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Women traveling alone to Ireland

My sister and I will be traveling to Ireland in May. We have rented a car and booked our BnBs. Are there any safety issues given that we are travelling/driving alone?

Posted by
2 posts

Hi Kathleeng804,
My name is Sharon, I'm traveling with my friend from high school to Ireland as well at the end of May until the middle of June..... I am FREAKING out!!! I spent 2 grand just on our plane tickets that are non refundable...now Im scared I wont master the driving on the left side of the road or the gas prices I'm hearing about.... not to mention reservations to stay any places. I have always felt a strong pull to tour Ireland and this year she and I both are turning 50 so.... we decided this be the year!! I know the island is small enough to tour on your own and take your sweet time doing so.. I'm curious as to the B & B's you have booked to stay at... Is there a site you found or just winging it?

We both have NEVER been out of the U.S. before so doing a "Girls trip" seems super fun as well as intimidating too. We borrowed Rick's book, Ireland 2015. from the local library to find interesting places to drive too Churches, Cemeteries, site of the Titantic, museums and castles. Haunted if possible ") His book is very informative and I needed to read it but wasn't prepared to get cold feet after waiting for so long to actually get the chance to go over there during this life time!!

What advice can you give us about the car rental policies? How long will you and your sister be visiting once you arrive in Ireland? I too was wanting to know if it's safe for women to view the Island alone safely?

If you care to share any advice on here, I would be so greatly appreciative. I am excited, nervous, scared and starting to wonder, "What the heck was I thinking!" LOL

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you and your sister have the time of your lives visiting Ireland.
P.S. It would be fun to bump into you ladies while we four are on the same soil if at all possible. Take care and I hope to hear back from you, Sincerely another Celtic Fan, Sharon

Posted by
1882 posts

Ireland to me is one of the safest places to visit. My sister and I did it when we turned forty and had a fantastic time. I have since been back five times, once by myself driving all over. If you could state when you are going, where you are landing, length of time etc. there are many people who can help with a plan. Please do not stress. You have airline tickets and we can help you fill in the gaps. Ricks Ireland book is good and maybe you also should get his Europe through the back door. You will never regret this trip!

Posted by
1804 posts

I have family over there and have traveled throughout Ireland on my own many times with no problems. It's quite safe, easy to get around and you'll have zero language barriers to overcome if you do happen to get lost and need directions along the way.

As for the questions from the other poster who tagged onto your thread: If you don't know how to drive a stick shift, make it easier on yourself and be sure to reserve an automatic from your car rental company. Make sure you get decent coverage on the rental if you get into an accident or damage the car somehow. Where my family lives, tourists are constantly clipping the side mirrors off their rentals when they hit some of the stone walls on the sides of the road. If you are not super picky, you could try to wing it with the B&Bs depending where you are going and schedule each place as you move about, but just make sure you look to see if there is anything major going on with festivals or other big events at your intended stops. Those types of things can can quickly fill up the nicer B&Bs and hotels, or those that are reasonably priced and leave you with not much of a choice or having to drive further out to find lodging.

Posted by
503 posts

You all will be just fine on your trip to Ireland. It is lovely, the people are lovely and you will be very safe. I've not driven in Ireland but have done so in England on two different occasions. I'll admit, at first I was nervous but after one day, was perfectly fine with it. I found it fun! I also found that I preferred to be the driver as sitting on the passenger side and being so close to the edge of the roads was more anxiety provoking for me. I guess I felt that if I was driving, I was in better control!

We had no problem with B&B's in Ireland. Just decide what you want to see, how much you're willing to travel and move about and then plan your trip accordingly. Your might want to establish a home base and make day trips, coming back to the same place every night (which can be comforting and less stressful) or just keep moving around with a different room every night. Totally up to you. Have fun.

Posted by
2 posts

Ladies, Thank you all so much for the encouraging words!! My friend Debbie and I will be arriving in Dublin On May 31st. and staying until June 15th. So a lot of time to take it slow and visit a good bit of Ireland's beautiful history. I don't believe I read of any festivals at the time of our visit, I purposely tried to plan as little commotion as possible festival wise, while learning to drive on the left LOL... Thank you as well for the heads up on the automatic car rental. I recently had surgery on my left hand.... not sure how shifting and learning to flip everything I know driving wise on a manual transmission would be!. Are there any castles, churches or old cemeteries in particular that one would suggest we visit? We would be interested in sleeping in one of the more medieval castles as one of our nights stay. Any input would be appreciated, Again, thank you all for responding to my questions earlier.

