The Perfect Ireland Itinerary & Road Trip

My Ireland travel guide!

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MikeNovember 8, 2017 - 2:15 pm

Hey Sher, great write-up…very comprehensive. I agree, Ireland was never really tops on my list either, but I’m so glad I had a chance to go. I love it when a place exceeds my expectations. How did you do with the driving? Did you fall in love with Tyson at Roseleauge?

SherNovember 8, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Ha I wrote about our experiencing with the driving in this post.

It ended up being fine so now I want to road trip Scotland! The main thing I found strange was how you had to pay inside at the gas station, there would also be like empty parked cars while everyone waited to pay ha!

I read your Tyson story – loved the interview with Mark! Funny enough I wrote my post about Rosleague last night.. will be publishing it in a couple weeks :) Which was your favorite of the blue book properties?

The GuestbooksNovember 13, 2017 - 8:37 am

Love this post! I’ve always wanted to do a trip to Ireland so this is so much food for thought and really comprehensive! I’m based in Dubai at the moment but definitely one for the bucket list when I’m based in the UK again. Thanks for sharing all your tips! : )

[…] the planning process, we looked at Auto Europe to get an idea of all the car rental agencies available in Ireland and […]

[…] nearly 3 weeks in Ireland driving all around the country, our road trip was complete! As an American, driving on the left in Ireland certainly took some […]

[…] We stayed at the Killarney Royal, a charming, boutique hotel conveniently located in the centre of town. The hotel has been family owned for over 3 generations and was originally a townhouse, so all the rooms are slightly different and feature antique furnishing. We loved how spacious and luxurious our room was – easily the largest hotel room we stayed in during our trip to Ireland! […]

[…] Photo courtesy of Sher from Sher She Goes […]

[…] to see more amazing stops like Connemara? Check out this great Ireland itinerary by Sher She […]

[…] This Northern Ireland self driving tour is circular and it starts and ends in Belfast. Ideally you would spend two nights in Belfast, either split (one at the start and one at the finish) or both together at the beginning. We then suggest stopping for an overnight somewhere halfway like Ballintoy or Bushmills. Finally, you would spend a night or two in Derry before returning to Belfast or going south into the Republic of Ireland. […]

[…]  Read more:  7 Stops to Include on Your Irish Road Trip […]

[…] Ireland is the best place to take a week or two and explore, if you’re interested check out this Ireland Itinerary. […]

[…] structures and ancient burial tombs. This makes it a great hotel to stay at for anyone looking to road trip Ireland and drive through the Wild Atlantic […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

DonnaFebruary 14, 2018 - 8:31 am

Hi Sher: Love all your articles! We are budget travelers, but would like to splurge 1 night to stay in a castle or another luxury type accommodation. Do you have a suggestion for one that will accommodate 4 per room? We’re open to any location at this point as we are still working on our itinerary for 8-9 days. I looked at Gregan’s Castle and it appears we would have to get 2 rooms there which would be out of our budget even for a splurge! Thanks for all the great info!

SherFebruary 14, 2018 - 1:57 pm

Hi Donna! Thanks for the kind words. Yes – I would definitely recommend splurging a night in one of Ireland’s cool castle hotels. Have you seen my post on the list here?

Hm, I’m not sure if they have room for 4 at Gregans, perhaps you could email them to ask if one of their suites could accommodate? Gregans is a more cozy house. If you can’t get rooms there, I would still recommend making a dinner reservation. It was very good!

At Rosleague, in Connemara, the rooms are HUGE and they might be able to fit 4.

In Killarney there’s lots of options for bigger parties. We had 4 of us in a loft style room at Old Weir Lodge for incredibly affordable rates.. I think we each paid around $30/night but this was also off season. I wouldn’t say it’s luxury but definitely very comfortable.

We also stayed at the Killarney Royal in one of their corner rooms which had 2 queen size beds and I’m sure 4 would be comfortable there.

If I went back to Ireland I would love to stay at Adare Manor or Ashford. Both are pricey (depending on the season) but they seem like once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Falconry, boating, archery, golf etc. Adare opened right after my trip ended but we saw the outside renderings and it looks FAB. Ashford books out months in advance, even in the off season. They also have a cottage on the grounds which are converted into rooms, I believe those are cheaper and you still get to experience the castle + grounds.

I will say in general the Irish are very hospitable and friendly. We made a mistake one night and booked a last minute room in Dingle which only came with a twin (there were 2 of us). It was meant for a single. They were very nice at the front desk and didn’t force us to upgrade rooms. Instead, they added in an extra cot / rollaway bed.

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

SavannahMarch 30, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Hi!! This was an amazing guide!
I was wondering what your opinion on staying at one hotel in Dublin for the duration of the trip and taking multiple day trips to certain sights?! It seems to be less expensive and less stressful than trying to find a bunch of different hotels, but I also don’t want to miss anything since this is a once in a lifetime thing! Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!

SherMarch 31, 2018 - 10:25 am

Hi Savannah – glad the guide was helpful! Hm, so do you mean you don’t plan to rent a car? If that’s the case then yes, a great way to see Ireland is to base yourself in Dublin and do day trips. Dublin is on the northeast of the Republic of Ireland and a lot of the famous sights are on the western coast, so it will be a bit of a longer drive. It’ll also probably be much more expensive than if you rented a car to drive around Ireland on your own and Dublin hotels tend to be much more expensive than in other cities. But, a guided tour will take care of all your transportation! so, there’s pros and cons :)

[…] 7 Stops to Include on the Perfect Ireland Itinerary – Sher She Goes […]

[…] 7 Stops to Include on the Perfect Ireland Itinerary – Sher She Goes […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…]  Read more:  7 Stops to Add to Your Ireland Itinerary […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

[…] Itinerary, Tips & Advice for How to Plan the Perfect Ireland Vacation […]

Kasey BuchingerMarch 7, 2019 - 12:46 pm

This is the best itinerary of an Ireland trip I have read yet! Thank you so much. I traveling with children (3.5 years and 8 months) is there any of the stops that you would recommend NOT going to? Or ones that you would recommend on adding? I often wear the baby in a carrier, so needing to use a stroller is not necessary.

