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6 day Self Drive Itinerary feedback

Planning a short trip to Ireland as part of a great deal we got on flights to the UK for Mid October. We will be driving on the left side for the first time and are a bit nervous about Irish driving so would love any feedback!

Monday 10/9- Morning flight from LGW to Cork, Pick up rental car, Blarney Castle, drive to Killarney. Stay in Killarney or Kenmare. (another option would be to return to Cork from Blarney and stay there, then push to Killarney in the morning but that seems like it would be too rushed. Are we really missing out on anything in Cork if we mostly bypass?)
10/10- Killarney national park, drive to Dingle via Slea head, stay in Dingle
10/11 - Drive to Galway via Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, stay in Galway.
10/12 - In Galway, option for day trip to Aran Islands or Conmerra, stay in Galway
10/13 - Depart Galway for Dublin early, return rental car, afternoon/overnight in Dublin
10/14 - Day in Dublin, late evening flight to LGW

I realize we only scratch the surface in each of these areas, but we are hoping to see as many highlights as possible. We are fairly young and will have already made it through the worst of jet lag so not as concerned about some long days, but if there's anything we are far too optimistic about, or something close by we are missing I would love to hear about it.

Posted by
3361 posts

Our only trip to Ireland (so far) was done by bicycle, so you'll be able to cover more ground, and faster, than we were. Distances are posted in kilometers, and speeds are KPH, although a lot of locals we spoke with were still driving older cars with MPH speedometers and odometers. A couple of times, wanting to make a "right turn" at remote roundabouts with no car traffic at the time, we had to remember to go clockwise, to the far end of the traffic circle, and exit 270 degrees into the roundabout, rather than cut it short, and make a quick, counter-clockwise right exit just 90 degrees into the roundabout, as you'd do in drive-on-the-right countries.

Also, having driven a car in Scotland, and focusing on staying to the left of the center line, I'll say it was easy sometimes to drift just a wee bit too far to the left, so staying to the left side of the shoulder stripe -- but not too far left -- is important, too. If the co-pilot/navigator can help remind the driver to not get too far to the left, that can help. Hopefully you'll only be scratching (as you said) the surface of each of the areas, and not the paint job of your car! :-)

Posted by
450 posts

get the smallest car you can squeeze into...and pay the extra for an automatic transmission. We actually got a Seat brand city car in Ireland, drove it all over west Ireland, a four door was perfect for the two of us...it turned on a dime (you will miss numerous turns) and had all the pep we needed, was easy to squeeze into small Irish parking spots..be sure to not allow the airport rental folks to "upgrade" you to a larger car. They don't do it maliciously but twice have tried up move us up and both times it would have been very difficult on the narrow roads. I paid for the super insurance and felt good about it but we did not need to file a claim! Many of the cars over there will not start unless you are pushing down on the brake pedal (autos) do be aware of that difference and also they often shut off when stopped so don't get concerned that the car keeps dying, it is just the way they work over there...probably cars in the US operate the same way but not many do that I am aware of. Scope out some roads you will travel, especially around the airport and up in the mountains, on google earth streetview for a better feel for the lay of the land. It also helped me to look at a few of the large roundabouts on streetview because we have few roundabouts where I live and none that go clockwise!!!

Posted by
2 posts

We rented a car and had a heck a time just getting out of busy Dublin! Not use to driving on the left and nicked a car mirror! Drove to Kilkenny. Stayed the night and then heading to Cashel ( very impressive) Roads narrow- 2 lanes and hard to get out of towns to get to motor ways... We are in
Killarney now and think we will leave the car and take a tour to Dingle. We will then head to Galaway and then fly back to the States. There is something to be said for tours! LB

Posted by
8 posts

Dingle to Galway in basically one day, with the Cliffs? We drove from Doolin (basically the Cliffs) to Dingle town and it took 4 hours. That was using short cuts and not seeing much coast. The Cliffs to Galway is about 1.5 hours. You can spend 15 minutes at the Cliffs or 3 hours. Up to you. Take the ferry at Kilrush. If you go around to Limerick, you are adding another 1.5 hours. IMO Dingle added too much time and driving.

Driving in Ireland was not bad, for my lefty hubby. He is comfortable with a stick shift and said that he just used his mirrors a lot. We got full insurance though - just for piece of mind. Our 5 day rental (of the cheapest, smallest car available in Shannon, with a return to Dublin's airport) went from 205E to 400E.

Galway was a great place to stay. Great music. Great pubs. Lively. And a nice base for both the Cliffs and Connemara.