Driving through Ireland is not as difficult as it sounds. Yes, there is a learning curve if you’ve never driven on the left before. Getting out of the airport can be tricky, but Dublin Airport is right off of a freeway so you don’t have to drive on city streets to get out of town. So much of Ireland is rural with little traffic, but in some
There are two big things to remember as you are driving through Ireland
If you are from the United Kingdom, the United of States, Canada, Australia or an EU member state you do not need to have an International Driving Permit to drive through Ireland. You can just use your regular drivers license. If you are from other countries which require an International Driving Permits it must also be accompanied by the original domestic licence of the driver. Your foreign auto insurance is not likely to be in effect in Ireland so you should purchase the insurance from the rental car company to protect yourself and the vehicle.
There are hundreds of bed and breakfast all over the county. Now Airbnb has tons of options as well. You can stay in hotels, but you get a much richer immersion into Irish culture when you stay in people’s homes. Every town or village also has a local pub where you can get dinner and people watch. Use good judgement, but most are perfectly safe even for female solo travelers. You can make reservations in some of the more touristy towns, but I decided to be spontaneous and take my chances. Each afternoon I would figure out where I wanted to stop for the night and called ahead to a B&B. There are dozens of websites that list B&B’s and I never had any problem finding one. I traveled in August.
Give yourself at least a week. Two weeks would be better. Here is the itinerary I followed to see as much as possible.
- Arrive in Dublin and explore Dublin. Overnight in Dublin
- Burren National Park on the way to Galway Bay. Overnight in Salthill
- Connemara National Park and Kylemore Abbey. Overnight in Kilkee
- Cliffs of Moher on the way to catch the Aran Islands Ferry at Doolin. Overnight in Kilkee
- Dingle Peninsula on the way to Killarney. Overnight in Killarney
- Killarney National Park the Ring of Kerry. Overnight in Killarney
- Mizen Head drive in County Cork, Dombeg and Blarney Castle. Overnight in Blarney. (Warning: you have to backtrack from Mizen because it is on the tip of Ireland. You’re GPS may try to take you over the mountain. DON”T LISTEN TO IT. Stay on the main road and go back the way you came in.)
- Rock of Cashel, and Bunratty Castle. Overnight in Dunaree
- Return to Dublin for the flight home
Driving through Ireland is really the best way to see this beautiful country. It gives you the freedom to stop at the cute sweater shop or the unexpected castle on the side of the road. Stay calm and take your time and you will have a safe and memorable visit to the Emerald Isle.