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Driving from Shannon to Dingle

Hi there, my husband fly to Ireland for our first time next Friday! We arrive (after an overnight trip from Philadelphia) in Shannon around 9a and are renting a car to drive to Dingle. My question is, is this an acceptable drive to attempt the morning after a flight? Are we going to need to take a nap in our car before we try driving the Conor Pass?

Posted by
181 posts

We arrived at Shannon about the same time as you and drove to Castlegregory which is on the north side of the Dingle peninsula. I had no problem. I'd suggest you make a couple of wake up stops along the way. There was a very nice village where we stopped for a walk but I don't remember the name. Also if you need to stop for supplies Tralee would be a good place to stop. If you go via Conner Pass you will be stopping for views and maybe walking up to the lake.

The Dingle peninsula is a great place. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Posted by
3203 posts

So your bodies will think it’s 4am when you land. My 2 cents worth may be worth only 1 cent, as on our first trip we’d bicycled down to Dingle (from Galway, over a couple weeks), and took buses to Tralee then Limerick then Sixmilebridge and a car ride to get to Shannon, so have never (yet) driven Connor Pass, and were going the opposite direction at the end of our trip, not the beginning. However, we drove on our trip last September, but visited the northern part of Ireland, not down Dingle way.

We rented that car, last summer, on Day 2, having landed at the Dublin airport and taking a bus straight to Galway, where we picked up our car the next day. I dozed off on that bus, and the 2-3 hour nap after the flight from Colorado was necessary. If you can sleep on the plane and even start adjusting your sleep schedule for the next week before your departure, getting to bed earlier and getting up earlier, that could help ease things.

First time in Ireland - will this be your first time where they drive on the left? That may be as much of an adjustment as anything. If a nap isn’t going to make a difference, and drowsy driving is a concern, pulling over regularly, getting some fresh air and a walk, maybe even some caffeine could help. Check in with one another regularly, and get a sense of how alert everyone is. Will there be more than one driver? If so, switching frequently could help keep the person behind the wheel fresher at each moment.

Posted by
379 posts

This may not be the most helpful comment, but I think really only you can answer this. Have the two of you done trips to Europe before? If so, how did you spend your first day there? My wife and I always hit the ground running, even after a red eye. Others need a day to adjust. Distance/time-wise, it's absolutely feasible. I think the suggestion above of making a stop or two to break it up is a good one. Also, you'll be on highways/good roads past Tralee. So maybe a good idea would be to get there and take a break, grab some food/caffeine, and then gear up for the more stressful part of the drive. Dingle is amazing - enjoy!

Posted by
93 posts

I agree with the frequent rest / caffeine breaks. The roads are pretty good from Shannon to Dingle, but it may be a little challenging if you haven’t driven on the left side with little or not shoulders. Try to stay on the larger roads as they are easier to navigate than the smaller 2-lane roads. We were on a 7-day driving trip to Ireland 2 years ago. We flew into Shannon in the morning and rented a car and drove through The Burren and spent the night in Doolin. The next morning we saw the Cliffs of Moher before driving to Dingle for 3 nights. We then drove to Kinsale, Waterford, Trim, Bru na Boinne (Newgrange), and Dublin. We have driven in Scotland two other times, but still found many of the the roads to be very narrow with little or no shoulder. That said, we tried to stay on the larger roads, but in towns it gets a little scary being that close to other cars (I don’t know how side mirrors make it!). My advice is not to try to drive any distance when you are tired if you are not very experienced driving on the left side with very little (if any) shoulders. After driving to Camp on N86, you might want to consider continuing on N86 as it is a better road to Dingle before venturing on R560 (the Conor Pass road) as is it more narrow. Your driving up to that point will give you a clue. You could drive R560 through the Conor Pass as you leave Dingle and you are more rested and have more experience with the roads. Also, get the full insurance protection from the car rental company! If have problems, you will be glad, and if there are no problems, there could be peace of mind!

Posted by
448 posts

Im agreeing with Jim's suggestion to not use the Conor Pass road on your way in, I would continue on N86 and make a later drive up thru Conor Pass. If you are going to be around Dingle a few days you would be better served driving the pass while rested if possible. You also will want to keep an eye on the weather as if the clouds are low and it is rainy you will hopefully get a chance to go up through the pass when the weather is clear for better viewing. It is a very short drive from Dingle out to the pass and it would warrant a drive just to go through the pass and then travel back if the weather is good. You could do this the next morning if you are only going to be in Dingle one night. I definitely would suggest the N86 route if this is your first time driving in Ireland or driving on the left. You will have a blast over there!!

Posted by
760 posts

Hi from Wisconsin,
It is doable. But driving is best a two person job. One person on the maps the other driving. And both constantly reminding that you drive on the left of the road while in the US we drive on what is left of the road. The biggest deal is turning at intersections. Turning left in front of an on coming car is a NO, NO. And when you turn right at an intersection you are going from "far lane to far lane".

The more rural the road, the narrower, and the more lovely.

wayne iNWI