5 days in Ireland-Hiring a car and driving
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Jun 27, 2007 12:44 PM Last Post By: Torc
Jun 24, 2007 2:56 PM
5 days in Ireland-Hiring a car and drivingHello,
My partner and I are heading to Ireland in August. We are wondering if it is unrealistic to fly into Dublin, picking up a hired car and seeing the South-West (Counties Cork and Kerry) in 5-6 days. A lot of time in the car but I'm thinking beautiful scenery and a great way to get introduced to Ireland.
Unfortunately that's all the time off from work we can get and flight time/costs are better to fly in and out of Dublin rather than Shannon or Cork.
Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?
Jun 24, 2007 3:24 PM
1I'd suggest avoiding the drive from Dublin (airport) to Cork, it's a terribly wearing journey (even to those of us used to Irish road conditions and driving).
A car journey from the outskirts of Dublin to Cork can be expected to take 4 to 5 hours depending on traffic (even though it's only 150 miles). You can add on to this anything up to 2 hours to get out of Dublin city depending on the time of day.
Take the train to cork and hire a car there, car hire is no cheaper than in Dublin, but you will spare yourself a lot of aggrivation and have a better holiday for it.
Jun 24, 2007 4:44 PM
2First of all, I agree with Mabrowne about the drive from Dublin to Cork. Even assuming that you take the motorway around Dublin and thus avoid the city itself, you need to allow that 4 - 5 hours, including a rest stop. And it is indeed a dreary drive, taxing too if you're unused to driving in Ireland. The train, BTW, takes just under three hours.
It takes even longer to drive from Killarney back to Dublin: add at least an hour. Basically, you're looking at the best part of a day at either end of your holiday just for getting from Dublin to Cork, and from Kerry back to Dublin. That leaves you with just 3 - 4 days for actual touring.
(Where are you flying in from? You don't say and I'm just thinking about jetlag if you're coming in from North America; not a good idea to drive that day if that's the case.)
The main point that I'll make is this. You don't cover long distances fast in Ireland. Once you get to Cork City and start to head west, your average driving speed is going to be in the region of around 40 mph/70kmh, or even slower. The roads aren't built for speed and every town and village that you come to slows you down considerably. That includes the drive from Co. Kerry to Dublin. Driving isn't relaxing either as you're constantly trying to overtake slow moving vehicles like tractors and slow trucks.
For that reason I seriously doubt that you'll see much of Counties Cork and Kerry in your remaining 3 - 4 days, except what's visible out of a car window. Besides, it's not a region to rush around.
There are oodles of places to see and things to do in just one of those two counties and IMHO it would be a mistake to try to visit both in that time frame. Bear in mind that the famous Ring of Kerry will be crowded in August and that may very well detract from your enjoyment. You'll be behind a slow procession of tour buses.
For your 3 - 4 days, I would choose either West Cork or Co. Kerry, but not both. Leave time to get out of the car and explore on foot, have a pint and a bowl of fish chowder in a pub, browse the family owned shops that are the norm out there, take a walk along the cliffs or the beach...it all takes time but I think you'll have a better holiday than spending most of your day driving.
Jun 24, 2007 11:11 PM
3In 2005 I hired a car with my mum and we spent 5 days in Ireland. We left from Dublin airport and drove to Kilkenny for the first night, taking in Wicklow and Avoca along the way. From Kilkenny we drove to Cork, taking in Caher Castle and the Rock of Cashel, as well as stopping at smaller points along the way. From Cork, we went to the Blarney Castle and then onto the Ring of Dingle (didn't have enough time for the Ring of Kerry) I highly recommend the Ring of Dingle. We spent that night in Limerick. From Limerick we then drove back to Dublin. We were there in Nov, so the days were shorter and some of our driving after seeing the main sights was at night (such as the drive into Cork and Limerick) but that didn't worry us. This gave us the highlights as well as some off the usual track sights and we loved every minute of it. So much in fact that I'm currently in the process of moving to Ireland to live & work for 2 yrs!
Jun 24, 2007 11:31 PM
4Hey, I'd agree with not driving out of dublin yourself - I don't do it unless I have to and i'm from Cork! There's an Aircoach bus that travels very cheaply from Dublin to Cork city. and you could rent a car in Cork easily. www.aircoach.ie. They leave from Dublin airport and go to Dublin city, cork city and cork airport (where you'd pick up a rental car) Flights to Cork from Dublin might not be so expensive either if you book early. check out www.aerlingus.ie, www.aerarann.ie and www.ryanair.ie.
I'd agree with picking one of cork or kerry. I'd go to kerry really, its lovely. dingle penninsula is great too and often not as crowded as ring of kerry and also does not take as long to drive. The Conor Pass on the dingle penninsula is a great drive.
Jun 25, 2007 11:18 PM
5I´d certainly agree with 4 about either the aircoach or flying to cut costs. even to save on fuel costs it´d probably be cheaper to fly from Dublin to Cork or Kerry.
I would definately spend a day travelling aroud the Ring of Kerry. It is probably a little more crowded but with good reason, it´s a breathtaking drive! You can avoid a lot of the bus traffic by driving clockwise (i.e. start in Kenmare) as all the buses go the other way around.
Enjoy your trip!
Jun 27, 2007 12:44 PM
6i'd agree with all the above. One more thing to be aware of: August is the most crowded and expensive time in that part of the world, and please do make sure you avoid the bank holiday weekend here - Monday 6 August. Madness. It's the busiest weekend of the year, as everyone in Ireland is one the move, plus it's busy anyway. All hotels rank August as "high season" so you pay the max for accommodation that month. The aircoach would be much cheaper than train, which is 60 euro for a five-day weekend return, plus the aircoach will pick you up at airport: you might as well fly domestically on from Dublin as trek across town and get the train to Cork or Kerry. You don't say where you live in Britain, so i don't know what airlines serve your local airport, but Aer Arann have upped their international flight destinations lately and fly to several British cities. You could also check out big bad bold Michael O'Meglomania's Ryan Air. By the way, the Beara peninsula is the least visited of the three (Dingle, Iveragh / Ring of Kerry) and the wildest. The bus tours don't go out there, but you'll be running into them everywhere on the other two. Also, if driving, be aware that all buses must (and do) tour the Ring of Kerry in an anti-clockwise direction: this is to avoid two big monster buses meeting on a narrow road and being unable to pass. So if you're driving against them, it can be tiring, especially in the morning, as they all head off from Killarney about 9am.
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