Another car rental post?
Yup. I can’t help myself.
If you’re new around these parts, I have written a lot about car rentals in Ireland before (A Comprehensive Guide to Renting a Car in Ireland, How to Use your Credit Card for Car Rental Insurance in Ireland, & The #1 Thing You Should Know Before Renting a Car In Ireland).
Almost all of the information is as relevant as the day I wrote them.
But one thing has changed recently. My unwavering love for the Dan Dooley car rental company in Ireland has, well…, wavered.
You see Dan Dooley used to be the only truly Irish Car Rental company left at the major Irish airports. They had the best customer service and upfront pricing out of all the car rental companies.
But they were bought out by Enterprise in 2017.
For most of 2017 and even into 2018, Dan Dooley still operated like it’s own company so I didn’t mind giving them my full recommendation.
If you go to the Dan Dooley website, you’ll see that they are simply an agent for the Enterprise and Alamo car rental companies.
There is no longer a Dan Dooley car rental counter at the Irish airports.
I’d so much rather rent from a local Irish company than an international one, but now that’s not an option.
Now that I am researching my own car rental for our trip this spring, the field is wide open.
Who am I going to use? Who am I going to recommend to others?
Ok before the big reveal, you have to know something.
I believe, about 99% of the people traveling to Ireland for the very first time should purchase the extra Super Collision Damage Waiver insurance (SCDW).
It’s not cheap–about 20-25 euros per day, but it’s worth it.
I call it the platinum, “if-I-scratch-and-dent-the-whole-car-it-doesn’t-matter”, car rental insurance.
You might also find this platinum insurance listed as SCDW, Top Cover or Excess (so confusing, I know–I like my name way better).
Toss those keys back in and don’t worry about the scratches and the dings.
The tricky part is that purchasing the SCDW isn’t always outlined in those big guy car rental company quotes. You may need to read the terms and conditions to find out exactly how much it is per day and calculate your total cost.
So which is the best car rental company in Ireland?
Drum roll please…
any of them.
If you get the full SCDW insurance, you are covered. All of the companies provide roughly the same service without much distinction.
Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Alamo…take your pick.
Go with the cheapest option or a rental company you already have a relationship with.
My method for booking a rental car in Ireland.
I can be kind of persnickety about my trip planning. I like to know how much I intend to spend. I like to map out where I am going to go. What I am going to do.
I also like to know I am getting the best deal on a car rental.
I’ve mentioned before that one way to do this is to make a spreadsheet. I thought it would be helpful to share my most recent one.
It’s certainly not fancy. It only includes the things I am considering for my car rental (automatic quote for a standard size car, an extra driver, SCDW, & driving into Northern Ireland).
But it does let me see all of my options and helps me compare apples to apples.
Feel free to copy and make one of your own.
Here are the items that could impact the cost of your rental
- Super Collision Damage Waiver Insurance (SCDW)
- Tire & Windshield Insurance
- Personal Accident Insurance
- Theft Protection
- Prepaid Fuel
- Additional Driver
- Child Seats
- Wifi Unit
- Cross Border Fee (Traveling to Northern Ireland/Vice Versa)
- Location Surcharge
- Terminal Pickup Fee (rather than being shuttled to car pickup location)
- One Way Rental Fee (picking up and dropping off at different locations)
- Roadside Assistance
This time, Conn’s offered the best price for us.
Working with a car rental agency (a middle-man)
Generally speaking, I like to rent with a car rental company directly. In case any issues arise, I don’t have a middle man to deal with.
I like Conn’s Ireland Car Rental because it includes SCDW and all other major insurances (except tire and wheel) in the quote. If you don’t have the time to dig through the terms and conditions and want to be sure SCDW is included, this is a good option.
(But note, additional drivers, child seats, GPS, Wifi, pre-paid fuel, and wheel and tire coverage are all added at the time of pick-up. So if you need any of these, you will have to read through the terms to find out the current price–which may not save you any time in the long run).
We used Conn’s once several years ago out of Dublin with no problems except that our car wasn’t the greatest. I don’t blame that on Conn’s–Dublin is a big airport and they rotate out a lot of vehicles. We just didn’t hit it right that time.
I will say that Conn’s is known for great customer service. Just this week, I was working with someone one-on-one and they raved about how helpful he was (and that’s not the first time I’ve heard that).
Irish Car Rentals is also listed as it is an Irish company and often comes out to be one of the lower priced options.
Some More Resources
It must be a car rental kind of week. Corey, over at the Irish Fireside, just posted a fantastically informative video about renting a car in Ireland.
I’d highly recommend you give it a watch before you reserve your rental.
I’ve also got a few more tips up my sleeve about car rentals and all the other important things you need to know for your trip to Ireland. Enter your email below to grab my Ultimate Ireland Packing List and my most favorite tips for traveling to Ireland.