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worried about trip to Ireland

Old May 15th, 2005, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4
worried about trip to Ireland

My husband and I are leaving for Shannon on June 10th, coming back on the 19th(25th anniv. trip) and I know this sounds stupid, but I am a nervous wreck thinking about this trip. I need my nerves calmed. We are landing in Shannon and renting a car at the airport (already reserved) and staying in a cottage in Galway. That is all I am sure of. This trip has me rattled. I felt comfortable going to Italy and Germany, but I don't know exactly what we should do and see. I read all the posts and go to the Ireland tourist info, but am still confused. I worry about driving on the 'wrong' side of the road and the distances, and now I am worried about all this insurance stuff that I have been reading. Am I ready for a breakdown or what? Can someone please give me some kind of assurance that I will be ok and give me a little help on the itenarary.
I know we will have a good time once we get there, but I am worried right now.
Thanks, I know people out there will help me because you all were so helpful on my last European trip.
LydiaB is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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It sounds like you are having a classic travel panic attack. I have those every time a trip is approaching. It starts about a month before my travel date, so you are right on schedule. I start thinking about every stupid little detail that could possibly go wrong. Sometimes I even start wishing I could cancel the trip.

You have to assure yourself that everything will be OK. You have done all of the necessary planning, and the rest will fall into place. I believe we all have guardian angels who look after us, and yours will be on duty while you are in Ireland. Additionally, the fine people of Ireland will offer all of the help you need.

Driving on the left is easier for some people than others, but I think anyone can do it. I remember the first time I had to drive on the left. I was terrified, and worried about it for months before the trip. The first day was so weird, as my brain kept thinking I was on the wrong side of the road. But after that first day I felt a lot more confident and by the end of the trip it was really easy. And don't be afraid of roundabouts. Roundabouts are your friends!! Those are so cool, because there's no sitting at stoplights or stop signs and waiting needlessly. And if you get into the roundabout and you're unsure of which way to turn, just keep going around and around until you figure out which way to go. I think my record is 4 revolutions while DH read the map.

Have a great time, you'll love Galway.
P_M is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 03:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Hey. If we did it, you can do it. If you're the 'navigator', just keep saying "think left". The important thing is, when you start to drive out of a hidden drivway is to look both ways.

There's not as much traffic in Ireland as some of the other countries. You'll have fun. The Galway area is neat. If you get out that far, go have an Irish coffee at Ballynachinch!
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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LydiaB: Before my last trip I typed in at the top of the page where it says search, Driving in Ireland. I copied and pasted all the tips from fellow Fodorites and sent it to the young man who was to be our driver. It really helped him. After we finally found our way out of Shannon. Everything went well. One big plus about travel in Ireland, we do speak the same langage. Also, the Irish are such kind people. I hope you overcome your nerves and go and have a wonderful time. Joan
chatham is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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You really will be fine - if you both remember that the driver sits in the middle of the road - same as in the US just on the other side of the road Does this make sense?

have fun!
alya is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 07:10 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You are staying in one place?? Gosh- no prob!
We had to make it to about 5 towns in as many days... from Shannon to Dublin...a challenge because it got dark early (we were there in the winter time).

You'll be FINE!!

Go to Doolin for sure and hit a Pub for a session and some craic - enjoy.

It's a tad bit of a challenge but without deadlines you will have NONE of the stress.

crosbie is offline  
Old May 15th, 2005, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 320
Don't worry about the driving. When you get the car at the airport, familiarize yourself with the car and how it operates. Drive around the lot a few times. Remember driving in Ireland takes twice as long as the short distances would make you believe. When you are driving, check you rear view mirror. If you have a line of cars behind you, don't stop. Just drive half-way on the shoulder and the locals will pass you by. Makes them happy and makes the stress level lower for you. Make sure you go to Doolin one evening and go to a pub. ALso do not miss the Cliffs of Moher. It's beautiful. Drive along and stop at every little place that looks interesting. The people are great.
rfbk50 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 12:14 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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You'll be fine. The major roads around Shannon are very good and once you get off them you are generally on paved country roads (they may be narrow and winding, but traffic isn't usually heavy). From Shannon, you might want to head toward Ennis, the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin to get used to the roads before having to face the city traffic of Limerick (which isn't so bad either).

If you do hit traffic, it'll be in or near a town and that just means you're going to be traveling very slowly (which gives you more time to react and remind yourself "drive left, look right!").

If you're worried about insurance, I'd suggest getting the regular insurance (CDW)...with most rental agencies the maximum deductible will be $2000. Super CDW can eliminate that, but if you're staying more than a few days, it probably won't pay off. Give the rental company a call and have them talk you through it.

The Gold Mastercard insurance will work for you (see other threads on this topic), but many people report that it can be quite a hassle, especially if the rental agency doesn't file things properly or take photos.

