Self Drive Packages???

Apr 1st, 2007, 06:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 26
Self Drive Packages???

HAs anyone used a self drive package through Ireland?
One is Journey through Ireland- any comments?
Was it more economical than booking individually?
Also, was there any problem with B&B's accepting vouchers?

irishgreen is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 08:17 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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We did a self-drive the first time but last time and this time (June) will rent a car on our own plus the B&Bs. Our first trip (June 2003), we did have a little trouble with vouchers and found out why. The booking people (Brennan I think in our case) take your money several months out and then only pay about half the value 2-3 months after your stay. Before I'm roasted, yes, I do realize that B&B's have the option of accepting vouchers or not. We found it more expensive because we had to pay extra for ensuite rooms. I just did a search for B&B's on-line and made reservations ahead of time. We're traveling with my brother and sil and she likes things very organized plus I was a little worried about finding rooms for 4 people in June. Having said that, if there are only 2 of you (or even one), you will see many signposts with B&B's on them so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding one as long as it's not late in the day. I like going on-line because I could compare rates. Also, keep in mind that a good navigator is as important as a driver. I've heard of people driving by themselves but it would be harder. kathie
Gunny is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 08:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We did a self-drive package on our very first trip. When I got home, I did the math and found it much easier, less expensive to do it on your own.

We had vouchers, and some places did not take them, especially if there is a special place you want to stay for a night or two.

I would recommend do it yourself. There's plenty of help here on Fodors for rental car advice, B&B advice, and itinerary advice.

Ireland is a wonderful place to visit.
Budman is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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It is definitely much more economical to book everything yourself. If you are planning on traveling over in the summer, the vouchers will become more of a nuisance than a help. You can use sites such as this one, and for assistance in shaping your itinerary. and their sister site,, are two of the best that I have found for car rental.

You will need a good map of Ireland, available at the airport when you land. Ask for an ordinance map, as it is more thorough. Also, and its parent site, will be highly beneficial in helping you to plan your trip. Use roadwatch for your distances but not for your estimated time of travel. They are far too optimistic! Instead, take the distance and divide by 30 to get a better idea.

Depending on when you are traveling over also depends on the ease with which you will find a B&B "on the fly". If you need help with lodgings, most Tourist Information centers have a B&B help desk which will help you locate a B&B in that area for a small service fee.

For ease of navigation, I always recommend arriving and departing in Shannon as it is so much easier to get around and also easier to exit once you pick up your rental vehicle.

I know this was far more information than you asked for but I hope it will help you.

Happy Planning & enjoy your adventure!

Slan Agus Beannacht,

Bit Devine
CowboyCraic is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 10:11 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,146
I also did the self drive my first trip. As we were staying in hotels it was OK, but I don't think we saved a thing. I do know the one night we stayed at Dunraven Arms in Adare, we had to have had the worst room they had as we did not get a wink of sleep. We were right on the street and there was traffic all night. Also, most b&b's in Dublin center do not accept vouchers. Really, do it on your own with help from this forum and the sites mentioned by Bit. I think you'll be able to plan out a much better trip. I like Dan Dooley car rentals.

Good Luck, Joan
chatham is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 10:17 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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A voucher does not guarantee a room. It merely pays for the room IF one is available. Anyplace that takes vouchers will also take cash (and often - credit cards). And many places do not accept vouchers.

There is really no benefit to using vouchers.
janisj is online now  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Thank you all.
All of these message boards have been my saviour. And Pat, ( has been incredible.

I have done a lot of research so far and even booked some accomodations. I have my itinerary completed.I am travelling in Sept.

When I added it all up, for 14 nights, with a car it is a little pricey. Maybe I am doing something wrong.Maybe I have chosen the wrong B&B's or maybe this is reasonable.
This is the cost of car and accomodations @ $3100.00 without the add'l CDW.

This is what I have so far:
2 night Doolin –Ballyvara House
2 nights Renvyle-Renvyle House
2 nights Donegal-Ardeevin B&B
1 night Killaloe- Lantern House
2 nights Dingle- Bambury’s
2 nights Kenmare –Abbey Court
2 nights Kinsale –Landfall House
Last night ?????

