I'll be going to Ireland in October with 2 of my friends. We work for an airline and are going to be traveling stand-by to get there. We are all pretty free spirited and don't mind what airport we fly to. My question - we've been planning on renting a car when we're ready to leave whatever city we fly to. However, someone mentioned that the trains are very reliable and a great option to get you places. I'd read in the Ireland book that getting the railpass is not necessary. I'm just wondering if that has been others' experience as well? The cities we are considering flying to: Dublin, Shannon, and Belfast. Any thoughts?
Trains will get you from Dublin to Belfast, or Dublin to Galway, but the farther west you go, the less rail you will find. I wouldn't consider trains to be a good option at all, compared to driving. I would stick with your plan to rent a car. It's really the best way to see Ireland.
Especially in the west even the bus connections are relatively infrequent and don't go to a lot of places. A car is definitely the way to go.
Thank you so much for the input! We probably will just go the route of renting a car. Apologies for the double posting - very odd. I've deleted the other post (Thanks Nancy)