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Self Drive Tours of Ireland - Please help!!!

Self Drive Tours of Ireland - Please help!!!

Oct 26th, 2004, 09:40 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 82
Self Drive Tours of Ireland - Please help!!!

I am planning a week trip to Ireland next August. Has anyone done a self drive trip? Anything I must see? Must avoid? Recommend a travel agent? This will be my first trip to Ireland and would like to hear any tips anyone has
syclark is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Must see: Cliffs of Moher

Drumcorroy House - Great B&B just outside Donegal Town

I did a little less than a week self-drive trip last spring. Just used fodors.com & library books, tourism websites, etc. to plan my route. No problems whatsoever.

From Belfast, down as far as CLIFFS OF MOHER. Then worked our way in & out of the coastline up to SLIEVE LEAGUE CLIFFS, then up to FANAD HEAD, and across into Northern Ireland, seeing GIANT'S CAUSEWAY, DUNLUCE CASTLE, etc., & back to Belfast.

Primarily saw the west & north. Many prefer the south, Ring of Kerry, & Dublin area.
Syv is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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Check the above website to see some of my photos.
Syv is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Tip - There are MANY threads (probably 100's) on here about driving in Ireland, what to see and where to stay. Read over some of them and get an idea of what interests you and then re-post with some specific questions.

There is no way anyone can give you useful suggestions w/o more info from you. Info like -- which airports are you flying into, what sorts of things interest you, etc, etc . . . . . .
janis is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Lots of must-sees, but not all do-able in a week

Don't waste your time with a travel agent. With the Internet, there really isn't a value-add to using one anymore. You can do a lot of research on where to go and what to see, and you can book your own flights and rental car.

If you don't want to do all of the work yourself, look at http://www.cietours.com/ . I've not used them, but some folks have and liked them.
jef_e is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 01:04 PM
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I agree that you should be able to find an enormous amount of info on driving yourself around Ireland. We did it summer of 2003. Definitly would not use a travel agent. I would also not bother with B&B vouchers or any kind of "prepaid self drive packages". I think it's much more flexible, and less expensive, to just plan it yourself. Just searching on "Ireland" on this forum will give you alot of suggestions. Also spend some time in a bookstore or library looking at Ireland guidebooks.

My best suggestion (based on my preferences - your's could be different) would be to fly in and out of Shannon and not bother with Dublin or the east coast. Most of thet things people think of when they think of Ireland are on the west coast. The highlights of our 9 days were Dingle and Beara Penninsulas, Cahir Castle and Rock of Cashel (quite close to each other, a little bit inland from the west coast), and the area just north of Shannon (Knappague Castle). We didn't see the Cliffs of Moher due to really bad weather that day (our only day of really rainy weather) but I would definitly put that on my list. It always helps me to look at photos of a place and decide which areas I really want to see based on that. Google "Ireland & Photos" and you'll get tons. To get you started mine are at pbase.com/annforcier.

Have a great trip.
isabel is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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We did a week in August 2004. Suggest you search for Budman in the europe forum and you will get more than enough info. I used this site and bought Rick Steves book to get an idea of the country and then tailored the drive to our needs.
DOCK is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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agreewith janis you need to provide more info - however I can tell you do not waste your time or money with a travel agent - you can get just as good prices on airlines and auto yourself - oh yea definately drive yourself - the folks on this thread will provide you all the info you need just let them know what you want - I just finished a 3 week self drive trip - relied heavily on this net and i had a great time \ good luck and have fun
lizard is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 03:34 PM
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Good info from the other posters here. Forget the travel agent, I suggest driving and staying in B&Bs. If you want more precise information, you'll need to give us more precise information. My suggestion would be to pick an area and focus on that with a week. You will be traveling during the VERY high tourist season, so it might be nice to try to avoid some of the high touristed sights, particularly Blarney Castle. I don't want Sylvia to yell at me. I know she had a great time on her trip, but she covered much more ground than the average traveler would. More power to those who like to travel like that, I just like to slow down. Perhaps there was a time when I was into that. How you travel, is obviously up to you.

