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help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

Strongsville, Ohio
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help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

We are planning a trip to Ireland. We do not have our full itinerary planned but we do want to spend time in Dublin and Belfast since I had relatives from there and want to visit my heritage. One stop will need to be Giant's Causeway. I would like to avoid renting a car and wonder if anyone can advise on transportation by bus.car/rail ? Can I rent a driver? how does one do that? We prefer to self direct our touring so we can experience the locale rather than be shuffled off from one place to another in short order. Any other advice would be appreciated. Suspect we will come late summer and spend about a week.

Thanks so much

North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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1. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

With only a week I would tend to stick to just those two bases - Dublin and Belfast as you will find more than enough to keep you busy in these areas! It will also saving you packing up,checking out etc more than is absolutely necessary.

There is lots of information on the forum re what to do in Dublin but to be honest for your first day or two, you could simply explore the city yourself using a hop on hop off bus. Other good possible day trips would be Glendalough in Wicklow or Newgrange/Brú na Boinne. Newgrange is between Dublin and Belfast so if you end up hiring a driver, then that makes a good stop off on your way north.

I can't help re private driver hire unfortunately but I imagine it would be very expensive.

Normally if someone has Irish heritage and is including Northern Ireland, I would always recommend visiting the excellent Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh.

But with only a week, I would maybe suggest instead that you take the train from Belfast (approx a 15 minute train journey) to Cultra and visit the Ulster Folk and Transport museum to get a glimpse of how your ancestors lived.

www.nmni.com/uftm#TITANICa--The-Exhibition

Day trips to the Giant's Causeway are available from Belfast (Allens, Ulsterbus, Minicoachni, Paddywagon) or you can do it yourself during the summer months by public transport (although that is probably better suited to people spending a day or two in the area) or if you don't actually hire a driver for your whole trip, you could ask the likes of Valucabs for a price.

http://www.valuecabs.co.uk/

Strongsville, Ohio
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2. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

thank yo so much for your helpful information and the links. As we get deeper into this, may I recontact you? Since you are listed as a Destination expert, do you have a business on travel and or a website?

Thank you again

North Coast, N...
Destination Expert
for Northern Ireland
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3. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

hi Morgan

Of course - feel free to contact me. For Belfast, do have a look on the Belfast forum which is part of the UK forum for more info.

No, not involved in travel or tourism unfortunately:(

Dallas
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4. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

If you go to the Giants Causeway you don't want to miss Dunluce Castle and Bushmills distillery. They are very close together. We drove though so don't know how you would get there. Why do you not want to drive yourself? As Americans we had no trouble getting used to the Irish rules of the road.

North Coast, N...
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5. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

tripadvisor.co.uk/…22237750

Found this link which may be of interest re private driver hire.

@ atexaninireland - so true - the whole of the Antrim coast is a great area - and I love Dunluce castle, white rocks beach, Mussenden temple, Glenariff forest park...the list goes on!

I do agree that if you can, car hire gives you so much flexibility although you don't really need it in the cities but once you leave the city, public transport really is quite limited.

Edited: 04 February 2012, 17:42
Strongsville, Ohio
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6. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

Thanks for your reply and the advice on sites to see. Basically, we are getting a lot of discouragement for driving in Ireland, driving on the opposite side from US. if you have any additional comments on this, I am open to hearing about your experience.

Again, thanks so much

Morgan

Dublin
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7. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

Morgan

As regards renting a car, there are pros and cons. The strong "pro" is the flexibility it gives in terms of visiting the sights and locations you want to visit at a pace that suits you. Public transport, be it rail or bus, is limited outside of the major towns and cities, and where available, can be quite time consuming for a visitor on a tight schedule.

The obvious "con" is the fact that you are driving on the "wrong" side of the road, sometimes on roads which by US standards are narrow and twisting, and where driving rules and habits are not always the same as in the US.

As regards how difficult it is to drive on the wrong side of the road, views vary from one visitor to the next. Some people are experienced drivers with a calm disposition and adapt with ease - others are maybe nervous and uneasy by nature and find the whole process a terrifying ordeal.

By way of encouragement, I can say that by and large, driving here is safe. As a rough indicator, the level of fatal accidents in Ireland is about half that in the US per head of population ( I know it's not a nice statistic but it helps put driving habits here is some perspective).

D.

North Coast, N...
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for Northern Ireland
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8. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

Yes, do a search on the forum as there are a lot of comments on this. By and large people tend to advise paying more for an automatic car (assuming that's what you're used to driving) and getting comprehensive super CDW so that you don't have to worry about any minor mishaps. Also don't drive on your first day - wait until you are rested.

Roads are narrow and winding in places but that is all part of the experience. Most people on the forum who hire do seem to think it is the way to go and very few have horror stories!

Edited: 25 February 2012, 09:03
Portland, Maine
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9. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

Found it very easy to adjust to driving on "the other" side of the road. Yes, some of the roads are narrow, but most seemed well paved. It seemed there were lots of newer wide roads when we were there in 2010. Having a car gave us lots of flexibility in what to see. It also allowed us to pull into small towns and dine off the beaten track. I too recommend Dun Luce Castle along with the Giant's Causeway. One word of caution. Do not drive in Dublin. Streets are poorly marked. Even with maps and google, we had trouble locating our B&B because we could not identify the streets. Public transport in Dublin is very good. Busses run very frequently.

Edited: 25 February 2012, 12:18
10. Re: help with travel arrangemetns while in Ireland

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