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Old 06-13-2015, 06:06 PM   #21
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I drive in Ireland every year using a manual rental car. The best thing to remember is that no matter where u drive that the steering wheel is to the center of the road.
Which works in Ireland of course, but not everywhere. Many of the caribbean islands drive on the "wrong" side (the same as the Irish), but don't have left-drive cars. So the steering wheel is next to the curb, not the center. The U.S.V.I. for example.
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:13 PM   #22
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DD and I are headed to Ireland for two weeks (6/17-6/30).
We will spend a few days in Dublin, then rent a car and head to the coast. We will be staying in B&Bs with some activities planned (biking on Inishmore Island, kayaking in Liscannor Bay and I will climb Carrountoohil). Lots of time for wandering the country and seaside villages. My only concern is driving. Any words of wisdom or suggestions?


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Make special arrangement for automatic if that's what you usually drive. And be especially careful in parking lots and pulling out into streets this is where I usually slipped out of " left hand side mode"

Also as a pedestrian be careful crossing that is another place I slipped out of left hand mode



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Old 06-13-2015, 06:31 PM   #23
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I've not been to Ireland, so I am jealous.

My friend found out the hard way that most credit cards do not cover car rental insurance in a handful of countries, including Ireland--you probably already are on top of that but just wanted to mention it.
Excellent point. Also, many auto insurers will cover your rental abroad - - but NOT in Ireland. Pay for the full coverage! A motorcyclist was close to crossing the center lane in Kilarney National Park. I moved over to avoid him and scraped the side of the car on the rock wall on the left. It was either the wall or the motorcycle so. . . Thank the good Lord I bought the insurance.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:27 PM   #24
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We went last year and loved Dingle, were just talking tonight about going back next year. Although we are experienced other side drivers, we avoided driving in Dublin and took the train across the country, then rented a car over on the west coast. The car rental place gave us the advice to 'keep the wife in the gutter ' or as my hubby translated it 'keep the b@tch in the ditch". You will have a great time and eat lots of chowder and drink lots of Guinness and whiskey!!!
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:45 PM   #25
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Also as a pedestrian be careful crossing that is another place I slipped out of left hand mode
Yes, being a pedestrian can be more hazardous than driving. We're so accustomed to looking left first when crossing ... you can get blindsided by the traffic coming from the right. It's not unusual for tourists to be injured when they step into the path of an oncoming vehicle while looking in the opposite direction.

Irish drivers are very capable and seem to look out for touristic errors. You'll note that some main two-lane roads have particularly wide paved shoulders ... it's good etiquette to move into the paved shoulder area to allow faster traffic to pass.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:55 PM   #26
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We spent a month driving in Ireland a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. We rented our car, a VW Golf diesel, in England so I can't comment on insurance requirements except to say that I had to pay extra to drive a UK rental car in Ireland.

If you are not used to a manual change then I would recommend an automatic just to remove additional things to think about when negotiating difficult road junctions, roundabouts and hill starts.

Turning left on a red light is not allowed AFAIK, I don't recall ever seeing anyone do that.

see page 102 in the Rules of the Road for the light sequences and how to behave at them. (e.g. flashing amber means you MUST yield to pedestrians)

http://rsa.ie/Documents/Learner%20Dr...f_the_road.pdf
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:15 PM   #27
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Good advice from all. Mind your speed, use your passenger as a co-pilot, be extra careful on narrow roads especially in towns, and watch out on round-abouts - if in doubt just drive around an extra time inside the round-about. When we were overseas, we used to spend Christmas holidays in England and this was the most challenging driving - throw in very short days and a bit of snow and sleet and you've got a recipe for sore neck muscles. Be most careful at intersections - the life long instincts of managing right and left turns are hard to over-ride. As much as I love to drive a stick, I would probably go with an automatic just to reduce tasks. Not too many years ago, DW found that there are some differences in manual transmissions. Turns out that late model manuals won't turn over in Canada unless either in neutral or clutch depressed. On a hot day in the UK she reached in to start the car to get the AC going - car leapt ahead a foot. Ooops! Fortunately she was fine and nothing in front of it to bump! Now even our automatics won't start unless the brake pedal is depressed. Have a great trip.
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Old 06-13-2015, 09:20 PM   #28
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These things helped us on our two trips to Ireland:

Get a GPS or bring one, only trust it when driving on main roads.
Get an Automatic
Get a Diesel car
Let DW navigate calling out directions instead of GPS crazy thing tried to get me into a farmer's field.
Bring or get paper maps
Get the full coverage with zero deductible, they put a hold on funds if you don't and can charge to fix vehicle if the basic insurance does not cover costs.
Avoid the back roads, the GPS tried to take us on all the small "R" roads, stay on "M" and "N" roads as much as possible, this is where the paper map comes in handy.
As mentioned earlier some of the speed limits are to high for the roads so stay to the left as much as possible to let faster vehicles get by.
Don't stop in the intersections, avoid the bus stop lanes too.
In small towns and villages, beware of pedestrians they like to cross the street anywhere.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:01 PM   #29
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I went last year. Lots of good tips here. My son helped me with making sure I wasn't too close to the edge of the road. He has a good way of doing that without sounding like he's nagging or anything like that. Going through the middle of the older towns was the worst, narrow lanes with high curbs. Get the extra insurance. My card doesn't cover Ireland, most US cards don't. I scraped one hubcap. Luckily the guy at the car return kind of smudged it up, and when I asked what he was doing, he said he was making it look old so I wouldn't get charged!

