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Forums » Ireland » Considering Donegal - looking for some help

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Considering Donegal - looking for some help

by /bio/twilson »

Our very first trip overseas was to Ireland on a bus tour.  We had a great time and the tour took us through many of the "must see" places from Dublin, across Ireland to Galway, and south, following the coast.  This time, we would like to spend time in the northwest with a focus on Donegal.  We will start out in late July at a wedding in Cork.  We can either begin with that or end with that. Although I'm comfortable driving in Europe where they drive on the same side of the road as we do here in the U.S., I've heard horror stories about inexperienced drivers in the UK and most especially big issues with car rentals in Ireland.  So, I'd rather avoid driving and would be okay with tours in the northwest.  The problem I see is how to get there (it appears trains must first go to Dublin then back out to such hinterlands!) and how to get around once we're there.  Most established tours go to where we've already been and few go into our targeted area.  We have explored my heritage in Italy and now it's time to explore my wife's heritage in Ireland.  We love history, archeological sites, off-the-beaten-path experiences, and, in a word, authenticity.  We would further consider hiking tours along with bus or other vehicle tours.  Right now, our time frame is wide open.  

Any thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations are most welcomed!

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RE: Considering Donegal - looking for some help

by /bio/enchantingireland »

twilson,

Everyone hears bad stories because they're fun stories to tell ... how many people tell you, "oh, I went to x-y-z and driving was so easy?"  I've personally sent hundreds of folks to Ireland on the self drive, some of which wanted to do a tour and in 14+ years, I've had TWO (2) clients who had accidents.  No one was hurt but the car.  That is not to say people didn't scratch their cars, rip off a mirror or lose a hubcap because they admittedly didn't slow down when passing truck made them nervous and they pulled over too close to brush or a wall.  Suffice it to say -- godo stories far outnumber the bad.

Concentrating on Donegal with a tour is going to be difficult as many tours head up that way for a night, two at most and that is it. If you want to spend any time then you'll want another option.

The only transportation other than a car would be bus... a train would take you back to Dublin and then up to Donegal which is quite out of the way.

I really hope you consider driving -- it gives you so much more control over where you go and what you do.  Heading out to Slieve League would be impossible without a car and you'd really enjoy hiking that!

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RE: Considering Donegal - looking for some help

by /bio/twilson »

EnchantingIreland (yes, it is!) -

Many, many thanks for your thoughts!  The problem I have heard is not with renting so much as with the difficulty with insurance.  Because of the narrow roads and all the things you listed (scratches, dings, rearview mirrors, etc.), the insurance is costly, zero-deductible options don't exist, and the extra charges for the inevitable scratches, dings, rearview mirrors, etc. will put an even bigger dent in one's bank account.  If I have been misinformed on this issue, please advise!

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RE: Considering Donegal - looking for some help

by /bio/enchantingireland »

twilson,

Why yes it it indeed!

Insurance is not really an issue, just an expense.  Basic CDW is included in most rentals and gives a high deductible ... we recommend that for folks who have good driving record here back at home.  There is a Super CDW rider which drops the deductible to €100/€150 manual/automatic respectively and that is about $25 USD per day -- that is where the expense adds up.  Figure out the cost of that vs the cost of the higher deductible and make a decision for a worry-free vacation.  I think the cost for windscreen/tire is an additional €8 per day.  Once you get past the cost and understand it... you'll be better off, can put it past you and focus on enjoying vacation.

If you can drive manual and well, then you'll save quite a bit on a summer car rental.  The deductible is lower and the rental cost is lower (Super CDW and Tire/Windscreen is the same) 

When I went to Ireland in the beginning I went with Super CDW.  I travel there every other year near (down from 1-2 times per year) and only purchase regular CDW at this point.  I take it slow and if am a very defensive driver so no issues... no scratches or dents.

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