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10-day solo roadtrip through Ireland

Hi guys! I'm planning a solo roadtrip through Ireland around mid-April. I've been to Ireland twice (both having traveled to Dublin and also a roadtrip from Dublin to Cong, Co. Mayo) and I was looking for advice on the following: 1. Reliable car rental companies and advice on cities to rent from/within that won't wost an arm and a leg! 2. The "must see" sites along the way for a 10-day road trip.
3. Advice on meeting locals, traveling alone by car along Ireland, etc.. Thanks in advance for any advice/help you cna offer!

Posted by
1068 posts

I don't drive, so can't comment on cars. I will leave "must see" sites to others. But as for meeting locals, I vote for the pub! I heartily endorse the pub! And not a schmancy gastropub, or one of those touristy places with a gimmicky seisiún. Try a local joint and strike up a conversation. Works every time.

Posted by
1888 posts

Suggest you fly into Shannon, get car there. It is easier to me to learn on the "wrong" side of the road there. Then explore the west coast, Doolin, Dingle, go southeast towards Kinsale, etc. and end up in Dublin and drop car there. We used Dan Dooley for car rentals but would go with cheapest. Be sure to get CDW.

Posted by
9363 posts

I agree with landing in Shannon and renting there. Much easier to get used to driving, since Shannon is a small airport out in the country. Dublin airport is on a very busy, multi-lane road. I have almost always used Irish Car Rentals, but would go with whoever gives me the best deal and/or has the vehicle I want. If you are not all that great with stick shift, pay the extra to get an automatic. It removes one level of adjustment and stress. It's hard to advise on "must sees", since you don't say which direction you will be traveling, what you have already seen, or what your interests are. Two of my four trips have been solo, and I have had no problem booking B&Bs on the fly. I didn't have a GPS the last time I was there, but would definitely take one next time. Navigating and driving at the same time can be tricky.

Posted by
30 posts

I went through an auto broker at autoeurope.com. They have a toll free number you can call from Ireland if there are any difficulties. I picked my car up at the Dublin airport after 3 days in Dublin, and went north. It was very close to the highway, as mentioned, but with a GPS (essential, in my opinion) I was able to get to the highways with no problem. Get the Super CDW. It's expensive but you can't really put a cost on piece of mind. The cars with a standard transmission aren't that difficult to master if you've used a stick in the past, but if not, it would be much easier to go with the automatic. Again, more expensive but 1 less thing to worry about. Face it, you're going to spend. Accept it, move on and have a great time! Hit the pubs to meet the locals, and about 1 hour NW of Cong is a town called Westport. Had a GREAT time there.

Posted by
1190 posts

So many things depend on your age bracket...I'm assuming you are 20 something. You usually must be 25 to rent a car. Meeting the locals could be based on your personal interests. Look online. Often there are workshops you can attend on literature, visual arts, artisan crafts such as weaving, or music, or theatre. Pubs may be a good place to meet, but I would always take a wingman (woman) perhaps someone staying at the B & B, someone you met at the workshop, etc. That way you won't attract the wrong sort. I traveled extensively solo until I was 30 and enjoyed chatting with people at museums, etc. Usually Museums or other Heritage sites have charming cafes (and the nicest bathrooms). Universities, colleges, churches often have plays and music performances where you can meet locals. I understand that Irish Pubs are suppose to be these jolly social places...but most have come there with their own clique and unless you yourself are very charismatic you might feel lonely. Bon Voyage. PS Take a raincoat and waterproof shoes.

Posted by
4 posts

You guys are fantastic! These are GREAT tips! For reference, I am 29 and have had the chance to drive within Dublin and also was the one who drove the 3.5 hours (each way!) from Dublin to Cong, Co. Mayo (that I mentioned above) so I'm relatively comfortable with driving in Ireland (on the left side, etc.). I've traveled solo through Munich, Germany and Prague previously (over Christmas, at that!) and I love feedback from people who also have traveled alone (invaluable advice!). Thanks, guys! Keep the great tips coming!

Posted by
1888 posts

As previously posted, where have you been besides driving in Dublin and to Cong and back! What are your interests? I found going to local pubs, ones recommended by B&B owners to be a great place to meet people, especially if sitting at the bar, not at a table by yourself. Buy a pint for person next to you and will have a friend, just don't do what my son did and buy a pint for whole pub. Boy did we have friends after that.

Posted by
977 posts

Our daughter spent a year in Ireland and took a couple of solo road trips in this time. She always stayed in B & B's, where the owners usually took her 'under their wing' and gave her lots of helpful information on local sites, where to eat etc. She rented from Hertz on South Circular Road in Dublin, on both occasions.

