Driving about Ireland in a rental car is a great way to get to know the Emerald Isle. However, here’s some suggestions on how to go about it.
My family and I were afraid to rent a car in Ireland to explore on our own when arranging our genealogical vacation there to learn more about our ancestors.
In Ireland, tiny and twisting roads have a reputation!
There’s also the fact that they drive on the other side of the road. It became clear to us that car rental in Ireland would allow us to customize our itinerary to our heart’s content as we explored further.
In my opinion, road vacations and making my own travel plans are the best ways to see the world. There are so many small towns, castles, and hiking trails in Ireland that it made sense to rent a car so that we could explore them at our own time.
For your convenience and safety, we’ve included some of the most useful information we gained from our time driving around Ireland in an Irish vehicle rental.
Restrictions on Travel to Ireland by 2022
The Republic of Ireland has reopened its doors to all visitors, including American citizens. For this reason, you’ll need documentation of your COVID-19 vaccinations or a negative test result before you may enter.
There are new health and safety procedures in place at many hotels, attractions, and private tours, and you must still observe specific guidelines.
To Rent a Car in Ireland, Please Read This
Is It Safe to Drive Your Own Car in Ireland?
If you’re a fan of large-group trips, by all means consider signing up for one. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a good way to visit Ireland.
You don’t even have to plan or drive; someone else will do everything for you!
Independent travel is more your style, if you’re anything like me.
Driving around Ireland with the option to stop wherever you find cool along the way means no predetermined agenda or timeframe.
Renting a car in Ireland is the best option if you’re that type of visitor.
If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, bear in mind that some of the country’s back roads can be quite small and feel like a single lane. The more you use them, the more confident you will get!
Additionally, we appreciated the ease with which we could stow our luggage in the trunk of the car, allowing us to stop off in Irish towns rather of lugging it around with us at all times.
In Ireland, where can you rent a car?
Driving a Rental Car as a Family
Europecar, Enterprise, Sixt, Hertz and a local one called Dooley are some of the most popular car rental businesses in Ireland.
Discover Cars, on the other hand, is the ideal place to reserve a vehicle. In order to help you get the best deal possible, they search both local and international automobile rental providers for you. This is the quickest and most convenient method of renting a car in Ireland.
After a few days in Dublin, we picked up our rental car at the airport. On the M8, we traveled from Cork through Killarney National Park, where my grandmother was born, and finally to Glengarriff on our way back to the South West.
For our next leg of our journey, we traveled up the Wild Atlantic Way from Dingle to Dingle and the famous Cliffs of Moher before returning to Dublin.
Plan to pick up your automobile at Dublin Airport about 60 minutes after your aircraft lands. Arrive at the airport at least three and a half hours prior to your flight’s scheduled departure time. Because it can take up to 30 minutes to return your rental car and catch a shuttle back to the airport.
Your car will be waiting for you 30 minutes after you land at Shannon Airport. Arrive at the airport at least two and a half hours before your flight is scheduled to depart. Again, this is due to the space shuttle.
Ireland’s Car Rental Insurance
Driving in Ireland can be challenging because of the narrowness of the roadways. It’s best to stick to the back roads outside of Ireland’s smaller cities. Don’t worry, I’ll give you some pointers on how to cope with them later on.
As a result, I strongly recommend that you purchase comprehensive insurance coverage.
However, the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) that often comes with a rental automobile in Ireland only covers up to €1000-3000 EUROS worth of damage.
You’ll be charged this much if you don’t return the automobile in its original condition. CDW normally does not cover damage to tires, shattered windshields, or the substructure.
A decent travel credit card that includes car rental insurance can save you money, but make sure to check the fine print because many people assume their card covers them in Ireland when it actually does not.
In the event that you are involved in an accident while driving in Ireland, and your credit card does not cover the damages, you will not be able to claim compensation. You have no idea how often I’ve heard stories like this…
As a result, I prefer to pre-pay for full coverage online. It’s less expensive than buying it from a store, and you won’t have to worry about mishaps.
Renting a car in Ireland is expensive.
Cobh’s Cathedral of St. Patrick
The cost of renting a car in Ireland ranges from $25 to $40 USD a day, depending on the type of vehicle you choose. The daily rate for our four-door vehicle was around $30.
It’s best to rent a car with a trunk, rather than a hatchback, so that you can keep your belongings out of sight. When burglars can’t see your belongings, it helps deter theft.
The Cost of Gas
It may appear like gas (petrol) prices in Ireland are lower than in the United States, but keep in mind that other countries use liters, not gallons, to measure gas. A gallon of gas in Ireland currently costs roughly $5.90, or €1.40. Buying a diesel vehicle can save you money on gas.
Automated Versus Manual
When renting a vehicle, be sure to indicate whether you want an automatic or a manual transmission (manual transmissions are more prevalent in Ireland and Europe as a whole). Don’t learn to drive a manual car in Ireland if you’ve never done it before! Get an automatic instead.
