10 Best Car Rentals in Ireland in 2023 [For all Budgets]

Bradley Williams
Written By:
Bradley Williams
Last Updated:
June 19, 2023
Here is a rundown of the absolute best car rental firms in Ireland. Discover what's on offer and how to find the best deals possible for your rental!
Best Car Rentals in Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful country known for its traditional pubs, ancient castles, and lush landscapes, hence the nickname ‘Emerald Isle’.

If you don’t plan on hiring a motorhome in Ireland (like we did) then you’re best off getting a rental car.

This will still allow you plenty of flexibility when it comes to creating your own Ireland road trip itinerary

But choosing which company to hire from can be a confusing task.

  • How much should you pay?
  • Where is best to collect from?
  • Is there a quick way to compare all the top firms?

Below, I will cover all of the above ... and more!

Helping to make your Ireland car rental as quick and straightforward as possible.

Let's get started ...

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How to book your chosen rental

If you’re looking to hire a car in Ireland then you’re likely to feel very overwhelmed as there are lots of options! 

For the best experience, we recommend using Rentalcars which is the best car rental search firm in the country.

In fact, it can be found in 60,000 locations across the world so you know you’re in good hands.

Rentalcars Ireland Car Rental

But what do they do that saves so much time?

Well, Ireland is an incredibly popular road trip destination. And unfortunately, vehicles get booked up well in advance, particularly in the busier summer months.

Luckily, Rentalcars will be able to show you exactly what's still available from the biggest and best car rental companies in the country.

You can then filter your options by size, price, mileage, and fuel policy among others. 

Some other great reasons to do a quick search with Rentalcars include:

  • Millions of customers have booked with Rentalcars
  • Simple and affordable insurance cover
  • More than 15 years of experience
  • On-hand support team in case of issues

Where possible, I’ve provided links to Rentalcars below to help make your search that much easier! 

1. Hertz - Overall top pick for car rental in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Knock, Shannon, Waterford City & Wexford.
  • Price range - $$-$$$
  • Best suited for -  Everyone! 
  • Availability - Check here
Hertz Cars for Rent in Ireland

Overview:

The best option for your Ireland road trip has to be Hertz as it’s one of the top rental companies in the world. They operate in over 150 countries and offer budget-friendly, luxury, and electric car rentals. 

There are 14 pick-up locations across Northern Ireland and the Republic, and they have an awesome loyalty program. With Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, you can use points against free rental days and vehicle upgrades.

Hertz also tends to have a variety of great offers on their website throughout the year. Sometimes, you can save up to 35% off your rental car.

Vehicles on Offer:

Hertz has every kind of car you could imagine ranging from a small VW up to a Range Rover Sport. In total, there are over 20 options so there’s something to suit everybody! 

The cheaper options tend to be from the categories of Mini, Compact, and Economy, while the more luxurious vehicles fall under the Luxury, Special, and Elite brackets. 

There are both automatic and manual transmission cars available so you’ll want to check that before you book. 

2. Thrifty - Best for cheapest long-term car rentals in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Cork & Shannon
  • Price range - $$
  • Best suited for -  Long-term travelers 
  • Availability - Check here
Thrifty Ireland Car Rentals

Overview:

Home to over 100 locations nationwide and flexible rental policies, Thrifty is one of the best options for car rental in Ireland.

They have a convenient pick-up location at Dublin Airport and their prices are extremely reasonable. With other depots across Ireland, you can easily do a road trip and change your drop-off location if you wish. 

If you’re looking for a long-term rental in Ireland then Thrifty is the place to go! Depending on when you visit, you can get a vehicle for just £370 per month which is extremely cost-effective.

Vehicles on Offer:

Thrifty has a huge fleet that includes cars, vans, 4x4s, and luxury vehicles so you’re guaranteed to find something to your liking!

They offer both automatic and manual transmission vehicles and these are split up into categories, typically regarding their size. The smaller cars fall under the ‘compact’ category, while there’s also a ‘full size’ category.

If you’d prefer something a bit more luxurious, then Thrifty also offers elite and luxury car rentals!

3. Europcar - Best for variety of pick-up and drop-off locations 

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Galway, Knock, Cork & others
  • Price range - $$-$$$
  • Best suited for -  Everyone!
  • Availability - Check here
Europcar Cars for Rent in Ireland

Overview:

With over 15 car rental locations throughout the country, Europcar is one of the best options for Ireland car hire!

Boasting an extensive range of vehicles, a secure booking process, and a loyalty program, this company has a lot to offer.

Their quotes also typically include VAT, Collision Damage Waiver, and limited/unlimited mileage, but this depends on the country (as their depots are located all across Europe) so you’ll have to check this in advance. 

However, just keep in mind that the rental prices tend to be much higher with Europcar. Although they’re a fantastic car rental company, they’re not the best option for those on a budget.

Vehicles on Offer:

Europcar has so much to offer in terms of car hire including cars, vans, and prestige vehicles. Before you search, you’ll just need to tick the preferred category to ensure you’re shown suitable options.

