A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland

[As I am rereading this post before I publish, I recognize it is long. What was a simple “how-to” became comprehensive guide to renting a car in Ireland. I debated splitting up the content into two posts, but one of the reasons I created Infinite Ireland was to be sure first-time travelers to Ireland would have all the information in one place. It is a lot to take in, but I hope that the information will help you better understand how to rent a car in Ireland. As always feel free to comment and ask questions--we truly love helping you travel.]

…….

Red Rental Car in Ireland

A Bright Red Rental Beauty

To really get intimate, to discover places and meet people, requires renting a car in Ireland. Simply put, we have gone places in a rental car that buses and large tour groups cannot go. We have chatted with locals for hours past closing time. We have eaten amazing dinners in remote restaurants. We have been the only people at some of Ireland’s best attractions.

All because we didn’t have to abide by someone else’s schedule. Because we opted for a rental car.

There are more rules and nuances for renting a car in Ireland than almost anywhere else in the world (I’ve done the research). It can be challenging, but as soon as you understand the lingo and what impacts the bottom line, you can get a good deal and be equipped with the wheels for a great trip.

Demystifying Renting a Car in Ireland

Each rental car website will ask you for basically the same information. These selections decide how much your quote will be so it is a good idea to check these details carefully.

Pick up and drop off location: The easiest and most convenient place to pick up a rental car is at the airport as soon as the plane lands. Airport pickups have a small location surcharge, but I think the convenience of not driving in the city is well-worth the minimal extra cost.

I highly suggest flying in and out of Shannon. The Shannon Airport is much smaller and it sees a lot less traffic. Going through customs, picking up checked luggage, and renting a car should be quick and easy. We have landed and been on the road in less than 45 minutes.

Shannon Airport Departures Area

The Lovely and Often Quiet, Shannon Airport via Sean MacEntee

If you do fly into Dublin and plan to see the city first, pick up the rental car after exploring for a day or two. It is easy to get around using public transport. Plus you will avoid driving in the city (jet lagged and on the left side of the road) and paying for extra days.

Date and time of pick up and drop off: Obviously the longer you rent a car in Ireland, the costlier it will be. I try to time my pick-up and drop off within an hour of each other (e.g. pick up at 7:00 AM and drop off at 8:00 AM two weeks later). In doing so, I am not usually charged any extra/partial days. Working out the timing is usually pretty easy for us as most transatlantic flights arrive and depart in the morning.

Age at the time of rental: Renters between the ages of 25 and 74 will receive the lowest rates available. If you are between 21 and 24, you will likely have to pay an extra fee for each day. Unfortunately those under 21 cannot rent in Ireland. Similarly, seniors over 75 may find it difficult to rent a car.

Transmission: Automatic or manual (stick shift) transmission cars differ greatly in cost. Manual transmissions are much less expensive and are more common among the local drivers. However, if you do not drive a manual transmission vehicle in your daily life, I would “stick” to an automatic in Ireland. While the significant price difference is tempting, the ease of driving an automatic is worth the extra cost especially on winding and narrow roads!

Extra Drivers: The number of additional driver’s increases the cost of your daily rental fee. Most companies charge an extra €10 or $13 US per day. If you think you will need more than one driver to break up the trip or fear someone getting sick, it may be worth the extra cost. In our family, my husband Joe is usually the designated driver and I am the navigator. We don’t typically pay the extra cost per day to have two people at the wheel. But when we knew Joe was feeling under the weather before our last trip, we opted for the extra driver upon arrival.

Vehicle Size: The smaller the better! If you are traveling with a significant other or a small family, there really isn’t any reason you should opt for a size upgrade. You will thank yourself for a smaller vehicle. If you are also bringing Aunt Hilda and Cousin Wilfred along, just opt for the smallest size you think you can get away with.

Currency: Most rental websites will ask which currency the quote should be displayed. It really doesn’t matter if it is in US dollars or in Euros. Just be sure that the quotes you receive from different sites are in the same currency to compare apples to apples.

Extras: A number of extra services are available at checkout such as child seats, GPS, and even a mobile hot spot (from at least one company–Hertz). Some people swear by GPS in Ireland, but we find a good map sufficient.

Rental Car Insurance

Bus, Car and Bike Accident in Dublin

Insurance is Important via Infomatique

Insurance is by far the biggest headache when renting a car in Ireland. There are several different types of insurance in a rental agreement. Understanding which ones to purchase and why to buy them can be really important.

