Rental car for 3 weeks in Ireland - several questions...

We are headed to Ireland next June (4 adults + 1 28"wheeled duffel + 1 med. suitcase + 4 RS wheeled carry-ons). This really is the lightest that we can pack, as two of us carry CPAP machines inside our RS carry-ons, and one of us in continuing onwards to a conference afterwards (different wardrobe, unfortunately). Our itinerary does include a fair bit of car time, as we maximize our sightseeing. At least 4 of the days will be longish car days. Only 3 days in Dublin and one in Belfast will be car-less days. We will be mixing some one-night, 2-, 3-, and 4-nights stays. We shall pick up the car on arrival at DUB and drop it off at Shannon Airport. It doesn't seem that driving the rental car into Northern Ireland will be an issue. I've started looking for a rental car and this seems to be a bit more complicated than before... it terms of more to consider re: extra insurance, 2 drivers, etc.. It doesn't seem that any lease/buy-back deals exist either. The available cars that seem to fit our needs appear to be a Nissan Qashqai, Toyota Avensis (or similar), Opel Insignia or Zafira. I don't remember ever actually seeing any of these, so I'm not exactly sure which to go for. The last cars that we rented in Europe (for the exact same crew) were a Volswagen Passat, a Skoda Octavia, a Peugeot 408 Wagon, and the latest was a Citroen C4 Picasso - all of these were fine, although the Octavia was a bit of a tight fit for the luggage.
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Posted by Diane
Ottawa
1156 posts

Here are the questions: 1) In your opinion/experience, which cars usually available in Ireland would be a good fit? 2) We really need a "no-deductible" insurance coverage, don't ask... ;-) With Avis, this'll likely cost us another 400 euros added on when we pick up the car. - Where have you found a decent "Super" coverage? (Our cc won't cover Ireland) 3) For a 21-days rental, any suggestion as to which company we should get a quote from? 4) When would be the best time to book?? Now, pre-paid, for the best choice of model? Later, maybe for the best price? - If so, when?? 5) I drive a manual, the second driver is more used to an automatic, but can also drive a manual.
- Is it too much to ask to consciously remember to shift, whilst also remembering to drive on the "other side"? The added cost for an automatic is significant and the car models very limited... 6) Is there anything else that I should consider/keep in mind?? Thanks!

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

I rented a car in Ireland a few years ago (driven in several countries prior) and here is my experience: 1. This is the only place where I have ever been in a wreck (including USA) 2. Naturally, I suggest full insurance as we had it and it was easy to get a new rental car and continue our trip. 3. We just purchased the insurance they recommended at the rental counter, so it was their insurance and was hassle-free when the wreck occurred.
4. By the way, when in a wreck, the police do not issue tickets, they just fill out a report, so not like USA when they find fault. (It was not my fault, the young Irish girl swerved into my lane and T-boned me). One other bit of advice....driving in Ireland was very intense for me. The roads are very narrow and on both sides of the road are usually stone walls made by the farmers for fences (check out the RS videos). Therefore, the margin of error is extremely thin. There are literally inches of clearance between you and the other car. So...the driver usually has a completely different experience than the passengers. I would suggest taking turns driving if you can. I was the only driver and am sure I missed seeing a few scenic things. Also, I would suggest some down time or non-drive days. We drove each day and it was exhausting for me. Finally, it seemed like it took twice as long to get places as we thought due to the twists and turns of the road. Rarely will you travel at high speeds. Having said all that, Ireland is beautiful and we would not have seen as much as we did without renting the car.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

Highly recommend automatic even with higher price, for me was difficult to go from first to second gear, usually went from first to fourth gear and reverse was just as bad. Like previous poster said, don't depend on driving times add at least twenty five percent to your time for narrow roads, sheep, tractors etc. That said, it is one of my places in th e world. As far as you using points for travel, never had to do that but have read here that it cost more points to go into Heathrow than other airports, not sure but worth asking this question on this site.