We are interested in spending time on the Dingle Peninsula. We arrive into Shannon Airport at 9:00 PM, I am wondering if it is too ambitious to get a rental car and drive to Dingle when we arrive? Does anyone have any thoughts? I feel we should stay overnight in Shannon and head to Dingle in the morning, but that will be 3 hours of our day, that might be better spent exploring the Dingle Peninsula. We will be driving from Dingle to Galway a few days later, so we will be able to enjoy the drive. Thoughts?
I would vote for spending the night in Shannon. I would be concerned about driving an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads in the dark when you are tired.
Agree to stay in Shannon area on arrival. We stayed twice at Airport Manor B&B , I seem to remember it is only a mile or two from airport and is very clean and has private car park. By the time you get off plane, get luggage and car it could be close to 10PM and then to drive in dark on roads which are dark and narrow into Dingle I don't think it would be safe. Also if you are staying at a B&B in Dingle I don't think the owners would appreciate your very late arrival as they have to get up early to start breakfast. Just get an early start the next morning when you are rested.
I agree that it would be to late to drive to the Dingle peninsula after your 9pm arrival. You would be lucky to be leaving the airport by 10:30 with a car, then it's a 2 hour or more drive, depending where you are going. I did a quick search on booking.com and there is a Radisson hotel that says it's steps from the main terminal and a few minutes from the car rentals. The rate was $88 (I think $, but maybe it was Euro.) You could get the car and then check in. The hotel would be used to late check-ins, and you would be more refreshed in the morning. Also, many road signs in the west of Ireland are in Irish first, with English smaller on the bottom. It could be challenging finding your destination in the dark.
Ambitious is the incorrect adjective. Unsafe is the proper terminology. Besides driving on the left you'll have roundabouts to negotiate, unfamiliar signage, etc. Get a good night's rest, have breakfast, pick up your rental in the morning and then head out. The beauty of Ireland isn't going to disappear overnight. Slow down and enjoy it.
...........and besides, it's a pretty drive....so do it in daylight. Having been there, I would NEVER consider doing it in the dark.
You are all so lovely - even checking on a hotel room for us - I shared all this correspondence with my husband and he was so impressed with all of your assistance. I cannot thank you all enough! Your care for our time, safety, and enjoyment came through so clearly - what an amazing group of people on this forum. We are so grateful for your time and attention!
All my best,
I agree, it's unsafe to do the drive on arrival, at night. The roads can get very narrow, the signs aren't always easy to follow, and you will be tired. There are a number of great B&Bs right next to Bunratty Castle (six miles from the airport), and you could see the castle before you head out in the morning.
I failed to include the name of a wonderful B and B in Dingle. John and Angela are the best hosts. You can't go wrong booking a room with them. http://www.cillbhreachouse.com Enjoy your visit.
I agree with everyone else - spend the night in Shannon.
You mention 3 hour drive. I've done it once and it took me a little over 4 hours. Of course, I was unaware of the ferry ride that would have bypassed Limerick.
I've learned that whatever time allotment Google maps says to add at least 25% more but more like 50% more when driving in Ireland.
I've also learned - at least for me - that at some point everyday I'm going to get lost or take a wrong turn.
AND in Dingle if don't already have a B&B, our vote is The Lighthouse - Denis & Mary are awesome. Their house sits high on the hillside with a great view of Dingle bay.
I'm jealous since we won't be going in 2015.
I'd stay in Shannon. I haven't been to Ireland in several years but we stayed at the Park Inn at the airport. If it's still there, it's as convenient as you'll find.
Another vote for staying near the airport until the morning. We were delayed (car accident!) getting from Ennistymon to Dingle, and ended up driving it at night. There are NO street lights once you get past Limerick, and the roads are twisty-turny and narrow, as they are throughout the countryside. This is all right during the day, but not recommended at night at all, especially if you are just getting in from the States.
Also, another vote for The Lighthouse B&B--they were terrific! Our B&B hostess in Galway (Atlantic Heights--wonderful) called Mary in Dingle when she found out we were planning on booking the Slea Head tour that Rick recommends. Mary called for us and, when Rick's rec was already booked, she found us an alternate guide who was really amazing (retired school principal who promised a 2 1/2 hour tour, but it ended up lasting 4 1/2!!), which she had all taken care of us when we got there around 9:00 p.m. Breakfast was great (their brown bread was my favorite of our trip), and the beds were comfy.
Oh, and I can recommend Lord Bakers Restaurant in town. A bit pricey, but the setting, food and service were all great--my BIL wasn't feeling up to pub night with us after dinner, but when the owner tried to call a cab, none were available, so he had his son give G a ride back and he refused the cash G tried to give him. The people there were really so friendly!
The roads are good for the most part going from the airport to Dingle [Motorway (toll) and National Roads]. The national roads are just like our traditional American style roads. That said once you leave Limerick there isn't going to be any street lights (unless your going through a town) so if your going to do the drive make sure you have a good GPS system working. The drive on the main route out to Dingle isn't that amazing in-land, unless you take the Atlantic Way Route (it adds on a few hours to the traditional 2.5 hour long drive out to Dingle from the Airport). The Atlantic Way Route is really fun and different.