Rentals that are only available one way
For one-way automobile rentals in Ireland, a surcharge may be applied, and this amount varies from company to business. For example, if you want to return the vehicle to a city other than the one from which it was picked up.
There is a “admin fee” of roughly €30 EURO charged by Irish companies when you use your own credit card insurance.
Fees for using a credit card
For using a credit card, I was charged an additional €5 EURO. That strikes me as odd, yet it’s not uncommon in Ireland.
Taxes in the Republic of Ireland
In Ireland, car rentals are taxed at a rate of 13.6 percent. Ouch! It’s beyond your control.
Renting a Car: Age Requirements
Even though the legal driving age in Ireland is 18, the majority of automobile rental agencies impose a stricter limit of 21 years old. If you’re under the age of 24, you’ll have to pay an extra cost.
Driving rules in Ireland Tourists in Killarney should be aware of the rules of the road.
Getting used to driving in Ireland is a bit of a challenge for many visitors because of the fact that cars drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side.
In the event that you’ve never driven in a country that drives on the left, it’s a good idea to practice in a small town first.
Swords, for example, is located immediately north of Dublin Airport. You may practice there for an hour or two before heading into Dublin or onto the major highways.
After some initial difficulty, you’ll soon be ready to drive throughout Ireland in your own vehicle!
Local roads often have speed limits of 80 km/h or less, while interstate highways have speeds of up to 100 km/h.
Driver’s License for Travel Abroad
If you plan to drive or rent a car in Ireland, you don’t need an international driver’s license. Your passport, credit card and driver’s license from your native nation are all that is needed.
A Few Pointers For Getting Around in Ireland’s Traffic
Observe for sheep! Sheep are transported by local shepherds in several smaller communities via the highways. A quick turn can leave you stranded in the middle of a vast flock of sheep.
There are no regular break-down lanes on Ireland’s narrow rural roads like there are in the United States. In many cases, there’s little space for error or stopping.
While passing other vehicles, your side-view mirror may be just a few inches from from stone walls or bushes! It can be nerve-wracking to drive in Ireland.
Tolls on Ireland’s major roadways can be expensive, so make sure to have sufficient cash on hand. Passenger cars in Ireland face tolls ranging from $1 to $3.
Some roads in the countryside are actually one-way, but there is traffic in both directions. You can use the pull-outs in these scenarios to allow one of you to pass.
To avoid enraging Irish drivers with your stupidity on their roads, consider purchasing an inexpensive “learner” sticker (L) available at gas stations.
Rental Cars in Ireland: Additional Tips
Renting a car in Dublin is not necessary. Because of the city’s walkability and great public transportation, finding a parking spot might be a challenge.
If you’re planning a road trip from Dublin, you may want to reserve a rental car for a few days after you leave Dublin.
Never reserve a car rental without checking out customer reviews first. Everyone has something to say about a business, and it’s easy to vent about them online, so go for the one with the fewest negative reviews before making your decision.
You may not always obtain the make, model, or kind of automobile that you requested when you made your reservation. If they provide you a smaller car or a manual when you requested an automatic, don’t be afraid to ask for a better vehicle.
Before you leave, properly inspect your vehicle and capture a video on your smartphone highlighting any damage. If they try to charge you for damage that was already there, you’ll have this as a fallback. Car rental scams like this one are rather common in Ireland…
The sort of gas you use to fill up your rental car in Ireland will depend on whether it accepts normal or diesel fuel.
Instead of renting a GPS device, use Google Maps on your smartphone. A solid international phone plan and a hands-free car mount are all you need.
Information about Accidents and Breakdowns
In the event of an emergency, you can call 112 in Ireland. This is the equivalent in the United States of America of dialing 911.
It’s best to call your Ireland car rental company’s emergency roadside assistance number on the rental agreement if your car just breaks down and no one is hurt.
Enjoy Your Road Trip Across Ireland!
Our rental car was the best option for us when it came to exploring Ireland’s little towns and ancient castles as well as the lush highlands and coastline cliffs.
One of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions is the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. Here’s how to get the most out of your trip to these towering cliffs.
As I stroll along the fabled Cliffs of Moher, a cold breeze picks up. There are waves smashing on rocks far below as the most iconic natural feature of Ireland rises dramatically from the sea.
In a childhood favorite, the Cliffs of Moher were employed as a backdrop for the action. ‘The Princess Bride’ is an 80s cult film that takes place in the fabled realm of Florin.
They are hunted by the Man in Black over the ocean and up “mile-high” Cliffs of Insanity in a single scene in the film.
The 700-foot-tall Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, while not quite a mile high, have been featured in several films, including Harry Potter.
In person, they’re even more stunning than in the photographs I’ve seen of them thus far!
The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland are a popular tourist destination, so we’ve put up a list of helpful travel advice.
Where Is the Cliffs of Moher Located?
