Getting to Clonmacnoise

Mar 11th, 2007, 09:30 PM
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Getting to Clonmacnoise

It looks like we can easily take the train from Galway to Athlone. But there doesn't seem to be any way to get from Athlone to Clonmacnoise. At least not in March.

By doing a little Googling, I've found that Enterprise seems to have a car rental office in Athlone. But trying to find out whether we can rent an automatic transmission car there just for the day is proving to be very frustrating.

They seem to have one day rentals that aren't terribly expensive. But their web site is showing that they have no cars available with automatic transmissions. That seems a bit odd to me. But there doesn't seem to be any way to e-mail them without opening an account.

Pretty much everything I've ever read about car rental in Ireland assumes that you'll be renting in either Shannon or Dublin. And, of course, assumes that you'll be renting for the length of your stay (possibly minus time in Dublin). Does anyone have any experience with one day rental in other parts of the country?

Or any suggestions for another way to visit Clonmacnoise? There seem to be day tours from Dublin. But we'd be coming from Galway. And, again, a lot of tours don't run in March.

Thanks so much for any suggestions!

CAPH52 is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 11:58 PM
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The train also stops in Ballinasloe just before Athlone. According to AAroadwatch Athlone to Clonmacnoise is 17 miles and Ballinasloe to Clonmacnoise is 13.7. You may be better to take the train and get off in Ballinasloe.

Have you also checked Bus Eireann or Citylink? Citylink stops at Ballinasloe City centre from Galway to Dublin and then you could catch the last one back from Dublin to Galway (check the Ballinasloe site I listed here for that info.)

Something I learned when trying to do a tour of Mizen and Sheep's Head while in Beara..almost every town has their own website and has a "visitor" or "tourist" link that can tell you about how to get there and sometimes even where the bus stops and train stations are.

The "Business Listings" link can also help (and this is how I found my tour guide)- you can email or call the local car hire or Garage and see if they rent or know of a tour you can take from town. Maybe a cab?

Here are each town's websites, I know you are in a time crunch- you may want to give them a call rather than email-,1/

otherwise, you could give the visitors desk a call at Clonmacnoise themselves and ask once you are situated in Galway, although I bet the TI there can help- they were the best and most helpful when I was there!

Clonmacnoise ph#
+353 905 74195

Hope this helps!

12perfectdays is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 01:55 AM
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Hi CAPH52, I would suggest hiring a car from Galway, it would certainly be easier and cheaper than getting from Salthill to catch a train to Athlone and then hiring a car.

Also I saw another post where you are talking about going to the Giant's Causeway, via bus and train from Dublin. Ditto the suggestion re car hire.

Also, if you are able to drive a manual car, you'd find it much cheaper than an automatic.
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tulipvase is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 05:11 AM
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Thank you both very much! I really appreciate the links and all of the trouble to which you went!

Tulipvase, renting a car from Galway crossed my mind. But I really don't see myself doing that. I'm just not that adventurous a driver. Even here in the Chicago suburbs I don't really like driving in areas with which I'm not familiar. And that's in my own car! The 17 miles from Althone to Clonmacnoise I could probably handle. But I've been in Galway before. The thought of driving there scares the bejeebers out of me!

If my daughter were old enough to drive a rental car, I'd probably do it. She's braver than I am!

Dawn, I think you're right about talking to the people at the TI in Galway. I checked several links (and a few guidebooks) last night. And I checked the ones you gave me for Athlone and Ballinasloe. Nothing I've seen indicates that there's any sort of public transportation to Clonmacnoise. But if there are any tours that run in March, the TI is likely to know about them.
CAPH52 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Goodmorning, If you really want to go, do what I did many times, train or bus as far as I could then get a taxi. The driver and I would work out the price and the time for him or her to come back and pick us up. All and all it wasn't that expensive and I got to see what I wanted without driving.

Regards, Joan
chatham is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 10:20 AM
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Thanks, Joan. I kind of wondered about doing that. One of the guidebooks I was looking at this morning mentioned that taxies often take tourists out during the summer and stay for about an hour for 45 Euro. I suppose it's worth checking to see if I could arrange it this time of year.

At this point, I'm really not sure what I'm going to do. But it's somewhat frustrating to think that, every time we take the train to/from Dublin (which will probably be two trips each way), we'll be passing within 14 miles of Clonmacnoise. And, yet, it may be so difficult for us to get there!