CDW/Collision Damage Waiver/Basic Insurance/LLI/Limited Liability Insurance/CDI/Collision Damage Insurance: Everyone* is mandated to buy Collision Damage Insurance and is the minimum amount of insurance coverage required when renting a car in Ireland. CDW reduces your financial responsibility for damage to your vehicle. After purchasing CDW, you will have a minimum deductible of €1000 for any damage, sometimes more depending on company/larger vehicles. CDW typically does not include tire, window, or undercarriage damage.

The cost of CDW can vary greatly from company to company. Most car rental websites ending in .ie (versus .com) include it in the quote online. If it is not included, call the company to find out the daily rate.

*World Matercard CDW: There is the possibility of one exception to the mandated purchase of CDW, World MasterCard coverage. This seems to be the only credit card that has coverage in the Republic of Ireland. If you have a World MasterCard and would like to use it to waive the purchase of CDW, contact the credit card company and get hard copy documentation that states you are covered in Ireland. Some companies still won’t accept this coverage, others will. Be sure to call the car rental agency to find their terms.

It is very likely that the car company will place a hold or even charge a couple thousand euros on the credit card. The hold will be removed or refunded once the car is returned with no damage. A small administration fee is also usually charged when declining the CDW, about €25-€30.

Excess Insurance/Super Damage Waiver:  This is the ultimate car insurance that will cover all sorts of scratches and bruises to your rental vehicle. By purchasing this extra insurance your liability for the vehicle will be down to €0.00-€300. Car rental agencies usually like to hide how much this is per day. Look in the terms and conditions for this information (usually on the second page of the booking process).  Again always check what is included. Most still don’t cover tires or glass. We always purchase this and have been glad we did on a few occasions. Scratches from roadside branches are inevitable.

Update: If you choose not to purchase the Excess/Super Damage Insurance, a hold will be placed on your credit card usually around €2000.00-3000.00. Many travelers often have a difficult time weighing a big hold on a card vs. the cost of the extra insurance. For peace of mind, I always suggest the extra insurance. Plus, you get to easily drop off your car at the end of your rental without having to wait for the inspection.

Theft Insurance: Theft insurance protects against the obvious, the theft of a rental car. This hasn’t ever been something we have worried too much about. It is often included in CDW/Excess/Super Damage Waiver Insurance (thanks to reader Tony2Phones for keeping our information as accurate as possible!).

Personal Liability Insurance: Personal effects insurance is injury and accidental death coverage for the driver and passengers. My husband and I both have health insurance for injury and life insurance policies for the unhappy death part.

Taxes, Fees:

Euros

Money, Money, Money via EnvironmentBlog

The final payment will also include a few other add-ons. Not all rental company charge all of these fees, but you should at least be aware of them.

  • Value Added Tax (VAT) at 13.5% –mandatory
  • Road tax
  • Airport tax or location charge
  • Licensing fee
  • Cross border driving fee
  • M50 toll fee (Toll road outside of Dublin now has barrier free toll—basically you pay rental car company rather than a toll booth)
  • Late fees (returning the car later than indicated on reservation)
  • Cancellation fees

Fuel

Petrol Station

Petrol Station in Ireland via adrian, acediscovery

Gas or petrol is expensive in Ireland. Really expensive.  The average current price is €1.60/liter.  Silver lining: a fill up in an automatic Nissan Micra can last several days.

When filling up the tank, check which type of fuel the car requires. Accidentally insert diesel and you will not only be in trouble mechanically, but could get into some trouble with the car rental company too.

You should also know your rental car’s fuel return policy—some want it full on return, others want it empty.  Just check so you aren’t charged for extra fuel during check out.

Begin the Search Process

Rental Car Booking Form

First Steps to Freedom–A Rental Car!

So now that you know what impacts the bottom line–how do you begin your search process? Listed below are the rental agencies that I am aware of at the Shannon and Dublin airports.  All the links end in .ie, which is Ireland’s website domain registration. As mentioned above, .ie will usually contain CDW insurance and is therefore a little easier to research total cost.

Select one and insert your travel information. Trips a year or more away may need to wait until six months or closer for some agencies to give a quote. Begin at the airport you plan on flying into, paying close attention to what is included in each estimate.

Again, if something isn’t included, look in the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Most companies list their prices there, if not don’t hesitate to give them a call to get accurate information.

