The best advice when traveling around Ireland: Rent a car. Ireland is a beautiful country filled with some of the world’s best travel spots like the Cliffs of Moher, the Wild Atlantic Way, and the historic Guinness Brewery. Yes this country may be small in relation to other European countries but all of the points of interest are very spread apart and unlike the UK, Ireland is not known for their successful public transportation system. Take it from travel professionals: rent a car in Ireland and you'll be happy you did!
Busses in Ireland are not well priced for budget traveler's. For example, from the Dublin airport to Galway it is 20 euros for one person, one way. To get from Dublin on the East side to Co. Clare on the far west side you can expect to pay at least 100 euros for there and back for one person. Renting a car with friends would be a much better option. You may even save money by renting a car, and you will definitely save a lot of time. In addition, most local shops in Ireland are outrageously expensive. The prices for food and liquor is at least double the price for the same products you can find if you are able to drive 20 minutes to a Lidl or Aldi. Renting a car in Ireland will let you have more flexibility for where you spend your hard earned money.
As previously mentioned buses are expensive, but above all annoyances about the taking the bus the worst part is that they stop running at inconvenient times. For example, in Co. Clare the last bus from Galway to Lahinch is at 3pm and from Lahinch to Galway it leaves at 6pm. If you have any plans for dinner, you may as well forget it! Renting a car in Ireland will give you additional flexibility to be where you want, when you want.
With the unpredictable Irish weather you would think that they would be prepared, but there are typically no bus shelters from the sporadic rain or bad weather. This can make traveling around Ireland by bus absolutely miserable. Many locations do not have bus stops that will adequately keep you out of the Irish weather. And it only takes one afternoon rain shower to leave you cold and damp.
When traveling around Ireland, you will see a lot of hitch hikers and once you attempt to travel by bus you will understand why. The buses simply don't exist along the country side but instead only in/around big tourist areas. Hitchhiking may be a fun way to see Ireland, but you will be bound by the timelines and routes of others. Renting a car in Ireland will afford you with more time to explore the Emerald Isle.
Remember that for most countries, you will need a valid U.S. drivers license and often you will need an international driving permit if you plan to drive abroad. Fortunately for Ireland, you will not need the IDP. You'll only need your valid U.S. drivers license. However, it's recommended to have your International Driving Permit any time you plan to travel abroad. If you end up taking a $15 flight to Spain, you may suddenly find yourself wishing you had this important travel document. The price for an IDP is low and worthwhile for any traveler planning to drive abroad. For $20, AAA will issue the IDP. If you need the IDP expedited, we offer International Driving Permit services as fast as 24 hours if necessary. So grab your passport and head to Ireland for your next Euro road trip!