Posted by
12 posts

Hello! And congratulations on traveling solo - I did it for many years and have awesome memories! 1. I have used both autoeurope and Dan dooley-both were fine. I used autoeurope more and never had a problem - No questions asked get the CDW. 2. Must see is very hard to say - depends on what you like and what you are interested in seeing. As you have already been to Dublin I am sure you have already hit the Book of Kells and the Guinness Storehouse. If not,do. The more you look at the details of the books, the more you see - I could spend forever looking at them! Best Guinness and great view at the 360 bar. Galway is nice - and I would make time to go to one of the islands (I did Inishmore and did a van tour around and to Dun Aengus -totally worth it -I'm usually a self guided tour person but this was a must) Doolin is a great stopover between Cliffs (do the cliffs)and Galway. Either Dingle or Iveragh peninsulas or both. Follow the advice/tour in RS books - both are beautiful and very different. I have also done the Beara, it is nice as well, but I would do the other two first. The Killarney National Park is beautiful.
Kinsale is very cute and has great food -

Posted by
12 posts

continued - If you choose to do blarney castle please do not kiss the stone. It is true what they say about people urinating on it (many of my Irish friends have confirmed this) Glendalough is also a nice walking place and very pretty. If you go up North, do tour both "sides" of Belfast - the murals are strikingly different. I have also hiked up Croagh Patrick - make sure to wear good hiking shoes, the view is wonderful and there is a cute town not far from the base.
There are so many more places that I could tell you to go - honestly you will not go wrong no matter where you end up!I have always stayed in B+Bs when not staying at a friends house and have always had wonderful accommodations. The hosts have always been full of wonderful sightseeing suggestions and are very friendly!

Posted by
9363 posts

If Kelley had actually been to Blarney Castle, she would know that it is not physically possible to pee on the stone. It sits on the outside of the castle parapet. To kiss it, you must lie on your back and bend backward to the underside of the stone. In addition, the castle is well-secured during the hours it is not open to the public, so when would they even attempt it - in front of a line of tourists? Regardless of what her friends may have told her, it is not possible. In any event, since it is exposed to the weather, the frequent rain and soft weather would take care of any contamination. In my opinion, the Guinness Storehouse tour is a waste of time and money. You see nothing of the brewing process, just one long commercial and plenty of opportunity to buy the same Guinness souvenirs that you can find all over Ireland. The "free" pint at the end is not worth the price of admission. Better to find a real pub and buy a Guinness with the locals.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi, Michelle! We are planning a nine day drive from Dublin around to Shannon. After much "study," I decided that it would be important to get as much car insurance as possible, not relying upon my Mastercard CDW coverage because it seemed a complicated matter. Anyway, adding the CDW and Super Coverage adds a lot to the cost of the rental. Yesterday, I read on TripAdvisor about this Website: http://easytourireland.com . They rent through Hertz and the price was unbelievable, almost half of what I would pay at other companies. Indeed, I found the price so reasonable that I contacted the company. I received this immediate reply: "Yes the rates you see on the EasyTour Ireland website are correct. We designed a package of inclusions and features to take the hassle out of car rental. The Hertz franchise in Ireland worked with us to design this package. The rate is GUARANTEED in euros and you pay for the rental at the end of your rental. There are no counter hassles as everything is included. Fuel would be additional. The Super CDW is INCLUDED." Anyway, I went ahead and booked it yesterday. The booking is done directly on the Hertz Website, and I received confirmation from Hertz. Maybe it isn't too good to be true. Have a great trip! Jack

Posted by
26046 posts

old saying - if it sounds too good to be true it probably is

Posted by
81 posts

Just another car rental suggestion. Bob Bestor - www.gemut.com BUT always buy the CDW insurance when in Ireland. There is a reason there are so many signs saying "Speed Kills". :) My only 2 additional sites around Dublin are Newgrange to the north and Powerscourt Estate to the south. Powerscourt was designed after Versailles. Rock of Cashel is one of my favorite sites. Muckross House and Torc Waterfalls in Killarney National Park are amazing. Dingle and the Slea Head drive are a definite must. The Slea Head drive is well documented in Rick's Ireland book. If you don't have a place to stay in Dingle, the Lighthouse B&B is awesome. Denis and Mary are great hosts. www.lighthousedingle.com. Take the Connor Pass drive when leaving Dingle. It is spectacular. Our next trip next year will be Donegal and Connemara. I hear they are awesome as well. Safe travels.