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Best place to rent car at Dublin airport?

Hi, we will be renting a car at Dublin Airport. Is it best to pay for the rental all-inclusive with CDW online?

Is an automatic preferable if only one person in the car knows how to drive a STICK shift (and we'll be on a lot of back country roads)?

Which car hire is the most reputable in your opinion at Dublin Airport? Ease of getting car, fair prices, etc. And does a stateside (U.S.) driver's license suffice in Ireland?

Posted by
5631 posts

I’m not certain what you mean when you say “ is an automatic preferable if only one person knows how to drive an automatic…”

Are you saying the other person can’t drive OR did you mean to say stick shift….as in the car has a clutch and you need to manually shift gears….

FYI You will pay more for an automatic.

AND YES get ALL the insurance you can. Ireland backroads are small and often lined with hedges, trees, rock walls and beware of flocks of sheep!! Also bicyclists. Understand that you’ll be driving on the left side of the road ( although on the teeny back roads it’s easier to stay in the center…just don’t forget to move LEFT when you see an on coming vehicle ) You need to Realize the steering wheel and pedals will be on what we yanks call the passenger side of the vehicle.

This YouTube video shows how small the backroads can be….

Also be prepared for an occasional roundabout which, if you’ve never experienced before, can be daunting for first timers.

If it makes you feel any better in my 20’s drove the entire island solo…..and in 2018 at 67 did the same thing….both times with a clutch… not a problem because I learned how to drive with a stick shift. BTW I’m a woman.

LASTLY, don’t rely on the GPS…GET A MAP and get the smallest car you feel comfortable with.

Beautiful country, wonderful people.

Can’t not recall who I got the car from at the airport.
Probably Hertz. Dublin airport is modern and rental desk was inside the terminal. However, with Covid you’ll need to confirm where rental car desks are located and if their will be people at them.


Posted by
4970 posts

Start with Europcar, but check prices and terms with at least 2 others (Hertz, Avis, etc.) to compare.

As for transmission choice, an automatic pretty much does the shifting for you. Put the car in drive, and the car does the rest. Getting it into reverse can take some attention, if that’s not what you usually drive. Having the person in the front passenger be a navigator really is important to help the driver deal with driving. If more than one person’s used to driving a manual car, consider renting a manual. The gas and clutch pedals will be on the same sides you’re used to, so the footwork won’t be any different. But you’ll be using your left hand to shift, rather than the right, and that can take some getting used to - maybe a couple of grinding shifts the first couple of days.

For insurance and when and how to pay, read the fine print.

Posted by
3478 posts

After a long flight you'll probably be somewhat jet lagged. Add in driving on the left side and being on new turf and one might be an accident waiting to happen. Some are not bother by any of those things while others (self included) shouldn't be allowed near sharp instruments. You might want to consider starting your trip with some time in Dublin to recover and become acclimated. Don't mean to be a wet blanket, just offering food for thought.

Posted by
1938 posts

After doing this a number of times we've settled on AutoEurope as our preferred rental car provider. Their rates are competitive and they spell out the insurance options quite clearly - not generally the norm if booking on an individual company's website where you have to drill down into the fine print to sort things out.
Do go for an automatic if it's your first adventure driving on the left, and do opt for the zero deductible insurance cover for the peace of mind.
Most US credit cards specifically exclude insurance coverage in Ireland. Others here have reported that some of their premium cards do provide coverage, but we continue to book thru AutoEurope for the convenience involved in knowing that no matter what happens we can just turn in the car upon completion of the rental period and we're done - no hassling with a 3rd party insurer to settle a claim after the fact, which for us is a big selling point.
We've always found that upon arrival at Dublin airport after a long overnight flight we're usually running on adrenaline for several hours and so have never had any issues with staying alert and feeling fit to drive. Helps to take a few laps around the parking lot to get familiar with the knobs and switches, but you'll find that it's a steep learning curve and that you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Also, since English is one of the official languages in Ireland you don't need to worry about the IDP.
For info, the last few times we've rented thru AutoEurope at Dublin airport it's been a Hertz vehicle that we've booked, though as you'll see they also provide quotes for a couple of other companies ... Dollar and Avis in particular.
One additional note: the rental car lot is physically located about a half mile from the airport. They'll run you out there in a shuttle if you're arriving that day, but if you're coming from the city you'll need to make sure your taxi driver knows that you want to go to the rental car lot and not back to the terminal.

Posted by
3209 posts

If you haven’t driven on the left, I suggest paying the little extra and get the automatic just to make life easier. We rented through Avis. Read all the exclusions if considering CDW only through a 3rd party or credit card as many exclude Ireland. Liability is compulsory in Europe and should be included in the rental car price. The all inclusive will include windshield protection, theft, CDW, possibly a zero deductible, and more. You need to go with what you are comfortable with. Since English is their language your U.S. driver’s license is all you’ll need. Regarding driving after a long flight, only you know what is right for you. I’ve driven in the UK on numerous occasions and feel comfortable driving up to 2.5 hours on the arrival day. Trim is a short drive from Dublin and might be a good place to spend your first night to get over jet-lag. It’s a smaller town with an interesting castle. It’s pretty walking around at night. With regard to the roads, what has already been stated is absolutely correct. There’s nothing like being on an apparent one lane road (is actually 2 lanes) and having a big tour bus come over the hill. In that case we pulled off the road and yielded to the bus. I also felt that the smaller rural roads were poorly marked, so have a good GPS or maps downloaded to your phone for offline use. Overall, other than the Burren where we had a hard time finding the correct road to the cliffs of Moher, getting around was fairly easy.

Posted by
259 posts

I wholeheartedly concur with Robert’s advice. We used AutoEurope and our rental was with Enterprise, excellent experience. A couple of things to note:
1 if you want to drive into Northern Ireland make sure that’s part of your contract. Some companies charge extra for that, some don’t.
2 you will pay about $10-12 per day for every extra driver. AutoEurope caps that at a maximum number of days which can save you some money on a longer term rental (ours was 28 days).
Enjoy Ireland, you will love exploring by car!

Posted by
1938 posts

Per Katheryne is comes down to the level of your risk tolerance. We usually opt for the non-deductible, but I see that rates are sky high for that at the moment so the inclusive rate might be the more cost-effective. Do read the fine print though - as I recall the deductible is around 2700 Euros, and they block your credit card for a security deposit of up to 5000 Euro (for a one week rental) which you'll want to be aware of.