Inexpensive car rental in Ireland

I and the wife and kidlet will be in Ireland for at least 6 weeks (maybe longer) starting July 1, and will be needing some means of transportation. We will be staying in a house in County Roscommon, and are told (a) that we would find a car very useful, and (b) that renting a car is very expensive. Are there relatively inexpensive options for long-term car rental? I mean, I know it’s going to cost a good deal of money, but the more affordable the better. We’ll be flying into Dublin, if that is useful information. Thanks in advance for any help! (I can buy beer in Dublin for anyone who insists on a quid pro quo arrangement; information doesn’t have to be free!)

when we travelled in Ireland a few years ago, we were advised by travel agents that it was cheaper to make the arrangements in advance, from overseas, because the rates were better than if you just walked into a rental agent when you arrived.

This is very true.

Google “cheap car hire ireland” (“hire” is more common a term than “rental” in this context) and you should find a discounter/clearing house. They’ll probably be some no-name company acting as an agent for one of the better known companies. And yes it’s expensive anyway, and also it comes as a shock to some nationalities that you can’t get car insurance for free by dint of using your credit card. Basic insurance is bundled into the hire price and non-waivable. If you’re risk averse, you should really pay for the extra collision damage waiver too.

What is expensive? For comparison, I can rent a nice car for $50 per day here in the States.

As a Canadian, I’d probably phrase it the opposite way: Why is renting a car so cheap in the United States?

Maybe there’s less regulation in the U.S.? Or maybe because the cars themselves are cheaper? Beats me.

I’m not making any judgments. I have no idea what it costs to rent a car outside of the States. I’m simply stating that it costs around $50 daily to rent a car here on average. Setting a baseline.

Define “nice”.

The price is very size-dependent. The cheapest deals I just googled up are allegedly “from €16 per day” (US$21), but when I did a search for July with Argus, €26 (US$35) was the cheapest. For that you get the tiniest four-seater compact with something like a 1L engine size - e.g. a Ford Fiesta, but possibly something else. A Ford Focus is around €45 (US$60) per day. Bigger than that and you’re paying out of the wazoo. The smallest people carrier is €86 (US$114) per day.

The excess waiver from an independent broker on that site is an extra €5.43 per day, which is actually a pretty good rate.

Can you drive a stick? My experience is that it is significantly cheaper to rent a manual than an automatic. So, there’s that at least.

Unfortunately, I can’t drive a manual, which (from some preliminary Googling, guided by **jjimm’s **suggestion) I can see is going to cost me dearly. It looks like automatics start at around €1000 per month, and I suspect that doesn’t include supplemental collision insurance (which I would want–I’ve driven on the left before, in Cyprus and Australia, but I’m told that Ireland presents some additional challenges, with narrow lanes, etc.). I’m still on the hunt for something cheaper, if possible, but it may not be.

ETA–I only had time to take a quick look at the prices, so I may have gotten it wrong–the prices **jjimm **is quoting suggest a lot more than €1000 per month. I’ll look more tomorrow. But in the meantime, I still welcome suggestions for saving money!

I wonder if it might just be cheaper when you get there to talk to the locals and buy a cheap used car? And then sell it for cheaper still when you leave?

FWIW, I learned to drive manual for the first time as an adult, and it wasn’t at all hard. I’d say it took maybe an hour to learn, most of that just being practice to make sure I knew what I was doing.

FWIAW I ended up driving a manual in Ireland though I’m used to automatic, and I was quite nervous about the fact that my steering environment was going to be (mostly) reversed from what I was used to. But this actually didn’t cause any problem. My driving instincts seemed to adjust almost immediately.

This would have been my suggestion but there is the issue of the relative scarcity of automatic vehicles in Ireland, I doubt it would be that easy to find one cheap.

It’s only for 6 weeks, and there’s a lot of hassle and cost associated with transfer of ownership, organising insurance, and then trying to sell it.

When booking car hire in the US, I’ve always got very low rates, fully inclusive, using A sample search for 6 weeks this summer, starting and ending at Dublin Airport, currently shows the cheapest automatic option as a Ford Fiesta or similar for €2535. That’s a very steep €60/day.

The manual version is available for €1179, or €28/day.

That’s an extra €1350 just for automatic!

There’s no better time to learn a manual transmission than on a rental car where you don’t have to pay for clutch replacements!

I always advise folks to get the automatic if they’re going to be driving left for the first time. Even if you normally drive a stick, the less you have to think about, the better!

Also, I strongly recommend buying a GPS before you leave the States and loading it with the Irish maps. (They were ridiculously expensive to rent over there, you could have on for life for half the price.) Street signs in Ireland (and especially Dublin) are an afterthought, and street names can change from one block to the next. Often, even the locals can’t tell you what a given street will be called on a paper map.

I have an excellent sense of direction, and am comforably proficient with maps, but I was reduced to a screaming frenzy trying to get around St. Steven’s Green.

Okay, Googling about yields some better options. (which, aggravatingly, only allows 28-day rentals, which you can renew/extend), is showing me a 28 day rental of a Nissan Micra automatic for €899, inclusive of supplemental insurance, pick up and drop off at Dublin airport. That is quite manageable. No A/C, but I figure that’s not going to be necessary. I don’t figure I can do any better than that, can I?

Not bad advice, but I’m not coming from the US. Electronics are expensive here in Doha, too. If I got stuff in Ireland, at least it would come pre-loaded with the correct maps and software.

I agree that I wouldn’t want to try a manual. As I said, I have driven on the left before, but I want to be able to give it my full attention, and not have to worry about shifting gears.

If you’re only accustomed to driving in newer or more spacious places, you may find Irish roads narrow. The towns are often scaled for pre-motor traffic. Country roads often have no shoulder, at all. I think this is all just fine, but it does recommend getting a small car.

As for maps–this is a small country–you can literally buy a single map book with every road in the Republic.

Some car rental places give you the option of renting a SatNav as well.

I rented a car in Ireland last month from Hertz by going through the Aer Lingus website: $388 for 7 days.