Thanks in advance.

SherMarch 7, 2019 - 1:48 pm

Hi Kasey,

Thanks so much for the kind words!! I am actually planning to head back to Ireland this year!

Hm… So let me preface this by saying I don’t have kids so I may not aware of all the do’s & don’ts for young children. I would suggest spending less time in Dublin, which is most popular for its bars, and seeing the countryside. I think kids would like Dingle, with the dolphin, boat tours and the Slea Head drive is very beautiful. Skip Minard Castle, it is a long drive and they are ruins, not a still standing & furnished castle like Kilkenny. The town of Kilkenny is nice too.

Kerry is probably very kid friendly. The town center is very cute, lots of shopping, great food + ice cream, Killarney park is beautiful and kids probably like the horse buggy rides. If you have time, pop over to Wexford and the Irish National Heritage Park – the park itself is a open air museum, and then they have some excellent activities you can book like falconry, archery, dressing up like Vikings, etc. I wrote some more about it here, and you can check out their Youtube channel to get a feel for it.

Hope that helps!

KApril 1, 2019 - 10:19 am

Thank you so much for this! Just a quick 1uestion re Itinerary…Does the number of days include the previous days’ plans? I.e. for the 5 day itinerary, is the idea that you’d do the itinerary for days 3 and 4 as well? (i.e. Dublin, Newgrange, Howth, Galway, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara Galway)? Thank you!

SherApril 1, 2019 - 1:11 pm

Hi! It’s flexible depending on how many days you have and whether or not you’ll be renting a car! If you have 3-4 days, I would recommend staying in Dublin and taking a day trip or two :)

TCLeeApril 19, 2019 - 6:36 pm

Thank you so much for this post. We will be first time overseas travelers with a “once in a lifetime” trip next year. It’s a 2 week trip and we are hoping to see as much as we can. You gave me some feedback initially when we were thinking of taking a Viking Cruise. We’ve changed our minds and are now looking at Ireland, England, and Germany. Do you think we could see enough of Ireland in 4 days? Dublin looks great but we aren’t as interested in the bigger ‘cities’ so we are thinking only 1 day there. After I mapped out your recommendations, it looks like we would be most interested in the Galway/Clare areas. Thinking maybe we fly into that side of the island and out of Dublin to England. Interested in how many days you think we would need to see Kylemore/Clifden/Connemara Park/Aran Island/Mohr/Bunratty Castle?

SherApril 19, 2019 - 6:53 pm

Hi! You can see a lot of Ireland in 4 days, but you’d probably need to rent a car (and be comfortable driving on the left). I don’t think Galway has its own airport, so you have to check for the closest airport + factor in driving time.

Aran Island would be a full day trip.
Connemara you could drive through or you could spend all day hiking and exploring.
Kylemore Abbey might still be under construction, in which case, just a couple hours (it’s mainly the garden as the castle was under renovation when I visited)
The Clifden drive is beautiful – it would take maybe a couple hours.
Galway would be nice to spend a day in, we just drove through and had lunch. Galway is a smaller city and known for its pubs so if you like nightlife you could spend the night.

It depends on how long you want to linger in each place, and the driving. Typically what do is I add all the destinations I want to see in Google Maps and use their driving distance as a benchmark. The roads in Ireland are very narrow, and we were unused to driving on the left, so I’d add 30-45 minutes longer to the Google Maps driving estimates.

At a quick glance, I’d estimate 5 days at minimum for the places you listed, and 6-7 if you wanted to take it leisurely? Hope that helps!

[…] As great as Dublin is, Ireland is much more than only Dublin. If you have time to include other destinations have a look at this incredible Ireland itinerary! […]

IsabelleMay 11, 2019 - 11:25 am

Hi! I live your Ireland pages, but I wish your pictures were labeled. They are all so nice! :)

Tracey JonesMay 22, 2019 - 6:21 am

I am going to visit Ireland month of June 19, and these tips are very helpful for me before landing there. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips <3

Sherry McCoshJune 4, 2019 - 12:27 pm

You failed to mention The Quiet Man in your list of films! The best movie ever made. Cong was the filming location. If you haven’t seen this movie yet it is a must see!! John Wayne at this best.

kit simmonsJune 9, 2019 - 7:53 am

Can you recommend which areas to begin and end on a 4 night country trip. Leave from Dublin on Tues AM. Spend Tue/Wed/Thur/Friday night in country. Picked these areas:

Doolin – Doolin Inn or Limestone Lodge? Cliff Walk/Caves
Clifden –
Cong – Ashord Lodge
What is best base for Connemara National Park area – want beautiful scenery

Don’t know where to go first. Dublin to Doolin, night in Doolin. Doolin to Clifden night in Clifden. Clifden to Cong 2 nights Cong then home to Dublin. Can you recommend a better itinerary. 2 Teenage boys in tow. First time in Ireland. Thanks.

Help please. Hope for somewhat relaxing trip.

SherJune 10, 2019 - 5:41 pm

Hi Kit,

For the best route, plug in all the stops you want to make in Google Maps and then order your itinerary by the most efficient driving route. That’s what we did, and I recommend trying to keep driving to no more than 2.5 hours a day if you can.