Whether you’re looking for a Volkswagen Polo or a BMW series 5, there’s something for everyone. What you choose will all depend on your budget.

There are both automatic and manual transmission vehicles too so you can pick up something you’re used to!

4. Budget - Best for cheap hire cars in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Cork & others
  • Price range - $-$$
  • Best suited for -  Budget travelers 
  • Availability - Check here
Budget Car Rental Ireland

Overview:

If you’re looking for the cheapest car rental in Ireland then you’ll want to check out Budget.

Not only are their prices extremely cost-effective but they offer a great rental package. This includes insurance, 24-hour breakdown assistance, and unlimited mileage! 

With a variety of locations up and down the country, you’ll have no problems creating the ultimate road trip and you can drop off your vehicle elsewhere if needed. 

Not only that, but every rental at Budget comes with a free map of Ireland so you’ve got an idea of where to visit. 

Vehicles on Offer:

Budget has an extensive range of hire vehicles including compact cars, luxury SUVs, and spacious vans.

All the vehicles are split up into categories and this is to ensure your search process is as easy as possible. The smallest vehicles like the Kia Picanto are under the ‘Mini 2 Door’ while the Skoda Octavia is a ‘Full Size 4 Door’.

Better yet, Budget also offers hybrid and electric vehicles so you won’t be short of options!

5. Dollar - Best for car rental loyalty program

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Cork, Kerry, Shannon, Knock & Limerick
  • Price range - $$
  • Best suited for -  Everyone! 
  • Availability - Check here
Dollar Car Rentals Ireland

Overview:

When it comes to renting cars in Ireland there are so many choices that it can often feel overwhelming. 

Dollar offers a wide range of vehicles, several depot locations, and some great deals, making them a fantastic option.

One of the best things about renting a car with Dollar is that you can use their Dollar Express Rewards System. Through this, you can earn free days, have a free additional driver, and have Priority Counter Service.

It’s also free to open this program so what are you waiting for?

Vehicles on Offer:

Like many of the other Ireland car rentals, you’ll have plenty of options when it comes to vehicles. There are small vehicles (like a Citroen C1) or you’ve got the option of an SUV (like a Renault Scenic).

They’re all high-quality vehicles and each one is smoke-free so you don’t need to worry about that. Every year, Dollar adds more vehicles to its fleet as well so the options are constantly changing. 

With both automatic and manual transmission vehicles, there’s no reason not to rent with Dollar!

6. Carhire - Best for family-friendly vehicles 

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kerry & others
  • Price range - $-$$
  • Best suited for -  Families and groups 
  • Availability - Check here
Carhire Ireland Cars for Hire

Overview:

Next up we have Carhire which is known for its fantastic value rentals, excellent customer service, and extensive fleet. 

With over 30 years of rental experience in Ireland, this company knows how to make your experience stress-free with local experts and a value promise.

Included with your rental, you’ll have a Collision Damage and Theft Waiver, road tax, and unlimited mileage (unless your vehicle states otherwise).

Carhire also has a separate category for family vehicles which seat up to 7 people so you’re covered if you’re bringing the whole crew with you! 

Vehicles on Offer:

Whether you’re looking for an automatic car rental in Ireland or a manual, you’ll be spoilt for choice with Carhire.

They have a huge range of vehicles to choose from including small cars, family vehicles, and luxury options. Whether you’re looking for a small Ford Fiesta or a Nissan Qashqai that seats 7, you’re sure to find something to your liking. 

With Carhire, you can also rent both small and large vans including a Ford Transit.

7. Payless - Also great for cheap car rentals in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Kerry & Galway
  • Price range - $-$$
  • Best suited for -  Budget travelers 
  • Availability - Check here
Payless Car Rental Ireland

Overview:

When it comes to cheap Ireland car rentals there are a few choices but Payless is one of the best options along with Budget! 

On their website, they often have a variety of offers including ‘deals of the hour’, ‘early bird savings’, and ‘last minute deals’. With these, you can sometimes rent a car for as little as $23 per day!

Not only that, but your rental package includes unlimited mileage, VAT, third-party cover, theft protection, and Collision Damage Waiver. 

Offering the cheapest rental rates in the country, a fantastic rental package, and an extensive vehicle range, Payless is honestly one of the best car hire options in Ireland.

Vehicles on Offer:

Their cars are split up into a variety of categories so you can immediately find what you’re looking for. This includes ‘Mini’, ‘premium’, and ‘Luxury full size’.

Seating between 4-7 people, there’s an option for everyone no matter whether you’re traveling as a couple, family, or group of friends. 

Payless also offers hybrid vehicles if that’s something you’re interested in!

8. UFO Drive - Best for electric vehicle rentals in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin
  • Price range - $$-$$$
  • Best suited for -  Those prioritizing eco-friendly rentals 
  • Availability - Check here
UFO Drive Ireland Cars for Hire

Overview:

If you’re after 24/7 electric car hire in Ireland then I recommend checking out UFO Drive

For starters, you can book a rental car right from your smartphone which is extremely helpful. Not only that but there’s a self-service experience and 24/7 pick-up and drop-off.

