Please sign in to post.

Realistic Driving and Renting in Ireland

My husband and I are beginning to plan a big trip to Ireland in 2017. He has ancestral domains in the Thurles/Dungarvan area and then in the Mayo/Sligo area. In addition to seeing the usual tourist spots.

We are planning on staying 4-6 weeks. We'd stay in Dublin for 4-6 days and then, rent a car and go out into the country and rent 1 or 2 homes for the rest of the time.

Option 1: Our original thought was to rent just one place in a central spot, like Birr. But that means usually a 2 hour drive to just about everywhere that we would want to go.

Option 2: The alternative is to rent in two different places. One down in the Thurles area and then one up in the Mayo/Sligo area. Doing 2-3 weeks in each spot.

Are we correct in thinking that the location in Birr would create too much extra driving time? We like the idea of staying in just one spot, so you can get to know your neighbors and pubs, etc. But maybe the one spot isn't realistic.

We're already monitoring the HomeAway site, along with Sykes and Shamrock rental sites.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?


Posted by
9110 posts

On one month-long Ireland trip we had a gps that calculated average speed for every minute the unit was turned on. We didn't use the freeways but for maybe a bit over a hundred miles; we probably drove a couple of thousand. The average speed was over thirty-five but not thirty-six. Using any kind of software time calculation is worthless.

Not only would one location make a lot of driving, you'd be going over the same roads until you were about to puke - - plus you'd probably get really tired of looking at the same town every night when you finished messing around for the day.

Posted by
135 posts


You should certainly have plenty of time to see everything you'd like to see. However I have to agree with Ed; a two-centre holiday would be far preferable, from a travelling perspective. If you can make 40mph on average in Ireland you'll be lucky, so for comfort two centres would be much nicer. It also means you can see more of the country with less bother.

Posted by
78 posts

Check out Cooper's Cottage This is located south of Tipperary but within easy drives of many places in southwestern Ireland (Cashel, Kinsale, Cork, Cobh, Adare, Dingle, Waterford, Lismore). The owners, Stella and Eamonn Long, are wonderful hosts. We stayed at their larger accommodation across the lane (Rathellen House) but Cooper's Cottage is lovely as well. I agree that two locations for that length of time would make much more sense.

Posted by
40 posts

Nancy, What a wonderful trip 4-6 weeks in Ireland. I agree with Ed you don't want to back track. One year we rented a townhouse in Galway City for a week and the following week a thatched cottage in the Burren & it was an amazing trip. In Galway it was fabulous, because we have family in Gaillimh (Galway) - we we're able to have a get together at the townhouse. It was awesome to wake up early and hit the medieval streets and take pictures as the city was waking up. We did day trips to the Kelly homestead, spent time in the family cemetery, trek out to Connemara, Crough Patrick etc.... The thatched cottage was on a farm near Lisdoonvarna. Did the cliffs, Doolin & Aran islands - then toured the rest of Clare to the east. So relaxing. Nice daily walks. That was 2006 and we have self catered most of out trips since then.

I would rent a week in Birr & a week in Silgo and then one week each in two other locations - Dingle for sure!


Posted by
1994 posts

You note that you want to see "the usual tourist spots". The problem is, they're scattered throughout the country, and driving is likely to take longer than you anticipate (based on driving times in the US and many parts of Europe). I would suggest plotting out the points of interest on a map to see how they are grouped, and renting a series of houses, staying 1 to 1.5 weeks in each area. Otherwise you're going to be spending much of your time driving.

You don't mention whether you've driven in Ireland before. Getting a realistic assessment of driving times is going to be important in deciding where to rent. I used an online Michelin calculator, but then added 25% to 40% to the estimate – depending on the area (eg, 40% in coastal and hilly areas and in heavily farmed areas, which allowed for delays for challenging roads and weather, or for farm equipment and animals). That proved to be relatively accurate. I agree with the average noted above… around 35 mph.

Ireland is incredibly beautiful, and I'm sure you'll enjoy your trip there. But I think you'll enjoy it far more if you're not planning on routinely driving lots of miles in a day.