Shannon Airport    Dublin Airport
Avis Avis
Budget Rent a Car Budget
Dollar Dollar
Dooley Car Rentals Dooley Car Rentals
Europcar Enterprise
Hertz Rent a Car Europcar
National Car Rental (@Europcar Counter) Hertz
Payless Car Rental (@Dooley Counter) National Car Rental (@Europcar Counter)
Thrifty Payless Car Rental
Sixt
Thrifty

I create a spreadsheet to organize my Ireland car rental search. It includes: all of the companies listed; the quote; what is included; what is not included and their approximate costs; and any other details important to that company. This helps me better compare each agency and remember all the details.

We don’t have strong affiliations with any one company, but have used several without any major problems. I always advocate shopping around and checking out reviews online. If something you read makes you uncomfortable, don’t rent with them.

We used Dan Dooley on our most recent trip to Ireland. I was pleasantly surprised of the inclusiveness of their quote. We did not have to pay anything but fuel upon arrival. Using the code “DoChara” gave us a 5% discount. Last year, I detailed all of our Ireland trip expenses including our car rental. This might help you budget the cost of a vehicle for your trip. We ended up booking fairly last-minute and probably could have gotten a better deal with more advanced notice.

Miscellaneous Car Rental Tips:

Cars in Dublin

No Thank You, City Driving

Payment must be by credit card in the name of the primary driver. Cash, check, or debit card are not accepted.

Give your flight information with your reservation. If the plane is delayed longer than two hours, the car rental company may consider you a no-show.  However if they know your flight info, you should be able to walk out with your reserved car when you land.

Don’t worry about air conditioning. It rarely gets hot enough to call for spending extra money on it.

Trunks are smaller, so pack light.

Take copies of your reservation and the total cost you expect to pay to the rental counter. If it doesn’t match up make sure they give you an explanation.

Don’t care about which company? There are websites such as Irish Car Rentals and Argus Car Hire that aggregate the car rental search (similar to Priceline). If you don’t care about transparency and are keen on doing some extra research, these can come with good deals.

Before you leave the airport, check the car for scratches, dings, bulges in the tire, etc., and make sure they are noted on the rental sheet. Take pictures with a date stamp too—just in case you need it after you return.

…….

[Shew! That’s a lot of information!!  Do you have any advice I’m missing or a great Ireland car rental story? Share them with us and join our community of Ireland travel enthusiasts.]   

Tags: , , , ,

55 Responses to “A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland”

  1. Tony2phones July 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    You have missed the “Hold” when not purchasing SCDW. Irish rental cars must have Theft and 3rd party insurance which should always be included in the basic rate before adding CDW. if not why not??

    When getting quotes Know what has to be paid at the collection desk not just what you pay on line.

    And finally Agencies do not have to include anything more than the basic rate in their quote so if one quote is a lot cheaper, chances are something is missing.. By far the majority of complaints on Ireland travel forums come from people who have tried to save a little rather than going direct to the end suppliers..

    • Stephanie July 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      Thanks so much for your input Tony2phones! Its great to have experts chiming in. :-) You reminded me of another thought too! Sometimes with “holds” it isn’t just a hold but a charge and then a refund. In the process, you maybe out exchange or international bank fees. Regarding theft and 3rd party insurance–if you are booking on a .com site they aren’t always included in the rental quote. I hope it was helpful including them in the descriptions here.

      Love your tips about knowing what is to be paid at the collection desk and not just to be paid online. I suggest creating a handy-dandy spread sheet and adding a column that details what’s not included in the quote, so you know what you need to pay at the counter.

  2. Bell | Wanderlust Marriage August 14, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    It is also about 6.80 euro per day for a child seat :) it is really expensive here for car rental. The airport pick up fees are really high! Thank you for putting this together, very helpful!!

    • Stephanie August 14, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Yikes–6.8 Euro per day isn’t cheap! We don’t have to worry about this fee ourselves, but it can add up when have one or more children in a car seat still.

  3. Alex-Wanderlust Marriage August 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Great post! Really comprehensive info on what can be a bit of a complicated issue in Ireland what with airport surcharges, other additional fees and the fact that automatic cars are much more expensive to rent. I rang Europcar the other day about renting for a day in September and they quoted me 50 euro extra for an automatic car over manual…that’s crazy!

    • Stephanie August 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

      Renting an automatic can sometimes double the price per day quote. This and and excess waiver can really put a dent in the pocketbook. While expensive, I find both are worth the peace of mind on those tiny Irish roads. :-)

  4. Ronan August 15, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    The picture for the car rental insurance section is pretty grim.

    • Stephanie August 15, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      I suppose it is pretty grim. Accidents are no fun that’s for sure. Glad we haven’t had to worry about it in Ireland (so far).

