Don’t Rent a Hire to see Dublin City from Dublin Airport

Driving a rental car in Dublin city is stressful and slow and not worth it. The city which is over 1,000 years old and was not built to accommodate cars but walkers, cyclists and horses. The streets are difficult to navigate with heavy traffic congestion and limited parking.Oh, and we drive on the left with nearly all cars manual drive. Read on to find out what to do and if renting a car is worth it for exploring outside of the cities.

Car Hire Dublin Airport

First off if the purpose of your car hire is to putter around Dublin’s city centre then don’t do it! Driving a rental car in Dublin city is stressful and slow and not worth it.

The city which is over 1,000 years old was built around the river Liffey as the main form of transport of goods and people with streets twisting out from the quays in a haphazard format following the slope of the land rather than a grid pattern. Dublin was not built to accommodate cars but walkers, cyclists and horses. The streets are difficult to navigate with heavy traffic congestion and limited parking.

You need to keep your wits about you while driving in Dublin city centre. Three lanes of traffic suddenly become one lane with little notice. We love our traffic lights, there are many, and roundabouts, yellow boxes, and one way systems. On top of this there are bus lanes that you can’t drive down, certain right hand turns that are perfectly fine to turn right on except for two hours a day during rush hour which you are informed of through a tiny sign and the honking of other drivers.

Traffic during rush hour is awful, you will constantly be outpaced by walkers and cyclists as you sit in your car. In fact, most journeys during rush hour within the canals are faster by bus or bicycle. Parking is expensive and limited, with many car parks built with narrow spaces that do not accommodate larger modern cars easily. On street parking will try parallel parking skills and nerves.

On top of this Dublin council has decided to put new cycle lanes everywhere so space for cars is even limited further. Oh, and we drive on the left with nearly all cars manual drive.

Hourly Car Rental Dublin

If you need a car within Dublin city for a limited time we recommend car hires that are electrical or hybrid and rent by the hour such as Go Car and YUKO. They are easy to subscribe to online, you must have a full driving licence and be over 25. Once registered you tell them when and where you want the car. The app will tell you where to pick it up and your phone will send a signal to unlock the car. The car is in the glove box and off you go.

Our Advice

If you need a car for the rest of your stay in Ireland outside of Dublin then save yourself some money and possibly sanity and rent after your visit to Dublin city. Dublin city is easy to get around using public transport, its small and walkable and you will discover more of city life without the car.

The Benefits of Renting a Car Outside of Dublin

Being able to nip around the countryside in Ireland is a joy and you will see remote areas easily by car. Many places outside of the cities are not readily accessible by public transport and realistically the best way to see them is by car. You can discover Ireland on your own time, the freedom to decide when to stop, eat lunch or visit the beach is awe-inspiring. You can easily get to remote picture postcard drives within an hour of the major cities, particularly Cork, Galway and Letterkenny.

All the recognisable car rental companies are available in Ireland with lots of ways to book. As with renting in any other country the normal things to consider apply such as insurance and cover.

Here is some advice on renting a car uniquely in Ireland that will make your trip easier.

Book Online

We always advise you to book online in advance. The reason for this is that waiting does not make renting cheaper, and due to the rental companies selling car stock during the pandemic there is a shortage of cars. Most car rentals are manual, so if you are used to driving automatic you need to book in advance.

Bigger is not Better.

You may be used to driving a large SUV and it can be a great option in countries with modern roads. In Ireland once you get off the motorways and to the more scenic areas the roads are often narrow, twisty and really can only accommodate traffic one way. You will often have to pull over to let cars pass, tractors to squeeze through and sheep to cross ! These roads lead amazing scenery and secluded magical places, so do pick a more compact car for less stressful driving. Your wallet will thank you too as smaller cars use less fuel which is more expensive in Ireland than in America .

Do try and plan your route in advance so you have a general idea of where you are going. In very remote areas stops for lunch and rest stops can be rare, so best to try and identify them in advance. In some very remote areas (like Clare and Connemara), your mobile data may be patchy so knowing the names of the roads will help. We find that Google and Apple maps are more accurate than GPS as roads here are constantly changing, particularly at the moment with new cycle lanes.

Some general advice for renting. Do take a short video with your phone of the outside of the car and inside with a timestamp and highlight any bangs, before and after your trip. It takes just a couple of minutes and will save you in any dispute after rental. Do ask your rental company the size of the tank so you can calculate a fill in advance. Tank capacity is calculated in litres not gallons so can be confusing.

If you have not driven a manual car before Ireland is not the place to start. Do pay the extra (if needed) to get an automatic and do a couple of loops of the carpark before exiting to get a feel for the car. You don’t want your first attempt at getting into fourth gear to be on the five lane M50 with cars hurtling at 100km on either side of you, not fun and dangerous. Before you leave the carpark, find out how to turn on the lights, adjust the mirrors and seat. Find out where reverse is and check potential blind spots. If you are driving on the other side do tell your fellow passengers that they need to help you when merging and looking out for hazards. If you are travelling as a couple its great to have one person navigating and the other driving so you don’t get overwhelmed with all the challenges driving in Ireland will bring.

To drive like a local along these narrow roads raise a finger and wave to other drivers, particularly in thanks to someone who has pulled over to let you pass.

So to summarise, if you are thinking about renting a car you don’t need one for your stay in Dublin city, it’s a waste of money and stressful. However, if you wish to travel outside of Dublin to more rural and scenic areas it can be a great way to discover the countryside.

About Walk Around The Neighbourhood

Walk Around The Neighbourhood is a self-directed mapped digital audio walking tour of Dublin 2 and 8 including Camden street and Portobello parish with interesting histories, stories and attractions. The walking tour takes about two and a half hours.

You can take the tour immediately at home and onsite, replay, start and stop it when you want, its flexible and convenient around your time with links to over 50 attractions along the tour route.

If you want a unique, informative and entertaining tour of Dublin, that is flexible and convenient around your time then this self-guided tour is for you.

Portobello and Camden Street Tour

Walk along pretty Victorian streets, along the tree lined canal, to the haunted park, and bustling market streets. Discover a different side of Dublin walking through the parish that has its origins in 700AD and attracted many nationalities to settle here – Vikings, Christians , Huguenots, Lithuanian Jews, who have given this part of Dublin its unique character.

You will learn about Irelands journey to independence through the personal stories of people who lived along the tour and the stories of saints, rebels, and queens who have forged modern day Ireland with bonus links to historical photos and film.

The tour includes over 50 recommendations of unique independent attractions such as bars, restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, shops and activities along the tour route. The app includes reviews and links to all independent attractions with images of where to visit.

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