Haven’t been to Doolin!

Ashford Lodge is gorgeous, you will love it. They have lots of add on activities like salmon fishing, golfing, archery, falconry etc which kids would enjoy.

We stayed in Clifden and Delphi Mountain in Connemara. Both were great, but slightly different experiences. Clifden is closer to Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey. We stayed at Rosleague – fabulous hotel, great service but slightly older clientele. Our review post is here if you want more photos.

Delphi Mountain Lodge was our second overnight. The hotel is more of a casual hunting lodge style and they sit on 1,000 acres so pretty scenery and also add-on activities. We tried ziplining and archery, very fun. Some more photos of that on our Facebook, here.

Hope that helps!

shannon orrAugust 25, 2019 - 10:12 am

I am loving your information! I am planning a trip with my 23 year old daughter. Could you share your google map?

Shannon

SherAugust 28, 2019 - 12:31 am

Hi Shannon, Sorry I don’t have a saved Google Map for Ireland. I just plugged in the destinations I was interested in when I was planning my trip. That gives me an idea though – I’ll start creating maps with saved locations for the future!

Rob+AnnSeptember 1, 2019 - 5:08 pm

Great itinerary! We definitely need to go back to visit more of the places on your list, and ours. We were excited to see you mention Minard Castle on the Dingle Peninsula. Judging by how remote it seemed, and the complete lack of people visiting, we felt like we stumbled onto our very own stunning secret spot! Looks like the secret is out! ;)

LoriSeptember 27, 2019 - 10:56 am

The link for the best time to visit Ireland wasn’t working and my apologies if I missed it in the comments section but when is the best time to visit?

LoriSeptember 27, 2019 - 10:57 am

When is the best time to visit Ireland?

SherSeptember 29, 2019 - 1:17 am

Oh, thanks for letting me know! I will fix the link.

Generally the shoulder season (May, September) is best. Summer can get pretty crowded. We’ve visited in both April and October and had a great time! There’s always on and off rain so be sure to pack a good rain jacket and some rain boots if you have.

Renato GusmaoNovember 3, 2019 - 5:16 pm

Excellent introduction to Ireland

MaireadMarch 31, 2020 - 9:13 pm

Thank you for such a thorough post with so much information for planning my trip to Ireland. I really appreciate it. There is so much information here I will need to study it to take it all in. Many thanks.

3 Days in Nantucket: A Chic Weekend Itinerary

I’m not sure why we never considered a summer getaway to Nantucket, but now that we’ve been, I’m already dreaming of how to get back!

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Anna MakridiAugust 14, 2018 - 5:48 am

Nice post! Thanks for sharing!

[…] 3 Days in Nantucket: A Must Do Itinerary […]

[…] 3 Days in Nantucket: A Must Do Itinerary […]

[…] 3 Days in Nantucket: The Perfect Itinerary […]

Marie FrancoAugust 7, 2019 - 12:54 pm

Nice post about Nantucket and a great summary of things to do. I would point out that the lighthouse in your post is Brant Point, at the harbor as you enter Nantucket, and not Sankaty. Sankaty is the lighthouse that you see off of Polpis Road near Sconset. It’s the red/white light house near the golf course.

SherAugust 7, 2019 - 12:58 pm

Hi Marie – Thanks for the correction! I’ve updated the post :)

7 Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland (Beware #6)

    What to Know Before Renting a Car in Ireland I knew I wanted to self drive part of our vacation to Ireland, but it took some convincing to get my mom on board. While we love travel and take quite a few trips internationally, we hardly do road trips. Ireland is one of […]

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LizzieNovember 12, 2017 - 4:32 pm

Great post! I definitely agree, especially about getting a smallish car for Ireland. Those roads are so narrow!!!!

[…] decided to put together a quick recap of our entire experience, from hiring a rental car in Ireland to driving throughout our road trip. Hopefully this will help you with your Ireland vacation […]

All the Best Food We Ate in Ireland!November 18, 2017 - 4:55 pm

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

Hiking the Gap of DunloeNovember 28, 2017 - 9:44 pm

[…] an outing through Gap of Dunloe Tours. Another great way to see this stunning area would be to rent a car in Ireland. That way, you can stop and take in all the stunning vistas along the way. My husband John and I […]

[…] Ireland is a haven of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Anyone visiting this beautiful nation would be crazy to not want to head out and hit the open country roads in search of this beauty that can be found around every corner. If you need any more convincing that exploring Ireland by car is the best way to get around, check out this post that highlights some useful tips on car rental in the Emerald Isle. […]

Postcard From... IrelandDecember 12, 2017 - 3:00 pm

[…] places to visit in Ireland via Teacake Travels. And if you’re headed to Ireland check out this fab guide to renting a car in Ireland for some really useful […]

[…] railroad really opened up tourism to the area by providing an easy access route. As I mentioned in this post, it can be quite difficult to get around Ireland if you’re relying solely on public transport, […]

[…] need an automatic. You can also pick up and drop off in different cities. I have an in-depth post here covering everything you need to know about renting a car in Ireland, with helpful information […]

[…] we wanted to be cautious. The clouds were quite dark and stormy and we had nightmares of our tiny red rental car being blown into the […]

[…] Atlantic Coast from Kinsale in County Cork to the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. We rented a car and drove a good portion of the Wild Atlantic Way, what […]

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

[…] its gloomy glory and so long as you dress appropriately for the unpredictable Irish weather and rent your own car, you’ll have the freedom to stop and go as the rain […]

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

[…] Atlantic Coast from Kinsale in County Cork to the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. We rented a car and drove a good portion of the Wild Atlantic Way, what […]

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

DennieApril 18, 2018 - 10:39 am

Thanks for the tips about renting a car in Ireland. I just called my Mastercard and they stated that they offer full coverage and will be sending me documentation to bring along with me.

