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Ireland Rental Car Agency - Recommendations?

My father and I are going to be in Ireland from September 8th through the 23rd. We will be spending the 1st 4 days in Dublin, so we won't be getting a rental immediately upon arrival.
That being said, I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations of rental agencies that they have used. I'm especially interested in hearing from anyone that may have had a mishap where they needed roadside assistance. I'm a firm believer in balancing cost with service. Cheap rates are no good, if the service stinks.

I'm thinking of getting something about the size of VW Golf (Rabbit). Of course we will be getting the CDW (super-sized).
I'll be the one driving as Dad will be turning 80 the week after the trip. I took Rick's advice and already have purchased an "L" card to put on the front and back of the car, so I can stretch other drivers patience a little further.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
50 posts has the best rates I have found. And of course they are one of the industry leaders, so I am sure they offer some kind of roadside assistance. On their website you can select the size car you would prefer and they will quote a price. Also I believe they show pictures of the various cars that fit the size categories so you can perhaps find a VW Rabbit, or a car of comparable size. Rick has also suggested picking the car up in the city rather than at the airport to save a few dollars as well. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
484 posts

Kristi, I also have used auto europe,twice, and have no complaints but I also have never had any mishaps. They and Nova seem to be the least expensive of the many I have checked. I would also recommend getting the smallest car you feel comfortable with. Some of the less traveled roads tend to be narrow.

Posted by
8700 posts

I've rented cars in Ireland and France through Auto Europe ( and have been well pleased. You can get a good deal booking online well in advance, but you may find an even better deal if you call their toll-free number and ask about specials taht may may appear on the Web site.

A detailed map is essential for driving in Ireland. The Michelin Ireland map, available from, has worked well for me.

Posted by
9363 posts

I have used Irish Car Rentals twice. I found their rates to be the best at the time. Like the above listed agencies, you choose the size of car you want, and they give examples of what brands are in that size category. During my first rental with them, there was a misunderstanding about whether the car was to be returned full of gas or empty, and they gave me a 15 euro voucher for a future rental (which happened two years later) to make up for the problem. They have a US tollfree number in case you have questions or problems. I didn't need roadside assistance either time, but they gave me information in case I did need to call. Keep in mind that automatic and manual cars are different prices. Even if you are accustomed to driving a stick shift, remember that you will be shifting with the other hand.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for the replies. I will be getting an automatic. That's what I drive here and I really have no wish to attempt to learn how to drive a stick on the "wrong" side.

Also, I purchased an Ordinance Survey spiral road atlas to help with driving.

I'd love to hear from more people!

Posted by
20 posts

Is it too late to add another note about car rental agencies?

We have used Dan Dooley car rental a few times and found them helpful, and never a problem with a car. Their prices are competitive--in fact, perhaps cheaper than auto-europe.
Don't forget the Michelin map book (and ordinance survey maps are very helpful in the rural areas).

Posted by
15 posts

We have booked a car with Dan Dooley. I heard so many positive things about them.

Thanks for all of the replies!

Posted by
147 posts

Not even close. Enterprise. At the airport and several other towns.

Weekly rates are very good. You can check on-line to confirm

Posted by
83 posts

Autoeurope, here. But we had no accident or need for service, unless you count the side mirror we lost in Galway. Made me happy to have paid the extra 7 euro/day for the super CDW.

Bring a digital camera, take pics of the car before & after. Remember to get the receipt from the petrol station if you're meant to fill the gas tank before the return.

In Ireland, unlimited mileage is not necessary if they don't offer it. I loved to drive there & I was well under the limit.

Speaking of those "L" stickers, they were everywhere!! Ireland has polite road etiquette still, the tour buses are by FAR the most frightening things on the road. Even in Galway.

And if you're familiar with country driving, you'll be well off. Basically, it's a courtesy to give 'the finger wave' (both hands on the wheel, index finger raised) is common - and fun! Letting the other driver pass by if you have a bit of shoulder. Don't hit the sheep/cow/horse/tractor, etc. :)

Posted by
252 posts

You'll often find better deals going through a broker (Auto Europe, Nova, etc) rather than booking direct. I just rented an economy w/automatic for $35 a day including basic CDW through Nova. "Super CDW" is an extra $15 a day which I will probably add when I get there. Looks like we'll both be in Ireland at the same time, let's hope we don't run into each other (literally)

Posted by
389 posts

We rented from Enterprise and got the best deal but I've noticed that the "deals" change by what kind of car you are renting. Also BTW, the "L" may be helpful but signs say that there are no "L" drivers allowed on the motorways. Having said that I did see cars with the "L" on them, so I don't know how/if that rule is enforced. The motorways are about the easiest place to drive but VERY limited. Since I was there last in 1999 they've added quite a few though. EU is being very good to Ireland.

Posted by
3 posts

We rented in July from Budget, with an economy car for 2 people. Online price look great, but make sure about the CDW insurance. Our car was a 4 door small Toyota that we loved. You want a small car for small Irish roads. If you aren't that great with a manual transmission, ask for an automatic. You are using a stick, shifting with your left hand and that takes a bit of practice! Also, unless you are sure that your credit card CDW works in Ireland (be sure & check...most do not!), buy the full insurance. It's worth it. No matter how careful you are, the roads are narrow and you never know what can happen!

Posted by
31 posts

autoeurope is based in America with a 24-hour customer service line and a guarantee to have the lowest rates.