[As seen from the Howth Cliff Walk – yes, you should definitely go]
So I didn’t want to include this in myYou Should Probably Get Your Ass to Ireland guide because that would be really long. (But you should probably read that, too, because it’s chock full of information and hilariousness.)
OKAY. So let’s talk logistics and other super duper fun things.
[So I don’t have any pictures of buses but I took this picture out the window of a bus – counts for something right?? Inch Beach on the way to Dingle]
Renting a car is definitely the easiest way to get around Ireland, but it’s definitely possible to get around without one! Or you can just hope you meet people with a car (like I did!) or meet people who all want to rent a car together (which happened to my friends’ friend!).
BUT before I met my friends with the car, and stayed with my family for a week (and they had a car), I took buses.
There are a few different bus options you can do so I’d recommend checking them all out depending on which city you’re going to. Here’s what I used:
– BusEirann goes to the most places.
– Citylink goes to major cities, like Dublin and Galway, among others.
Also remember to select the “student” option as the ticket type – you’ll get a small discount! Only if you’re actually a student of course (…orrrr still have a somewhat valid-looking student ID) but they didn’t ask for my ID when I presented them my ticket…So there’s that…
– Dublin Bus takes you around Dublin.
**Also remember to carry EXACT fare because most bus drivers don’t carry change (especially on the buses around Dublin!).
Biking is also great! I rented a bike to get around Killarney National Park (which I highly recommend! I was able to see pretty much all major landmarks and squeeze in a hike at Torq Mountain in a day), and to do Slea Head Drive. And don’t forget to ask about that student discount! Neither of the places advertised it, but I asked and they rented me a bike for 12 euro both times instead of 15. Score 😀
You can also hitchhike! Everyone that picked us up was incredibly nice and it was decently easy to get rides – even for a group of three girls. Again, I would recommend being very careful if you do this, and preferably not while alone.
[You should also probably learn to speak sheep before going to Ireland, because they are EVERYWHERE. You want to get the Irish experience and be #cultured, don’t you?]
Some people speak Gaelic, but most everyone in Ireland also (or only) speak English.
Unless you’re in Killarney. Then everyone speaks jibberish.
I kid I kid but they talk really fast and have an intense accent and you can’t really understand them and it’s really awkward because they speak perfect English but you still have no clue what in the world they’re saying so you just nod along and smile and laugh occasionally and then it’s silent and you realize they asked you a questions and so you say “yes.” And then luckily they continue talking and you continue smiling along with the occasional laugh for good measure.
Ireland uses the euro while Northern Ireland uses the pound. Ireland is a little more expensive, I found, especially with food. Go to Lidl, a super duper cheap supermarket, to stock up on groceries and try to stay at a hostel that provides a good breakfast. I’d recommend Ashfield Hostel because they served muesli, yogurt, eggs, and toast, whereas most other hostels I stayed at in Ireland served pretty much just toast. I would take extra for lunch and sometimes even dinner 🙂
[Maybe if you bribed someone enough you could stay in this castle! LOL JK this is Ross Castle in Killarney National Park, but I bet you could find somewhere like it because castles are the Starbucks of Ireland]
WHERE TO STAY
Hostels: Hostels are all over Ireland, so it’s not hard to find one to stay in. In Dublin, especially on weekends in the summer, you should book earlier and be prepared to pay higher prices. For instance, I found hostels in Dublin for 10-20 euro a night, but on weekends they went up to 30 or so. My recommendations: Ashfield Hostel in Dublin (best free breakfast), The Grapevine Hostel in Dingle, Sleepzone in Galway, and Paddy’s Palace in Killarney (not as nice as the other 3, but cheap).
Camping: I met 2 girls who were camping in a tent, and 2 guys who were hammock camping (my hitch hiking pals!). I camped with them for 3 nights and we stayed in random fields on the outskirts of town, and spent one night in Connemara National Park! Technically, camping in random fields etc. is not all that legal (although camping in Connemara is fine), but we were quiet about it and arrived late and left early. We also took what we brought and packed out all our trash – very important anytime you’re camping!
[People in Ireland are insane and think that swimming in 60 degree weather is ‘fun’; this is also a summer day in July FYI; beach in Kilkee]
BE PREPARED in Ireland. You often get all 4 seasons in one day (and the weather forecast is often wrong). It rains a little almost every day I feel like (even in the summer) so always be prepared no matter how sunny it looks like it’s going to be. And if you wake up and it’s raining, don’t lose hope! The day I went to Killarney National Park it was raining and grey and scary in the morning, but lovely and beautiful by 11AM. Then the second I got to the top of Torq Mountain it started to pour and I was terrified for my life (because I’m from California and we had been in a drought for like 10,000 years at that time so I was like, what is this strange stuff coming out of the sky) and I ran down the mountain (literally) only to have it clear up and get sunny again 5 minutes later. And then I felt like a fool and wished I’d stayed at the top longer. BUT on the bright side, all the rain means lots of green and lots of rainbows!
So go forth, ye traveler, and use these tips to make the most out of your Irish adventure!