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Tour vs Using Public Transportation

Starting to plan a trip to Ireland for fall 2023 with a friend. Neither of us wants to drive so trying to piece together public transportation to include 2-3 nights each in possibly Dublin, Dingle, and Galway. Seems doable but the trip from Dingle to Galway is long...any suggestions, or has anyone rented a driver? Not much of a tour person as I like flexibility to do my own thing, but trying to figure out transportation to different locations, sites, etc seems a bit daunting. Appreciate any feedback/suggestions!

Posted by
8035 posts

Do not want to be a naysayer but having been in Eire in my 40’s and 60’s I can say that having a car is the best way to see the country.

I drove solo both times. One trip drove a small 2 door hatch back that had a clutch. The other jaunt was a mid size 4 door automatic. The 2 door was easier and more practical as “country” roads are small.

Dublin to Dingle is about 4.5 hours on well paved, well signed, highways. Dingle to Galway is about 4 hours. Used a paper map that I would examine nightly and plot my routes. Also used Google Maps street view option to locate petrol stations.

Public transportation ( buses and trains) take a long time drastically cutting into your vacation time.

EDIT: Have not taken the RS Ireland tour but have taken the RS Tours of Istanbul and Florence. Both were great. Got to see David before the doors of the Accademia opened. Fabulous guide in Istanbul who arranged an art historian to a company us as we toured the stunning Hagia Sophia. My point being RS are small and well run. Worth the investment.

Posted by
722 posts

This question has come up a few times, and I have replied a few times. If you do a search for Ireland by public transit you should find the previous posts.

Posted by
7548 posts

Dingle is the outlier here. Dublin and Galway are extremely easy to do on public transport. Bus and train are both good options there.

So, you are presented with a few options.
1. Drop Dingle and change to a place that is much more user friendly with Public Transport . We chose this option and had an absolutely lovely time in Northern Ireland on the Antrim Coast which was extremely accessible by public transport.
2. Keep Dingle, but plan for a long day to transport to and from it on public transport.
3. Keep Dingle, hire a driver.

We did some things that we were told couldn't be done such as making it to Ashford Castle from Galway by public transport. (It involved first a bus and then a boat) Ireland can sometimes take creative thinking and planning for the more rural or underserved areas for those of us that take public transport.

I do think Ireland is an ideal location for a tour because of the transport links/issues. I have taken several RS tours and I think you might be surprised how much you would enjoy one. There is a nice balance between group time and independent time.

Posted by
2622 posts

Public transportation to and from Dingle takes the fun out of going because there are multiple connections involved. Not only is getting to and from Dingle a hassle, you need a car while there to explore the peninsula. This maybe when joining a tour is the way to go. I really enjoyed Dingle and the peninsula but I also understand not wanting to drive.