There are six of us traveling through Ireland for 8 days. What recommendations do you have? Bus, train? We will be starting from Dublin and travelling to the usual places. Thanks?
The very best way to see Ireland is with a rental car. Train service is not very extensive, particularly in the west, and buses take a lot of time. With a car, you can stop if you see something intriguing along the way.
My mom & I originally planned on backpacking for our two week stay. When my mom met with a travel agent just last week, we began rethinking our decision. The agent said that taking public transportation (buses/trains) or getting a rental car would be the best bet. But then the agent told us that getting a rail pass would be about $800 a person! I'm not sure if she was trying to get money out of us or what.
I just found this page though, so I'm thinking she was lying about the price of the rail pass. I just did an estimate with the prices that Rick has on here. We're just going once around the coast line & I figured it would be almost $600 for two people ($300 each). I've heard from many people that renting a car is the way to go, but my mom & I are determined to do a lot of walking.
Perhaps the agent was trying to talk you OUT of a railpass. Train service just isn't that extensive, and point to point tickets would be cheaper.
The train system isn't worth it, unless you only want to see the cities of Ireland. I'd just take the bus. Most hostel/B&B/hotels have tourist day-trip bus rides you can sign up for. These are great for things like the Cliffs, Ring of Kerry, etc...