Must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

We recently completed our sixth trip to Ireland. Each trip was for a duration of at least two weeks, sometimes three or four. Ireland has always been our favorite country to visit and brings us the most travel enjoyment. Here are a few of our must-know tips before traveling to Ireland.

Subscribe to follow our 2022 Ireland adventure series continuing over the next weeks. We are always looking for a better, more fun, more straightforward way to travel and would appreciate any information you have to share. Do you have any Ireland travel tips?

Click below to read about our past adventures in Ireland.

Seashell Cottage in the Ballinskelligs
Ireland – Making a Plan
Ireland has its hooks in me!

Getting to Ireland

Fly into Shannon – not Dublin

After our few days in Barcelona, we took a taxi from our hotel to Barcelona’s airport for a relatively short flight to Dublin. We prefer to fly to Shannon, but workable flights were unavailable. It is my strong recommendation to avoid the Dublin airport, if possible.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

The airport in Shannon is smaller and much less congested, making it easier to get from Point to Point B. Most importantly, renting a car in Shannon is incredibly easy. The vehicles are only a brief walk outside the airport door – making Shannon a quick land-and-go situation.

Dublin airport and city are great, just too busy for our tastes. We have, in years past, spent some delightful hours there, but we do not much enjoy big cities and choose to avoid them if possible. There are, however, tons of amazing things to see and do in Dublin, do not skip them on a first trip.

Past trips

In past trips, we have flown directly to Shannon from Houston, on a one-stop flight, usually in Newark. We always fly economy class (retired, remember), and as we always do, use frequent flyer miles, to purchase our tickets.

Vueling Airlines

Vueling is the airline that took us from Barcelona to Ireland. Rules are changing daily, but no Covid test, and while we were required to wear masks in the airport, we did not have to wear them on the flight. Odd, huh?

Our pleasant flight took only a couple of hours, but we had to take ramp stairs from the plane into the beautiful but steady Irish rain. Then we walked for what seemed to be miles to baggage claim, where we were not very happy to wait on our soaking wet luggage for over an hour.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Not ecstatically happy, of course, but all part of the adventure and, in the grand scheme of things, just not a big deal.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Car rental

We always rent a car for our entire trip in Ireland, get in the car straight from the airport and begin our adventure immediately. However, renting a car in Ireland can be tricky, and this was the first time we had not rented from Hertz in Shannon.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland


Often credit card companies do not provide Collision Damage Waiver (“CDW”) or Loss Damage Waiver (“LDW”) coverage in Ireland because of the high rate of claims.

CDW provides insurance coverage to the renter if they are involved in a collision or incur damage. LDW provides insurance coverage if the renter is a theft victim or the vehicle becomes unusable.

We use a credit card that provides CDW and LDW coverage. It is necessary to obtain a letter from your credit card company that states they provide this coverage in Ireland and then present that letter to the rental company.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

You can often request the letter online at your account or by phone, and it will be mailed and emailed to you, usually on the same day. We use our Chase Visa credit card for this purpose, which has always worked perfectly.

Why are claims so high?

A few reasons for the high rate of claims are that you will be driving on the left side of the road in Ireland. Driving on the left presents a challenge, but it is straightforward to adjust to it after a brief practice. It is just not that difficult to do.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Another reason claims are high is that most rental vehicles in Ireland have a standard or manual transmission, and that is not very typical, at least not in the US. If you absolutely must have a vehicle with automatic transmission, you need to shop around and be prepared to pay a higher rate.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Ireland is famous for its narrow, twisting, winding streets lined with stone walls that can be difficult to maneuver. However, many “just like at home” highways and toll roads exist. It’s just that those narrow roads take you to the best places! Drive carefully, and you’ll be fine.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland


A roundabout is a circular intersection where entering traffic yields for traffic already in the circle. Instead of stopping at a square intersection with a signal light, the traffic continuously flows with the roundabout causing a slow down in vehicle speeds.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

It took a while to get used to them, but I love roundabouts and believe they are the best traffic control method.

Ask questions

Be sure to clearly understand what your rental company requires and what coverage your credit company will provide before you step up to the rental counter in Ireland. Otherwise, you may be required to leave a deposit of several thousand dollars charged to your credit card.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Do not let this pesky requirement stop you from renting a car. It may not be your preferred way to travel, but for us, traveling on our own, controlling when and where we choose to see whatever we encounter, is the only way to visit Ireland.


Easirent is the car rental company we chose to rent from at the Dublin airport. If you have not checked lately, car rentals are outrageously high in Ireland now, regardless of where you rent. We were unfamiliar with this company but decided to spend our Euros here. (ALWAYS apply card payments in Euros.)

A shuttle picked us up at the airport and took us to Easirent’s modest offsite office. We had some difficulty finding the correct “Station 18” to meet our shuttle driver, but that was the only hiccup we experienced with Easirent.

It was effortless to complete our check-in, and we enjoyed a delightful conversation with the representative taking our information. The only surprise was the requirement of a nominal one-time fee to drive the car into Northern Ireland legally. Not a big deal but something I had not researched.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

Our new model red/orange hatchback car was in excellent condition, very economical and large enough for us and our luggage, but small enough to maneuver the tiny roads safely enough. I am not an Easirent affiliate; just acknowledging a great experience.

Have a place to stay

We would prefer to “wing it,” get in the car and go until days’ end when a hotel or B&B with a vacancy would magically appear for us. Unfortunately, that is not very reliable in Ireland anymore. It is almost essential to make reservations well in advance of your travel dates.

must-know tips before traveling to Ireland

An amazing B&B!

We would love for you to travel with us through these posts over the next several weeks; see what we saw and learned about this terrific island during our latest visit.

Must-know tips before traveling to IrelandMust-know tips before traveling to IrelandMust-know tips before traveling to Ireland

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