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To rent or not to rent a car?

Level Contributor
14 posts
160 reviews
To rent or not to rent a car?

We will be in Maynooth, Ireland for a conference for 6 nights and then we have a week free to explore. We are seasoned travelers having been on many continents but we are 63 now and have never driven on the left side. We love to see small towns but I'm wondering if we should forgo renting a car for safety and comforts sake and maybe take a three day rail or bus tour from Dublin to Cork and Galway. Then also to Wicklow which sounds so lovely. we are nature lovers, and then up to Belfast to the Giants causeway...Any thoughts? How are the rail and bus connections?

7 replies to this topic
Troy, Michigan
Level Contributor
504 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

Many will point out that driving makes it possible to get to more places and more easily than public transportation in Ireland. I agree with that. I've driven in Ireland over several trips on a wide variety of roads and conditions. I enjoyed the freedom, and saw many wonderful places. But, I kept journals and my notes remind me that it was at times "difficult". The words I used I can't repeat here. You say "but we are 63 now" and have never driven on the left. I'm now approaching 65. In the past I didn't think being in my 60s would affect my driving, but it has. For some that might not be true. For planning my next trip to Ireland, reducing my driving and using public transport and rail will figure in. If you consider safety and comfort important because of your age, I'd figure out places to go and how to best get to them without driving. If you research topics and trip reports here, there's a lot of advice and information on using rail and bus transport and tour groups.

Level Contributor
290 posts
20 reviews
2. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

I had never driven on the left side of the road before either. I’ve been to Ireland twice in the last 10 months and driven both times. I’m 64 and drove myself around on a solo trip last month. It was lovely to go where I wanted, when I wanted. Yes, I may have lost my way a couple of times but I call getting lost “ an adventure.” I happened upon the prettiest sites and the best little pubs while on “an adventure.” Just do it!

County Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for County Cork
Level Contributor
3,102 posts
135 reviews
3. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

If you plan on visiting Galway, Cork, Wicklow, Belfast, Dublin and the Giants Causeway then you'll have to rent a car because as good as public transport is here, you will never see all that in 6 days.

Centerville, Ohio
Level Contributor
14,507 posts
3,417 reviews
4. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

Yes to car rental.

Adjustment to driving is easy enough; however, always be prepared for Pedestrian traffic

Saginaw, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Western Ireland
Level Contributor
9,498 posts
5. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

When will your visit take place, please?

For now or whenever you feel the need to give it a go using public transport and private taxi in combination with local organized Day Tours from certain bases,

here are some Trips Reports at entry #1 where visitors to Ireland have done just that:


Followed by some basic information on travel in Ireland by bus, coach and train.

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
16,751 posts
27 reviews
6. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

I'm older than you and travelinmimi and drive all over Ireland....if you're a good driver at home you'll do fine, just take your time and before you know it you'll wonder what your were worried about :-)

1 post
2 reviews
7. Re: To rent or not to rent a car?

Hiring a car is the best way to see Ireland. Stopping off in the little cute towns and having a cup of tea or a pint of guiness at your own lesuire was one of the bext things about our trip. Once away from the bigger cities and towns the roads are a lot quieter. This allows you to drive at your own pace, stop whenever you like for photos and take in all the views. I reccommed getting a navigation system as it can be a little complicated to follow a map due to all of the little side streets and roads that have no names. We travelled around the South Ireland for 7 days, starting in Dublin and driving through Wicklow National Park, Kilkenny, Lismore, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle,Trillie, Cliffs of Moher, Galway and then back to Dublin. We only stopped for a couple of hours in most of those places, but overnighted in Dublin, Kilkenny, Killarney and Galway. :)

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