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Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

Utah
11 posts
Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

I am planning a trip to Ireland in mid April. We have contacted the "Exploring Ireland" website for information on self drive tours. I am wondering if anyone has used their services.

After reading some of these posts it seems like it would be easy to put my own tour package together, but I haven't a clue where to start. This is especially true since our best flight deal was into Heathrow and now we will be doing a little sightseeing in England before we fly over to Ireland.

We have 14 days and would like to see as much as possible (of course), but do not want to spend a lot of our time figuring out what to do "on the fly". That is why a self drive tour has intrigued me. Any comments? Any suggestions?

Also, what is a reasonable cost for a B&B for two? What's the general availability in April?

99 replies to this topic
Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
16,465 posts
27 reviews
1. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

bless your heart...

just go to a tour site, look at what they offer as far as locations...get some ideas that strike your fancy.,,,then book your flights, rent your car, and head out on your own...no need to pay someone inflated prices for a "self drive"....not only that, self drive usually includes vouchers which are marked up about 40% over what the accommodations usually charge....then you find out there are some places that will not take them at all, others will take them only if it's late in the day and they don't have a cash paying customer already......

if you see something that interests you come back on here and these brilliant folks will give you tons of help.....they will never steer you wrong.....

Chugiak, Alaska
Level Contributor
2,104 posts
12 reviews
2. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

I was having a hard time getting started, too. I'm flying into London for a few days prior as well, but only have 7 days in Ireland. Here's my itinerary. If I had another 7 days, I'd head south, but the helpful folks here changed my mind about way too much driving. With your extra time you could spend a few days in the Ring of Kerry/Killarney/Dingle areas. Also, I have all my lodging booked for the end of May/June and it seems like the average is about $65/night per person sharing. Make sure you pay attention to whether they factor the cost for the room or per person sharing the room. It's about a fifty-fifty split on how the price is figured. Seems like a standard time to check in at B&Bs is not past 6pm as well.

Monday- Arrive at Dublin 2:30pm, grab a car, book it out of town. Go to Hill of Tara and the High Towers, stay the night in Drogheda or Newgrange Lodge.

Tuesday- Newgrange and Knowth first thing. Noon- 1pm ish, head up to Northern Ireland, Giant's Causeway, Bushmills, Dunluce Castle. Spend the night in Portrush.

Wednesday- More Northern Ireland. Walls in Derry. Whatever we didn't get to Tuesday. Stay in Letterkenny.

Thursday- Drive to Glenveagh NP and hike. Stay in Westport. (at least a 4 hour drive)

Friday- Further south for different hiking. Croagh Patrick. Stay night in Clifden at AbbeyGlen Castle. (Westport – Clifden = 1.5 hr)

Saturday - Connemara NP for hiking then Galway for seafood, then sleeping in Doolin. (Connemara – Galway= 2 hr & Galway – Doolin = 1.5 hr)

Sunday- Cliffs and the Burren. Boat ride from 10am to 4pm. Grab food. From 4:30 - 5:30 drive to the Burren. Hike a few hours. (Sunset at 10pm). Stay in Dublin. (The Burren to Dublin - 3 hours)

Monday a.m.- Bum around Dublin. Take back car and grab plane in the afternoon.

Good luck!

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
5,248 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

I would recommend you go out and buy this book "Back Roads Ireland" by DK. You can order it online.

It will give you some great ideas of driving routes and places to see in Ireland. A driving tour is easy to organize yourself and much better fun!

dorlingkindersley-uk.co.uk/nf/…00.html

Utah
11 posts
4. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

Okay, so we are now working on planning our own self drive tour. Any suggestions on the best rental car agency to deal with? Also, are B&B's better than hotels? How about hostels? I've heard that word before but do not know what they offer.

