Hello - My boyfriend and I are planning to visit Ireland for 4 days in the summer (on our way back from Paris). We are pretty young so are nervous about renting a car and also are worried about the price of extra insurance so are looking to stay at a home base in Dublin and take a day trip or two via rail or organized tour to different locations. Does anyone have a specific day tour company that they enjoyed? Or do you recommend doing our own tours via rail travel! Thanks for your help!
Rail travel on your own isn't likely to be very workable for you, with a short time span. There are a number of tour companies that offer full day and half day tours to spots outside of Dublin (the two "main" ones are Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains to the south, and to Newgrange in the north). You might also think about taking the train to Belfast for a day - it's about 90 minutes away by train.
Four days would not be worth renting a car, in my opinion. Dublin would take good two days. If you do the Book of Kells, be sure to get there early to beat the crowds. We did not like Guiness Brewery, thought was a waste of money. We loved Kilmainhaim Gaol easy access by bus. For day trips, suggest Newgrange, we were fascinated but can't help with a tour as we had a car as were there for 3 weeks. Belfast would be a great day trip and then your four days are done. Enjoy.
Kaitlin, You might have a look at Paddywagon Tours. On the few occasions when I've spoken with their tour members, everyone seemed to be having a fantastic time. They appear to offer one-day as well as longer tours, so you should be able to find something that fits your criteria. Ireland is wonderful! Be sure to try a pint of Guinness (remember, it's not a Beer, it's a food group!). Happy travels!
If you enjoy hiking, look into Walkabout Wicklow. They will pick you up in downtown Dublin, and drive you into the countryside for a wonderful day hike in the Wicklow Mountains. Great history along the way, and very personable guides. Check out their reviews on TripAdvisor.
We took a tour out of Dublin to Newgrange (stone-age tombs), Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, and the sight of the Battle of the Boyne - collectively called the "Boyne Valley" tour - with Bus Eirenn. The bus leaves from the station downtown. It was well paced and a great value. It's not a guided tour but the driver tells you what you need to know before each stop. You can probably walk up and get your ticket before departure; we purchased our tickets the afternoon before to be safe. They also run a similar trip to Glendalough, a monastic settlement that includes some great scenery. I don't think you'd be sorry if you did both on two seperate days. A literary pub crawl in Dublin would be another priority on my to-do list. We only used Bus Eirenn, there are other bus companies that run a variety of options. They're all great for traveling on a budget. Have a great trip.
And yes, you haven't had Guiness until you've had it fresh in Ireland. It doesn't travel well. I never liked Guiness at all until I tried it in Ireland. It's the best, bar-none, beer I've had in my life - like drinking a cream soda.
I've heard good things about Paddywagon Tours, also. Our daughter took a few short 1-2 day tours out of Dublin and loved them; we're planning something similar.
Do you know what company she took the day tours with? We would love to go see the Cliffs of Moher and possibly another tour outside of Dublin.
Kaitlin - You might want to check out Galway Tour Company. Our Family used them for the Cliffs of Moher & Burren Tour and enjoyed it very much. I think they have pickup in Dublin.