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Realistic driving times

atlanta
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Realistic driving times

First, is it safe to assume that roads labeled with an M are equivalent to U.S. interstates and can travel at 80 - 100 km? Also, are roads labeled with an N still 4-lane highways? Most of my mapquest searches seem to assume an average of about 40km per hour. Understand driving curvy roads as we are in the North Carolina mountains all the time and a map can be deceiving on how long it takes to get from Point A to B. Mostly wondering about drive times from Killarney to Cashel and Cork. The Limerick area seems central to all we want to do, but looks like it could still take 1.5 10 2 hours to get to the destinations. Thanks for feedback.

Huntsville, Alabama
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1. Re: Realistic driving times

This link to AA Routeplanner may help: http://www.aaireland.ie/routes/

It is often recommended to add about 20% on to the times AA states.

Generally speaking the M roads are what we would equate to US Interstates; the N roads are sometimes 4 lane roads but usually 2 lane (one each way). The speeds you drive on N and R routes will usually be much lower than posted limits. On our last trip there were many R routes with 80km/hr rates but we didn't venture much above 40 (and I am usually a fairly aggressive driver).

Hope this helps!

Limerick, Ireland
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2. Re: Realistic driving times

N can range from a 4 laner (e.g. between Limerick and Shannon) to a very narrow winding road (e.g. the N71 between Killarney and Kenmare).

Information from Citizen's Information here

citizensinformation.ie/en/travel_and_recreat…

Town and city speed limits (50 km/h)

A speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour is in place in built-up areas (other than motorways or special speed limit zones).

National road speed limits (100 km/h)

A speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour is in place on all national roads (including dual carriageways) throughout Ireland.

Regional and local speed limits (80 km/h)

A speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour is in place on all regional and local roads (sometimes referred to as non-national roads).

Motorway speed limits (120 km/h)

A speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour is in place on all motorways. You should note that learner drivers, vehicles under 50 cc, bicycles, pedestrians, animals and invalid carriages are not allowed on motorways in Ireland.

Special speed limits (30 km/h or 60 km/h.)

Special speed limits are sometimes applied to designated roads and zones (mainly, for example, on roads on the outside of built-up areas, around schools, etc.). Special speed limits are generally for 30 km/h or 60 km/h. Local authorities in Ireland have the power to introduce bye-laws to set special speed limits in designated areas. Read more about powers of local authorities here.

More information and details here routes.aaireland.ie

Limerick to Killarney is over 90 minutes, Limerick to Cork a similar time. Killarney to Cork is over an hour. But it really depends on what else is happening on the roads - a slow driver, poor weather conditions etc.

Yes, Limerick is centrally located on the map. But would I use it as a base for day trips to places such as Killarney or Cork etc. No. There's too much driving. I would suggest you travel from place to place and stay a night or a couple of nights in each location.

San Diego
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3. Re: Realistic driving times

One thing that we found is that even on the M roads where you can drive higher speeds, you cannot do that speed for the duration. So it goes up to 100 kph for a short time, then down. My DH found it frustrating because he is used to freeways here in Southern California, where, barring traffic, you can drive 128 kph for hours at a time.

I found it amusing,and kept reminding him that in Ireland there is no need to speed along like that. :)

Venice, Florida
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4. Re: Realistic driving times

General consensus, for NON-Motorway trips, a good rule of thumb is to use AA to figure the route and convert it into Miles (Default is Kilometers). Divide THAT by 35-40 (as in, MPH) and you'll be CLOSE. If this is your First Ever Visit, I urge you to use a divisor of 30. CAN you drive faster? Sure -- but likely, every turn of the road, every crest of a hill will reveal a vista that just BEGS for a Photo Op.

Utilizing the M7 / M8, you CAN drive the Dublin-to-Cork route in 2.5-3 hours. That's a FAR cry from the 5.5-6 hours that it used to take, back in the '90s, when there weren't any Motorways and the old N roads went through every town and village along the way.

It's GREAT, now, isn't it -- At least, IF you are in a hurry? I can remember being stuck at a stop sign in Kildare town for what seemed like 1/2 an hour, trying to make the Right Hand turn, toward Dublin. Now, of course, you don't even SEE Kildare as you pass by ....

'Course, I'm NOT really sure that's TRUE progress! :-(

Bob

Dublin, Ireland
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5. Re: Realistic driving times

I'm not quite sure why so many visitors have this concern for speed, it seems rather odd to choose to come to Ireland for the purpose of driving at great speeds. But on motorways travel at 120-130Kmh is perfectly possible once away from Dublin.

Limerick, Ireland
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6. Re: Realistic driving times

Also be aware of the GATSO (Speed Trap) Vans. Details below. http://www.garda.ie/gosafe.htm

They are supposedly in locations where someone has been injured. But there is one regularly on the Ennis Road in Limerick in a location that nobody I know is aware of why they are there. The only suggestion is that the driver likes a Supermac's meal as it is almost across from a Supermacs. And they regularly catch people going down a hill, who forget their speed.

atlanta
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7. Re: Realistic driving times

Thanks. That's what I thought. I want to relax in County Kerry, so we are going to stay 4-5 nights to explore, then head to Galway area for 3 nights to do the Cliffs and Connemara.

atlanta
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8. Re: Realistic driving times

Thanks for all your replies!

Los Angeles...
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9. Re: Realistic driving times

I'm currently traveling in Ireland! Initially it would probably take you longer than expected. I have mapped out using http://www.aaireland.ie/routes/ and google maps prior to arrival. I also use my Garmin GPS and bought a Collins road map at the gas station when I arrive. It took a couple days to figure how to use everything together and pick the best way and most accurate estimated time. It depends on what available routes are there for you to get from point a to b. For me, as first time traveler to Ireland, according to GPS and road maps sometimes the quickest is to use the R### roads, and it does cut down time however, depending on where the road is, it may be super narrow and on days that was rainy, it was difficult to drive and I have slowed down a lot. M# seems to be their 'bigger and faster' freeways, N# is next one down, but still can go up to 100km/hr on some parts...

I made a similar journey but backwards. Few days ago I drove from rock of cashel to blarney castle to Charles Fort (cork area), then made it to Killarney for late dinner and to Kenmare to my BB. I probably wouldn't do it again because driving on the n71 south from Killarney to Kenmare was a nightmare, but I guess it's do-able. Between cashel and cork aren't too bad, just much longer from Killarney to cork area depending on what roads/freeway you end up using. But overall the driving times seems pretty close to the estimated ones by the sources i got them from. hope this helps!!

Edited: 17 May 2013, 23:31
Dublin
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10. Re: Realistic driving times

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).

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.