  5. Dee September 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    great information, wish I had read this before renting from Dubiln Airport and certainly wouldn’t have used Sixt – what started out with Sixt at £34 or car rental for 4 days ended up costing £199! Companies like this should detail EXACTLY what the charges on on-line before you book. Still endeavouring to get back the “refundable” damage deposit.

  6. Andrew October 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    Hi,

    I was wondering, if I purchase the Super Insurance and bring the excess to $0, are there any other holds the rental company will put on my credit card? Thank you!

    • Stephanie October 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      If you get the Super Excess insurance. There should not be any extra holds placed on your card. Super excess basically absolves you of any damage to the car (except tires and windshield damage). Hope this helps (and you enjoy your trip to Ireland!).

  7. Dee October 30, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Still trying to get my refund from SIXT, totally ignoring e-mails, absolute rip-off company, don’t use them!

    • Stephanie November 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Good luck Dee! Most car rental companies sure know how to squeeze the money out of ya!

  8. Jackie McKinnis February 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    We already have a tickets bought for flying into Dublin. We will tour the city first by public transportation, but then what’s the best way to get a rental? Are there rental places on the outskirts of Dublin?

    • Andrew February 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Jackie,

      We were over in Ireland this past November and we found that renting a car was the best way to get around the country outside of Dublin. I was really skeptical at first; regarding required insurances and deposits and driving the opposite side of the road but it all worked out well. First, if you buy super excess insurance (meaning $0 deductible), prepay for gas ($55 euros), the only deposit we were required was $100 euros for traffic tickets. Buying this insurance put my mind at ease and not worried about dings and scratches if were to occur. We used Europcar (http://www.europcar.ie/dublincity.html) and everything turned out great. They returned my deposit within couple of days after dropping the car off. Secondly, driving around the country was great. The map the rental company provides you is sufficient and the major roads are pretty well labelled. Good luck and hope this helps!

      • Jackie McKinnis February 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

        Thanks so much Andrew. I will check out the website you have suggested, and i appreciate your comments and suggestions!

  9. Http://Emulateurz3Ds.Blogspot.Com February 17, 2014 at 2:07 am #

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  10. Marilyn April 7, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

    Hi Joe and Stephanie,
    Glad I found your blog. We have flights to Ireland this September but are trying to put together the rest of the trip. We fly in and out of Dublin but have little wish to drive much in the city. Is it easy to get transport to and from the airport? We thought we would spend a couple of nights in Dublin before heading out to the West Coast. Can we rent cars somewhere in City Center Dublin? Any advice?
    Thanks,
    Marilyn

    • Stephanie April 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      Hi Mailyn,
      Great question! You are on the right track. Don’t rent cars for your time in the city. You won’t use them because it is just rotten to drive around Dublin. We used the aircoach bus: http://www.aircoach.ie/ to get to the city center after our arrival flight. I think a round trip ticket is about 13 euros now, which will be much less expensive than getting a cab there and back. You can also get a single ticket and pick up your rental in the city center, but again that means you will be driving in the city (even to get out of it). We found it relatively painless to get back to the airport and drive out from there. But both are certainly options. Just remember, left side of the road and have someone else navigate, look for on coming traffic and other possible hazards. You’ll get the hang of it in no time. You’d be surprised how your brain is able to flip it for you after a while.

      Good luck! And enjoy it! I am sure you will just love Ireland!

  11. Alexia April 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    Hello,

    I will be traveling to Ireland with my husband and 2 friends. One of my friends will be driving in Ireland and we have been deciding who will be paying. I think my friend who will drive has to pay online. Who has to pay for car rental online?

    • Stephanie April 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Alexia,
      Most car companies have options for payment. Many give small discounts for people who opt to pay upfront. I say it would be a little odd that she wold be required, unless she wanted to get that extra discount. Check out sites like Hertz.ie or dandooley.ie. Both do not require payment up front.

      Hope this helps and good luck finding a good deal. I know it can be tough!
      Stephanie

  12. carolyn April 22, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    We will be travelling in Ireland next March as we will be in a unfamiliar environment I was concerned if we had an accident because e.g. we failed to give right of way. Would super collision damage waver cover that.

    • Stephanie April 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Hi Carolyn! Glad to hear you are planning for next year already. I think planning is all a part of the excitement (but I’m not sure everyone shares my opinion!). When you rent a car in Ireland you are typically required to take some basic insurances. For example on the Budget.ie site, your basic quote includes the following:

      Third Party Insurance: – covers against damage or injury to a third party.
      Theft Protection: – covers against losses arising out of theft or attempted theft of the vehicle.
      Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): – this cover reduces your financial liability for damage caused to the vehicle from the full value of the vehicle to the value of the excess.

