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Is it possible to get around ONLY by Trains + Buses ?

Is it possible to get around ONLY by Trains + Buses ?

Aug 6th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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Is it possible to get around ONLY by Trains + Buses ?

After recent bouts of trembling & terror as a (senior) pasenger with my (senior) husband driving, I have just about given up on reserving a car on our upcoming Ireland trip this month. (9 days) if I could only be assured that we could manuveur strictly with public transportation..?? My idea is to have a home base in (probably) Galway...and day trips to towns and sites.. (am I lucid?)
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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ps...last time my sister & I were there, (4 or 5 yrs ago) I drove the rental car..but had to have a valium first....ANd had a driver for short trips from our B&B when we didn't know the way...(I just don't remember if there were "cabs"??_
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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From Galway, there are trains to Dublin via Athlone. For other places, you need to use buses. Which places do you want to visit?
GeoffHamer is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 08:55 AM
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Bus will work, probably. Look at: http://www.lookintoireland.com/ireland_bus_services.htm for maps and times.
jkbritt is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I have no advice on the trains/buses, but I think Ireland has lower limits on the maximum age of rental car drivers, anyway, in comparison to some countries, so perhaps it's just as well. I don't think it is any national law, just the custom of all the rental car companies in Ireland (maybe it is a law, don't know). I think it varies from 69 to 75 in Ireland. You aren't supposed to drive when taking drugs like Valium, which is a sedative.
Christina is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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Geoff..I was thinking about Kinmare (spelling?)...so many have mentioned it in the forums..and I have not been there. I have not yet made decisions, but would like to visit places I have not yet seen. (have been in the West..(Joyce Country, Cliffs OM, Carraroe) and also Dublin. Not been to Co Carlow where my paternal gr.grandparents are from..nor Waterford.
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Christina..thank you for your reply. I did check on the age limits when thinking we would hire a car..and the one which was the most reasonable (Doolin I think it was..) had a limit of 75 yrs. so we would qualify for that...
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 11:06 AM
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My son has his then girlfriend toured Ireland twice only using trains and buses, including visiting the cliffs of Mohr and other top tourist spots. They were even out up by the bus driver one night when he took pity on them having to set up camp in the pouring rain - a warm dry bed for the night and a full Irish the next morning and he wouldn't take anything for it. It is my understanding though that there are more buses running in July and August to meet the tourist needs, than at other times of the year.
hetismij is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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It's practically impossible to use Galway as a centre for daytrips to anywhere except bits of the west coast - even by car.

By public transport, it's really pretty well impossible to base yourself in any one place in the Republic - especially if you're serious about visiting Carlow (where the finest grandparents on the planet come from), Waterford and Kenmare.

The Irish Republic's public transport system is mediocre at best by the standards of small European countries - and Ireland's a lot bigger than you'd expect from its population. You can interrogate pretty well all of it from www.buseireann.ie (buses) and www.irishrail.ie (trains): the Northern Irish system's a lot better (www.translink.co.uk).

One solution is to base yourself in Dublin, take daytrips to Waterford and possibly Carlow (though most of the villages one's ancestors come from really are accessible only by car), pop over to Galway for a few days by train and use local tours.

Another is to accept several different bases.

A third, though, is to ask yourself a simple question. Isn't letting yourself turn into a Young Person's parody of an old biddy at the thought of driving on the proper side of the road rather letting the side down? Millions of grownups happily drive on the other side of the road from the one we use at home: France is stuffed with mature British and Irish happily accepting a different driving side, language and measurement system - and certainly not using their age as an excuse.

Can't we leave all this "Oh, it's so difficult" nonsense to the adolescents? They're so much better at it than we'll ever be.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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flanneruk...I'm disappointed that Galway would not be a good base to visit other parts...I will have to re-think that decision. I like your suggestion about several different bases (do you have any suggestions other than Dublin?)
As for my aversion to driving on the "wrong side' of the road..following my two separate experiences of blowing a tyre after encounters with a rock, my confidence has been severely affected...(and I was much younger then)
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Galway to Kenmare by car, according to www.viamichelin.com, is 3 hours 35 minutes each way, and in practice will probably take longer. It's not practical as a day trip whether you drive or try to use trains and buses.
Ireland needs to be explored at a leisurely pace and there isn't really any other way of doing it.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 05:12 PM
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I did a trip through parts of Ireland by bus this summer. There are reasonably good connections, but they are NOT perfect. Distances can be long and travel times are made longer by having to go to all the small places that the bus stops at.

Like flanneruk said, Galway is not the best place to use as a single base for the entire country. On the other hand, with only nine days, you may not be able to see the entire country anyway.

Some things I noticed during my trip.