The Cliffs of Moher are a set of dramatic cliffs on Ireland’s west coast, close to the village of Liscannor in the County of Clare. About 90 minutes south of Galway or three hours from Dublin by road, they’re accessible by car. The Wild Atlantic Way is a picturesque driving route that includes the cliffs.
If you’re a fan of walking, the 5-mile-long Cliffs of Moher are the most popular tourist site in Ireland, with over a million tourists each year.
There is a visitor center built into the hillside of the Cliffs of Moher, and a scenic walking path crosses the top in two directions. This allows visitors to experience the site without being obstructed by other buildings.
To What Elevation Are the Crags?
There are approximately 30,000 species of birds living on the Cliffs of Moher, including colonies of Atlantic Puffins that come in late March.
Crossing The Ocean on Foot
You can’t get too close to the edge of the cliffs, but only to a certain extent. There are no barriers if you keep walking away from the visitor center.
Some people are willing to take a chance by sitting or standing on the precipice…
There were a lot of us. You do this at your own peril, of course!! The Cliffs of Moher are known for their fierce winds, which have been known to cause individuals to fall to their deaths from time to time.
It’s possible for the cliffs to break unexpectedly owing to erosion, providing another additional threat.
To the south of the visitor’s center, you’ll see Hag’s Head, a magnificent old stone tower dating from the Napoleonic Wars. It takes an average person around an hour and a half to two hours to walk here from the visitor’s center.
O’Brien’s Tower, located to the north, is the cliff’s highest point. The nicest views in both directions may be found with a short walk from the visitor center. A $2 fee is required to ascend the tower.
Other options include taking a ferry to see the cliffs from the water below or hiking the full 20-kilometer (or 12-mile) Coastal Walk across the cliffs.
Rent a vehicle
Discover Cars conducts a thorough search of the major vehicle rental companies to discover the best possible deal for you. To rent a car in Ireland, this is perhaps the simplest option available.
Bus Éireann is the company with the most routes in Ireland.
You can also take a shuttle bus from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher and the village of Liscannor, which includes a stop at both destinations.
When Should You Go?
During the summer months of July and August, the area is a popular tourist destination. If you venture far enough from the visitor center, it’s not too bad when we went in September.
Near the Cliffs, Where to Stay?
Doolin and Liscannor are the nearest towns to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher. Both are less than a ten-minute drive away. About 15 minutes distant is Lahinch.
Tips For Visiting Cliffs Of Moher
The Visitors’ Center is directly across the street from a parking area for the Cliffs of Moher. The center was designed to look like a part of the surrounding nature and does an excellent job of doing so. Food, souvenirs, and an explanation of how the cliffs were constructed are all available.
Cliffs of Moher’s weather can change in a heartbeat! Make sure to carry a rain jacket and some warm clothing in case the weather turns bad. There’s a good chance of a lot of wind up there (if it is, stay away from the edge).
It’s possible to get some of the nicest vistas without having to walk far. There is a 10-minute walk from the visitor center to O’brien’s tower. You can, however, spend hours wandering down the edge if you so desire. Fewer people will be around the longer you walk.
The tourist area is separated from the farmer’s fields by a wooden fence. Just be aware that the trail is no longer maintained and that you’re on your own out there.
The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland are renowned for a good reason. On a winding dirt path perched precariously above the Atlantic Ocean, it’s impossible not to be enchanted by the stunning views of the coast and the rough coastal terrain.
The remainder of the day was spent touring Dublin on foot and by bus. Everyone was exhausted from the overnight flight across the Atlantic, so there wasn’t much time for group activities.
The Dublin Castle
As a defense construction for Dublin, Dublin Castle was later used as a residence for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who served as the King’s representative in Ireland. For presidential inaugurations and other official events, it is now commonly employed.
The Cathedral of St. Patrick
Ireland’s largest church, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, was built in 1191. There is a memorial to Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift, who served as dean of the college, and is currently buried here. Christ Church Cathedral is the second of Dublin’s two Church of Ireland cathedrals.
Tasting Room at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery
The Jameson Distillery, which is largely a showroom for tourists, is where most visitors to Dublin go. Teeling is the only operational distillery in Dublin that produces Irish Whiskey. We were able to see and taste the difference between single grain, single malt, and aging whiskeys as they were made.
Family History Road Trip in Ireland
We’d had a taste of Dublin, and it was time to go on to the real purpose of this journey… Seeking any tidbits of information regarding my grandmother’s life in Ireland before to her departure for the United States in 1930.
The Ancestry.com research done by my sister Lindsay helped us locate basic US immigration paperwork for my grandma prior to our trip to Ireland.
Eneclann, a genealogical research firm, was also hired to help us expand on those findings. Using census data from the Republic of Ireland, they compiled a comprehensive study that included many new and fascinating findings.
Once we had all of this information, we decided to rent a car and drive throughout Ireland on the M8, stopping at important sights along the way such as Cashel and Cork City.