      I think what you are talking about is this “Third Party Insurance.”–covering someone you accidentally hit. You will receive this practically automatically.

      Super CDW is meant only for your vehicle. If you were to be in an accident, and do a lot of damage to your vehicle you will be completely covered to zero dollars (except for windshield, mirror or tire damage).

      I hope this answers your question! Safe travels!

      • carolyn April 28, 2014 at 5:09 am #

        Thanks Stephanie, Yes I know it is early, but I like to have everything sorted out. We are Australian & the travel insurance covers excess costs for car rental but on closer examination I find, if we are in breach of any road rules, we will not be covered so if we had a collision because we failed to give way we would be up for 1200 euro with collision waver damage. At this stage I am thinking of renting from Dan Dooley & will pay the super collision damage cover. We would still be up for 100 euro but would rather do that. I have also read that there can be thorns on the road which could damage tyres so I am thinking of paying 5 euro per day for tyre & glass cover. We are so excited about our trip & the European River Cruise which we will take when we leave Ireland.

        • Stephanie April 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

          Ireland and a European River Cruise–you are lucky indeed! I think having the Super CDW is perfect for piece of mind and a choice for anyone worried about driving on the left. We’ve never bought the tyre and glass cover, but again it does take the “what if” out of the equation. I hope you have a lovely time. :-)

  13. Pilar April 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

    Thanks so much for these useful tips. I’m planning on taking a road trip starting in Dublin this next September. Does anyone know if I can use my Colombian driver’s license or is there perhaps another document I should get beforehand? Gracias :)

    • Stephanie April 27, 2014 at 9:45 pm #

      Hi Pilar! There isn’t a lot of information for Colombian’s driving in Ireland out there. But most of the language on all of the sites I have looked through has some version of the following:

      1. Have a full driving license for the class of vehicle you are renting. You will be required to produce your license at the car rental desk so be sure to bring it with you.
      2. Drivers aged between 21 – 25 and 70 – 75 are subject to special conditions.
      3. An International Driving License (IDL) is required if your national driver’s license is not in Roman script. International driver’s licenses MUST BE accompanied by the original domestic license of the driver.

      Now most websites I am quote are probably expecting their primary audience to be from the US, UK or Europe. I would do a little more research on your own by calling the rental car provider you end up choosing to confirm the requirements.

      Safe travels from Colombia!!

  14. Heidi April 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi ! My husband, daughter (18 yrs old) and I will be traveling to Ireland in May for a graduation gift for her. We are so excited, but also nervous as we have never traveled out of the US before. Thank you so much for all the info !! That’s my biggest worry is hidden costs. I am a budget person and like to know there won’t be any surprises. We will be flying into Dublin and staying over night there, then heading West :) We have the first night in Dublin reserved at the Charles Stuart Guest House (anyone been there before ??) And then the second day we will drive(after going back to the airport for our car) to Kilkenney to the Brideview B&B. (We are hoping B&B’s will help emerse us into the culture there more than hotels. We are also hoping they will not be too expensive. Do you have suggestions as to where we should go from there ?? We will be in Ireland a total of 9 days. Would love to see: Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, Kilkenny castle etc… We welcome any suggestions !!!

    • Stephanie May 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Heidi,
      We have found the most hidden costs have to do with the rental car. Include the excess waiver in your plans up front and that will save a lot of hassle (book with Dooley and you won’t have any, which is nice). If you look at the pdf of our budget on the bottom of this page (http://www.infiniteireland.com/it-costs-a-million-dollars-to-travel-to-ireland-a-million-dollars/), you can really get an idea of all the types of things we paid for in Ireland (including a new tire!).

      As for where to go, you certainly have a good start. Staying in B&B’s is certainly the best way to go, and as Carolyn says below, cost-effective too. I would stay at least two nights in Kilkenny, with one day to explore the town, castle, and cathedral, and another to see the sites surrounding like Jerpoint Abbey/Park, Inistioge, and Kells Priory. I’d move on the next day to the Rock of Cashel, Hore Abbey and possibly Cahir Castle. If you want you can either had south toward Blarney, Cork, or any one of the five fingers (Mizen head, Sheep’s Head, Ring of Beara, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula. Or go a little north west to the Cliffs of Moher, Burren, Galway/Connemara.

