Thinking of making a loop from Dublin to Kilkenny, Cashel, Kinsale, Sneem, Dingle/Ventry, Cliffs of Moher, Dromoland and back to Dublin. Is it better to rent a car or do public transportation?
I have always chosen a rental car, but there are a lot of factors to consider. There is not much train service in the west, so you are pretty much left with the bus. Have you looked at the journey planner at www.buseireann.ie to see how much time it will take between points or the costs involved? Do the buses run on the days you need them to? Is your trip planned for peak tourist time or the off-season (when buses might run less frequently)? Using the journey planner might help you decide.
Nancy, again, thanks for the tips!
Hi Joanne-we used Bus Eireann on a bicycle/bus trip a few years ago. Their buses and schedules are certainly easier to deal with than RTD here in Denver! For Cliffs of Moher, regardless of which direction you come from or go to from there, you'd get an exhilarating dowhill ride if you were departing on a bike, but you'd also have a grinding climb to get there.
One other factor to consider: are you comfortable driving on the left side of the road, in a rental car with the driver's seat on the right side? The roads are narrow, too, and you have to remember to go clockwise in traffic roundabouts. Maybe you've done that, and it can be done (I drove that way for the first time this summer in Scotland), but that might take a little getting used to.
Another option for part of your trip: hire a tour with driver for the day.
We went by car last year and it worked well. There are nearly no trains most of where you are looking to go and in a week, we saw very few buses. Also remember that the reason Ireland is so green is that it is watered almost daily and a car gives you great protection from the rain plus a lot more flexibility, rain or shine. Remember on a bus or train if you see something interesting going by,, all you can do is watch it disappear into the distance and wonder what you missed. My recommendation would be to pick up the car at the Dublin airport. This gives you some time to get used to driving on the other side of the road without being in city traffic. It took about 15 minutes to get used to it. One of the tricks is to follow the other cars.
Hmmm. Just did pretty much that, except we kept going up to N. Ireland. Hate to say it, but the car we had worked well. In the past I've taken buses, but I think once you leave Cashel it's worth the mobility to cruise the small back roads (actually, they all seem to be small back roads) especially if you take in the Dingle Pennisula on your way to the Cliffs of Moher (consider taking the Tarbert ferry instead of going around). We were there long enough that the car really did make everything easier and, honest, I don't generally favor car rental. But, spoiler alert...it will cost you a bundle in required insurance and $7.50 gas.
You should check the bus schedules to see what's possible. We were in Ireland in May and public transportation worked well for us.
There are pluses and minuses with cars, as with everything. One thing to consider is that if you're traveling as a couple or a family, how well do you interact in a car? Backseat drivers, second guessing, bad navigating, and so forth can really ruin a trip.