Unfortunately, I’ve read that there are some car companies in Ireland that may reject it still so you might have to go somewhere else which isn’t always an option if you’ve shopped around for a deal and especially if you have to get going.

SherApril 18, 2018 - 6:57 pm

Hi Dennie – Great! So glad you were able to use your Mastercard too. We used Hertz (it was the cheapest at the time we went) and while the counter guy was sketchy – he tried hard to upsell us – they did accept the letter and provide full coverage. Not sure about other car companies in Ireland but I’ve generally heard good things about Conns and Dooley’s, which seem like family run local businesses. Can try calling or emailing them to confirm?

DennieApril 23, 2018 - 11:03 am

Thanks for the heads up about Dooley. They seem to be the only car company which not only has a decent reputation but a glowing one in Ireland. I’m doing my research and it seems every other company there has a dozen or more horror stories/reviews attached to them.

Fabio M.May 9, 2018 - 8:16 am

Actually interesting finding these tips all together. Another thing I’d say is to be aware of aggregator websites that show you cars from other rentals at a cheaper price, offering their own insurance, because it looks frequent that when you reach the front desk they’ll tell you that insurance is not valid and you’ll need to pay for another one.

SherMay 9, 2018 - 2:05 pm

Hi Fabio – glad you found it helpful and thanks for the tip! Totally agree insurance is the tricky issue. We were lucky enough to do research before and find that our credit card fully covered the insurance. The salesman did try to trick us about adding on other things but accepted it!

JamesMay 25, 2018 - 11:55 am

Wow those pictures look INCREDIBLE! And of course, thanks for the great tips.

Pam RJuly 6, 2018 - 1:39 pm

Can I ask what credit card you used.

SherJuly 6, 2018 - 4:56 pm

Hi Pam – sure, we used the Citi AAdvantage mastercard. I’m not sure if the card is still around, but it’s super handy! no foreign transaction fees, earns American Airlines miles and it covered our rental insurance.

[…] and my favorite backpack of the moment for my trip to Ireland. But, we rented a small car to self drive around the Emerald Isle and there definitely isn’t much room in these mini cars for luggage so try to pack light! We had […]

KarlAugust 26, 2018 - 8:15 pm

You mentioned you’d recommend your credit card, but I didn’t see where it said which company you had your card with?

We are planning a family trip to Ireland next year, so should be interesting. (Definitely going to be spendy for a vehicle that holds all 6 of us.)

thanks for your article.

DennieAugust 27, 2018 - 9:42 am

Karl, I just came back from Ireland in June and I used SherSheGoes’s suggestions and my Capital One Mastercard which has a lot of travel coverage including rental car insurance.

Note: The car rental companies will charge you €30 for using your card’s coverage and if there is any damage they will charge you and leave it up to you to settle things with your credit card company. Also, expect another €40 in administrative fees and they’ll charge you for the full tank which you can settle up with them at the end. Our car’s full tank cost €74.

I’ve never paid more to rent a car than in Ireland but with that being said it was absolutely worth it and Ireland is beautiful and was made to be explored by car. Also, people are not joking when they say that the roads are narrow. We rented a Toyota Corolla which in the US is a small car but it felt very wide on small Irish roads which were barely wider than the width of the car. Try and get the smallest car that you can possibly manage.

SherAugust 28, 2018 - 5:10 pm

Hi Karl – Dennie was helpful to chime in! I used my Citi AAdvantage Mastercard, and have heard from others that recently Chase Sapphire provides Ireland car rental coverage (at the time of my trip, they did not). Best to call the number on the back of each of your credit cards and speak to customer service to confirm! Start with any Mastercards you may have – in my experience, Visa cards are a no-go for Ireland + Italy car rental protection.

What time of year are you all visiting? If you can, try to visit off season. We went in October and because it was past the peak season, our rental price was not bad. You just have to be OK with the temporary insurance hold, and bring an extra credit card that has no foreign fees for daily purchases. Might actually be better to rent 2 small cars for 6 people, since the roads are soooo narrow!

Jeffery SearcyAugust 28, 2018 - 8:55 pm

Just tried the discount code for KnowRoaming and its expired. Thank you for all the good advice though :)

SherAugust 29, 2018 - 10:12 am

Hi Jeffery – Thanks for letting me know! Let me double check it..

MelodiSeptember 4, 2018 - 8:56 pm

Hi Sher,

Fantastic and extremely helpful post, thank you! I just had a questi on on the US pre-clearance at the airport when returning to the US. How, do you actually do it? Is there somewhere in the airport we need to complete this?

SherSeptember 4, 2018 - 9:09 pm

Hi Melodi, the Dublin airport has a separate section to guide you through pre clearance. You don’t have to do anything special – when you check in for your flight as usual, they will know by your ticket that you’re headed to the US so you just follow the airport signs for “US Pre Clearance”. It’s straightforward once you’re there! Basically, they just have you go through security twice and section off the room.

MelodiSeptember 5, 2018 - 7:49 am

Thank you so much for your quick response & all the info in your blogs, I’ve read then all.

JerrySeptember 25, 2018 - 12:39 pm

Excellent and very helpful info. Thanks so much! My wife and I are going over to Ireland for our 30th anniversary in 2 weeks. This info will be very helpful.
Thanks again
Jerry
Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Don't Skip Wexford Ireland - Here's WhySeptember 30, 2018 - 9:37 am

[…] 7 Useful Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland […]

SlainteNovember 12, 2018 - 2:48 pm

Something that may be of benefit to people who will want to use the car hire cdw.