      I don’t think it would be good to go in both directions in 9 days, but you certainly can pack quite a bit in!

      Good luck! It sounds like a great trip!

  15. Heidi April 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Also, have you ever used Carhire for the additional insurance needed for the rental car ??

    • carolyn April 30, 2014 at 4:47 am #

      Hi Heidi, I forgot to mention, if no one has used this company, I would suggest you read the product disclosure statement carefully. Alarm bells went off for me with the travel insurance co. I am going with. They will cover an unexpected event & if the vehicle is stolen or damaged but then it says “cover does not apply if you are in breach of any local driving laws or rules”. I was concerned that if we failed to give right of way or something we would not be covered, so I sent the firm an email & they confirmed this to be the case. This being the case, I have decided to take scwd as I do not want a 1200 euro bill if we have a bingle & i t is our fault.

    • Stephanie May 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

      We haven’t used a third party provider for the Excess Insurance. While they should be relatively reliable. The problem we found with third party providers is that the rental company will initially charge you for any excess damage and then you will need to place a claim to the third party for reimbursement. This may be an easy process, but from what I have read, it often involves a lot of back and forth between the car rental company, the third party and you (who is now probably back home). We’ve decided to ignore the hassle and just book the excess with our rental company for a higher price.

  16. carolyn April 29, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Hi Heidi, This will be our first trip to Ireland. I have been doing lots of research on comments. The Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsular appear to be very popular. There have been a number of comments saying, if you have to do one or the other because of limited time the general consensus appears to favour the Dingle Peninsular. I have also read that, as there a a lot of coaches on the Ring of Kerry it is better to go counter clockwise. These are just suggestions & I hope someone who knows more will either agree or disagree. We have already booked accommodation for next March.I researched all the reviews for b & b’s & I have picked those with ratings of approx 9. I was also very pleased with the price, ten nights with full Irish breakfasts & we will average $106 Aust. per night .In Australia a standard 3 star motel without breakfast would cost $100 – $110. Prices may be higher in May. Hope you have a great time.

  17. Joe May 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi, Stephanie. My friend and I are planning our first trip to Ireland in July. We are flying into Shannon from the US and will be focusing on the west coast. I play mandolin and hope to sit in on some pub music sessions, especially during the Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown Malbay. We plan to do a lot of hiking as well.

    Regarding car rental, I have a World Mastercard which carries CDW coverage for car rentals in Ireland. However, in order for it to be effective, I have to waive ALL supplemental insurance offered by the rental company, including the Super CDW. Good idea? Bad idea? Do you have any experience with this kind of coverage? Any pitfalls that I should know about?

    • Stephanie May 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

      Hi Joe! Ahh this is a great question. I personally don’t have a World Mastercard, so I haven’t used this benefit myself. So all I can give is insight on what others have said.

      Pros: Not having to pay the Super CDW rate is an excellent benefit indeed, which can add quite a lot on to an already expensive car rental.

      Cons: If a claim needs to be filed you will be dealing with your credit card company and the rental insurance company to be sure it is paid. You will also be charged a deposit during the time of the rental (I think a couple thousand Euros, but you will want to confirm).

      Advice: If an accident or damage does occur, you will want to document, document, document so that there isn’t any misunderstanding and all bills are paid. You will need to have a recently written letter from your credit card company indicating that your card does cover this insurance.

      If you want more reading on the topic here is a very long thread on a Trip Advisor Forum which talks all about it: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186591-i88-k4319428-Car_Rental_Insurance_in_Ireland-Ireland.html

      I know not a definitive answer, but I hope the above will help you make an informed decision that is right for you (and your financial situation). :-)

      Have a great trip!

  18. Carmen May 13, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Thank you so much for this guide! this is my first time renting a car and I am a bit confused by this language. I am planning on renting through avis and their site says they include the basic insurance. In the fine print it says ” For customers who are only taking the basic insurance, but not the additional insurance to reduce the excess to 0, at the time of rental we will take authorisation for the excess amount (€1.200 or €1.800 + VAT) on the customers credit card.” Does this mean the card will be charged that much and later refunded? Or just a hold placed on the card? Is there a company that does not have this policy do you know?

    Also, on the avis website when booking it says pay online and it’s only 112 euro. But the pay at the counter option is 440 euros. Do you know the reason for the large disparity? If I reserve it on my credit card online is it possible they will try to rip me off at the counter and say that in Ireland you have to pay at the counter and online is only reserving it not paying it?

    Thanks so much!

