Traveling to Ireland? My practical tips for organizing it

Who I am
Aina Martin

Author and references

Tips for a trip to Ireland

Since this is a trip to a European country, there are not many tips, but they will certainly be useful to you.  

Costs in general

Separate arguments need to be made. Ireland on one side and Dublin on the other. Dublin does not mirror Ireland and vice versa. Dublin is expensive, or rather ... similar to other European capitals, but if we compare it to the rest of Ireland, the costs are really higher.

A trip to Ireland it's definitely not the cheapest trip there is, but it's not as expensive as you might think. Apart from Dublin, to sleep you spend from 50 to 80 € for a double, and when you arrive at 80 € the B&B accommodations are really of quality. 

As for food, it is customary to eat main dishes, perhaps anticipating them with a nice hot soup. All with about 50 euros total for two people. Let's say that with € 25/30 you can dine well in various pubs / clubs (restaurants and bistros have other prices). Hypothesize something more for thenorthern Ireland, where you will pay in pounds.

Finally, tickets for various places of interest. On average the price is around 8/10 €, apart from the Guinness Storehouse which costs € 18,5.

Traveling by car in Ireland 

It is the worry of every traveler on the road who sooner or later will have to deal with driving in the opposite direction. Immediately after clicking on “rent”, he is assailed by doubts: “will I be able to drive on the left”?

I'll answer you: sure you will make it! Do not worry! And at this point why not read this article of mine: Drive on the left: 10 tips for not getting anxious

The beauty of a trip to Ireland is that among the green hills you will find very little traffic and this will facilitate you a lot. You will quickly become familiar with driving in the opposite direction.

The real problem, indeed the only problem, is precisely when you take delivery of the car. First of all, you have to get in from the right door (trivial reasoning, but not too much) and become aware of where the gearbox, clutch, headlights, etc. are. Then you have to leave, and starting from the airport area means immediately “colliding” with a little traffic. Don't worry, it is only the first few kilometers that put you in difficulty, then it's all downhill.

An ordinary day on any road in Ireland

I will explore this topic in a specific article on the left hand drive, in the meantime I will reveal to you the trick to never go wrong (or almost): follow the steps in mind, even before reaching a turn or a roundabout. Is critical. Arriving mentally prepared for a stop or a precedence, allows you to manage the unexpected. 

If there are more people in the car, get help from the lead passenger as well.

Tips on car hire in Ireland

There is a tip on car rental that I absolutely want to give you for yours trip to Ireland: rent a car with the automatic change. It sounds like bullshit but it will make you focus more on the road, and it sure needs to be given the drive from the opposite side. 

I recommend you read this: Drive on the left, 10 tips to avoid making mistakes

Caution: if you plan to take a tour in Ireland where the arrival airport is different from the departure airport (e.g. arrival in Dublin, departure from Cork) it is likely that you will have to pay for the drop-off, i.e. the return of the car to a place different from that of origin. The cost is variable and I invite you to read up first to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Car trunk: in my articles on tips for on the road travel I always stress to take a car that has a good trunk, or in any case a trunk suitable for all the suitcases / trolleys that you will bring, so as not to leave anything in sight.

You might be interested in these articles:

  • How to rent a car: tips and recommendations
  • Online car rental: 8 basic tips

Speed ​​limit: I would dare to say weird. The rule is 50 km / h on urban roads, 80 km / h on extra-urban roads, 100 km / h on main extra-urban roads and 120 km / h on motorways. And so far nothing to complain. The point is how far you will be there. Many traits of the Wild Atlantic Road they are traveled at 100 km / h. Sometimes you find yourself on small streets with a maximum of 60/70 km / h with a limit of 100. And people go to 100.

GPS Navigator: no need, do not rent a car with a navigator. Since they extended the use of the data connection outside the Italian borders with the same rate, just a smartphone and google maps.

Road conditions: a trip to Ireland presupposes driving on secondary roads and secondary roads ... in short, you may find any type of road. The condition of the roads, despite being always in the rain, is excellent.

The Irish and the four arrows:  we use the 4 arrows as a danger signal and / or for a partial stop, in Ireland they use the four arrows as I have seen them do also during my trip to Mexico: they use them to thank, for example when you give way to someone who is overtaking you. 

