Where and What to Hire
Dublin has a huge choice of places from which to hire a car. At Dublin Airport a selection of car hire firms include some big international names including Breeze, Europecar, Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt, Irish Car Rentals and Budget. Meanwhile in the city centre there are just as many options. Atlas, Europecar, and local Dooley Car Rentals all have premises close to City Quay. Hertz have an office in downtown Dublin and an office near Beggar’s Bush, along with Thrifty. Budget is located on the N1 near Drumcondra while Enterprise can be found near Ballybough. Most requirements are catered for in Dublin from two-door city cars to four and five-door vehicles for families. Some people carriers, vans and motorcycles are also available and the odd luxury car.
Dublin is a busy and often hectic city to drive around with rush hour from 8am to 9am and from 4.30pm to 6pm. There is also an extensive one-way system that can baffle first time visitors to the city. This is to make is difficult for traffic to enter the city centre. Only buses, taxis and cyclists are allowed in the very centre. Watch out for bus lanes which carry fines if vehicles drive in them at the wrong time of day. The Westlink Bridge that links the city to the M50 is a toll bridge that carries a fee depending on the type of vehicle you are driving. It must be paid prior to travel by internet or phone. There are no toll booths.
Parking outside Dublin city centre is no problem, with ample free parking, however the city centre is another story. While multi-storey car parks are probably the most likely to have space, on-street parking is almost impossible to find. They cost approximately €2.50 to €3.10 per hour. On-street spaces are also time limited to a maximum of three hours. Anyone in Dublin for just a day would be better to use the Park and Ride service which offers free parking and cheap bus fares.
Where to Go and What to See
While having a hire car in Dublin city centre may not be necessary, it is very useful for seeing the sights of the surrounding area. For those not staying long, Howth is just 9 miles north of Dublin and offers lovely scenic walks along sea cliffs and stunning seafood which can be enjoyed by sunset, or perhaps a boat trip to nearby Ireland’s Eye Island, where monolithic ruins can be explored. An hour north of Dublin by car is Wicklow. Known as ‘the Garden of Ireland’, Wicklow boasts some of the most magical scenery in the country, not to mention some great hikes. Music fans must make the 3 hour journey west of Dublin to the little town of Doolin where surfing, hiking, seafood and music are some of its most famous attributes. From the Docks, the view looks out across to the Cliffs of Moher while in the town’s three cosy pubs, musicians warm up to provide locals with a taste of real Irish music. A wonderful drive by hire car is the Slea Head Drive. This 30-mile loop begins and ends in Dingle Town, passing incredible archaeological sites like Dun an Oir Fort, an Iron Age fort, and Gallarus Oratory, a church that looks like a beehive. The Dingle Peninsula also boasts friendly locals, tiny, cosy pubs, fabulous seafood and magical sandy beaches that are all but deserted. For those travelling with children, Pirates Cove Adventure Park just 46 miles from Dublin, in Gorey, has everything for a fun family day out from mini-golf and bumper boats to arcades, bowling and karting. For animal loving little ones, take them to the National Sea Life centre just 12 miles from the city to see over 1,000 sea creatures including sharks, octopus, seahorses, stingrays and piranha.