Is that a reasonable cost?
The self drive also includes a night at Adare Manor for the last night plus a cell phone and heritage card for $2600.00.

I do not want to have a problem with vouchers though.
I am wondering how much add'l it will cost for food, etc . I am figuring @ another 2000.00 easy .
irishgreen is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 02:01 PM
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are you talking doubles or single occupancy? Landfall House runs 40-60 euro for single occ. But 35-40 euro pp double occ. That isn't bad.

Renvyle House is pretty pricey.

Ballyvara House is even more expensive.

So if budget is an issue - you have picked some high end places.
janisj is online now  
Apr 1st, 2007, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 159
Is the $3100 in actual U.S. dollars? or Euro?

How many of you are tevelling? As janisj points out, some of the places you are listing appear to be fairly high-end, more expensive accomodations.

It could be that some of the places share names with others, and we are on the wrong track, but some places (Renvyle House, Ballyvara House - I didn't check them all) aren't even techincally B&B's, which would make the question of vouchers moot.

But for 2 people, say you stay 14 nights, with an average cost of 80 Euro per night for a B&B, it would be 1120 Euro, or about $1500. Even travelling solo, with the single supplement, your cost would be less than that.

As for the car, just for reference, 14 days pickup/dropoff in Shannon with Dan Dooley including *automatic*, extra driver AND the Super CDW (giving you a 100 Euro deductible) is only $1047.65 (Renting a manual knocks it down to just $739.60)

Total cost for those 14 days of car and accomodation would only be about $2500 (with the automatic shift car), pretty close to the self-drive package you mention, but having the added benefit of flexibility.

Now, if your budget isn't a concern, then certainly staying at nicer places is an option (but as I mentioned, probably making the voucher issue a moot point). As for me, I prefer the smaller, friendlier B&B's when travelling through Ireland as opposed to bigger guesthouses and hotels.

A few more details on prices you are getting at places, and what sort of traveling needs/requirements you have could help us give better advice.
jefe is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:08 AM
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You are not comparing like with like. A lot of your choices are hotels not B&Bs.

nona1 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 07:08 AM
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I'm not sure if $2600 is the price per person or for the whole trip. I went to Journey through Ireland (O'Scannlain Travel) and unfortunately you have to submit a request. By the way, I've used O'Scannlain for rental in Ireland before and have been very impressed with their service. I was not as impressed with the service from Hertz but in general, the rental car scam will easily be your worst experience in planning this trip.

The others are probably right in the apples to apples comparison. A few things to keep in mind. It's unlikely that the self drive includes Super CDW which would be purchased from the rental agency. There could be other charges like airport tax and such to add on. Jefe's math is good and of course, the price was for an automatic which is usually close to double the price of a manual.

Keep in mind (if you are working with pp prices) that the included price for the $2500 is car rental PER PERSON so if the $3100 included the full price of the rental, you need to divide that in half.

The "free" cell phone really isn't free. The cost per minute charges on those are usually enough to cover the "free" part.

As was pointed out, you are may have to pay extra for rooms with ensuite bathrooms, though there are not that many B&Bs that have many rooms without. As jefe points out, you can usually get rooms for E40 pp or less and that is ensuite.

It looks like they throw in a map and the Heritage card. The heritage card is E22 I believe.

Let us know what the deal includes.

wojazz3 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Ok, so I booked via O'Scannlain a Hertz rent a car! What is the scam? I'm traveling in a few days, I have tried to be comprehensive with them and it looked like a good deal (maybe from this, too good a deal)!

In regard to:

I went to Journey through Ireland (O'Scannlain Travel) and unfortunately you have to submit a request. By the way, I've used O'Scannlain for rental in Ireland before and have been very impressed with their service. I was not as impressed with the service from Hertz but in general, the rental car scam will easily be your worst experience in planning this trip.
Chris_Monica is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:31 AM
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I think Bill's just talking about the WHOLE process, which for some reason, has ALWAYS been a PAIN in Ireland...

Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Bob is correct, the worst part of travel in Ireland is the rental car process. O'Scannlain is a very good company as far as rental is concerned. As for Hertz, if you rent a small car (especially manual trans) check the tires. They offered me two different cars, both having marginal tread left and they love to get new tires from people since that isn't covered by the insurance. I ended up with a larger car with good tires.

wojazz3 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 02:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Bill and Bob are right about the whole rental process being a pain. I've only rented once in Ireland - through Dan Dooley - and had a perfectly fine experience.

However, this trip, even though I'm again renting with Dooley, I'm not going to hold my breath that things will go perfectly. Lets just say I'm cautiosly optimistic, perhaps. I've read here and elsewhere about experiences with 2nd-time rentals that go horribly awry even though the initial rental was fine.

I guess the alternative is to stay home, which is no fun
jefe is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:02 PM
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This information is great and right on target.

The costs of my bookings are for 2 people in a double ensuite room averaging @ $137.00 per night( not staying a night at Adare Manor). I converted the euros to a total of @$1920.00. This is our first trip and we have never stayed in B&B's so I picked those with a few more rooms.

The car cost is @ $774.00 without the excess CDW. Another $340.00 from the car rental.I see what you mean @ the process!! And, I will definitely check the tires.

By the way, has anyone ever used for the extra CDW?

Then a cell phone and a heritage card, ups the cost.

We are travelling in the fall.

The other accomodations are 30 and 40 euros pp except Bambury's (50 euros) . Dingle is a little pricey.

Any suggestions for accomodations to replace Renvyle House ( 70euros pp )Connemara area and Ballyvara (55 euros pp) Doolin.

Now that I have asked for a self drive proposal with these accomodations, the prices are changing. At first, I was told the proposal covered it all.They make the reservations for you ahead of time. I will let you know the final $$ when I receive them. Should be interesting.

As usual you are all right!!!
Cheaper on my own. I am not trying to be cheap just making sure that my first venture abroad is reasonable.

Thanks for all of your wise advice!

irishgreen is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 355
Hi irishgreen-
there is a thread that talks of insurance4carhire that I just posted a reply from them asking for more specifics. It looks like a good deal for the future but I have already paid for everything with Dan Dooley and don't have time to change and credit! (13 days, 1 driver, automatic, p/u Kerry airport, d/o Sligo, all charges and fees (except gas)plus Super CDW= $830) Had a perfect time with them on my 1st trip- knock on wood!

here's the thread about ins4carhire-

As for Doolin, we really liked Cullinan's b&b
and the thread below talks about it quite a bit.

After our very 1st trip to Hawaii when I booked everything complete through an agent, I have always found that no matter where I travel, doing it myself has always been a money saver and less hassels while on vacation. (The only requirement seems to be the research beforehand which I love to do!)
12perfectdays is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 05:53 AM
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Posts: 69
Irishgreen, We (DH and myself) went to Northern Ireland for 2 weeks in Oct. 2004 for $3000 (not Euros) including airfare from Wyoming. I think your prices are way high. We like a smaller B&B because they are so friendly. We drove the second class up from VERY small <g> manual transmission. We ate a lot of our meals from bakeries, etc. I know it can be scary but we're from a small town in northern WY (about 5700 pop.) so if we can do it, you shouldn't have any problems. Kathie
Gunny is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 03:21 PM
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I did contact Cullinan's .
How did you like it? I read some not so nice reports about the place being more geared to a restaurant than a B&B so I shied away.

In 2004 ,I went to Italy for 2 plus weeks for 2 of us in very nice accomodations. That cost just a little over $2000.00 including all in country transportation , sights and food without the flight .

Obviously, we need to allow for inflation since then. So, it seems like $3000.00 should do it.

irishgreen is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 06:19 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 355
Loved the room! Super clean, very spacious and breakfast was great. It was also the closest room to McGann's where I wanted to go. Loved every second...great stew, music, craic and out waitress had a great voice too!

Yes, I too felt that the owners were a little standoffish but in the morning when we needed a picture outside the b&b a fellow guest offered and in our conversation mentioned that they stay at Cullinan's every year and had gotten to know the owners well. I do not think they are rude, just quiet and yes...maybe a tad uninvolved in the B&B portion. I would totally stay again! Let us know what you decide and have a great time!

Here are some pics of the room-

12perfectdays is offline  
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