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Driving in Ireland

I am getting cold feet about driving after an overnight flight from the US to Dublin. We get in early and I thought we might drive just up to the Boyne and Drogheda. We are going to the Giant's Causeway the next day. An acquaintance says it is a bad idea to do any driving the first day due to jet lag. She thinks we should spend the night in Dublin then start our trip fresh the next day with a rental car. We will be going to many out of the way places so a rental car seems better than the train for us.

Posted by
9110 posts

Do you know the drive is less than an hour, that you'll be there in less than two hours after landing, and that jet lag doesn't usually set in that quickly, if it ever does? What's your previous experience with jet lag? Are you going to drive the day you get back home? Will you WALK into a brick wall on arrival day due to jet lag? Do you trust people here more than you trust your acquaintances?

Posted by
635 posts

When my plans include a car, I'm always driving the day I arrive. I haven't seen any jet lag issues although I don't plan on driving more than a couple of hours. I haven't done any first day 5 or 6 hour romps across the countryside. If you have an early flight into Dublin, it's only 30 or 45 minutes to the Boyne Valley. I suggest you see Newgrange and Knowth first. You could see Tara and the Boyne battlefield in the afternoon. You could easily stay in a B&B in the area and make an early day of it. It would only be a little driving in short spurts. You could decide at any time that it was time to go to the B&B. Look at buying the Republic of Ireland OPW pass at the Newgrange vistor center if you're going to be doing much sightseeing in the ROI. The OPW pass doesn't do you any good in Northern Ireland. If you went into Dublin, you'd spend about an hour on the bus. You'd then take a bus out somewhere to get your rental car. The alternative is to spend the night at an airport hotel. In both cases you've wasted a day. I can't see how anyone can do an effective tour of Ireland on public transportation. It's there but very limited. Trains all seem to radiate out of Dublin. Buses in rural areas are hit or miss especially on the weekends. I tried to put together a trip one time. It limited the places I could get to and added hours to the transportation time.

Posted by
341 posts

We do alright with it. We always drive and do sightseeing on the first day. We typically try not to have a long drive, but usually we're so excited about being there that the jetlag doesn't kick in for many hours.

Posted by
2023 posts

We drove upon arrival in Dublin last fall. Rented from Hertz and were out of the airport quickly driving in the direction of Drogheda but Newgrange was our destination. Traffic was light but we had light rain. The road is a toll road and the toll fee was minimal-about 1.80 euro-luckily we had the exact change because you will need to be prepared for the proper lane if you will use cc. It would have been a mistake for us to waste time/money spending a night in Dublin. Very easy to exit the Dublin airport.

Posted by
518 posts

Hi Donna, I'll just add my vote for you to go ahead with your plan. I've driven upon arrival several times. I has never been an issue. I get tired later. Leaving the Dublin airport is pretty easy. A GPS will be your friend in Ireland. Roads are not well marked. I like taking my own because I'm familiar with it.
Have a great time!

Posted by
1681 posts

April 2012 we did almost exactly the same thing as Susan mentioned in her post. Since we arrived late afternoon at Dublin airport, we overnighted in Drogheda at the D Hotel. Drogheda is about 20 miles north of the airport and we had little traffic on a Sunday evening. The hotel has a good restaurant and a pub; the town is interesting for a half-hour walk. If you exit the freeway one stop south of Drogheda you will not pay any toll - useful if you don't have any euro coins....From Drogheda it is any easy drive the next morning to New Grange, Tara, Trim Castle if you want, before heading north.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you to everyone who replied. My acquaintance works for AAA and has driven in Ireland, so I took her seriously. This is a marvelous help to me and I appreciate your information. Got a good chuckle from Ed's response. I will make it a priority not to WALK into any walls today.

Posted by
441 posts

Donna, I've gone to Ireland twice and drove the first day both times. I didn't run over anyone or anything but the next day I got in the wrong side of the car. They don't know where the steering wheel goes.