If booking from the US, rates quoted are exclusive of cdw (adding at counter is about €25/d) which still has a reduced deductible.
If you ring direct to a location, they can quote inclusive of cdw which will be cheaper than adding it in at the desk.

Larger vehicle’s have higher daily rates on insurance, so more to save if you need insurance ringing direct

Diesel comparing to unleaded fuel normally doubles your range per tank, dieselon average is 10c/ltr cheaper at the pump, so if driving alot it may be worth it.

And if your booking bigger cars/suv’s some cards do not cover them.

SherNovember 12, 2018 - 2:54 pm

Hi Dermot – appreciate your tips!

Yes, CDW is an extra cost on most quotes so it’s important to confirm how much the car will cost with CDW as well as the deductible cost. For us, we were able to benefit from our US credit card and waive insurance altogether, although I know not everyone can take advantage of this.

For diesel vs unleaded, we booked a small car with unleaded fuel. They did try to upsell us on diesel when we got to the car rental counter, but for our trip (1 week driving a full loop Dublin to Dublin), the fuel cost savings weren’t worth the cost of the upgrade. I’m sure it could be for those who need a bigger car!

JulieJanuary 3, 2019 - 8:16 am

With gas prices and the extra fees with the rental cars, would you say it’s still cheaper to drive yourself than take all the tours?

SherJanuary 3, 2019 - 10:26 am

Hi Julie – it depends! Tours are really convenient, because they take care of literally everything, but if you want to have the freedom to stop by the side of the road for photos, or linger in one spot and rush through others, you can’t do that, you have to stick to the schedule.

With rental cars, you have to be OK with the potential for damage, insurance, + driving on the left… but you get to explore a LOT more of Ireland and go off the beaten path. You can also stay overnight in cities besides Dublin!

As far as pricing, it depends what time of year you’re visiting and how long you have to spend. If you are visiting Ireland for 5 days or less, I’d say just fly in to Dublin, explore the capital and take day trips + tours. If you have 2 weeks or more, it’s probably cheaper and nicer to rent a car! So not a cut and dry answer, but I hope that helps!

DennieJanuary 3, 2019 - 11:06 am

Hi Julie,

My wife and I went to Ireland in May for about 10 days and we rented a car and highly recommend doing so because it’s a gorgeous country that is made for exploring.

We got to see Dublin, Kilkenny, New Ross, Hook Head lighthouse/peninsula, Kenmare, Ring of Kerry (and all sites along), Skellig Michael, Killarney (national park and all nearby areas of interest), Limerick and Cliffs of Moher. It was amazing and would not have been possible without a car.

You just have to be prepared to pay more for a rental car than you’ve probably ever paid before. Also, people are not kidding when they say get the smallest car possible. Even a compact Toyota Corolla seemed like a big car on many Irish roads.

SherJanuary 3, 2019 - 11:07 am

Hi Dennie – Thanks so much for chiming in and sharing your experience! :)

Lynette GardnerFebruary 16, 2019 - 12:45 pm

Hi Sher,
We have a trip planned in June to Ireland and Scotland. There will be 7 of us going (6 Adults, 1 child). I am seeing on here that everyone is recommending the smallest vehicle. Would it be better for us to rent 2 cars for our group? I would also like to know if anyone has any advice on taking/driving the rental car from Ireland to Scotland? We have a home of a friend that we are staying at in Ireland, so we have a base and will be doing trips from there. It is located in Enniscrone, and we are flying into Shannon. Would appreciate any advice from you and others on the best thing to do for rental cars.

SherFebruary 16, 2019 - 1:29 pm

Hi Lynette,

Hm.. With 7 people, you could do either a van or 2 cars. I would check rental rates to see the price difference. I do think a smaller car is much easier to navigate, because the roads are often very narrow, but you may be more comfortable with driving than we are and like traveling as a group.

We used Kerry Coaches on a different trip to Ireland, we had 7 of us + the driver and they have some really comfy vans. Nice seats, lots of room inside and mini tables. You can inquire with them, if you want to have everyone together and prefer not to drive at all.

I’m not 100% certain about crossing international borders. I would guess that it is not allowed or carries a very hefty fee, but double check with the company you are renting from. Especially with Brexit going on… it may be tricky.

ken prichardMarch 12, 2019 - 1:42 pm

don’t forget to pay your M50 tolls 3.10 euros at most gas stations or else the rental company will tack on additional fees to cover their fees to M50 toll road services… like 2.00 more each way!!! Hertz rent a car actually charges you directly when you bring the car back …it’s a little bit more than 3.10 not much more but you’ll feel secure known it’s paid and you don’t have to inconvenience yourself at gas stations here and there and most likely you’ll forget! and see it on your visa bill…

julieMarch 14, 2019 - 10:43 am

Very helpful post! Thank you! So which rental company did you use? We use the same card you use, AA MC, and have rented all over the world with it. and never get the insurance from the rental agency. Just need to figure out who to book thru that will accept that we ARE covered by our card and not force us to buy the damn scam insurance. Can any one give me suggestions? We’ve had a great experience with SIXT in Portugal, but their UK office is unable to give us quote without the CDW.

SherMarch 14, 2019 - 12:48 pm

Hi Julia – I think we used Hertz. We got price quotes from all the car rental companies online and just went with the least expensive really. Just make sure to call the customer service # for your cc, verify that they cover Ireland and get the document in writing so you can present it at the car rental counter.

