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How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Diamond Bar...
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How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Hello, we live in US California, and will visit Ireland for the first time in early September. We'll rent a car b/c we enjoy nature scenery, I'm concerned about the road conditions since we will be driving on the opposite side of the road. I've read some very helpful input from this forum, and hoping to get some feedback about our trip. So far we've planned a few major routes, please comment on the amount of activities (too much?), any difficult path and/or better routes, any tips are appreciated. Each route is an one-day trip:

1. from Kenmare through the Ring of Kerry (via N70: Kenmare > Waterville > Killorglin) > Dingle; 2. from Dingle > Cliffs of Moher (via Ferry Tarbert) > Galway;

3. from Galway > Trim Castle > Dublin;

4. from Dublin > Ballintoy (to see carrick-a-rede rope bridge) > Giant’s Causeway > Dublin.

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1. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Here is my advice about driving in Ireland, which might be of some help to you with your itinerary planning.

It is important to remember that driving in Ireland is quite a bit different than driving in countries that have a very good infrastructure.

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. 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/

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2. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Excellent advice from fenla. Driving is so much more relaxing if you are not in a hurry. If there is a driver behind you putting you under pressure just pull in a little and let them pass.

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3. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Wonderful and spot-on advice and explanations from fenla.

The Road Safety Authority in Ireland issued 'Driving in Ireland: A Guide for Tourists' earlier this year:

rsa.ie/Documents/…Using_The_Roads_Ireland.pdf

and Rules of the Road here:

rsa.ie/Documents/…Rules_of_the_road.pdf

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4. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Also remember as you're going to Northern Ireland that the road signs and speed limits will change from kilometres to miles once you cross the border. There is no Police or Customs positioned at the border the only way you will know you've crossed the border will be the speed limit in miles.

On your ring of Kerry trip be aware that there will likely be a lot of buses on these very rural roads so do try and keep in away from the middle of the road going around corners and just take your time and enjoy the views, also make sure that the driving is shared the poor driver often doesn't get to see much as they're concentrating on driving.

Have you driven a stick-shift before or have you booked an automatic? Autos tend to be more expensive to hire so if you can dirve a stick, go with that.

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5. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

There are countless videos on Youtube devoted to people driving in and among a panorama of towns, villages and famous sites all over Ireland. These give a strong visual impression of varying driving conditions in Ireland as well as intimate snaps on the same.

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Little Sutton...
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6. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Not much to add on excellent advice already given,my own experience pretty much echo what has been said,progress can be slow,anytime you are approaching anywhere worth visiting expect slow moving lines of traffic entering & passing through the area,we have travelled on some roads which were in shocking condition,thankfully the near new motorways help us to avoid quite a few of these,also passing through towns with narrow streets & tight bends & finding a large lorry trying to get through an area that obviously wasn't designed for it,just relax & take your time!

Diamond Bar...
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7. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Thank you very much for all the helpful input. Really appreciate it.

Thankfully we've booked an automatic small car at a reasonable cost. Taking all inforamtion into considerations, I am thinking perhaps for our trip from Dingle to CoM, we should sleep somewhere near by CoM instead of going all the way to Galway to lodge, that way we won't be too rush, right? We don't mind skipping Galway. Any good B & B you can recommend near by CoM? Also, would it be too much driving for our day trip from Dublin to Giant's Cause Away and back? If it is can stay near by the GCA overnight, any suggestion where is a good B & B or town we can look into? Is early September still busy with tourists? How about rain?

Once again, thank you for all your helpful information. I am very pleased with this forum, and wonderful caring people.

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8. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

Shocked today driving towards Shannonbridge from Athlone to see 100kph signs on R roads which are only fit for carrying farm machinery.

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Athlone
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9. Re: How are road conditions driving in Ireland?

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