Ireland can be a great plan-as-you-go destination. If the driving ends up stressing you out do more things in a focused area.

Good luck.
yesiree100 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Lydia - sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned, and carefully planned at that. Things will be fine. My husband had to drive in England and I worried about it but he did fine. The biggest problem turned out to be ME - every so often I couldn't help but yell out "watch out" as I thought we were on the wrong side!! He was getting freaked out and I had to learn to keep my mouth shut. You're just having normal travel jitters. Everything will be fine once you get there. I'll be eagerly awaiting your trip report, if you can, as we hope to go to Ireland in Sept. Relax and have a great trip!
Old May 23rd, 2005, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,667
i'm sure ireland has a website for driving regulations/new driver training. it would be helpful to review this information so that you can drive with more confidence.

roundabouts can be stressful if you don't know how to navigate the more complex and busy ones. however, if you know how they work ahead of time (eg what lanes to be in,etc) then you will master them quickly. likewise you should have a good grasp of all major roadsigns and markings before setting out.
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Old May 23rd, 2005, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I am going to Ireland also. I land at Shannon Friday morning June 10. I have been to 23 European countries but never Ireland. I never worry about my trips to Europe at all but this time I am a tad concerned about driving. Being the cheapskate that I am I always rent a manual transmission car but in Ireland that means I will be driving on the wrong side of the road with the controls on the right side of the car and I must shift gears with my left hand. This should be good for a few laughs but geez I hope I don't run over any sheep. For what it's worth to you I am renting my car through Nova as I always do in Europe. I will pay the extra 6 or 7 euros a day to get the super insurance which limits my liability to I think it is 500 euros, I don't remember exactly as I am on the road this week and don't have the contract in front of me. I thought it was worth the little extra cost for the super insurance just in case I wipe out a whole flock of sheep. My luck they will probably be prize cardigan sheep or something exotic.

I am going to spend first 2 nights in Doolin so I can do the folk music pub thingy and Cliffs of Moher, then 2 nights at Clifden cause somebody told me I should, 2 nights at Kenmare cause I think I should and I want to do the Ring of Kerry and the Kilarney Lakes, 3 nights at Dingle because until three months ago it was the only Irish village I had ever heard of and the lady who runs the B&B I will stay at told me it is the most beautiful spot on earth and she has never lied to me before, then I will turn in the rental car and take the train to Dublin for 2 nights cause I've been to every capital city in Europe and I see no reason to break that incredible string now. Then you don't care but I will then fly to Barcelona and then my second home France (Collioure, Nice, Paris)

I will get there a day before you so look for me on the evening news.

Have lotsa fun; I know I will. Boy I hope the Irish have a sense of humour.

Larry J
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Old May 24th, 2005, 02:03 PM
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I checked on the insurance details and I gave you the wrong details in the above message. It costs an additional 11.29 euros per day and your liability is reduced to just 100 euros on the cdw coverage (that is for the coverage on the rental car for collision, fire, theft etc). This is for a 5 door sub-compact Fiat Punto or similiar car with manual transmission.

Larry J
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Old May 24th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Larry, you are too funny!

Lydia, we have been to Ireland 4 times and hope to go many more. Once you have been on the road for a while, you will relax about the driving, especially leaving Shannon because the roads are good with very little traffic. (We flew into Dublin the first couple of times and I admit it was hairy! I can't tell you how many times I sucked in my breath when I was sure we would hit a parked car on my side.) But soon it will become a piece of cake. And once you have navigated a couple of roundabouts, you will grow to love them. You can drive around and around until you are sure of which exit you want to take. And then, like us, you can come back and do it a couple more times until you get the right one. (Obviously I am the navigator!)
allisonm is offline  
Old May 31st, 2005, 05:12 PM
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You all are so helpful. Larry, we will miss you by one day. Does everyone land at 6am or what? P M, I know how you feel too. I have traveled around Europe, but have used public transportation. I think I will let my husband do all the driving as he tends to go left all the time here. I am constantly screaming WATCH! This will either make us or break us, haha. Hey, if it gets to be to stressful, we will just stay at our cottage and enjoy the water. WE are near the beach, brrrr. I will write a trip report when I get back.
I think my stress also has to do with the fact that out son graduates from high school on the 8th, we are having a party for him the 4th, my last day at work is the 9th(I work at our high school) and we leave on the 10th (hubby didn't think to see when my last day was before booking this trip).
Thanks again for all the helpful hints.
LydiaB is offline  
Old May 31st, 2005, 05:52 PM
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Have a look at

Included, along with lots of wonderful information, is a list of day tours from Galway. These are reasonably priced, go all over (one or two places per day), and may be more relaxing than driving yourselves to these destinations. Plus, a good tour guide is always nice to have along (especially one who is knowledgeable and amusing).

We have a similar plan for next year (renting a car and staying in one place for the duration) and I think we may do some bus tours some days and explore on our own the others.
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