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Self-drive holiday in Ireland: Freedom on the Green Island

Ireland has a wealth of scenic experiences. On a self-drive holiday you can visit the most isolated areas at your own pace.
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Self-drive holiday in Ireland: Freedom on the Green Island is written by Naja Mammen Nielsen.

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Experience Ireland at your own pace

Ireland has unimaginable amounts of beautiful scenery. But the distances can be great and the public transport can be a challenge if you want to get to the more isolated areas. It is therefore worth considering renting a car and driving yourself.

With a rented car, you have the freedom to stop where it suits you and let chance guide you around. Drive along the many small and coastal roads over the curved green landscapes and make stops in the small cozy villages away from the main road.

Here you can experience “the real Ireland” in one of the small pubs, where there is plenty of opportunity to exchange stories with the locals over a dark Guinness and socializing. Irish stew.

We have put together a range of great tips for your self-drive holiday in Ireland.

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Remember to keep left your self-drive holiday in Ireland

In Ireland, there is left-hand traffic, and this can of course present some challenges even for an experienced motorist. Therefore, keep track of the traffic rules and do not make hasty decisions until you are sure how the car is operated and the roads are forced.

Already five minutes after you have lifted the clutch in the car and driven from the airport, the first roundabouts await. There are many of them, and it can make your forehead sweat when you have to turn left, but you will learn that quickly. Follow another into the roundabout for the first time, then it's easier.

You can rent a car in several different cities and drop it off either in the same place or in another city. This makes it more flexible and you can combine your self-drive holiday in Ireland with other forms of travel such as bus and hiking shoes in Dublin, which is still not optimal to drive around in a car. In addition, it can be relatively expensive to rent a car in Ireland, so a combination with public transport can make good sense.

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Magnificent experiences on the roads

If your self-drive holiday starts in Dublin, then you are not far to the great experiences. South of the capital is the highland area of ​​Wicklow Mountains National Park with breathtaking valleys, mountains and beautiful lakes.

Further southwest, you can be captivated by the 179-kilometer-long famous Ring of Kerry, which runs around the Iveragh Peninsula and forms the setting for some of Ireland's most beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The flexibility is great with a rented car, but be aware that even short distances can take longer due to the winding and small roads. And then it is easy to be absorbed by the beautiful nature.

Ireland is not associated with the bright green color for nothing. It is especially evident in the middle of the island, which houses small cozy villages, meadows and rich nature. Here, the tour buses often run fast to get to the shores, but with your own car you can easily make stops and get acquainted with the less touristy areas in the heart of the very green island.

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Insidious Irish roads

Taking a self-drive holiday in Ireland is not the same as a road trip in the USA with long distances and the accelerator at the bottom of Route 66. In return, there is Wild Atlantic Way, stretching over 2.500 kilometers along the Atlantic Ocean from Cork in the southwest to Donegal in the north.

The winding roads lead past many beautiful sights; among other things, the vertical cliffs at Cliffs of Moher. Here it is an advantage to plan the route and the pace yourself, as it can be both time consuming and difficult to get there by bus or train.

There are quite a few motorways in Ireland and the main and country roads often turn into small winding single-lane roads that are not much wider than a car. It is quite charming, but it also means that it can be difficult to find a place to stay to the side to take pictures and enjoy nature. So pay attention to that when you see a good place to stay.

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Choose the right vehicle for your self-drive holiday in Ireland

Despite the fact that the road network covers very different terrain, it is worth considering renting a smaller car. It makes it easier to move around on the small roads, and you avoid too many uncomfortable situations too close to the oncoming motorists, where every inch counts.

Also pay attention to folding in the side mirrors when parking in cities and on smaller roads. Some bad injuries can easily occur.

If instead you dream of going on an adventure in a motorhome on your self-drive holiday in Ireland, it is a great alternative to the car. With a motorhome, freedom is ultimate, as you can drive wherever you want and wake up to magnificent nature. There are rental options in several cities, and in some places they offer transfers from the airport. However, a motorhome also means less space on the small roads, so choose your route carefully. And start by practicing a little somewhere with plenty of space before you hit the road seriously.

Basically, it is allowed to park and pitch your tent in most places in Ireland, making it ideal with a motorhome, but preferably make sure to make an appointment with the owner of the plot beforehand. However, you should not deceive yourself to spend the night at some of the small inns and hotels around the villages. Here you will experience the true Irish people's soul - also while you sleep.

Ireland is an excellent travel destination no matter how you travel.

See much more about the trip to Ireland here

Fasten your seatbelt and experience what a self-drive holiday in Ireland has to offer.

Very nice trip.

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About the travel writer

Naja Mammen Nielsen

Naja has travel blood in her veins and has a penchant for islands. She has traveled on five continents and has a great knowledge of the African continent, where she has traveled in 11 countries. In addition to countless trips to the region, she has started a development project for former girl soldiers in Sierra Leone, worked two years in Tanzania, been on island hopping in Cape Verde, crossed Zambia and Zimbabwe by train and moved in the footsteps of genocide in Rwanda.

The destinations are carefully planned on their own, targeted at the locals, the less touristy places and the preferred means of transport is by train and bus.

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