Road Trip to Ireland
There are a huge number of benefits to making Ireland for your next driving holiday destination. Perhaps the main advantages for a UK based driver are the common language and that fact that there’s no need to get used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Despite the fact that there are many similarities between the UK and Ireland, that doesn’t mean that it’s just a case of packing up the car and heading off. There are a few practical considerations to take into account before travelling.
Getting There – Ferry or Plane?
The two main options for travelling are ferry or plane, and most people thinking about a driving holiday will want to take their own car. This means a ferry crossing and there are plenty of routes to choose from. Holyhead in north-west Wales into Dublin is the best choice for people wishing to explore the area around the capital. If you’re travelling from the north of England or Scotland, then it might be quicker to take the shorter crossing from Stranraer across to Belfast, and drive from there. A final option is the crossing from Fishguard in west Wales to Rosslare on the south eastern coast of Ireland. Whichever crossing suits you best, the key advice is always to book in advance. Crossings fill up quickly at peak times and once the ferry’s full, there’s no way to squeeze in an extra car or two.
Depending on what time of year you are arriving, consider the weather Ireland is known for, lots and lots of rain.
The other option is to fly and hire a car from the airport. If you can get a cheap flight from a regional airport, then this can be better value than taking your own. The downside is that you will be in an unfamiliar car, and won’t be able to take as much luggage with you as bringing your own car with you. All of the major car brands operate in Ireland, so check the prices of hiring a car combined with flying when weighing up the alternatives for your trip.
Paperwork and Documentation
There are lots of reciprocal agreements between the UK and Ireland which should made motoring fairly hassle-free. Your insurance company probably won’t charge you extra for the risk of driving on Irish roads, but it’s always a good idea to call them up and let them know your plans. It will make things easier if you are involved in an accident on holiday. You don’t need to take a folder with all of your insurance and car related paperwork with you either. Before you set off, check that your MOT certificate won’t expire while you’re away, and that your road tax is up to date too. You should take your pink driving licence photocard with you too. There’s no need to carry extra stuff like the V5 registration document, or your insurance policy documents either. Just keep a note of the company’s helpline number should you need to call. Take prescription medication with you, and pack EHIC cards for each member of the family to make accessing healthcare easier if you need it. Finally, look into getting an international calling card to make keeping in touch with home a whole lot easier.
Where Should I Go?
Perhaps the ideal driving destination is the far west of Ireland, and its Atlantic coast. The rugged countryside is perfect for exploring by car, allowing you to stop off at as many little villages as take your fancy. The most famous circular route is the Ring of Kerry, 111 miles around some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. It gets crowded in summer months though, so perhaps a destination a bit more off the beaten track would be more appropriate?
If so, another good option is the Wicklow Mountains, south of the capital. Park up and trek up into the hills for amazing views over the surrounding countryside, or just find a cosy local pub for a hearty lunch and a drink before heading off in the car again. Wicklow is also close enough to Dublin to explore the capital too. That’s the one place we wouldn’t avoid taking the car; it’s a busy city which is often very congested. Leave the car on the outskirts and use the local train service called the DART to get into the city and explore.