So far our preliminary itinerary looks something like this:

* London for one and a half days

* Rent a car and drive north to Inverness stopping as we want to see other sights (we have four days to do this)

* Fly out of Glasgow to Belfast (rent another car)

* Travel from Belfast to Sligo (home of my ancestry)

* Then Sligo to Galway; Galway to Limerick: Limerick to Cork; Cork to Waterford; Waterford to Dublin

* Fly out of Dublin back to London and then fly home.

This gives us nine days in Ireland. Is this too much to see in that amount of time? So far, we don't have any specific "sights" to see, but we are working on it. Any suggestions of "must sees"?

Thank you for your help.

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
16,465 posts
27 reviews
5. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

the first thing i would advise you to check is, can you bring a rental car from one country and turn it in, in another country....northern ireland and the republic of ireland are two different countries....most likely that won't be possible...

could you fly from glawgow to shannon?....then pick up your rental there....

as for your choice of stops, i am assuming these were those of the travel site?....it is way too much driving for 7 days....and sadly some of the places are not worth passing some of the things you will be passing up....

if it were me with only 7 nights, and your family connection to sligo i might do 2 days, sligo for sure....maybe 2 days connemara area, 1 day bunratty, 1 day kilkenny, 1 day dublin....this would allow you to see some wonderful and beautiful areas but not have to be in the car all of the time....

as for accommodations, b&bs in ireland are wonderful and you won't be spending anywhere near 65 per person for a bed...for our upcoming trip, i am paying about 45 euro per night, single....my travel companions are paying 30-35 euro per person, per night....

hopes this gives you a good starting point to make your plans....

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
Level Contributor
13,125 posts
233 reviews
6. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

We spent 2 weeks in Ireland in September (driving ourselves around) and loved it. We flew into Dublin & immediately drove up to Bushmills. We only "hit" about 5 different towns (because we loved them all so much we stayed several days at each) and our absolute favorite place was Aughris Head (just outside of Sligo). This place was on the ocean with beach, farms, cliff walks, B&B and the best traditional/authentic Irish pub we encountered during our stay (see: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g186635-d656140-Reviews-The_Beach_Bar_Sligo_Aughris_House-Sligo_County_Sligo.html)

With the car rental we received a GPS. It was the first time we ever used one in a car and it was indispensable (though only about 95% accurate due to new road construction).

Good luck,

Scott

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
Level Contributor
14,974 posts
121 reviews
7. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

We found the following site invaluable in planning our self-drive road trip in Ireland in 2009 and I am using it again to plan our upcoming trip in May. Not only does it give you the route, but it also gives you an estimated time to drive the route. You will probably be surprised by the time given, but it is quite accurate. You will find the driving times in Ireland to be significantly more than what you are used to in the U.S. This may help you decide whether the itinerary you have planned is feasible or not. http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

Also, we stayed in several B&B's in 2009 which I found through the reviews on this site. They were all good choices and none cost more than 35 euros per person per night for a double room. I have booked 6 different B&B's for our May trip, all well-rated on TA, and they average 30 - 35 euros per person per night.

Edited: 18 March 2011, 08:07
Utah
11 posts
8. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

Thank you so much for the info. I have a feeling that this first trip to Ireland will be just that----our FIRST trip. It sounds like there is so much to see and do that nine days just won't be enough, and that we will be going back.

I am glad to hear about Sligo. This is the place of my ancestry. The information will come in very handy.

Thank you all!

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
16,465 posts
27 reviews
9. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

mik8, you are so right....i bet you'll be planning your next trip to ireland on the plane going home....l am about to make my 8th trip and i am always working on my next trip plans....lol.....

Raleigh, North...
Level Contributor
2 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Exploring Ireland Self Drive Tour

We have a trip planned next August in Ireland. We will be doing a self drive and have booked most places. We do want to stay in Dublin for 2 nights and would love a nice, safe well located either hotel or B&B. We want to be near St. Stephen's Green as well as the Temple Bar area. There will be 4 of us. Any suggestions?

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