    • Stephanie May 14, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

      Hi Carmen! It is a bit confusing–so I can understand your frustration. First, yes the car rental company will place a hold for the excess amount on your card if you chose not to take the the excess insurance. I do not know of any rental company that does not have this policy. Basically–they want to be sure that they get their money if there is any damage to the vehicle when you return it.

      I am surprised at such a large difference between online and at the counter. Typically there is a difference, but it usually is about 50 euros or so (depending on how long your rental is). Some will say the rental companies are always trying to rip customers off so expect to pay more at the counter. I am not so cynical. However, I would say know exactly what you are paying for now (print the terms and conditions that details what you paid for) and know how much to expect to pay extra at the rental car (petrol, airport tax, excess insurance, gps, car seat, etc). That way they should have no reason or backing to charge you more.

      I hope this helps! I know you will have a great time and the hassle will all be worth it in the end. ~stephanie

  19. Deirdre May 15, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I have a question. I researched a lot about renting a car before I traveled to Ireland. I used Crawl Trawler to book my car thru Europcar. I had a world MasterCard with a letter and declined the CDW. I also took out an excess policy with another company just in case. When I arrived at the Dublin Airport, Europcar refused my reservation until they forced me to take the out the 3rd party insurance liability insurance. It was late at night and having no other option, I took the car and paid more that insurance then I did for the whole car rental! I was wondering if I really had to take this insurance since I did my research and I had covered everything that was written on previous websites. I believed my world card and the deluxe excess was sufficient. I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Thank you.

    • Stephanie May 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

      Hi Deidre,
      I am so sorry this happened to you. I am sure you did all your research correctly. I don’t think it has anything to do with Crawl Trawler, but rather a change in policy from Europcar. Just this week I was alerted to this verbiage from Europcar from someone who uses the World Mastercard coverage: “Please be advised that we do not accept credit card/ Third party international polices insurance for our vehicles, we only accept fully comprehensive Irish car insurance policies.”

      I can’t find anything on the site that confirms or denies this, but I do think this is a new change that seems to be slipped in rather slyly. I will be doing some follow up, but if you have the terms of your rental printed out with information about the Worldmaster card coverage that should help your case if you want to follow up with your credit card company or Europcar to dispute the charges.

      I wish you the best of luck.~Stephanie

  20. Candy July 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Wow! Just want to thank you for all of this wonderful information. It has made searching for a rental much easier (sort of….!). Do appreciate all the time and effort that went into this! Slainte :)

    • Kathy July 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

      Thanks for all the helpful advice on renting a car in Ireland. We will be there for three weeks circling the coasts of both Northern and Southern Ireland. Because we are staying in out-of-the-way places and driving on smaller roads, we wondered if a GPS (bringing one or adding one to car rental) might be a good idea. Has anyone used a GPS while traveling there?

      • Stephanie July 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

        Hi Kathy! We have never brought along or added a GPS to our car rental, but rather just used a good map. However, I’d say there are quite a few travelers who swear by them. If you think it will give you a level of comfort that you might want, go for it. It will likely save you some up front hassle of figuring out directions before you go. Good luck and have lots of fun getting lost (with or without the GPS!).

    • Stephanie July 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Thanks so much Candy!! We love writing and reminiscing about Ireland so it is easy to do!

  21. Leighton July 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    I know you’re a fan of Dan Dooley… Any others you might have had good luck with? Hertz, Alamo, Europcar? I’m looking for transparency. I wanna know what to expect when I arrive in Dublin to pick up my car

    • Stephanie July 28, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      Hi Leighton! I would say the only reason we like Dan Dooley is because of the transparency. With all of the other companies, you have to do some calculations on your own to determine what the full amount will be at the airport (including super insurance, airport fees, etc). I don’t mind doing the math on my own and we have found good deals with Hertz and Europcar. I am less loyal to the company and more loyal to a good price. :-) If you are getting the full insurance, you won’t really have to worry about anything except the tires, mirrors or windshield. Hope this helps and good luck with whichever one you pick!

  22. Damon July 29, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Hi,
    I am so glad to have found your blog!
    My husband and I are traveling from the US to the town of Sligo in October. Can you recommend which airport is best /closest to fly into, please? Also, in online searches, it seems that both Dublin and Shannon airports are literally 2 to 3 hours away from Sligo. is that right? Is trying to brave public transportston ( bus, train, whatever the options are) the best way to get to Sligo? it sounds like a hassle toting liuggage and laptops ( part of the trip is business relate). Once in the town of Sligo, what should we make a point of not missing? sincere thanks for any guidance or advice you can give. Also, are private car services from an airport to Sligo an option rather than renting a car ? Thank you again for your help!

