Is it feasible to get around in Ireland just using Uber or similar services, dispensing with the need to rent a car? We are three senior citizens planning a two-week trip around Ireland (Dublin-Trim-Donegal-Galway-Dingle-Kilkenny-Dublin) in September. I have a rental car reserved, but am a bit nervous about the left-side of the road thing. A friend suggested I might be able to use car services for going town to town, as well as for local travel. Could that work? Or would it be way more expensive than renting? Welcome thoughts, thank you!
For info, here's a blurb from the Europcar.ie website regarding rentals for seniors aged 75 years and older: they require "a PRINTED medical certificate/letter which states that you are fit to drive and a letter from your insurance company stating that you are currently driving and have not had an accident within the last 5 years. This information must be received at least 5 working days in advance of your rental."
Check with your individual provider in case their policy differs, though it's getting to be the standard for rentals in Ireland. It's really not that big a deal , ie not as complicated or onerous as it may sound.
If you're a reasonably competent driver at home you shouldn't have any problem acclimating to driving on the left. The learning curve is pretty steep, and with others in the car to help with the navigation it'll be just another part of the adventure. It helps that Irish drivers are some of the friendliest and most forgiving on the planet. I wouldn't hesitate to stick with your rental - having your own car is really the way to go for the comfort and convenience involved.
If you look on Ubers website you'll see that it only operates in Dublin and then it's either a taxi or executivecar/limo - not a private car. How far outside of Dublin the driver might take you is hard to tell but certainly the entire island isn't covered.
We were there two years ago on a tour and the tour director related a story about a couple of young members on a tour that thought they could split off from the group near the Cliffs of Mohr and just call an uber. She had to tell them no way were they going to be able to do that.
You might want to get RS Ireland guide which talks about transport in Ireland and it's drawbacks/challenges. Driving on the left isn't the hard part it's that most rentals are stick shifts. I haven't driven one of those since the 80s.
Apart from renting a car or using taxis, there is also the option of using trains and buses. That is usually the cheapest way to get around.
Have you thought about taking a small group tour instead? I opted to do this on a trip to Ireland with three 50-65-year-old friends. I just didn't want to be the main driver and have that stress plus miss out on the scenery as well as be tired on some days. We used a small Irish group tour company https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/our-tours-of-ireland-2/small-group-tours-of-ireland - very reasonable and nice hotels. We loved it. This way you would have a driver and guide.
I know this doesn't answer your question, but Uber would not work to see the countryside.
I've tried this, and it's tricky. Uber is limited, as previously noted, but it IS possible to hire a private driver and get anywhere you want to go. It's expensive, but it might be worth it to you, since you'd eliminate the stress and expense of planning and/or driving.
Busses and trains are an option, but only sometimes, and they do involve some planning. That said, they both work very well when they fit your needs. In fact, some of the most interesting hours I've spent in Ireland have been aboard a Bus Eireann bus. You will meet locals, and you might even have a long and interesting conversation. Nothing gets you closer to "real Ireland" than that.
But busses are slow, and you're tied to their schedule. Trains don't go everywhere. You have to weigh the options against your desired itinerary and your budget.
Busses go between Dublin airport and Galway, FYI. You'll need to take several busses to get to Dingle from anywhere. Trains don't go to Kilkenny. It can be a fun puzzle, but it's a puzzle!
Maybe get a few quotes from private drivers, and then decide what makes the most sense for you. I've used this guy a couple of times, and he's great. You could ask him for a quote and decide from there. (He's based in Killarney but drives literally everywhere in Ireland.)
Gerard Scott at Killarney Guided Tours:
Good luck and have fun, whenever you're able to go!
Thanks to all who have responded on this! Your responses are very helpful, and encouraging. I do appreciate the gift of your time!
I'm so glad you asked this, because I had no idea Uber was so limited in Ireland. Thank you!
FYI Uber in Europe is NOT what it is in the states. Even banned in some countries. Never assume what happens in the USA happens in Europe.