Although there is a lot to see in Dublin itself, Mrs. Selfish and I had a week to burn in Ireland, so our best option was to rent a car and see the breathtaking Irish countryside.

Ireland Trip Report

  1. Ireland Overview
  2. Driving in Ireland
  3. Castles, Castles, and more Castles
  4. Kylemore and Connemara
  5. The Cliffs of Insanity!
  6. The Loop Around the Dingle Peninsula
  7. Searching for the Best Guinness in Dublin
  8. 6 Hotels in 7 Nights! Part 1
  9. 6 Hotels in 7 Nights! Part 2
  10. Ireland’s Fine Eats – Part 1
  11. Ireland’s Fine Eats – Part 2

If you’ve never been, Ireland is a beautiful country that gets an unfortunate amount of rainfall each year.  It’s also a very small country with a population of just under 4.5 million people and a little over 1 million living in Dublin itself.

There are a number of trains around Ireland.  Another popular option is to join a tour bus, but nothing beats a rental car.

Renting a Car in Ireland

Tip #1: Use Auto Slash to save off of the rental itself

Car renting is a mysterious process with car rates rising or falling just about every day for little to no reason.  Luckily, this is where services such as Auto Slash, come in handy.  Unlike most websites, Auto Slash automatically re-books your reservation every time the price lowers:

You were originally booked at 202.06 EUR, and the price has now dropped to 183.00 EUR. We’ve automatically re-booked your rental at the lower rate. You’ve saved 19.06 EUR without even lifting a finger! 

For this trip, we only saved 19.06 euros, but hey, that’s almost 5 pints of Guinness!

Unfortunately, Auto Slash doesn’t cover every rental agency (for instance, Hertz is unavailable), but I always like to check there first before I look anywhere else.

Tip #2: Buy the most comprehensive insurance you can get!

Most decent credit cards offer Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage, which basically means you’re covered for any damage caused by collisions or theft as long as you waive the rental car company’s insurance plans. Unfortunately, Ireland, along with New Zealand and Israel, is one of the few countries in the world that isn’t covered by credit card insurance.

So this meant we had to buy insurance.  Given what we’d heard about Ireland’s streets, we opted for the most comprehensive insurance plan they had.  The price difference was around 100 euros, but this brought down the deductible from 1000 euros to 150 euros.

Ireland’s roads tend to be one-lane in either direction, unless you’re on a major highway (where they have two lanes!).  On really popular routes, like the Ring of Kerry, you’re bound to encounter a bus or two – and man do they get close!  A couple of times we had to swerve to the side to avoid them, hitting a ton of brush on the side and really scratching up the passenger side door.

Tip #3: If you can drive manual, do it every time!

August is peak tourist season in Ireland.  As a result, car rental prices can get extremely high.  We rented our tiny Yaris for a whopping 21 euros a day after price reductions, but an automatic compact car would have run over 63 euros a day!

Given the option of three cars, I opted for the Yaris since I drive a Japanese car at home.  Fortunately, the dashboard was configured exactly the same (despite the wheel being on the opposite side).  We also opted to get the GPS, since the drive was intimidating enough as it was and Mrs. Selfish is not the best navigator.

Rental Costs

  • Manual Car Rental: 183 euros
  • Navigation System: 44.05 euros
  • Insurance: 233.78 euros
  • TOTAL COST: 460.86 euros

As you can see, the most expensive part of the rental was the insurance itself.  In exchange, Mrs. Selfish and I got total piece of mind and the most beautiful driving experience I’ve had to date!