I'm thinking another possibility may be to rent a car at Galway airport, thereby avoiding driving in the city. But by the time I pay for rental and insurance, your taxi idea may be cheaper, Joan. And less wearing on my nerves!
CAPH52 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Dawn, I have to thank you again. I just did a more thorough search on that Ballinasloe link you gave me. There is a car hire place there! They don't have an e-mail address. But I'll either have my daughter call or take the number along and call when I get to Galway.

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to that link and see what it says about taxicabs!

One other thing...If we were to decide to visit that area on our way to Dublin (either when we fly to Paris or when we go for my flight home), we'd want to spend a night. I know that Ballinasloe is the closest to Clonmacnoise. But does anyone have an opinion about whether Ballinasloe or Athlone (or Tullamore, for that matter) would make for a more pleasant overnight stop?

Thanks again!
CAPH52 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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The cab was my thinking too (after you got to Ballinasloe). The website I gave you gives visitors the local cab companies (pasted here)
ighty Cabs - +353 (0)90 96 44222
Kenny Cabs - +353 (0)90 96 44444
A2B Cabs - +353 (0)90 96 44443
Noel Carroll - +353 (0)90 96 44414
Paudric Finn - +353 (0)90 96 73942
Kieran Madden - +353 (0)86 2990 509
Night Owl Taxi - +353 (0)90 96 42954
Swift Taxi Service - +353 (0)90 96 43284
that you could take with you and see if the TI in Galway would set up.

Me (being the crazy lady I am)- would call the desk at Clonmacnoise for a recommendation about getting there or which taxi to call. I do agree, save the headache and put the moolah from a car rental to a taxi.

I bet you are so excited to get to see your daughter!

Good luck-

12perfectdays is offline  
Mar 12th, 2007, 11:03 AM
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Thanks again, Dawn! It's so sweet of you to go to all that trouble! I will definitely be printing this thread to take with me!

And, yes, I am very excited about seeing my daughter. Even though I'm used to going long periods of time without seeing her while she's at school, I have far less contact with her now. Thanks to nationwide no roaming cell phone packages with free mobile to mobile calls, it's not unusual for us to talk a couple of times a day when she's at school. Now, with the time difference, we have to really work at setting up a time to Skype or IM. So it'll be wonderful to spend time with her and really get caught up on all that's happened since she's been in Ireland!
CAPH52 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 09:07 AM
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How about this choice. Approach Clonmacnoise by boat. There is a cruise from Athlone down the Shannon to Clonmacnoise, 4 hour trip, 1 hour stay. That sounds like a very cool idea having approached it from the river myself one time.

wojazz3 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Just saw the March issue, sorry. You might contact them and see if they have a thought.

wojazz3 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Yeah, Bill, I was kinda bummed about that. I think the boat would be so much fun! But, unfortunately, that's one of the trade-offs of choosing to go "off-season". And, as many times as you've been, I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know!

Both last year's trip and this one wouldn't have happened had I not been willing to go in March. And I'm very, very grateful to be able to go at all. Also, not being one with a high tolerance for crowds, I appreciate the lower numbers of tourists too!

But it is very frustrating to be reading about something wonderful in a guide book, only to realize it's not available that time of year!

I'm still very interested in Clonmacnoise. But my daughter and I are beginning to wonder whether we'd be better off trying to find something else that we would find as interesting, but that would be a little less work! This is supposed to be a vacation after all!

She's going to go see what she can find out about day tours that run in March. I just read about a company that runs tours to Connemara from Galway year round. So I'm going to check into that to see whether at least part of it is places we didn't see last year.

Also, we have reservations for Inismor a week from this Friday. There's always a possibility that we'll decide we'd like to spend a day on one of the other islands. At least we know we could get there easily from Galway.

Whatever happens, I know it'll be a good trip. I'll be with my daughter in Ireland, can't ask for much more than that! And, of course, being able to drink Guinness in the pubs doesn't hurt any either!
CAPH52 is offline  
May 2nd, 2011, 04:58 AM
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living in Ireland,s midlands the best way to get to Clonmacnoise is bus ot train to Athlone and by taxi to Clonmacnoise Ballinasloe or Tullamore are also convenient . Midlands tours also do daily trips from Athlone and I think they do trips from Dublin also. Either way have a great trip in Ireland
dooge is offline  

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