    • Stephanie July 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi Damon–The closest airport to Sligo would be Knock Airport in County Mayo, but unless you want a layover in the UK first, it really doesn’t make any sense to travel through Knock. All other airports are about 2.5-3 hour drive to Sligo, which I suppose allows you to decide based upon cost instead of location.

      Bus Eirean is the national bus service in Ireland which will travel to Sligo from Shannon or Dublin. And I have known people who have done their whole trip with their services, but I haven’t myself. There are also dozens of chauffeur companies that will certainly drive you there, which will obviously cost you much more. (A simple google search for Car Hire Chauffeur Ireland brought up several for me).

      Once you get to Sligo, there are so many wonderful sites to see. Benbulbin would top my list, but there are also some great sites about Yeats, Carrowkeel Megalithic structures, and Lough Gill.

      Have fun on your trip! Let’s hope its more play than work! Stephanie

  23. James DeSelms August 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    My wife and I just returned from a wonderful 2 weeks in Ireland. We had a trip full of fantastic food,music, scenery and welcoming, friendly people. Four days into the trip
    we stuck a piece of loose asphalt and blew out a tire and damaged another. We called the Hertz rental at Shannon Airport for instructions and were told “its your responsibility to replace them”. We assured them that was understood, and that we were seeking any guidelines. We were reminded again the responsibility was ours.
    The following day we drove to a tire shop and replaced both tires. Cost =180 eurs.
    Arriving at Hertz drop off, we were informed there was an additional 400 eurs charge
    as the tires were not the same brand as the “orginal” tires. We mentioned we had asked for guidelines and were given “it was your responsibility.” we asked to speak to the manager, we were informed he WAS the manager. When we asked to speak to his supervisor we were told the phones in his office could not be used for that purpose. Have any other travelers encountered such problems? Might I strongly advise? BY PASS HERTZ AT SHANNON AIRPORT!!!!

    four our day

    • Stephanie August 19, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      Hi James,

      I am so sorry about your experience! How awful. I am quite surprised by response from Hertz regarding the 400 euro charge. During one past rental we also had a flat tire and it fixed on our own, but with no penalty from the rental company. We weren’t renting from Hertz at that time so I haven’t encountered what you experienced.

      Tire damage is usually the responsibility of the renter, but when it happens I think most people call the rental company to have it fixed because they don’t know who else to call.

      Your experience is truly unfortunate and I hope others don’t have the same. I will certainly keep my nose to the ground for similar occurrences. And if you have any updates, feel free to share to help future travelers.

  24. Wendy September 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Some very good helpful information. Thank you.
    I just do not know what route to take…..get the full insurance or use the world master card. The cost is so high for full CDW and we are going Christmas week so renting is higher. It is almost $900.00 ( need 2 drivers). Like you say peace of mind with full coverage. where my Brother lives it is way out in the country, narrow lanes. I did drive last year.
    any advice would be helpful. To use MC or not?… I got the 5 percent discount with Dooley. Do you know any other specials?

    • Stephanie September 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      Hi Wendy! I feel your pain. This is really a gut decision–if you use your MC are you ok with the hassle and possible lag time in getting the charges from the rental company taken care of? If so then the MC choice is just fine. The only other thing I would suggest is keep checking on your car rental rates up until you leave. Sometimes the rates fall. If they do, you can cancel your booking and rebook at the lower rate. Good luck! I am sure either way, you will have a great time!

  25. Morenci, Arizona Shuttle October 5, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    thank you so much for this guide for renting a car in ireland. We will be in ireland in a next few days so this is so much helpful to all of us.

  26. Holman Insurance Brokers October 16, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    It was a enjoyment looking throigh thiis piece of
    producing. I genuinely consider their need to be a personalized contact to the subject backed uup by knowledge.
    I also take pleazure in writing weblogs a
    whole lot and have started my possess not way too prolonged
    back. As aan insurance broker, iit is a fantastic way to link with new clients!
    Efectively Many thanks a great deal for putting up this details up.

  27. Executive Office Suites San Francisco October 21, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    I blog frequently and I truly appreciate your content.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark
    your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week.
    I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Eight Ways to Call the US from Ireland - Infinite Ireland - March 15, 2014

    [...] to be connected a lot while in Ireland, you can opt to have your very own mobile hotspot. Some car rental providers have begun offering this as an add-on to your car rental.  You can also seek out [...]

Leave a Reply