Even better, all-electric vehicle charging is included with the rental and you’ll have access to the app and car navigation system which will show you all the charging point options.

Vehicles on Offer:

There are 11 different electric vehicles to hire with UFO Drive and they’re not all Teslas which is always handy. Usually, that’s what you tend to find with other companies offering EV vehicles. 

There are five Teslas, two Volkswagens, two Hyundais, a Polestar 2, and a CUPRA Born. Some of these vehicles include cruise control and autopilot but you’ll want to check beforehand. 

Another great thing about using UFO Drive is that they’re continuously adding new electric car models to their fleet as soon as they hit the market!

9. NewWay - Best for all-inclusive car rental in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin Airport
  • Price range - $$
  • Best suited for -  Everyone! 
  • Availability - Check here
NewWay Car Hire Ireland

Overview:

When it comes to all-inclusive car rentals, you’ve got a few options throughout Ireland. However, NewWay is a great choice as it includes cross-border insurance so you can travel into Northern Ireland.

For reference, the Republic of Ireland is in the EU while Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom! 

Each rental also includes airport terminal pickup, unlimited mileage, fully comp insurance coverage, and 24-hour breakdown service.

Boasting no hidden fees, no deposit, and the latest car models, you’re in for a great experience with this Irish car rental company.

Vehicles on Offer:

From people carriers to compact vehicles, you’ll have plenty of options with NewWay. Their vehicles seat 4-7 people and range from economical to luxury.

They have both automatic and manual transmission vehicles and they’re split up into categories so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Whether you’d prefer a small Kia Picanto or a luxurious Audi A5, you’re in luck.

NewWay also offers electric vehicle hire where you’ll be able to drive a tesla if you wish!

10. GoCar - Best for peer-to-peer car rentals in Ireland

  • Pick up/drop off location/s - Dublin, Shannon, Galway, Cork & others
  • Price range - $$
  • Best suited for -  Short-term rentals 
  • Availability - Check here
GoCar Ireland Cars for Hire

Overview:

Last but certainly not least there’s GoCar which offers a unique type of car hire compared to other companies in this guide.

It’s the country’s No.1 car-sharing platform, so essentially works the same as Airbnb but for vehicles. When it comes to rates, you either pay by the hour or per day. 

It’s run by Europcar and is a great option for those who are only going to need a car for a day or a few hours. So for example, if you’re planning a short day trip out of Dublin then GoCar may be the best choice! 

Vehicles on Offer:

There are nine types of rental available with GoCar including GoCity, GoTripper, GoExplore, and GoUndercover. The price will differ depending on which option you choose so just keep that in mind.

Whether you’re after a Nissan Micra, Renault Clio, or a Hyundai Kona, there’s something for everyone! GoCar also offers electric vehicles including Renault Zoe, Hyundai Kona Electric, and a Nissan Leaf.

Ireland Car Rental Common FAQ

How much is it to hire a car in Ireland?

The price of car hire in Ireland will largely depend on when you’re visiting, which company you go for, and the size of the vehicle.

Generally, you can expect to pay between $40-$85 per day for a small vehicle and between $90-$150 for a larger car. 

How old do you need to be to hire a car in Ireland?

Rental requirements are pretty strict in Ireland so the youngest age you can hire a car is 21. Even so, you’ll find many rental companies won’t hire to you if you’re under the age of 25.

Just make sure you check all the terms and conditions before you book, as you want to try and avoid young driver surcharge fees if you can! 

Is it worth hiring a car in Ireland?

Absolutely! Honestly, hiring a car is 100% the best way to explore the country! 

Although there’s efficient public transport throughout Ireland, there’s just nothing like creating your personal road trip itinerary.

If you’ve got your own vehicle you’ll also have more flexibility and you’ll be able to fit in a lot more when it comes to sightseeing. 

Is it cheaper to rent a car directly at the airport?

Typically, you’ll find that hiring a car directly at the airport is more expensive than if you were to hire one elsewhere. This is because companies like to raise prices for unsuspecting tourists once they’ve got off the plane!

If you can, try and book your rental in advance and arrange another pick-up location within Dublin or elsewhere depending on where you’re hiring from.

Other top tips for planning your Ireland road trip

Now you’ve got an idea of rental cars in Ireland, it's time to start planning your epic road trip!

Honestly, where to begin? This incredible country is home to endless cities, natural wonders, and quirky attractions, so it can feel quite overwhelming when you’re trying to decide.

First of all, there are plenty of awesome things to do in Ireland so allow at least two weeks for your trip if you can! This way, you’ll have enough time to explore Northern Ireland and the Republic.

There are plenty of awesome road trip opportunities in the country including the Causeway Coastal Route and the Atlantic Drive, but the best by far has to be the Wild Atlantic Way

The latter will take you through nine different counties; Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry, and Cork.

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland here are some other guides you may find helpful: 

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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