[…] 32 counties in the Republic of Ireland, the best way to explore is by hopping in a car and tackling the left. From Dublin, head west to the legendary Wild Atlantic Way, famous for its […]

Sean RigganApril 8, 2019 - 2:04 am

We’re getting ready to go to Ireland next month (Late May 2019). Any recommendations for specific car rental companies to use (or avoid)? Have you ever considered “Turo”? As I’ve researched the specifics of renting a (5-7 passenger) car in Ireland, I’m getting the sense that it’s something of a free for all/cash grab. Am worried about having a reservation ahead of time, and then arriving to find that the rental deal/contract isn’t as represented (and as a foreigner, not sure what recourse is available while standing in an airport…)
This is definitely different that renting a car back in the USA!
Thank you!
Sean R.

SherApril 8, 2019 - 1:05 pm

Hi Sean – I don’t have a recommendation for a company in particular (I used Hertz and I see lots of people recommend a local company called Conn’s). I just went with what was cheapest.

Rates depend on the season so yes in peak season things will definitely be more expensive. Have you looked into 2 small cars? That could be a lot more affordable and easier to navigate since the roads in Ireland are SO narrow compared to the US.

For us, picking up the car was an experience. They heavily tried to upsell us, you just have to come prepared (if you have your own insurance via a credit card) and stay firm. Read all the fine print and it should be ok.

For drop off, we had trouble finding the right place since it was different from the pick up (at dublin airport). But the actual drop off process was straightforward and we didn’t have any issues. I have heard some people get charged for dings and damage, so you could protect yourself by taking photos of existing damage at pick and/or taking a video of the car when you drop off.

Have a great time!

ShayApril 12, 2019 - 2:20 pm

Hello, I was wondering if you could tell me how toll roads work with a rental car. Are we allowed to use them? A few of the roads we will be traveling on have tolls and the ones without are like 45 mins to an hour longer.

SherApril 12, 2019 - 3:06 pm

Hi Shay.

Sure! Double check with the company you’re renting from, but our experience was that generally the renter is responsible for all toll payments. Make sure to have cash on you for the toll, since we found that not all of Ireland’s toll booths will accept credit cards.

There’s one specific toll that’s different. Between Junction 6 and Junction 7 on the Dublin M50 motorway (its the main highway that surrounds Dublin and you’ll drive through it if picking up or dropping off at the airport), there is no toll barrier or tolling booth so no cash payment. The car license plate is photographed and billed as you drive on the road (you’ll see a giant purple sign).

Depending on what agency you rent with, they may pay the M50 toll upfront, or tell you that you are responsible for paying it. Our rental companies paid it upfront and added the toll charge to our final bill without any extra fees.

It’s easier if the car rental company has registered the car for the toll and pays it directly. If they expect you to pay it, you create an account on eFlow and pay the fine online. You have up until 8pm on the day after you passed through the toll in order to pay, before they assess hefty fines. You can check out the eFlow website for more info.

Ask your rental car company how they will handle the M50 toll. FYI – some will charge you not only the cost of the toll (~3 euro), but also an “administrative” fee that can be as high as high as 100% of the toll.

Hope that helps!

ChrisApril 17, 2019 - 2:39 pm

Hi there. I’m planning to rent a car for a trip to Ireland in June ’19. Every place I look tells me an International Driver’s Permit is required for drivers outside of the EU. May I ask when you took your trip? Perhaps the rules have changed since then. Also, current cost estimates through AutoEurope, including second driver fee and no deductible CDW, are looking like 500-600 USD. Does this sound reasonable? Low? High? We just don’t want too many surprises at the rental counter.

Thanks and great article!
– Chris

SherApril 18, 2019 - 12:41 am

Hi Chris! Hm, that’s really odd. Where did you read that you would need an International Driver’s Permit?

The rules haven’t changed. US citizens can drive in Ireland as a tourist for up to 12 months. I double checked the US embassy website here for confirmation but you can also call the rental company in Ireland to doubly confirm.

Auto Europe is great at aggregating prices, but try comparing the rental you’re looking at directly with the rental car company. It can sometimes be cheaper going direct.

It’s hard to say whether the price quoted to you is “fair” since it depends on so many things – the type of car + car size, duration, drop off + pick up, time of year, demand etc. I did find that Ireland rentals are pricey but for us, it was worth the cost after we planned our itinerary and weighed the pros and cons.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “no deductible CDW” – do you mean you are including CDW in the quote, or that you plan to waive CDW and use your credit card’s coverage? You can save money on the car rental price if you have a credit card that will cover Ireland car rentals. That’s probably the main cost savings.. otherwise demand among tourists is pretty high from May – September, which keeps prices high.

I think you will have a great time regardless. Have a great trip!

PamApril 22, 2019 - 1:48 pm

Hi,
Is it possible to rent electric cars in Ireland?

SherApril 22, 2019 - 3:03 pm

Hi Pam, not sure but I don’t think so!

deanjApril 26, 2019 - 7:26 am

Hi,
Thanks so much for sharing your experience! :) I traveled to Ireland for almost three weeks and it was an awesome trip. I rented a car through Dooley car rentals and it was a very reasonable trip for me. The main reason for renting a car is freedom. You’ll be able to travel on your own schedule and at your own pace.

PatMay 3, 2019 - 10:10 am

Hi Sher,
I just found your blog, when I searched for “renting a car in Rreland” I went 2 years ago and got stung with paying for the car insurance, which doubled the price from 450 to $900 for a week. I followed your great advice, my Chase Freedom Visa card was covered, they forward you to the Benefits Administrator, who then provided me with an email stating the CDW coverage. You just saved me a lot of money on my upcoming trip. That’s a great blog you have, keep it up!
Cheers,
-Pat

SherMay 6, 2019 - 9:53 am

Hi Pat – I’m so glad my post was useful and that you had a great time in Ireland! And thanks so much for letting me know that the Chase Freedom now covers Irish car rentals. That’s amazing!

