I am by no means as eloquent as some previous posters and do not want to duplicate too much info but just a few things. This from a senior, white, solo female.
1. We landed from Toronto at 8:30 am and by 9:15, I was sitting on the Air Coach ready to go downtown Dublin. Immigration was a breeze and by the time I got to the carousal the first bags were making their way around.
2. Out the main door and there is a small stand selling bus tickets .7E to Trinity stop. 40 minutes after pulling out I was checking into Trinity Capital.
3. Did the HOHO bus, only got off at the Jail. Do not miss this tour! A lot of Irish history is tied up in the building.
4. Wed, was walking day. So easy to walk with a good map (ditch the HOHO bus map and use a better one from guidebook- has more streets shown). Another not to miss was Christ Church Cathedral. Has St Pat's beat by miles. Go down to the crypt area.
5. After reading a previous thread about O;Connell St, was not too sure about spending much time here but never felt unsafe, although there were a lot of beggars ( which you get in every metropolitan area with perhaps the exception of Singapore)
6. The then today, Thursday, my biggest fear realized- driving on the wrong side of the road. After hitting 2 curbs and countless roadside branches, I was super happy that I had bought the SDW!. Avis upgraded me to a diesel Audi Quattro free (other car was not ready), hooked me up with gps and sent me on my way. (automatic). The way out of Avis downtown is easy- right, left onto Naas and then left onto M50. Anyone who has driven on Canadian or American superhighways can handle the M roads, Although at first it looks as if no one is driving the car ahead of you because your eyes go to the left side of the car! Thank goodness for the cat eyes on the road (don't know what you call them here) but they help keep you on the straight and narrow.
7. Stopped in Glendalough- not busy except for a school tour and one but tour. Did not walk too far. Then took the R route to Hollywood via Wicklow Gap and my first narrow road experience! Did I mention the SDW for those branches etc Met one bus coming at me and he actually stopped to let me go through. Not much traffice on that road at all, so could pull over and take pics. Then took an N road down to Tullow. Wider and with more paved shoulders. Still don't know how you could do the posted 100 kph easily. Made it from Glendalough to Cork in about 4 hrs, stopping for a short lunch break.
Anyway, I guess the driving was becoming more comfortable. So it all future drivers out there - you too will survive your first day. Take it easy, no hurry, no worry- after all we are on holiday.
Many thanks to all the DE for their advice over the last 6 months. I did not ask a lot but I read a lot.