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Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

Salem, VA
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Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

I will be traveling from Dublin to Arranmore Island in August. A few months ago, I purchased a roundtrip Dublin-Donegal flight on Aer Arann for €58. Initially, my trip was going to be solo but now I will have a friend traveling with me. Also, the Aer Arann flight time has been changed by the airline which results in 10.5 hours between my arrival in Dublin and the departing flight to Co. Donegal. This has led me to consider making the journey by car. The AA Ireland Route Planner estimates roughly 4.5 hours drive time between the Dublin Airport and Burtonport ferry terminal. The proposed route travels north on the M1 and then northwest via N53, A37, N2, A5 and so on. I’m pretty sure I can get a refund on the flight (they offered when the flight changed) but a car is still much more expensive (€300+ for just a few days). I’m hoping for some expert advice to help me decide – fly or drive?

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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1. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

Do you have plans for other travel around Donegal? If the entire visit is to be on the island, the car will sit on the pier in Burtonport while you're out there and I don't thnk it will be cost effective.

The ferry takes cars, but your hire car insurance may prevent you from doing so anyway. Usually there is someone at the ferry pier on the island that will run you where you need to go if it's not in walking distane, or someone who can find someone. Assuming you're not being met by someone once there.

I'm normally a big advocate for having a car to tour Donegal, public transportation is not great. But your situation might be the exception.

The long layover in Dublin isn't ideal, but can really be used to your advantage as it allows time to go into town for a meal or some sightseeing for a few hours if you want.

Aranmore in August - I'm jealous!

Dublin
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2. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

To compare "like with like" you should add the cost of getting from Donegal Airport to Arranmore and back again to the cost of flying for both of you. This might push the cost of the flying option to nearer €150 or maybe more?

You should also allow for the limitations that the lack of a car could place on you if you wish to travel around when in Donegal - public transport is very limited and you will need to hire taxis or hackneys locally if you want to travel around.

On balance. I'd hire a car but I'm assuming in making that choice that you might want to travel while in Donegal - plus, I would not care for a 10 hour layover between flights if my time in Donegal is short.

Salem, VA
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3. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

Thanks to you both. You each have valid points. Domhnall might be influencing me a bit toward driving. In addition to spending time on the island, we planned to visit Glenveagh Nat'l Park and Donegal Town. Cost of those trips via hackney or taxi would probably exceed car rental.

Hope you don't mind a couple additional questions. Is there a parking fee at the pier in Burtonport? The car route goes in and out of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland - is there anything special to crossing the border?

Edited: 16 April 2010, 20:49
Western Ireland...
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for Loughrea, Southport, Clifden, Connemara
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4. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

You wont notice the border crossing apart from changes in road signs. North (UK) has speed limits in Miles/Hour whereas the Republic is in Km/Hour. there are no actual checkpoints although I have passed Garda checks on the Foyle bridge.

Dublin
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5. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

I'd be pretty certain that there is no parking fee at the pier at Burtonport - it's quite a small harbour. On your query re the border, Tony has clarified that for you - it's difficult to know what country you are in unless you are observant of speed limit signs and of the design of other road signs but there are no border formalities whatsoever.

Finally - and just a thought if you hire a car - you could consider varying your return route to Dublin, assuming you travel to Burtonport on the route you note. You could return via Donegal Town, Enniskillen and Cavan to Drogheda (on the M1 jabout 20 miles north of Dublin Airport). This would add only 10-15 miles to the journey but allow you see a bit more of the countryside.

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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6. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

"In addition to spending time on the island, we planned to visit Glenveagh Nat'l Park and Donegal Town. Cost of those trips via hackney or taxi would probably exceed car rental."

Definitely get a car if that's the agenda. No fee to park in Burtonport, but leave absolutely nothing of any value in the car, it's not a secured car park.

Salem, VA
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7. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

Thanks again folks! I guess it's time I read all those posts about CDW, SCDW and all those other car rental acronyms.

8. Re: Dublin to Co. Donegal - Fly or Drive?

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