Podcast 097: Visiting Ireland Car-Free

Rather than renting a car, and driving around, what other ways can you get to know Ireland? By taking a different approach, you can end up exploring the country, experiencing it in a different light.


Travel differently:

  • Exploring – get to know your destination better. Take cycling tours.
  • Adventure – busses, trains – by using public transport, you’re adding demand
  • Slower – spend time. Ebike rentals in places like Dingle.

More drastic:

  • Don’t travel? – your flight is probably disproportionate to any other part of your trip. This decision is up to your values.
  • Leave feedback – Fáilte Ireland tourism agency, National Transport Authority. No-one will ask you for your feedback, but you can do it.
  • Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland cannot continue to base tourism initiatives on encouraging private car driving.

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4 thoughts on “Podcast 097: Visiting Ireland Car-Free”

  1. Good Podcast Eoin, I have visited twice and drove twice. It would be nice to not worry about driving and just enjoy the journey. I love the idea of the train. I will investigate that. Then stay at only two or three places rather than the typical seven or more. Do you know of any good local resources to start investigating different ways of travel around Ireland if you would like to create your own adventure? My biggest worry in international travel is always safety, the world has changed so much. Thanks Much

    1. Hi Maisy, I’ve heard the safety argument before. I would argue that this has not fundamentally changed in Ireland. That’s not to encourage you to travel, my ultimate point was to consider whether to travel at all 🙂

      http://www.irishrail.ie is the rail company. Rail can be relatively expensive, although usually comfortable (assuming you are not travelling at commuter times). The service is far from perfect, but you can say the very same thing about our congested roads.

  2. Lovely podcast, you’re so right: it would be great to not always take the car when visiting Ireland! The only thing is, traveling in Ireland gets so much more expensive once you abandon the car. It’s not even always slower, I used to live in Limerick, and I cycled everywhere (nice example: from our house to the university would take about 15 mins by bike, and anywhere between 20 and 45 mins by car!). But now any time we visit Ireland, we’d have to choose between taking a bus and renting bikes (around € 30 p.p. for a return bus ticket if you’re not staying in Dublin, plus around € 15 p.p. per day for bikes, totalling around € 120 for the two of us for just a weekend), or renting a car, for just € 40 for the weekend. That’s quite a difference! And then I’m not even talking about getting to Ireland: taking a train/bus + ferry from mainland Europe is about 10 times as expensive as flying, and if you’re just visiting for the weekend, you’d hardly have any time left for anything apart from traveling. So in an attempt to reduce my carbon footprint, I’ve drastically cut back my number of visits to Ireland, something I’m awfully sad about. So thank you for this podcast, by raising awareness it may help to make sustainable travel in Ireland more efficient and affordable!

    1. Dear Sita, thanks for sharing your experience of travelling to Ireland, and within Ireland.

      I agree that cost is part of it: I was surprised to pay €40 for our family for a return bus trip between Ennis and Limerick (they are close).

      These private bus companies serve at least Dublin Airport, and are more effective and cheaper:

      There are other ways to look at it: assuming you pay for accommodation every night in any case, you may visit Dublin on foot. A bus trip to Galway city would not cost more than a car.


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