Sincerely,
Sharon

Posted by
1804 posts

Castle stays are not cheap by any means, but if you want to go for a splurge, try Ashford Castle and see if you can book a session with their falcons or go horseback riding around the grounds. Very cool experiences. But know that the inside of the hotel rooms in the castles look pretty modern - it just feels like a regular hotel room anywhere. The best views are from the outside or in some of the common areas.

A bit smaller, less expensive is Ballynahinch. Beautiful grounds. If you decide you don't want to spend the money for an overnight stay, you can stop at their restaurant for lunch or a drink and at least scope out the inside and walk through their gardens.

Posted by
1878 posts

Don't worry about any safety issues outside of Dublin, be smart there as in any big city. No bandits on the country roads that I am aware of, and am currently planning a return to Ireland this spring after having previously visited in 2002 myself (with my wife). To the add-on poster, gas prices are not bad for Europe as far as I can tell. Looks like about $5-6 per gallon. rent a small car and take satisfaction in the fact the distances are short. You may pay $90 per fill up, but only fill up a couple of times. Yep, it's going to cost you to drive but in Ireland it's a necessity. Watch out for speed cameras.

Posted by
552 posts

I did three weeks in Ireland all by myself and the only security problem I encountered was thief in one of the hostels I stayed in. As others have said, take the usual precautions in Dublin as it is a typical big city, but elsewhere you should not encounter any problems. As for driving on the left, I rented a car on my own in Scotland a few years ago, and I was a little nervous at first, but was surprised how quickly I got used to it. Just take a few moments each time you get in the car to remind yourself of the differences and you will be fine.

Posted by
351 posts

You're not traveling alone. You're traveling together.

You don't need a man with you to be "not alone." (sorry - pet peeve of mine!)

That said, you'll be very safe. Ireland is an amazing place and full of great people. Practice normal city-safety when in Dublin. Outside the cities the most dangerous thing will be those narrow stone-wall bordered roads! :-D

You probably don't need this advice, but since you asked about safety - don't drink & drive, even a little. Between the legal BAC being lower than in the US, and your probable inexperience with right-hand-drive you shouldn't take any chances.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes you il be pretty safe driving and walking in ireland .if ur interested in ghosts .you should look up wicklow jail.regarded as irelands most huanted place .try do the ghost hunting tour at night time .pretty creepy and interesting .be nice place to stay for one night wicklow area .about hours drive from dublin.

Posted by
16860 posts

Ireland is a great, friendly destination for a first trip to Europe (or any trip). You can have a look at these Tips for Women Traveling Solo, but most of them are not likely to apply on this trip.

Do also review Road Rules and Signs that are specific to Ireland or Europe. Prepare your day's driving by noting all the town names that you plan to pass through, not just the road number, since signs often don't have both.

Posted by
3696 posts

A few things... I guess I will address both sets of questions....
As far as driving... I do drive a manual, but when in England or Ireland I do rent an automatic. It is one less thing to worry about. But, you will be amazed how quickly you will get used to driving on the other side. Just take your time and if you are going too slow, others will pass. Or, pull over and let others pass.

I have traveled a lot and there were a few places that I ended up and wondered the same thing... what the heck was I thinking???
(the mountains of Guatemala by myself, landing in Romania and getting my rental car, driving the crazy Amalfi coast) But, after a few of these adventures I decided that if it was not life-threatening, I would be ok... If all else fails you can just land, try driving, and if it does not work for you, return the car and stay in a hotel... and venture out from there. Just don't give up on what will be the trip of a lifetime because you become nervous. Find a room early in the day if that will help. Worst case scenario, you will drive to the next town to find a room... or absolute worst...you will sleep in the car (not going to happen...some friendly Irishman will help you find a room.

Have a wonderful trip...

Posted by
9363 posts

As Motorgirl said, you are not alone, you are together. I have rented a car completely alone twice, and lived to tell the tale. I did not prebook anything except a final night in Dublin. It is totally safe, and you will have a great time. Just before my first solo trip, I found myself wondering what I was thinking, too, going alone. Then I realized that it is an English-speaking country, and - worst case - they do have things like policemen and hospitals. Relax, take it slowly, and talk to people. You will be fine.