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Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Huntley, IL
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40 posts
5 reviews
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Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

We are mid 60's and plan to spend about 12 days give or take, in Sept. 2014. I would prefer the self drive, stay at the B&B's and take our time. Friends are telling my wife how frightening driving can be in Ireland and almost trying to scare us into taking a tour. We would be staying 2 days at almost every stay and try not to drive more than a few hours from location to location. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Ajax, ON
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14 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

We just came back from a 10 day driving tour. Here's what we did:

http://goo.gl/maps/ZSELp

I last drove a manual shift regularly about 20 years ago, and had no problem getting into it again (an automatic will cost you almost double so consider that). I quickly adapted to driving on the left. For me, driving in most places was no problem at all. We did the Ring of Kerry (clockwise as recommended by locals despite what I read!) and there were some tight moments where you really needed to focus, but it was fine overall. I actually had a lot of fun driving. I'm 53. I'd recommend driving if you're up for it since you can do so many more things and stop or go when you want.

We rented from Avis in Dublin & returned to the airport. I have a Canadian VISA and I was able to waive the insurance. I had a letter but they didn't care to see it. Hope this helps!

Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
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13,383 posts
389 reviews
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2. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

For me- always the self drive option. Why?

You are more independent

You can plan your own itinerary

You can come and go as you please

You are not at the beck and call of someone else

Your car becomes your 'home from home'

You can change your plans when you like

You can say things like "I wonder what's down there?"

The number one concern on this site for Ireland is car related. However, I have yet to read a review about a bad car experience here (apart from bad choices regarding the car rental companies)

Definitely - Self Drive

Edited: 18 August 2013, 23:01
Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle
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9,176 posts
87 reviews
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3. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Driving in Ireland is not generally frightening. Some -well flagged places- like the Connor Pass might be narrow and could give some the heebie jeebies, but as a general rule, you won't have an issue (Unless you plan on driving 100 mph on country roads, even we locals don't do that!)We do generally suggest people don't drive in the city of Dublin -centre- lack of parking and one way system makes it annoying rather than frightening.

Bottom line, leave plenty time for your journey, don't think because it is "only" 200 miles on the map you can drive it in times like you would at home.

Dublin, Ireland
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1,573 posts
71 reviews
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4. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

What is so 'frightening' about driving in Ireland as opposed to anywhere else?

In a study by the Alliance of British Drivers, the UK has the safest roads in Europe and they drive on the same side as us. We score very well in that survey too. The Road Safety Authority in Ireland has set its sights on taking that No1 position from our neighbours.

Get a car and explore.

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick, Killarney
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25,291 posts
82 reviews
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5. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Have these people actually been to Ireland or do they know people who know other people who have been?

Driving in Ireland is absolutely fine if you stick to the speed limits (these are the maximum speed allowed, NOT the minimum speed allowed - as a poster here earlier this year appeared to think!!). Generally, outside the greater Dublin area and other urban areas such as Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway, there is not a lot of traffic and the roads are very comfortable.

If traffic builds up behind you, pull in and let it pass, then continue on. All of us need to do this here from time to time. Don't feel pressurised by impatient drivers.

england
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5,438 posts
8 reviews
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6. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Hire a car and ditch the 'friends'. If you drive at home you can drive in Ireland, it is not scary at all. For goodness sake dont be pushed into taking a regimented '10 mins to stop here for a photo' and then '2 hours at a shopping experience' bus tour by others if its not what you want. Go at your own pace and stay where you want.

Dublin
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1,844 posts
160 reviews
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7. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Hire the car and give yourself complete flexibility, to do what you want when you want, instead of having to be back at the bus in 30 minutes or whatever time is allocated.

Here's my advice re driving in Ireland - We have only a few motorways (M roads, max. speed limit 120km), that link Dublin to Galway, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny, Waterford and Belfast. So getting to/from Dublin to/from those cities is relatively easy, quick, and stress free.

After that, you are travelling on, what are called national roads (N roads, max. speed limit 100km) or regional roads (R roads, max. speed limit 80km), which can vary significantly in terms of quality, and therefore you might not even be able to drive at the maximum speed limit of the particular road. You are also likely to encounter occasionally, slow moving agricultural vehicles, heavy trucks, and other slow drivers, sometimes even farm animals, which can take some time to overtake them, due to oncoming traffic, not safe to do so, or overtaking is not allowed on that particular stretch of road (signified by a continuous /unbroken white line in the centre of the road). You may also have to contend with road works and the big time killer - getting lost from time to time, but that is all part of the holiday experience. Also, the N and R roads travel through towns and villages, where I can assure you will be delayed. For N and R roads, base your calculations of achieving an average speed of 45/50 MPH (70/80KmPH).

So, a 100 miles, could take you between 2 and 2.5 hours to complete, depending on the delays you encounter - irrespective of what google maps or aaireland route planner might indicate to you. Then add on to that, time for stops/breaks, photo ops, etc., which could easily add on another 2/3 hours to the journey time, especially if you are enjoying what you are seeing. Very important to keep that in mind when planning your itinerary.

It is impossible to constantly maintain or sometimes even approach the posted speed limits, so don't try. You drive at the speeds that are comfortable for you at all times, even is it means creeping through a narrow spot in a town/village or pulling over to let others behind get around you. You simply, drive with care, and you will be fine.

Use this website to help you plan your journey. It will give you an idea of distances and the amount of time it would take to complete the journey without stops and with perfect driving conditions.

http://www2.aaireland.ie/routes_beta/

Whitney, Texas
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
11,641 posts
25 reviews
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8. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

saufley, drive yourself...goodness I am older than you and love driving in Ireland, stick shift, and doing as bryno suggests.....it's no step for a stepper....you can do this......

Wilkes-Barre...
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30 posts
18 reviews
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9. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

Thanks for the info. We are going to Ireland in September 2014 and would like to rent a car. My friend said she heard it was hard to drive in Ireland. Have printed your message to show her. You have eased my fears considerably. By the way, I have driven a stick shift for many years; will just have to get used to driving on the left side of the road.

Huntley, IL
Level Contributor
40 posts
5 reviews
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10. Re: Self Drive or Tour By Bus?

My thanks to everyone for their thoughts and advice. I was truly wanting to drive and now I think that will be the decision! Again, thank you!!