Although Ireland is not the biggest country in the world, it is still quite large in comparison to other islands in Europe. If you want to see everything this wonderful country has to offer, then knowing the best ways to get around is essential.
In this article, we’ll present the main options open to visitors for getting from one place to another when travelling around the country.
For short-term stays, renting a car is the most popular option as it provides plenty of freedom, privacy and convenience. However, this option does have two obvious disadvantages:
Cost – You’ll have to pay for the privilege of having your own car on a 24-hour basis and while you can get discounts for longer term hires, it will still cost much more than any other option. You’ll also have to pay for fuel, and if you have the car long enough, you may have to pay for motor oil, car washing and so on.
Independence: While being on your own and not waiting around for other tourists may sound great, it also means that you don’t have the advantage of a local person taking you around. Therefore, you may find yourself relying on signposts, GPS and maps. You may be fine with this but getting lost may take up a lot of your time which may have been used sightseeing.
If you have sufficient funds, utter faith in your navigational skills, and a craving for complete privacy, then hiring a car may be the best option for you.
Chauffeur Driven Vehicle
Although you are accompanied by an experienced, knowledgeable driver, this travel option is the most private. It may sound expensive but hiring a chauffeur for a luxury tour of Ireland is usually more affordable than hiring a car. The reason being that you only pay for the actual time you are travelling, and you don’t have to pay for fuel or other miscellaneous costs.
Another difference in comparison to car rental is that you don’t have to navigate your way through the Emerald Isle. The driver will know how to get to your destination, leaving you free to enjoy the scenery, have a chat, or catch up on some sleep.
There are many long distance bus services in Ireland, and prices can vary considerably between different operators and routes. Buses are public transport vehicles, so you have to share your journey (and space) with many others, meaning there’s no privacy at all.
Buses tend to be the least expensive option, so they’re a great choice when you’re on a tight budget. On the other hand, not all places in Ireland can be reached by public buses. For example, there is no direct route to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin. Even if you do manage to get to Clare by a public bus, you will have to arrange another form of transport to get you to the cliffs.
Another disadvantage is being bound to the timetable of the bus service, so you may have to travel at times that are not what you’d consider ideal for travel.
Often considered the most romantic way to travel, train voyages are safer and faster than bus travel, but usually cost more. Trains also don’t go to as many places as buses, but they can often get you close to your destination and you can then connect by bus, chauffeur car, or taxi to go the rest of the way.
Like buses, trains offer no privacy, and Irish trains typically don’t offer sleeper cars or private cars.
Travelling well is mostly a matter of being prepared
It’s best to plan ahead for all the places you intend to visit in Ireland and make your transport decisions in advance. This will save a lot of headaches and frustration, because you’ll already know where you’re going and how you’ll get there.
Consider using a combination of different transport styles as you journey around so you get the best in convenience, speed, comfort and value.