The thought of driving on the left side of the road terrifies many potential visitors to Ireland. However, those who overcome that fear are treated to an itinerary that perfectly suits their interests and timetable.
That said, it is easy to overload an itinerary by zipping around Ireland on the “green blur tour.” Here are five tips to help coordinate your self-drive tour…
- Consider a 60 miles (95 km) per day maximum. Limiting how far you drive per day can drastically enhance your experience. Averaging less than 60 miles per day can be an excellent way to balance your desire to see as much as possible while avoiding a “green blur” tour. If you decide to travel more than 60 miles one day, reward yourself with a lighter day later in the trip (the route planning feature at www.aaroadwatch.ie can help).
- Stay close on the first day. Give yourself some time to adjust and avoid driving with jet lag by spending less than 60 minutes on the road on the first day. From Dublin, that could put you in some wonderful locations such as Drogheda, Kildare, Kilkenny, or Wicklow. From Shannon, you could enjoy Adare, Doolin, Ennis, Killaloe, Limerick, Doolin, and if you want to push it, even Galway.
- Get off the N and M roads. Ireland’s modern road system is great for getting between places, but finding an alternative to the N (National) and M (Motorways) roads are the best way to see the “real” Ireland. Even if it’s only for an hour of your journey, the minor roads will take you to unforgettable places.
- Know what towns are ahead. Roadsigns in Ireland might be different from what you’re used to, but if you know the names of a few towns in the direction you’re heading, it’ll be easier to follow the road signs.
- Understand Ireland’s car insurance policies. Ireland is one of the few countries in the world where most credit cards DO NOT cover car rental (car hire) insurance. Familiarize yourself with basic insurance coverage often called CDW (collision damage waiver) and full-coverage Super CDW – let me warn you, coverage can be pricy (here are tips from Ireland With Kids, IrelandYes, and the Irish Fireside).
Feel free to add your tips below…