I had two main issues. One was parking. I just couldn't get used to the position of my car from that perspective in a normal parking lot.

The second was checking my rear view mirrors. I would instinctively look up and to the right and not find the main rear view mirror, and have to look down for the side mirror. I couldn't get used to looking up and left.

Otherwise I got used to it pretty quickly. I think I even had a manual in Ireland, or maybe that was Scotland. Had to drive some of the R roads and I learned that as long as I was going a reasonable speed and keep my position in my lane, I'd be fine. Definitely stay sober. I only drank after the car was parked for the night. And I turned the car in when we got back to Dublin for the last 2 nights. Dublin looked like a hassle to drive in and we stayed in the middle of town where we didn't need a car.
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:03 PM   #30
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We actually took a bus each day to pick up and drop off our rental car on the outskirts of Dublin because we were terrified to try driving in the city as virgin lefties. Makes for a good story even some 10 years later.

As does our first attempt to exit a roundabout properly, again as virgin lefties. It took three attempts as we just kept circling and circling. Finally I got the timing of yelling "Now!" down perfectly, and we got out.

And be prepared to be lost. A lot. A whole lot. The good news is that the Irish we encountered often realized we were lost before we did, and were quick to lend a hand. Delightful people, those Irish!
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:11 PM   #31
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If you are coming from North America, minimize driving on the first day. The jet lag induced concentration deficits worsen the problem of driving on the left
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:23 PM   #32
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Delightful people, those Irish!
Why thank you! 🇮🇪

If it makes you feel better, many years ago when roundabouts were being introduced, my (Irish) aunt drove around one......backwards. And lived to tell the tale!
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Old 06-13-2015, 10:49 PM   #33
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Had to drive some of the R roads and I learned that as long as I was going a reasonable speed and keep my position in my lane, I'd be fine. Definitely stay sober. I only drank after the car was parked for the night. And I turned the car in when we got back to Dublin for the last 2 nights. Dublin looked like a hassle to drive in and we stayed in the middle of town where we didn't need a car.
I completely agree.
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Old 06-13-2015, 11:03 PM   #34
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Work paid for us to go to Ireland for several months a few years back. They paid for a rental car too but we ended up taking the trains and Luas almost everywhere. The bus system is pretty good too.

Everyone was so friendly. When we were walking and carrying a lot of luggage to get on the ferry from Ireland to Normandy, a total of 4 different people asked if we needed help.

Have a great trip!
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Old 06-14-2015, 07:55 AM   #35
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We actually took a bus each day to pick up and drop off our rental car on the outskirts of Dublin because we were terrified to try driving in the city as virgin lefties. Makes for a good story even some 10 years later.
My first time driving in the UK we had been in London for a few days and were picking up a car to drive out to Bath and Stratford for a few more days.

The rental place was a short walk from the hotel just on the other side of Hyde Park. We emerged from the underground parking right into the center of busy London traffic (there's a reason it's called the congestion zone!) and drove through town to Greenwich Observatory. That was quite the thrill for me, the driver, and my passengers. I was forced to "learn quickly."

You also do have to watch out for camera enforcement. A month after our trip I received a ticket in the mail from that first day because I had inadvertently driven down a bus only lane. Luckily, that was my only brush with the law on that trip.
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:02 AM   #36
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You also do have to watch out for camera enforcement. A month after our trip I received a ticket in the mail from that first day because I had inadvertently driven down a bus only lane. Luckily, that was my only brush with the law on that trip.
You can find a map and list of the locations of road surveillance cameras in Ireland here. They use vehicles.

Safety Cameras - An Garda Síochána - Ireland's National Police Service
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:11 AM   #37
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Thanks everyone. We rent our car after leaving Dublin. I don't even like driving in downtown Seattle!
I believe I opted for full insurance, but will double check. I do recall the rental being expensive. I think it is a manual (don't recall if it is diesel). I may change that if possible.
Good idea on the paper maps - my daughter has navigator responsibilities. I did make sure our B&B's have parking and within walking distance of Pubs
I factored in lots of time between B&B's so we wouldn't feel rushed.
I will read the links shared.
Thanks again....I'll let you know how it goes.


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Old 06-14-2015, 08:28 AM   #38
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Here are some free activities and festivals this summer:

50 free days out this summer | Irish Examiner

http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifesty...on-336531.html
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Old 06-19-2015, 07:43 AM   #39
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I second the don't drive if you are tired. We got off long flight from KL to Gold Coast, Australia and made the mistake of driving for five hours. On reflection, this was a mistake.

After a day or so we are fine. BUT....I find myself constantly turning the wipers on instead of the turn signals! Our Australian friends find the same when they are in Europe or North America.

Best thing I ever did for travel was learning to drive on a standard transmission automobile. Automatics are much more expensive to rent outside of North America and in many places we find standards more preferable.
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Old 06-19-2015, 08:43 AM   #40
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I would often cut out a good sized cardboard arrow, point it left and tape it to the dash.
Roundabouts can be tricky but I'd always sort of slow down and follow the guy in front of me. If I had to go around two or three times to get it right, I didn't care.

Getting off of highway exits (not many highways in Ireland) can be a challenge as you often end up pointing in the wrong direction than where you wanted to go. You'd think: 'I want to go East, so I should exit here (before the overpass)...but it's the opposite and you end up pointing West!'

Go slow, have fun.
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