Dan DooleyJune 9, 2019 - 1:12 pm

There’s a new fuel in Ireland called gaoth. You can find it in most open spaces around the coastline and if you fill up you’ll get from Kerry to donegal on a full tank of the stuff. You just need the right vehicle, locals use tractors. ?

Peter KarpJune 19, 2019 - 12:48 am

Sher,

My family is planning a trip in August to Ireland. We will be staying in Kenmare for three days and then heading to Galway. We want to rent a car and drive from Kenmare to Galway but the closest car rental location is Killarney. Do you know if car rental companies will drop off cars? Or if there is a rental agency in Kenmare? Thanks for your help.

Peter

SherJune 19, 2019 - 2:30 pm

Hi Peter! Hmm how are you getting to Kenmare? There should be car rentals at Kenmare airport. Some car companies will drop off cars but they’ll definitely be more expensive that way. Or if you’re flying in via Shannon Airport, you can rent a car from there.

AnyaJuly 17, 2019 - 9:43 pm

What was the total cost of the car rental process? Car rental costs including all additional fees? Cost of fuel and miles driven? Plus taxes?
I am currently planning my trip to Ireland, with my mom, for next March 2020. I’ve bookmarked your blogs and love all the helpful information.
I plan to make it a 3-4 day trip as we are also exploring Scotland, London, France and more on this trip.
Thanks

SherJuly 17, 2019 - 9:58 pm

Hi Anya! So glad you found my blog and that everything was helpful :)

Hm, I don’t remember the total cost offhand. Rental car costs in Ireland depend on so many factors – size of car, duration of rental, rental agency, the time of year you’re visiting, what city you’re picking up + dropping off in, etc – that our cost really wouldn’t help you estimate yours.

To get a rough estimate you can go to Auto Europe, plug in your travel criteria and get the car rental price.

Insurance is then extra. We used our credit card so insurance was basically free for us.

For gas costs, I put the per litre cost in the post. We did a circular around the Republic of Ireland in about 8 days, and I think we filled up the tank twice.

Hope that helps!

LindyJuly 22, 2019 - 3:33 pm

Very informative and useful advice!
I checked with my credit card (Visa Infinite) about waiving the CDW insurance and they accepted Ireland! Saved us a great deal but the HUGE 5000 euro hold on the credit card was a bit of a bummer.
We rented a mini car (Skoda citigo) which worked great for my husband and I. We had two carry on suitcases and two backpacks that JUST fit in the trunk.
We initially had the rental company try to upgrade us to an SUV. They claimed the upgrade charge (100 euro) would be worth the fuel savings, and we would feel safer in it on the highways versus our “washing machine” sized car. We stuck with our mini car and were especially glad we did for the cities and narrow rural roads.
Thank you for your tips!

SherJuly 22, 2019 - 6:03 pm

Hey Linda! Appreciate your comment. Good to know there are some Canadian credit cards that waive CDW in Ireland!

I totally relate to the salesman upsell story. It’s hard to know what to do (we were tired, fresh off a flight and slightly confused) but I think it’s best to always stick with your gut / original booking decision :)

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brianSeptember 1, 2019 - 11:19 pm

FYI — as of middle of Sept 2019, the Citi AA Advantage card will NO LONGER offer CDW car insurance for rental cars. The CITI Costco card will continue offering CDW for rental cars, except it will only cover up to $50k, not the $75k that the CITI AA card had

SherSeptember 1, 2019 - 11:55 pm

Oh no – that’s a disappointing change. Thanks for letting us know Brian!

RichardDecember 4, 2019 - 12:00 pm

Regarding your April 12, 2019 reply to Shay where you mention creating an eFlow account for tolls; be sure to close the account immediately upon returning the car so you don’t end up paying the next car renters’ toll violations. See page https://www.eflow.ie/help-guidance/faqs/myaccount/closing-your-account/ for details.

SherDecember 5, 2019 - 10:09 am

great point!

JaneDecember 29, 2019 - 5:21 pm

Thank you for so much information very helpful. Have you or anyone looked into short-term car leasing? Ie 5weeks.

JoannaJanuary 13, 2020 - 2:38 am

I’m headed to Ireland in June and your site popped up. I didn’t know this link would be THAT handy! Thank you so much for all this, what a help!!

GraceFebruary 11, 2020 - 1:28 pm

Hi! My friends and I are planning on visiting Ireland this summer and are wanting to road trip but I’m having a really hard time finding places that will rent to people under 25 (I’m 21). Do you have any suggestions or know of any company that will?? thank you!

SherFebruary 11, 2020 - 9:50 pm

Hey! Sixt should rent to you if you’re 21. You can check rates for your dates here. They’re pretty popular for European car rentals.

JulieFebruary 14, 2020 - 5:58 pm

Can you recommend an honest rental car company at Dublin airport? I am a little apprehensive because there are too many horror stories.

PeggyFebruary 20, 2020 - 7:41 pm

Going to Ireland in August 2020. Originally wanted a car with a trunk (boot) to keep our luggage out of sight. I’m finding that is pretty hard to find unless you go with an intermediate sized car.

Did you (all of you) feel comfortable leaving your luggage visible in the car while going on tours, etc.?

SherFebruary 20, 2020 - 8:22 pm

Hi Peggy! Hm, we never really left our luggage in the car for long periods? We usually left it at the hotel in our rooms.

