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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 7:46 pm 
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My girlfriend and I are going to be in Ireland for a week in early/mid March and we have some questions about the best way to get around while we're there.

We're flying into Shannon and staying in Borrisokane. Although we have bicycles available, we're planning on spending (at least) a few days traveling. We want to see the Rock of Cashel, the Cliffs of Moher and possibly as far as the Dingle Penninsula (among other places).

We're currently planning on renting a car for the week but I wanted to find out if there were any other alternatives that were available.

Additionally, if we do rent a car is there any right or wrong way to go about it? Should we plan in advance or wait until we arrive to rent? Are manual transmissions cheaper? Is the stick in a manual transmission worked with your left hand? Are there any secrets to saving money on auto fuel?

Is bus or cab travel feasible for distances that great?

Any advice from those of you that know would be greatly appreciated!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:27 am 
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About the only one of those questions I can answer is the one about the gear shift on a manual. Yes, it's worked by the left hand. The reason I know this is it's the one thing that drove my English penpal crazy when they visited the States...they'd already thought about the challenges of driving on the "wrong" side of the road, but hadn't thought about the challenges of shifting with the "wrong" hand!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 7:14 am 
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We have very few Automatic cars in Eire.
Most - almost all are - manual.

You should arrange car hire before you get here - that way , you can try and book an Auto.

Also diving here is nowhere near as crazy as Italy or Spain


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 8:27 am 
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Location: Back home in the Green and Musty Isle, in Dublin.
So this is not a "Fields of Athenry" thread, then? :D

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 8:29 am 
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But still crazy compared to most of North America. Try not to rip the sides off the car on some of the roads and if you're planning on driving to Dingle, take a heart defibrillator. Depending on how much time you have, alot of tour companies offer a pick-up drop-off option with their regular tours, but you have to get the timing right.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 8:33 am 
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Personally, I didn't find driving in the left side of the road any problem when visiting Ireland. After a day or so it wasn't something I thought about at all (and that includes the left hand gear shift)... So, don't be discouraged. :)

/Jens


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 8:36 am 
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Location: Back home in the Green and Musty Isle, in Dublin.
More seriously, automatic is likely to be more expensive, and may not be available in the smaller-sized cars. If you can cope with a manual gearshift in the US, using the "wrong" hand won't be too much of a problem - indeed the added sensation of strangeness will remind you that you're in a strange place and keep you more constantly reminded to drive on the left.

If you check the website of any of the major US car hire firms like Hertz or Avis you'll get an idea of cost, though in practice you may end up paying more if you take some of the insurance options. There are some local operators as well, but the big US firms are the major hire operators on the Irish market.

It's best to go for the smallest-sized cars, they are easier to drive on narrow country roads as well as being cheaper.

Is there a 'fly-drive' offer on your air tickets, or would this require you to hire the car for the full holiday?

Have fun - and drive very defensively if you're out on the roads after pub closing time!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 9:28 am 
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We rented a car from a local firm in Dublin which was considerably cheaper than the big names. We booked that before leaving here. We got a brand new car that was perfect for the 4 of us. The shock came when we went to the first gas station. The sign said .99. I thought wow that's cheaper than back home. Then I saw that was for a liter. Enjoy your trip.

Ron


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:25 am 
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We did manage to hire an automatic, but had to hire it in advance as there were not too many. That was one of our first trips after that we stuck to rail and bus. The things that made me think a lot are the signs at the side of the road saying how many people had been killed on the highway in a year. Not to mention the memorials at the sides of the roads. The bus was cheaper and according to my cousin over there faster than the train??? OK. The bus service is quite good and seems to run almost on time, well OK Irish time. That's another thing you will have to get used to, Irish time. It seems to have nothing to do with Greenwich meantime. Distance is another mystery to me, if you ask someone how far a place is you might get and answer like, "Oh just a couple of cigarettes up the road." or "about 1/2 an hour along" You next have to ask them if that's in a race car, on a donkey or a tractor. That was in the country the city directions are not bad however we did take over an hour just to get outside Dublin Castle. We were so intent on listening to the accents that we forgot to hear the directions. Getting lost can be a lot of fun.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:52 pm 
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Yeah listen to Hils. Small nations like Ireland and Britain have absolutely no concept of distance. I remember going between to cities and the driver was on about how it was a such a horribly long trip and he seemed rather worried about the whole thing. We took two bathroom breaks and he took a long nap afterwards... the drive took about 2 and a half hours.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:49 am 
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Thanks for all of the information! I think we're going to go ahead and rent a car for the week. I got a good quote from Car Rental Ireland and I think it'll probably make the week go a lot easier. We're the kind of people that are gonna want to be off the beaten path so that makes other sources of transportation a little more complicated.
Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:34 am 
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Location: Back home in the Green and Musty Isle, in Dublin.
Good decision. Transport problems are pretty horrific even ON the beaten path.

When you're parking, don't leave anything in view inside the car. The island of saints and scholars isn't as innocent as it used to be.

But most of all, have a ball, and be sure to tell us all about it and drive us mad with envy.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:01 am 
Roger O'Keeffe wrote:
When you're parking, don't leave anything in view inside the car. The island of saints and scholars isn't as innocent as it used to be.
.


Last summer 30 rental cars were cleaned out at Poulnabrone Dolmen, in the one day that is.

Piping board member Steampacket rented an older car from a company in Shannon last summer and got a very good deal out of that and he was dead pleased with it. I thought earlier of recommending that option as the older car hasn't TOURIST RENTAL CAR written all over it and could help avoid some problems that you may attract otherwise.

Going for a smaller car is the option if you really want to go off the beaten track, Bill Ochs pulled up my driveway in a Nissan Micra yesterday with the mirors folded back. He was afraid he'd knock them coming down the road and that while our road isn't the narrowest at all. You get used to the roads after a while but never take it for granted there isn't a huge tractor just around the corner, parked in the middle of the road, slowly moving in the same direction as you are or tearing towards you at max speed while pulling a tank with several tons of slurry in it :D


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 9:49 am 
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Peter Laban wrote:
Roger O'Keeffe wrote:
When you're parking, don't leave anything in view inside the car. The island of saints and scholars isn't as innocent as it used to be.
.


Last summer 30 rental cars were cleaned out at Poulnabrone Dolmen, in the one day that is.

Piping board member Steampacket rented an older car from a company in Shannon last summer and got a very good deal out of that and he was dead pleased with it. I thought earlier of recommending that option as the older car hasn't TOURIST RENTAL CAR written all over it and could help avoid some problems that you may attract otherwise.

Going for a smaller car is the option if you really want to go off the beaten track, Bill Ochs pulled up my driveway in a Nissan Micra yesterday with the mirors folded back. He was afraid he'd knock them coming down the road and that while our road isn't the narrowest at all. You get used to the roads after a while but never take it for granted there isn't a huge tractor just around the corner, parked in the middle of the road, slowly moving in the same direction as you are or tearing towards you at max speed while pulling a tank with several tons of slurry in it :D


Sounds like my neighborhood! People from down in Santa Cruz are terrified to drive up here in the mountains, because most of the roads off the main highway are barely wide enough for one car (and often have a steep drop on one side, and great big mirror grabbing trees on the other). You get used to it if you live here, but every time my dad comes to visit, he arrives bug-eyed and shaking. :lol:

Redwolf

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 9:50 am 
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I had an excellent experience with Nova car hire:
http://www.rentacar-worldwide.com

The rates were the lowest at the time. The car was just beside the Dublin terminal, easy pick-up and return. The staff was helpful. The car was new and clean, came with roadside assistance guarantee, etc.


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