You can also try irelandyes.com. Michele is a great help and can provide you with a lot of insight. If you are in great need of sleep, you can take a look at my two online travel journals from Ireland:

Have fun.

wojazz3 is offline  
Oct 26th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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My two comments:

Be prepared that most driving involves relatively narrow, two-lane roads with stone fences very near the road. Those conditions allow much less margin for error than most driving conditions. For the driver, the drives are not particularly relaxing because so much concentration is needed all the time. But the countryside is really beautiful, so it's well worth that concentration.

Of all the countries I've been to, my single biggest disappoint in terms of must-see points of interest in all of the guide books is the Ring of Kerry. I had been told that by a friend. Sadly, I ignored her thinking. The Dingle Peninsula is the adjacent peninsula, far more rewarding, and indeed a must-see day trip.

MikeBuckley is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Lovely photos Sylvia! Takes me back...

syclark -
excellent advice here from everyone. Do take some time to read up on Bill's trips. He is spot on everytime (4 out of 5 dentists agree) so any advice he gives is worth listening to.

Looking forward to hearing back from you as your trip gets closer and your questions get more specific. I find that planning the trip is a good bit of the fun of it!


waffle18 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2004, 02:13 PM
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Hello isobel...Excellent photos!! Especially liked Slea Head, Fuschias, and the best--Driving in Ireland! Thanks for the memories...Helen
Laoghaire is offline  
Oct 29th, 2004, 04:30 PM
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You are on the right track! Driving yourself is the best way to see Ireland. If you need any specific info on what to see and where to go .. let me know. I have been there five times and drove all of my trips.
irishlass1 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Let's see: yes, the Ring of Kerry is over-hyped if you've ever seen the scenery of the western US. Rent a good driving car. We had a free upgrade to a BMW and it made the trip for my husband. One place not often mentioned to see is Bantry Bay. It's out of the way, but pretty. The other, clear across country is Connemara. Go in to Ballynahinch for a lunch or drink. No, you don't need a travel agent. Just read books and keep searching the internet. If you got to Blarney (which was a thrill) go early in the morning and you may miss the crowds.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 10:40 AM
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For ideas on trip itineraries, go to the tour group sites, like Globus or CIE, and see where they take people for a one week tour. Look up those destinations and then decide which ones interest you. Then just connect the dots to plan your self-drive route.
I recommend you fly into Shannon and out of Dublin (or vice-versa)so that you don't have to waste one day just drving back. Ticket prices to fly 'open-jaw' generally cost no more and the rental companies do not normally charge 'drop off fees', either, so doing so is usually a 'win-win' situation.
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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syclark - your question will invoke numerous replies, with different ideas and places to visit, that you will only become more confused.
My advice is to obtain a good driving map of Ireland. Write or email your nearest Irish Tourist Board, and obtain from them brochures & suggest itineraries etc, then read a few books on Ireland, to get further ideas. Ask the Irish Tourist Board for booklets on B&Bs networks. Try to stay on farm B&B's just outside of each town or village you are staying in, much more scenic, and the farming families are so friendly. We did this on our last trip, and the distance into town was no problem at all. We only booked our first & last B&B, which was south of Cork on the coastline (we had seaviews from our bedroom window). Cork being the airport we entered/left Ireland. Even further south than Kinsale. The remaining B&B's we either rang the day before, or on the day. Of course, you will realise that 1 week is not enough to see most of Ireland, but then, with only one week you will still see a fair bit of the country. We didn't go into Dublin, but opted to tour the countryside areas instead.
tropo is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 03:49 AM
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syclark -
We just took our first (certainly not our last!) trip to Ireland in September. Flew in and out of Shannon and spent two weeks in the West and Southwest. Fabulous! Very easy to get around and go at your own pace. We didn't do the vouchers as we didn't want to be restricted at all. Turned out about half the places we stayed didn't take vouchers. We used Michele's book along with Rick Steeve's and Fodor's. Do contact the tourist board for a packet of information. Here's some pictures from our trip.
pegoode is offline  
Dec 27th, 2004, 03:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 111
hi skylark - i have lots of hints and tips of travel in ireland on my website. it is only new but we have already covered such topics as: driving in ireland, safety in ireland, money saving hints, etc. you can also view lots of pictures of county donegal which we have taken over the past few months.

one other thing, i believe it is much less expensive to arrange car hire from a firm away from the airport and you should check this out.

all the best and i hope you find our site helpful and if you have any other questions about the north west just email me. enjoy your trip wherever you go! catherine
welovedonegal is offline  

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