Doug MooreFebruary 23, 2020 - 9:31 pm

We are 2 couples traveling to Ireland in May 2020 from Canada. I have been reading your blog and all of the comments and find it very helpful information. One piece of info I was looking for was not mentioned. Our Home Sense Visa covers any damage to the rental car but Not any liability. When people mention that their MasterCard covers the CDW does this include car coverage as well as liability or do people get liability coverage separately?
Any information on this would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks! Doug

SherFebruary 23, 2020 - 10:22 pm

Hi Doug! Hm I’m not quite sure what you’re asking but will do my best to answer.

When my credit card included CDW (make sure to get it in writing from your card company), it included it meant that I wasn’t responsible for any damage to the car (some cards only cover damage up to $x amount) where you would be responsible for any excess damage costs.

I didn’t purchase any separate liability coverage. I guess you’re asking about liability coverage if you damage say, another car / property / person in a major accident? Yeah, I believe that would be separate and not part of the CDW. But you definitely want to double check the terms of your specific credit card and have it all in writing.

SherFebruary 23, 2020 - 10:26 pm

To add on, I believe that that liability coverage is always something you would pay extra for.

The reason why people talk so much about CDW is because most credit cards with travel perks do include car damage coverage when renting a car abroad.. except the fine print usually excludes Italy and Ireland.

In Ireland, CDW insurance is mandatory so a traveler would typically have to pay for this on their own. So when people have a credit card that covers rental car damage for Ireland, they’re typically happy since it can save on a huge cost and is a rare benefit.

Bec LeeMarch 10, 2020 - 12:56 am

Hi! I love your blog so much and it has been helping me in my solo travels so much.

Always informative and full of tips that are actually useful!

But now I really need specific help as I’m so confused and it’s my first time renting a hire car overseas (Ireland, essentially doing a similar trip to yours on this blog)!!

I’ve been comparing prices, terms and conditions etc for the last 3 days and my brain now hurts. However I have decided that booking Direct with a company seems to have less loop holes and contradicting terms then 3rd part websites.

That said I am now looking at booking with Enterprise Car Hire in Dublin City Centre based on trip plans. But here is where I am confused…

I’m from Australia.

There is an Australian Enterprise website quoted in AUD and also a Ireland Enterprise website quoted in EUR. Obviously this makes sense and everything is the same on the T&Cs.
However when it comes to booking price which site should I use???

If I do a standard google conversion rate form EUR to AUD then its about $100 cheaper booking with the Ireland website then booking on the Australian website which is higher rate.

Why is this? Am I missing something, such as international trade fees through banks etc??

What do you suggest?

THANK YOU!!

SherMarch 10, 2020 - 1:08 am

Hi Bec! Oh thanks! You will love Ireland :)

Hm, so usually when a company has different websites for each country, I find that the company’s local site offers a better currency rate. So for example I recently bought flights on Norwegian Airlines and checked out in Norwegian paying Norwegian krona, because there was a pretty big currency conversion difference. I used a no foreign fee American credit card and triple checked everything at checkout. I saved a couple hundred dollars but… then I made a booking error because, well everything was in Norwegian, ha. so sometimes you have to weigh the cost savings vs. the potential headache.

Since Ireland and Australia both speak English, I think its more straight forward and I’d probably personally check out on the Ireland website? But, that’s assuming your Aussie credit card or bank or whoever won’t charge you currency fees.. if your bank does, then I’d probably recommend checking out on the Australian Enterprise site to avoid that!

Bec LeeMarch 10, 2020 - 1:31 am

Thank you Sher!
That was the fastest reply ever LOL

Good to know! My credit card has no international transactions fees. So that should be ok then.

Hopefully Enterprise is an ok company overall to book. The other one I just checked out was Conn’s Ireland Car Rental (linked with Hetz).

Have you had/have any feedback on either of them?

SherMarch 10, 2020 - 2:18 pm

haha i was doing some work last night and happened to see your comment come in :)

that’s awesome your card doesn’t have fees. you probably already know, but they will put a hold on the card when you get to the rental car counter so depending on your card limit, you may want to ask your credit card company if they can increase the limit amount, or to bring another no foreign fee card just in case.

I’ve used Auto Europe and Hertz in Ireland. I’ve had friends that used Sixt which is known to be a little cheaper. Most recently we used Enterprise in the states.

to be honest, i think all the global car rental companies are about the same. it’s like airlines, 90% of the time things are fine and the 10% of the time you have an issue, it’s the most annoying/inconvenient/difficult experience ha.

Driving in Norway: What to Know for an Incredible Road Trip!

Everything you know know about driving in Norway.. before you take that road trip!

VIEW FULL POST »

JPMarch 5, 2020 - 3:35 pm

I enjoyed your article and found it to be very interesting with lots of helpful information in it. Unfortunately, I’m not likely to be able to travel to Norway in the immediate future so I wish there was a way to save your helpful article’s contents in a file (to myself, of course, and not for other purposes), along with the website for a future point at which I may be able to travel there. I say this because I have found that too often websites seem to become inoperable or emit an error message at some point down the road. For me, that makes helpful articles like yours a good bit less helpful. I don’t know what the concern is (… perhaps, that someone will plagiarize your contents?), but whatever it is, I wish that weren’t the case. Thank you for an interesting article.

SherMarch 5, 2020 - 5:15 pm

Hi JP –

unfortunately yes we have had many issues with sites scraping content and plagiarizing the entire article as well as the photos :/

please feel free to bookmark the url or pin any of the images to pinterest. that way you can always come back to the info when you do plan to visit norway! i’ve had the site running since 2012 so it will definitely be here in the foreseeable future :)

SamanthaMarch 13, 2020 - 7:01 am

LOL remember when you said, “Oh maybe we can rent a car and drive up to you, Silvia,” and then we both realized we’d be driving manual in the winter. Hahahaha