The cost of access to Northern Ireland: if you cross the border by rental car, you will have to pay an additional fee. This must be said when you take charge of the car. In my case, I was not aware of it but they reported it to me (and therefore charged me) at the rental desk. It is important to say what your rough itinerary is.

For more information on Irish roads and regulations to follow, I invite you to find out more about -> official site of Irish tourism.

Recommended restaurants for a trip to Ireland

A few small indications for where to eat along this itinerary.

These are evening places, for lunch we ate something "on the fly", also considering the substantial breakfasts.

  • Dublin -> Bad Bobs, pub in the Temple Bar area, not far from the pub of the same name that gives its name to this area of ​​Dublin. 7 floors of pub, not bad!
  • Bundoran -> Fox's Lair, we didn't have much choice. In March Bundoran doesn't stand out by choice and the kitchens close really early. So we happened upon Fox's Lair. It is very special: you take a seat in the bar with the fireplace, have a drink, choose your courses and when they are ready you go to eat in the restaurant. Retro setting, but great food… it feels like eating at Grandma's. Strange experience.
  • Clifden -> Macdaras Bar, even Clifden in March leaves no doubts… in the sense that the choice goes to exclusion and it is not you who decide, but they who are closed. The important thing is to find a good one and surely Macdaras was perfect. Great dishes, courteous staff!
  • Doolin -> McGann's Pub, I could say that in Doolin I had the best dinner of my entire trip to Ireland, among other things with the classic fish & chips. But the music and being in a small (but very busy) pub in the remote Doolin location helped make it a special dinner.
A little bit of thorns in a historic Galway pub

Sleeping in a lighthouse

The idea of sleep in a lighthouse accompanied me throughout the organization of my Irish itinerary. I've been trying hard to find a lighthouse on the Donegal or Connemara coast to spend a night. You know how beautiful it must be ?! 

Unfortunately, I failed for several reasons. I wanted to stay at the Fanad Head Lighthouse, a lighthouse overlooking the sea in northern Donegal. The problem was that, as I had imagined my stages, the nights I was in the area were already "full". Also, in most cases the lighthouses (or rather lighthouses) accept guests for a minimum of 2 nights. Given the few days I was in Ireland, it was difficult to stay in the same place for two nights.

If you want to try this experience which I think is fantastic, I recommend you book nights at the lighthouse long in advance you have chosen. After all, you won't go back often, better not miss this possibility.

Here is one of the sites where you can search for lighthouses ->

Sleeping in a lighthouse in Ireland

Tips for a trip to Ireland: the relationship with the weather

The weather in Ireland is something serious. I believe that if they did the world meteorology championships, the Irish meteorologists would have few rivals in the world. It would still be a British podium. 

The famous "sky of Ireland”Is often full of clouds. Clouds that fly away fast and continue to create cuts of light and shadow that make the views even more beautiful.

Panorama from the Giant's Causeway

Often it is the rain that reigns supreme, that drizzle at times strong, at times fine, which it is impossible not to encounter in a trip to Ireland

At the beginning of March, when I went to Ireland, it rained practically every morning. In the afternoon the clouds gave way to the sun and I'm not telling you the show!

Whatever season you go, know that you will find all possible weather conditions. Get organized with k-ways or raincoats, time really is unpredictable.

How is the relationship with the local people?

If with the weather we could say that the relationship is "love and hate", with people it could only be love. Excluding Dublin (only because it is a big city) I found some wonderful people who have always had a smile and uncommon courtesy.

In addition to the landscapes, one of the characteristics that pushes people to take a trip to Ireland is this dispassionate and free cordiality of the Irish. In some moments you will seem to feel almost… at home.

Recommended guides 

I always carry a printed guide with me when traveling, it is nice to leaf through it from time to time during the trip reading anecdotes or information about what you are seeing. Very useful also in the travel organization phase, I am happy with the Lonely Planet. Sometimes they contain background information but I find them very understandable and easy to use. Look here Lonely's Guide to Ireland.

Audio Video Traveling to Ireland? My practical tips for organizing it
add a comment of Traveling to Ireland? My practical tips for organizing it
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.