5 Tips for Planning an Ireland Road Trip

Jun 24, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)

Planning a road trip in Ireland is one of the best ways to see the country. Since you can’t easily access the offshore islands, the Dingle Peninsula, or spots on the Beara Peninsula with public transportation, driving is the only way to ensure you can see some of the unique areas of the country. Here are six tips to help you get the most out of a road trip to the Emerald Isle.

Start with Suggested Road Trips

If you want to make your trip as easy as possible, then take a suggested road trip route that someone has done in the past. This way, you don’t have to figure out which route to take or how long to spend in a given area. You can find plenty of options for Dublin, Mornington Beach, Dundalk, Donegal, Westport, Killarney, and more.

Consider Using Both Airports

Ireland has several large airports, but the two biggest and most popular international ones are on opposite ends of the country. Because of this, you should consider flying into the Dublin airport by the east coast before driving across the country and ending up at the Shannon Airport on the western portion, or vice versa. That way, you won’t have to backtrack during your trip.

Use a Guidebook and Map

For the more adventurous, take out your guidebook and a good road map of Ireland. Figure out which parts of the country you definitely want to see and mark them on the map and then plan the appropriate route between your preferred destinations. You can even use this method to expand on one of the suggested road trips you find online.

Plan for Long Drives

When figuring out how much time you will spend on the road, account for Ireland’s narrow roads. The country is bigger than some people realize, and many national roads will just have one lane going in each direction with slow-moving traffic. While there are more modern motorways than before, you may still want to add about 15% to your expected drive time to get a more realistic figure. Thankfully, your time on the road will be full of beautiful sights and opportunities to discover more about the enchanting country.

Know the Road Rules

You need to follow the rules of the road no matter where you are. In Ireland, you drive on the left side of the road, the same as in Australia and the United Kingdom, so keep that in mind. Northern Ireland will show speed limits in miles per hour, but road signs in the Republic of Ireland are in kilometers, similar to the rest of the world. Make sure you are familiar with the difference between miles and kilometers if you are going to drive across Ireland.

Car Renting Tips

You will, of course, have to rent a car in Ireland, and some planning in this respect can save you money. Smaller cars will do better on the narrow roads, especially those with winding roads, and going with a diesel model will usually reduce the amount of fuel you need. Don’t forget to check with the rental company and find out of they charge extra fees for putting a lot of miles on the odometer or scuffs on the vehicle. Drive safely and take the time to make your way across the island and discover a beautiful country with rugged natural beauty and charming places to stay.

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