We're spending three days in Dublin next month, but unavoidably they will be in the middle of our two-week stay in Ireland. It's less expensive to rent one car for the entire two weeks than to rent two separate cars, one pre-Dublin and the other post-Dublin. Is driving into Dublin so awful that we should find lodging in the suburbs? My preference is to stay downtown, and only use our car for our arrival and departure from the city. Would driving into Dublin be merely a hassle, or flat-out ridiculously unwise? Is there a safe place outside of town where we could leave our car for a few days? Thank you all.
There is no way you would want to drive in Dublin. Even the taxi drivers hate driving in Dublin!!
Before traveling to Dublin (May of '07) I read online that driving in Dublin is "marriage wrecking". I can fully attest to that! I should have heeded the warnings! My (then husband...and yes we did get a divorce shortly after the trip) drove the whole time and it was truly frightening. We nearly had a head-on with a Guinness truck (and an irate Irish woman nearly punched him in the face during that incident). Also, we almost got in another accident on a main street (crazy drivers & ex never got used to driving on the "wrong" side of the road). The road signs are sometimes clear, other times in Gaelic, and at times non-existent. It is really difficult even as the passenger because it is super stressful trying to figure out where to go & how to stay alive at the same time. It is one stress I will NEVER sign up for again!
Oh and if you do decide to rent a car & drive out in the country that is much nicer. However, be careful on the freeway at night. It is poorly lit in many places and the roundabouts can be trecherous! We almost got killed in another head-on by getting off in the wrong place at a roundabout (and then angry Irish men were literally RUNNING to get to our car/us).
If you decide to drive in Dublin, I would say you should find a hotel that is within walking distance & just leave your car parked :)
Have fun & have a safe trip!
Alan, not to sound too zen, but the answer to your question lies within yourself. Dublin is nowhere near the worst city in the world to drive in. Compared to most Asian cities, driving in Dublin would be considered a leisure activity. If you are comfortable with driving into the unknown, don't have frail nerves and have a good GPS, you won't have any problems. But, with that said, the cost of parking may help you realize that two rentals may actually be the cheaper way to go.
We were just in Dublin in March and my husband and I both agree there is NO WAY we will drive there....maybe even go there, again. The lack of street signs was appaling even in the suburbs. We found a B&B on Howth Road that literally had a bus stop outside the house and was a 5 minute walk to board the DART train downtown. Just getting the the B&B was nerve wracking enough, so being able to park the car and use public transportation for our time in Dublin was a huge asset.
That said, we loved the countryside and can't wait to go back to Ireland. While driving in the country was challenging, there seemed to be more road signs and much less traffic, of course.
I have driven in Dublin twice (once alone) and have no desire to repeat the experience. In my case, I was able to find a guesthouse on Gardiner St. that had free parking, but it was so difficult to get into and out of that I didn't even try. I parked the car for two nights while in town, and I walked everywhere. Shop around for parking at hotels. If you can't find a free place, the previous poster might be right - two separate cars might be cheaper than one plus three nights in the city.
You may consider finding a place to park your car outside of city center and taking public transport in. I know that Bewley's Hotel by the airport has paid parking. From their website, it looks like parking is just 7 euro/day (it's on the website under park/fly. You don't have to stay there to park there). They have a shuttle bus that runs to the airport, and then you can catch a bus into town from there.
While we are renting a car, we are staying at a B&B in Rush (north of Dublin) and driving to the Train Station. We will take the train to Dublin and then a walking tour or local transportation. No way do we want to drive there. After that, we are taking the M50 around Dublin to get to the Wicklow mountains and such. If you are staying in Dublin, good luck on driving.
I would try to find a place to leave the car parked outside of the city center and go back to get it when you are ready to leave for your next destination. I have used that tactic in some locations, and I have also stayed outside of the city center and trained into the city during the day. I preferred staying in the city.
We just returned and ended our trip in Dublin. Dropped the car off at the airport and took a cab. It was 30.00 Euros into Dublin and 15.00 Euros for the return. I don't know why such a difference. But it did'nt look too fun for the Taxi driver. It was hard enough for us to get out and back into the airport with the car no less Dublin City. I didn't even see provisions for parking at the hotel. We thought we were going to take the car into Dublin too and then changed our mind as we did the research. Maybe you could rearange the trip a bit to start or end in the city.
I didn't drive in Dublin other than to leave the car rental place, but having driven in Florence in 2008 and then dealing with rush-hour traffic in Galway in 2009, I am at sixes and sevens as to whether or not I would try driving in Dublin. Maybe if my mother weren't in the car...
Look up the Mount Herbert Hotel. Although I didn't have a car when I stayed here, it appeared to have ample parking. It is not located downtown, but in the pleasent Ballsbridge section, near the Dublin beach... yes, Dublin has a beach, of sorts... It sits very close to the Landsdown Road DART station, so you'll have no problems getting closer to the heart of the city. Delicious full Irish breakfast served here as well.
Although I've never driven in Dublin, it looked about as stressful to drive here as any other large European city. That is, I wouldn't use a car to get around within the city, but as long as you have a place to park, it should only cause mild stress entering and leaving the city.
3 places I will not drive:
You can always park the car in the longterm parking at the airport and take the bus into town.
If you are on the outskirts of Dublin it's not too bad but the City Center makes absolutely no sense...even crossing streets while walking is an adventure.
We just returned from Ireland but only spent one day in Dublin. The hotel we stayed at (Belvedere) had validation with the car park (2 blocks from hotel) for 6.5 euros per day. We didn't have to take advantage of it (so verify it if you choose this option) since our parking was mostly at night and we could get a 5 PM to 10 AM rate from the car park for 6 euros. We were told that street parking was 3 euros per hour but was free from 7 PM to 7 AM where we were. Street parking at Kilmainham Gaol was 1 euro per hour.
Given where you are from, you may be more used to the large city driving than some of the other posts. We found the signage to be weak and somewhat confusing and traffic to be slow and crowded. So, you will probably not want to drive around Dublin and don't really need to. We didn't see some of the other experiences that have been described, but our time was short.