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Euros, Credit Cards, CDW and Southwest Ireland Sight Suggestions

Wow, what a resource this site is -- and you are!

This is our -- two couples -- first trip to Ireland (a Valentine's week package including car via Aer Lingus for six nights at Adare Manor) and I have questions for you.

  1. Is there a preferred credit card to use (gas, dining, shopping)? -- I have American Express, MasterCard and Visa

  2. This site said (Surviving Driving in Ireland) "some credit cards offer CDW-type coverage for no charge to their customers."
    What do you know about this and do you recommend buying CDW coverage? I've already paid for the actual car rental through Aer Lingus -- Dan Dooley is who they used -- but am certain I'll have to use a credit card as a deposit. And, should I purchase the "red L" that has been mentioned?

  3. Do we need Euros in advance? -- we plan to use credit cards primarily and the first time I can see needing any actual cash would be to tip a doorman at Adare Manor (we will be in a townhouse there). Where will we need Euros vs. credit card...and where is the best place to get them?

  4. We are reading your itinerary suggestions on this site and trying to see which ones fit our location. What are your touring ideas concerning which directions to head and for what on the Tuesday through Saturday that we have?

Thank you!


Posted by
769 posts

Like others said... rely on Visa/MC - not Amex in europe... they have Euro-MC. maybe someday they will come out with Euro-Express... but for now Vs/MC is king. Take one each from diff banks just incase.

Re: Euro cash - I always like to get 300$/Euro worth BEFORE i leave just so I dont have to rely on ATM for train/taxi etc my first day. Then I use ATM-Card at big-national or regional banks (pref. one with a US-affiliate if possible for reduced fees!)

Posted by
9363 posts
  1. You'll find American Express accepted in less places. Mastercard and Visa seem to be accepted almost everywhere.

  2. Don't trust your credit card if they tell you you have insurance in Ireland. Even if they say that (which they did to me) they can decline a damage charge if one occurs. Buy the "super" CDW at the rental counter that covers everything. Don't bother with the Learner Driver sign. It designates drivers who must abide by certain rules as a learner (like a teenager with a driving permit here). You might find yourself violating some regulation without knowing it by calling yourself a learner.

  3. If they are easy to get where you live and you are more comfortable, get a small amount of euros in advance. If not, hit the ATM at the airport when you get there. Using credit cards for large purchases and getting your cash from ATMs seems to be the best option, according to the consensus of opinion on this board.

Posted by
8700 posts
  1. MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in Europe. American Express will be harder to use.

  2. As of a year or so ago, the only credit card that provided insurance coverage for driving in Ireland was the WORLD MasterCard (not just any MasterCard and no other cards of any kind). If you have a WORLD MasterCard, check your Master Rental Agreement to see if coverage is still provided. If that won't work for you, by all means buy the CDW coverage.

  3. Some people like to have a few euros with them when they arrive at the airport. I simply go to the first ATM I see and get cash on the spot. There are some important things to do BEFORE leaving home to be sure your credit cards and ATM cards will work in Europe. Read this helpful article by Rick Steves:

Posted by
8700 posts
  1. IMO, the Dingle Peninsula is a "must see." However, to do it justice you'll need to spend the night in Dingle so you can tour the peninsula in a leisurely manner, stopping to take a walk when the spirit moves you, and spending the evening sitting in on a traditional music session in a Dingle pub. The next day you could see a bit of Killarney National Park as you work your way back to Limerick. Is it worth it to pay for an empty room at Adare Manor for one night? I'd say "yes."
Posted by
800 posts
  1. Agreed that fewer places took AmX but I took both cards with me anyway (AmX & Visa branded debit card) and used the AmX for miles when I could.

  2. Take the CDW only if your card doesn't cover it - my AmX did not cover this for Ireland or Italy so we did take it for our Irish Rental. Contact both your credit card company and the car rental company yourself so you really understand the coverages offered.

  3. I don't buy Euros in advance - get them at the airport, easy to do. You will want to carry a decent amount of cash with you just as you would traveling anywhere in the states - i.e. in case the little place you want to have lunch doesn't take cards. We carry a few hundred Euros with us and replenish at local ATM's as we go.

  4. Use to get estimates of travel times from Adare Manor. Also, once you are there I'll bet their concierge will give you great ideas for day trips - you may even be able to email them ahead of time for ideas.

Posted by
484 posts

Definitely buy the "super cdw" insurance. It will cost approx.15 Euros a day but if you so much as loose a wheel cover it will have paid for itself. The cdw,depending on the rental company,has a deductible of at least $1000.

Posted by
147 posts
  1. Visa.
  2. My Amex provided coverage. I read it in my agreement and called a supervisor to confirm. It may only conver certain rental agencies. We use Enterprise. If not, get it through the rental agency. Also inspect every inch of the car and make them note any scratches. Particularly the passenger side.

  3. Get euros at the airport ATM. IT the best rate


Posted by
67 posts

I took about $100 dollars in Euros with me and used ATM's for the rest of the cash. I read (in Rick's book) that pickpockets abound in Europe so I invested in an inexpensive money belt. I tried to be somewhat aware of my surroundings and never had a problem.

I used Mastercard and a Visa debit card for most places with no trouble at all.

I agree about the super CDW insurance - well worth the money. Also, I learned on my first trip to Ireland that it took us almost twice as long to get to some places than we had planned based on driving in the USA. And, a smaller car is easier to get around in especially in those everpresent narrow Ireland streets.

I agree with above regarding going to Dingle and staying the night. Trip around Dingle Peninsula and wonderful live Irish music at night more than covers the cost of a night in Adare manor in my opinion.

Have a GREAT trip!