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Lapping Ireland

Is a rental car necessary? Can I use public transportation and then book tours from my various hubs? Money isn't the issue. Convenience is and concern over driving on the left AND navigating at the same time also.

Posted by
525 posts

YES, YES, YES, a car is necessary for driving in Ireland. There are too many sights off the road and in little villages that you will want to see. Take a drive around the Dingle Peninsula. You can stop and take your time seeing the ruins, churches, etc.
You can get use to driving on the opposite side of the road. You would be rushed with tours. Do it at your own pace. Ireland is WONDERFUL!

Posted by
1 posts

We used public transportation during our 10 day trip to Dublin, Kilkenny, Kinsale, Dingle, Galway and Shannon for the same relaxation idea that you have It worked out fabulously. All but one leg was by bus and everything was on time. We even looked at layovers as a time to briefly visit other cities. I enjoyed planning for the next leg of our trip and writing notes vs. trying to figure out where to turn and how to navigate throught the very, very narrow roads. Playing chicken with trucks or buses would have been unnerving. Instead, we planned or napped to the next destination! It seems like most travelers do not choose this option, but I would do it all over again.

Posted by
3 posts

TWO of us will also be attempting public transport from Dublin to DIngle and back. I would be interested in reading the thoughts of anyoine that has done this. Was it worth the day you lost? How well did it work? What issues should we look out for? We will be doing this in mid August

Posted by
147 posts

gotta have a car. Too much to see off the beaten track. It's not easy driving on the wrong side of the road while sitting on the wroing side of the car, but once you get used to it, you'll like it.

Posted by
1 posts


If your very first concern is convenience, then a car is your best bet. However, if you are traveling alone, it would just depend on how your nerves are. My husband and I drove around Ireland/Northern Ireland for 2 weeks (automatic - not a stick shift), visiting small towns and large ones. It is pretty dicey negotiating those tiny country roads where there is often what only seems like one lane. And trust me, you meet a good number of big tour buses. While traveling between small towns, sitting in the left-side passenger seat, i would be able to tell him to move to the right, lest he hit the stone wall. There are always stone walls along the country roads. Taking public transport gets the job done, but not nearly as convenient. So, just what suits you. My husband says next time we go to Ireland we are NOT renting a car. He says he actually wants to be able to relax and see the scenery, instead of having to drive around in a state of near panic.

Posted by
484 posts

Frank,--- To answer your question,yes you can use public transportation and get along fine. I have done so on two different occasions but I was traveling by myself. However it does take considerable advance planning in order to arrange for your tours and not just show up someplace hoping you can find one.

Posted by
199 posts

Frank, driving is the way to go. You'll get used to driving on the left after a short while, and driving the quaint roads of Ireland is half the fun.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi Frank -
If you don't want to drive - don't. Ireland is expensive, and you don't want to feel like you missed out on your journey because you were white-knuckled all day, every day. Make the comfortable choice. It also depends on where you're going. If you're spending your time in and around the Dublin area, it's just like any big city and public transport will take you just about anywhere. Same with Belfast, and there's a train that links the two city centers. Take a look at the schedules online at,, and It shows timetables and destinations. In the west, buses aren't so convenient, but you definitely see a different side to the country! Have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
83 posts

drive, man. Ireland is not hard to navigate, there have been a bunch of road signs that have been recently put up. Makes it easier to get around more than ever. Dublin was the toughest part, then Galway. Out in the country the results to effort ratio is completely in your favor.
If you're travelling alone, it still is worth having a car to get around. We invited another couple on our car trip for a few days & gave them a ride back to Dublin, that's how it goes in Ireland. Take out super cdw if that helps your peace of mind with the rental.
For navigation, you need a good Michelin map and an idea of where you're going.