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A Guide To Getting Around Ireland In 2019: Everything Explained!

Written by:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last updated:
August 23, 2019
Travel stories
Planning a trip to beautiful Ireland? Then you'll need to know how to get around! Check out our guide to getting around Ireland for all you need to know.
getting around ireland
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If you’re thinking of visiting Ireland then you’ll be wanting to know the best ways to get around the country. Thankfully you’ve got a couple of options available to you. So if you’re wondering what is the best way to travel around Ireland (and the cheapest) then keep reading as I take you through everything you need to know about getting around Ireland.

Types of transportation in Ireland 

Below I am going to be discussing the following types of transportation in Ireland 

  • Bus 
  • Train 
  • Car 
  • Coach
  • Taxis 
  • Private hire 

Getting around Ireland with a car

One of the easiest ways to get around Ireland is via your own vehicle. All the best sights Ireland has to offer are out of the cities and into the rural areas where the natural beauty is amazing. 

I think when you’ve got your own car you can create your own Ireland road trip, find new adventures and much more. You’ll have the chance to see much more of Ireland

Travelling around Ireland by car is the best way to visit Ireland in my opinion. 

Of course when it comes to getting around Ireland via car, you’ve got a few options which I discuss below. 

Read Also: Driving The Ring Of Beara: What To See And Why You Should Do It!

Rent a car in Ireland

One of your options is to rent a car for the duration of your trip. There are lots of rental firms across Ireland and if you check RentalCars, you’ll find a good deal. If you decide you don’t want to rent a car for all of your trip, then whilst in the main city you are visiting, you could rent a car for the day to explore areas outside of the city and see even more of Ireland. 

This is true of visiting Dublin. Dublin is a great capital city, but it’s not “real” Ireland and there is so much more beauty to see outside of the city.

Unfortunately lots of people stay in the city and its surrounding areas, whereas if you rent a car for even a day, you can see Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wicklow and much more! 

Read Also: Driving The Ring Of Kerry: Everything You Need To Know!

Rent a campervan/motorhome

Another great option (And better one in my opinion) is to rent your own campervan or motorhome for your trip in Ireland.

Renting your own “home on wheels” gives you the chance to save on accommodation too. Plus campsites and wild camping sites in Ireland are amazing and will make your Ireland adventure even more memorable and unique. 

Personally I think it’s easier to rent a campervan because they’re smaller and able to maneuver the country roads of Ireland a lot easier. 

We hired a campervan with SpaceShips Rentals and it was a fantastic experience and well priced. You can check out our review of Spaceships Rentals if you’re interested.

campervan

Rent a driver 

If you’ve got money to spare then you can rent a driver to take you around Ireland and all the best spots. They’ll even be a tour guide for you. All the information is on this website, but it is very expensive. 

Not for those travelling Ireland on a budget.

Benefits of driving whilst getting around Ireland

Just to summarise these are the best reasons to have your own transport when visiting Ireland 

  • Freedom: You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. If you want to beat the crowds at the Cliffs of Moher, or catch sunrises at beautiful spots, you can! 
  • It’s a similar price to tours: Renting a car in Ireland actually isn’t that much more expensive that arranging a tour. And it’s the same with renting a campervan. Accommodation in Ireland is on the expensive side, so when you build that into the price of your campervan/motorhome rental, you’re actually almost saving money (especially in the lower seasons).
  • It’s Quicker: When you take a tour, you have to stick to the tour schedule, and these typically last all day, but if you had your own transport, you’d find you could see things quicker meaning you could fit in more places to visit in your Ireland itinerary! 
  • You can stay in more unique Ireland hotels: Ireland has so many hotels and B&Bs just randomly dotted all over the place. If you have your own car, you can stay in more unique places rather than just big cities and towns. 

Either way, your own set of wheels is the best way to travel through Ireland in my opinion. 

spaceships rental ireland

Getting around Ireland without a car 

Not everyone feels confident enough to drive a car around Ireland and that’s okay. It is actually important to note that in Ireland…

  • They drive on the left hand side of the road 
  • The country roads are tight, narrow and caution needs to be exercised 
  • There are sheep all over the roads 
  • You can’t turn right on a red light (USA) 

So if any of that makes you anxious, then perhaps your best option is getting around Ireland without a car! 

Thankfully, you do have other options! 

Take Tours to the best places in Ireland

Tours run all across Ireland and they’re actually well-priced. Of course on a tour bus you’re restricted on what you see due to the schedule of the bus. But a tour bus will also give you a tour guide who can give you lots of information on the sites you’re visiting. 

You can get tours all across Ireland. Most of them depart from the most popular towns and cities such as Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick etc. 

If you’re looking for great value tours then I can recommend two websites that offer great options:

  1. Get Your Guide: We always use this website for our tour needs and they are very well priced 
  2. Viator: Sometimes they offer unique tours that the other sites don’t have 

Of course you can also pop into a travel agent once you arrive and arrange a tour via that. It all depends on the style you like to travel and organise your trips in. 

Read Also: Backpacking Ireland: 30 Top Travel Tips!

gap of dunloe
You can get tours to here!

Use Public transport in Ireland

When it comes to getting around Ireland with public transport, you will struggle a little. But it’s possible, especially if you’re on a backpacker budget. If you’re coming into one of the main airports, Shannon, Cork or Dublin, you can get buses to almost every city in the country. 

Then when at that the cities you can get local buses to most locations. The best way to find out about the bus network, and the general way to get from A to B, I think you should head to a tourism office and they’ll be happy to help. 

Even the smallest towns in Ireland have little tourism offices. 

It’s also possible to get trains in Ireland, but I have to say, I’ve never used them, but you can find out more information here on the Irish Rail website. Train travel in Ireland isn’t as popular around tourists. 

Also Rome to Rio is a great website to help getting around Ireland. 

Local transport is probably the cheapest way to travel around Ireland, but they most inconvenient!

Read Also: The Best Things To Do In Northern Ireland

buses in ireland

Flying around Ireland

Ireland has a few main airports including Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast. But unfortunately you can’t fly internally. Well, you can, but they will make you stop over in London then come back to Ireland which doesn’t make much sense. I’ve always thought it would be good to have some internal flights from the North down to the south, but apparently it’s not in demand! 

Uber in Ireland 

Ride sharing apps aren’t available all around Ireland. You can get Uber in Dublin and in the North of Ireland around Belfast and Lisburn and that’s about it. Hopefully in the future it will become more readily available. 

Taxis in Ireland 

Taxis in the South of Ireland are all regulated in price. It’s all done on a meter basis, so you won’t need to negotiate with drivers. I worked out it’s around 8-10 euro for a 10 minute journey, so it’s not cheap. Little small villages will have local taxis too. 

Bikes in Ireland 

A lot of the towns and cities in Ireland have bicycle rental opportunities and especially in the countryside, bike riding is a great way to get to the local sites. Of course this depends on the weather, but you’ll see a lot of people on bikes for the best sites when the weather is good!

wicklow national park

So there you have it, my guide to getting around Ireland. If you’ve got any other options to get around Ireland then please do comment them below. 

More articles to help you plan your trips to Ireland 

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