A fascinating country with plenty to see and do, exploring the Emerald Isle independently can be the best way to discover the many enchanting sights. Road trips in Ireland take you across mountains and along dramatic coastlines, through vibrant cities and into charming towns. Uncover rich traditions, learn more about local history, meet memorable characters and tuck into traditional fare on your adventures.
Here are some of the best tips to help you enjoy your road trips in Ireland.
1. Explore Cities by Public Transport
For major cities, such as the capital of Dublin and Cork, it can be better to park the car and explore by foot or public transport. Although this might sound counter-productive on a road trip, it can save both time and money. City center parking can be expensive, so try and find accommodation that offers free parking or leave the car outside of the city limits. Driving in cities can be stressful too, not to mention that you can waste time trying to find parking spaces and navigate one-way systems.
2. Compare the Costs for Longer Rental Periods
It can sometimes be cheaper to rent a car for a full week than for just a few days. When comparing deals, be sure to also check for longer periods too. Even if you don’t plan to use it for the entire time you can return it early and still take advantage of the savings.
3. Request an Automatic (if Required)
Most rental cars in Ireland have a manual gearbox. If you need / want an automatic vehicle, make sure you enquire if this is a possibility before finalizing your reservation.
4. Avoid Renting a Huge Vehicle
Roads in Ireland, especially in the countryside, can be fairly narrow. They are certainly probably a lot narrower than people are used to in the USA, for example, or when road tripping in Australia. Unless you absolutely need extra space for luggage or are traveling in a larger group, opt for a small to mid-size vehicle.
5. Use the Right Tyres
Depending on the time of year you visit Ireland, you might need to change the tyres on your vehicle. Having the correct tyres is especially important if you’ll be driving through the mountains or along lesser-used roads. Get the right tyres on your car, visit car-parts.ie to assist with maintenance needs and have heaps of fun on your road trips around Ireland.
6. Check Your Insurance Cover
Although basic insurance is mandatory for driving in Ireland, familiarize yourself with the terms of cover. You may wish to upgrade to a policy that includes things such as theft of vehicle or possessions from inside your car and personal injury in addition to accident and damage cover. For sure, inadequate insurance is a big no.
7. Get Breakdown Cover
You really wouldn’t want to find yourself stranded in a remote area with a broken down car and nobody to call. Breakdown cover and roadside assistance can bring great peace of mind.
8. Pack a Map
Although most people rely on GPS systems and maps on mobile devices to find their way from A to B, you should still carry a good old-fashioned road atlas. You may not get a signal on your phone in the mountains. Your GPS might not show smaller roads and short cuts. And, navigating the traditional way is still kind of cool!
9. Don’t Over-Plan Your Trip
Of course, setting out with a route in mind is important. But allow enough flexibility to explore interesting side routes that you come across, linger longer in areas that grab your attention and follow signs that pique your curiosity.
10. Check Out the Many Pubs
Ireland is known for its lively pub scene, with many pubs offering food as well as drinks and some that also have accommodation. Pubs are ideal places to stop for a break on your road trip; just don’t drink and drive!
Road trips in Ireland let you really see the best of the country. Just remember to drive on the left!