Traveling to Ireland had always been within my traveling wish list. That is why last October I decided that it was the destination of my second trip alone. It is a destination that is relatively close to home but far enough to offer the cultural-gastronomic contrast and the adventures we seek when traveling.
From Ireland I was particularly attracted to his landscapes, so I decided to make the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, to walk its winding roads along the whole coast.
Before going, there are many things to prepare; Like the route, the rent of the car or the lodging. This is what I did.
How to arrive in Ireland?
Ireland is an island, and therefore the best way to get from anywhere in the world is by plane. Most airlines fly to major cities in the country; Dublin and Cork, offering a variety of schedules. Among them are Aer Lingus and Ryanair, both Irish and with very good prices.
My flight from Barcelona to Dublin was approx 60 € round trip. It is best to use a price comparator and see which is the combination of airlines that offers better rates since sometimes the best price is obtained by reserving the trip with one company and the return with another. Skyscanner is from my point of view the most useful as it tracks most airline websites and offers you the list of cheapest flights and their prices on different pages.
Once I have chosen the cheapest price for the dates and times that suits me, I always buy flights directly through the airline’s website.
10-day Ireland route by car; Wild Atlantic Way
Days 1-3 Dublin
It is an incredible city that gives for many more days if we take it with tranquility. Some of its most important monuments are the castle, Trinity college or the churches of Christ Church and Saint Patrick. We can not forget the Guinness factory either. The center is full of restaurants and, of course, pubs where you take a good look and chat.
Day 4 Galway
It is the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way on this route and up to Cork one of the largest cities. It is on the other side of the island just over two hours from Dublin and is reached by the M4 and 6.
Day 5 Connemara National Park
At only one and a half hours from Galway, there is Connemara, one of Ireland’s best-known national parks. Although there are very few kms, the stretch of WAW that runs from the park to Galway gives for a leisurely day trip between green and coastal scenery. Best, end up watching the sunset on one of its beaches.
Day 6 Galway – Ennis
Ennis is a small town, not one of the best known in Ireland but it is cozy and very complete. Its proximity to the Cliffs of Moher make it the perfect city to spend even a couple of days in the area.
Day 7 Ennis – Killarney
It is one of the longest days on the route, but the passages of the Atlantic cliffs are incredible. Leaving from Ennis and before arriving at Killarney is the city of Tralee, where the detour is taken towards the peninsula of Dingle. There is the route called Slea Head; 28kms of curves at the edge of the cliff by landscapes that will leave you speechless.
Day 8 Killarney – Ballylickey
Leaving from the picturesque town of Killarney, you can spend almost the whole day less than 1hr away from there in your national park. In the park, there is a castle, an abbey and walks marked for all types of public. On the way, you can detour to Dursey and ride your funicular, although this will make your day on the road heavier. My recommendation is to cross the peninsula by Heally Pass; A narrow mountain road that does not fit 2 cars at a time, but from its highest point the views are breathtaking.
Days 9 -10 Ballylickey – Cork
This stretch of the route is where the Atlantic is very present in most of the way. Following the WAW to the south of the island the roads are still narrow and meander to the edge of the cliffs, but that is the magic of the route. The arrival in Cork marks the end of the route in nature to return to the city. There are many things to see and is a perfect city to shop for St. Patrick’s St. Cork is also the gastronomic capital of the country, with the English Market as a centerpiece and a lot of restaurants that will make your delights.
Car Hire in Ireland
Car rental for 10 days: 60 €. I decided to do a road trip because the car rental for a week in Ireland was very cheap.
The rent for a trip like this is exactly the same as for others as it may be Route 66. The main difference is that you drive on the left, which can be a bit tricky the first few days until you get used to it.
For rental, each company has its own rules but what you surely need is a License of driving valid in Europe, a credit card to which you will be charged the deposit and in many cases have more than 23 years or 5 of carnet.
It is strongly recommended to contract insurance that covers the franchise in case of an accident. It can cost about € 50 and although it doubles the rental price it is worth it in case something happens on the road. The insurance is contracted with a company outside the car rental company, so in case you have to need it. In most cases, you will have to make the payment of the damages equally and then arrange everything with the insurer.
Insurance deductible of 1200 €
Gas cost for a trip of 10 days: 125 €
I spent less than I had calculated In gasoline before starting my trip since the prices of Michelin route are orientative, and I made fewer kilometers than I thought. It is necessary to take into account that the first day the car will deliver it to you with the full tank and it will depend on the service that you have contracted if you return it full or empty, which in the end is the same.
Where to sleep?
10 days: 370 €
Finding accommodation in Ireland is very simple as it is a country especially known for its B & B both in the cities and in the more rural areas. Even though they are not particularly cheap the service is excellent, they treat you like one more family member, and they are very special places.
There are also many hostels, some of them renovated and very modern. And of course, there are also hotels, which are the most expensive option.
The price of hotels depends on the type of accommodation you choose. In this trip, I wanted to mix the accommodation in hostels in shared room with the accommodation in hotels.
These were the hotels in which I stayed on my trip to Ireland.
Cork International Hostel
Driving in Ireland
I will admit that, even though my brave side prompted me to decide to make a car trip through Ireland, something inside me dreaded not to reach the end of the route by the fact that it was the first time I would drive On the left.
Drive sitting on the right side of the car is not easy when you are in the lanes or change the marches but after 1 hour of travel in which inadvertently the attention is much greater than usual when driving, start To be standard.
The roads in Ireland
In Ireland, there are 4 freeways that leave from Dublin and connect it with major cities and Northern Ireland. The rest are national or county roads in which it is usually easy to drive. It is true that in the WAW there are very little traffic roads that are somewhat more dangerous because they can not fit 2 cars in the same direction, but that is the grace.
The Irish are not very reckless drivers and respect the rules a lot, so if You do not respect them at all, also they will yield to you. My video summary of the route; Wild Atlantic Way by car
Wild Atlantic Way by car; the video