1. There were no toilets on the buses.

2. The buses go fast enough that photos taken through the windows get a bit blurred.

3. Using single tickets can be cheaper than multi-day travel cards.
anyegr is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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just random thoughts . .

Waterford is no big deal - and especially now w/ the factory being closed.

You only have 9 days so you really don't have time to do a wide ranging tour (even by car, 9 days is not long enough to see more than a small bit of Ireland)

If you are dead set against driving (just say you don't want to drive -- whining about being scared just gives us all a bad name ) pick at most three small towns. Pick any 3 towns you want but if they happen to have rail service you can move from one to the next easier. Then contact the tourist office in each town and hire a driver to take you around for a couple of days.

It wouldn't cost much more than renting a car and would let you see MUCH more than relying on rural buses.
janisj is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 01:05 AM
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Yes, you are quite lucid!

You write: "later this month" for when you will be traveling. That's good! During summer BusEireann runs some daytrips from Galway (Cliffs of Moher, for example). The only place I have seen them listed is on the Bulletin Board inside the Ticket Office at Galway Bus/Rail Station.

I am told that daytrips may also be available from the Cork City Bus Station.

I am a septuagenarian and I have visited Ireland numerous times over the past decade: I have always relied on BusEireann to get around (i.e., never rented a car). One reason for that is because I like to spend hours in pubs: socializing, drinking pints, and enjoying Trad Irish Music. In Galway, I like Taaffes and another Pub across the way called Og Ceili (something like that). The 2-Pubs alternate their music sessions.

If you are flying into Dublin, there's a Bus Service from the Airport to Galway. It's called CityLink. It used to terminate at the Irish Tourist Office on Forster Street. Now it terminates at a 'New' Coach Station on Fairgreen Rd.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 7th, 2009, 03:40 AM
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Hi I am Irish, originally from Cork but living in Dublin.

Galway is a beautiful city and an excellent base to explore Ireland from. Buses and trains are available and are generally a good service. There is much to see around Galway itself, ie the Aran Islands(one of the few remaining Irish speaking areas), Connemara and Sligo.

If you wish to go to Waterford and Carlow I would suggest you base yourself in Dublin. Personally I have to agree with the other poster there is not much to see in Waterford and would not visit it unless a real desire to go. Carlow is about an hour from Dublin, and accessible by bus only.

If you are hell bent on seeing Kenmare, can I suggest that you base yourself in Cork or Kerry for a few days and do that part of the country from one of those bases. www.irishrail.ie do rail tours of the country and I think they are a good deal on what I see.

Killarney which is in Kerry is accessible by train from Dublin, and also Cork. Lots to see and do in both counties, depending on what you like to see. Good deals on hotels on a website called www.hotels.com or www.lastminute.ie.

Enjoy your stay.

Ireland has got extremely busy traffic wise, and I think you are right not to drive.

Kenmare is a bit of a hike from Galway, and there is no direct train to there.
cork09 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 07:23 AM
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I so appreciate these last five postings...(while I am still checking out rail stations) I do now have a clearer plan. It is definite we will not rent a car..we will not go to Waterford...we will base ourselves at 2 or 3 towns..and it is great to know we could (and will) call a toursit office to hire a driver for us! Oh..yes, our flight is to Shannon from Chicago..so we will spend the last couple of days in Galway and definitely visit Taaffes and Og Ceili (we'll find it!)
Oh..yes, also..I am leaning toward all train transportation..
Thank you again so very much..
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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Just to clarify (and you probably knew this but just to make sure) - the Tourist offices won't have drivers, but they will have contact information for recommended driver/guides.
janisj is offline  
Aug 8th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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Janisj...yes I did assume that the tourist office would give me the names...thanks for caring enough to remind me.
MDB_Rogers is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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I disagree with your decision to rely only on IrishRail. BusEireann in most cases runs more frequently, and goes more places. Bus Stations are usually co-located with the Train Stations.

The two Galway pubs I mentioned in my earlier post have Trad Irish Music in the afternoon (in summertime). When one wraps up you need only cross the 'pedestrian only' street to the other.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 09:16 AM
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You might not have found the bus tour from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher online, because it's a regular expressway service of BusEireann, so technically spoken not a "tour".
It's listed as service #50 when you go to the page with the "long distance services":

The regular day trips are listed here:

While BusEireann's buses do not have toilets, there is usually a "service break" every 2 hours or so for 15 minutes at a road house or similar.

From Dublin airport, it's always better to get your tickets from the Rail&Bus ticket counter in the arrivals hall. (Unless you use another company than BusEireann)
If the BusEireann service you need to take does not serve the airport but starts at the central bus station (Busaras) in downtown Dublin, you will get a 50 pct discount for the green airport bus #747 that connects the airport with Busaras if you get your ticket in the arrivals hall.
Cowboy1968 is offline  

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