 PM
  #3  
Judy
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Try to do your second week without a car--the roads in Ireland are very narrow, often with no shoulders--and you'll be driving on the left side of the road with a left-handed driver car. Not for the faint-hearted!
 
Jan 23rd, 2001, 12:08 AM
  #4  
frank
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Hire yourself a BICYCLE for the solo week.You will see more of the country than you ever would by any other means.
Bring waterproof trousers & a hat.
 
Jan 23rd, 2001, 08:14 AM
  #5  
Dave
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It's not easy, but it is possible to see a good deal of Ireland using a combination of Bus Eireann and day tours.

The bus schedules are somewhat limited in the off season, but you can still get to many major (and many minor) centers, just with a bit less flexibility. To see specific tourist attractions, such as the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, and Glendalough, you may need to join a guided tour from Dublin or Galway. CIE offers some of its day tours from Dublin in the off season, and there are tours of Connemara, the Burren, etc from Galway in March/April (Lally Tours is one company I recall). You can also get to Inishmore from Galway using Island Ferries (with a bus transfer to their docks at Rossaveal).

Traveling with Bus Eireann in the off season requires some patience and flexibility, but can be an enjoyable experience if you're the least bit adventurous.

Dave
 
Jan 23rd, 2001, 04:22 PM
  #6  
Laura
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Laura,

I'm a big coach enthusiast. We toured Scotland and Ireland by local coach (ie bus) and loved it. Even if you see the routes and timetables listed, keep in mind that on local routes they will drop you off and pick you up wherever you want on that route. We had great times chatting with drivers and other passengers. I highly encourage the bus. It was brilliant!
 
Jan 23rd, 2001, 05:55 PM
  #7  
Skip Border
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Laura; We agree with Dave. We took Lally's in Galway and Eireann bus in Dublin and thouroghly enjoyed both. All the drivers were very good, and went out of their way to please the tourists. On some of the roads that the buses went, I wouldn't dare drive. Have a good trip. We did the whole trip last year and used the bus system, which is good. We did the whole south of Ireland, and only used the train from Galway to Dublin. We even took the bus from Dublin to London. They drive the bus on the ferry and we stayed on the same bus all the way to London. We really enjoyed the trip.
 
Jan 29th, 2001, 07:28 AM
  #8  
Dave
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PS: If you do decide to travel on Bus Eireann, be sure to splurge and buy the complete timetable (costs about 1IRP). MUCH more useful than the expressways schedule that comes with purchase of a bus pass.
 
Jan 29th, 2001, 11:21 AM
  #9  
Mary
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Ann,

Where can I get info on the gypsy caravans? I love horses and this sounds like a fun way to see Ireland.

Mary
 
Jan 29th, 2001, 12:13 PM
  #10  
Ann
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Mary, I'm not sure the firm we used is still around, but you might be able to find it. It was Seabreeze Caravans. However, some other firms that offer the exact same type of trip have websites and you might look at them. See http://horsedrawn.mayonet.com/ or http://horsedrawn.in-ireland.net/Ireland.htm or
http://www.galway-southeast-tourism....o-the-west.htm Hope one of those will do, but if location is what you're looking for, let me know and I'll dig out all my trip info on Seabreeze. It was just the greatest trip, but you do have to enjoy camping out! We made it a 4-day trip rather than a full week, but could easily have enjoyed 7 days on the road. Post back if you have other questions...
 
Jan 29th, 2001, 12:54 PM
  #11  
charlotte
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You might enjoy taking the train up to Belfast for a few days. There are coach tours running up to Giant's Causeway up on the northern coast.
 

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