Greetings, My family of three are flying to Dublin airport in June. We can spend only one night in Dublin before driving to Kinsale to our self-catering apartment. I am not sure if it would be best to rent our car and then drive to Dublin for one night, or take a bus to Dublin when we arrive and then bus back to airport the following day to rent car to drive to Kinsale. We don't want to drive IN Dublin, so won't need a car. Any advice? Would it be best to stay at a hotel near airport and bus into Dublin to sightsee? Any advice on a hotel either in Dublin or near? Also, any advice on best place to stay on the Aran Islands? Thanks so much!
Depending on what time your flight arrives and whether you could check in upon arrival, I'd think about staying near the airport and just busing into Dublin to sightsee. You don't want to drive in Dublin, anyway, so why rent a car for a day before you really need it? Another alternative would be to stay in Dublin and rent a car from an in-town office or one more in the direction of where you want to drive. Check the car rentals to see where they may have offices located other than at the airport.
We visited Ireland a few years ago, stayed 2 days in Dublin, then drove around, clockwise, stopping in Kinsale. I believe we stayed at Jury's in Dublin, which was OK, close to everything. On leaving Dublin, we rented a car, picked it up a few miles cab ride south, and had only a short drive from there to the motorway. I don't recall the rental agency(maybe Alamo), but if you check various sites, you can probably find a similar arrangement. Many companies will list both airport and town pick-up sites, and if you use a mapping program, you can see if it is in the right direction, i.e. south.
It worked very well, and avoided driving in Dublin, whew!
Bus to Dublin - easiest and cheapest way to get there. Walk/bus around Dublin to see the sights that appeal to you. Rent a car when leaving Dublin (do not go back to airport - will be more expensive and will take more time). There are car rental places in Dublin center plus around the edges. Driving in Dublin (and Ireland) is not as difficult as you might fear, though can be irritating due to their signage "system".
The drive from Dublin to Kinsale is a long one. Plan a full day. You will not do the drive justice if you just drive straight through. Many sights to see along the way depending on the route you take.
Keep in mind that driving in Ireland takes much longer than you can imagine. Roads are narrow and twisty, some are ill-maintained, there are the occasional sheep-crossings, etc. The route from A to B is never a straight line. Take your time and enjoy the scenery (which is plentiful).
Salima, We are heading to Ireland for 2 weeks in mid-March next year. We are spending 3 days in Dublin and hiring a car on the day we are heading off on our trip. We are hiring from Hertz. their Dublin office is on South Circular Road which would be very convenient if you are heading south to Kinsale. We are heading to Glendalough area. Our family. has used Hertz in Dublin on 5 occasions and have been more than happy with them.
We are staying in Dublin at the Hotel Isaacs. The bus from the aiport will drop us off right outside our hotel.
Have a great trip
Many thanks to all for the great advice. I feel much more comfortable now about renting a car in the city instead of at the airport.
Looks like the rental car issue has been responded to but not you Aran Island question.
First, which Island are you planning on traveling too? Are you staying in Kinsale for the remainder of your trip? If so, you can pack an overnight bag and head to Doolin in Co Clare. You can take ferry from Doolin to any one of the three islands. InnishMore is the largest island and has b&b's. Inishmaan is the middle island & Inisheer is the smallest island. You may do just as well to book a b&b in Doolin and make a day trip to any one of the Aran Islands. If you go to the large island there will be men w/mini-buses & cart w/ponies off of the quay for touring. Either one of these transports are the best... cycling seems 'romantic' but not practical on the stoney roads(trust me on this). Negotiate any tour to include your whole party not as individuals. If you are going in high seasons pack your swim suits the beach on Inishmore is fantastic! Water is clear and BLUE!
rent a car when your leaving Dublin. Take a cab otherwise. Enterprise is cheap and easy. Self-catering in Kinsale sounds great although Kinsale has some great places to eat and is known as the Irish culinary center. Great place to sail too. Irish beef is to die for. I had a steak at Bulmans that I still can taste. In the middle of town is a small shop that sells t-shirts, sweaters etc. a lot less inexpensive than the shops you see as you first enter town. Definitely try Kinsale Ale. visit the fort, great night life