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11 tips for your self-drive vacation

Enjoy the ease of a pre-planned itinerary or total freedom to design your own

Imagine being at the wheel of a car, driving down a scenic coastal road, with some friends or the love of your life at your side. Green fields, heather-covered mountains and picturesque stone walls surround you. Intrigued by castle ruins or a charming village shop? No problem – you’re free to stop as you wish!

How do you make this vision reality?  One way could be a CIE Tours Independent Adventure. Choose from two styles of itinerary that both give you the freedom of your own car and your own pace – and our assistance in your planning:

1. Pick your choice of preplanned itineraries in our Classic Itineraries selection.  Taste of Ireland hits all the highlights in 7 days, while Irish Heritage and Dromoland Castle gives you a luxurious night in one of Ireland’s finest castle hotels. Perhaps you’d like to feel like a local on our Ireland South Daytripper, spending five nights in Adare, your hub for visiting Ireland’s top highlights - or spend two weeks circling the entire island on Jewels of Ireland.

2. Choose the total freedom of a “Traveler’s Choice” vacation you design yourself, with our Vacation Builder.

No matter which you pick, are here to help you have the self-drive vacation of your dreams. We’ll make it easy for you – and help you along every step of the way.

Here are a few tips to help you plan your adventure! If you’re looking for the freedom of your own car and your own pace – and our assistance in your planning -  you just can’t beat a self-drive tour with CIE Tours. We’re here to make it easy for you, and help you along every step of the way.

Know before you go:

1. Whether you’re a solo traveler or have a whole crew, we’ll have the right car for you. You can choose a small car, a luxury vehicle, an SUV, or even a minivan for up to 9 people.

2. You don’t need an international license – just your license from your home country. As long as you’ve been a licensed driver for at least two years, you’re set.

3. You’ll have a choice of automatic or manual.  Even if you drive a manual at home, you might want to consider the ease of an automatic vehicle so you won’t have to worry about operating the gear shift with your left hand.

4. It’s a good idea to enlist one of your passengers as a co-pilot, but all our car rentals also include a complimentary GPS device to keep you on the right road, no matter where you’re going.

5. Pre- and Post-nights are available for any trips in our Classic Itinerary selection. Pre-nights are a great option if you’d like to rest up before you start your adventure. Or book some post nights if you’d like to extend your holiday – maybe you’d like to look up the village your grandparents came from, or spend an extra couple of nights exploring Dublin.


On the road:

There are a few differences when you’re driving in Ireland, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

6. Your car will take either gas or diesel, and this is something you’ll want to pay a little attention to: Unlike in North America, in Ireland, the gas pumps are green, and the diesel pumps are black.

7. It’s the law! Everyone in the car must wear their seatbelts at all times – whether in the front or the back.

8. There are many roundabouts in Ireland – you’ll enter these traffic circles by turning left. Remember that there’s no need to panic – if you miss your turn-off, you can just keep going until you circle around to it again.

9. The speed limit and distances will be in kilometers (a kilometer is about 5/8 of a mile, so a speed limit of 80 kilometers is 50 miles an hour.)


Peace of mind:

We’re confident your trip will be hassle-free - but just in case, we offer good insurance as standard with optional extra coverage, and you’ll always have a phone number to ring for assistance.

10. When you pick up your car, the representative will give you a Breakdown Assistance number, which will be on your documentation and the key fob. If anything happens to the car, your Hertz representative will work to get you on your way as quickly as possible.

11. You’ll get comprehensive insurance and the collision damage waiver included. Want even more piece of mind? The optional Super Collision Damage Waiver is available.


Ready to start planning?  Check out these great pre-planned itineraries below, or visit our Traveler's Choice page to make your own trip!


Ireland Tours

Showing 9 of 9 total

Irish Heritage

Starting from $2,015

7/8 Days

See all the highlights on this classic tour - and on our 8-day option, luxuriate in a stay at the elegant, five-star Dromoland Castle Hotel.

​Guided Tours, Guided Small Groups, Independent Adventures

Irish Adventure Self-Drive

Starting from $1,745

9 Days

Make the most of your Ireland vacation, as you drive this route around the island. Discover Glendalough, the Giant’s Causeway, and the Cliffs of Moher. Stay in Dublin, Waterford, Killarney, Galway…

Independent Adventures

Taste of Ireland Self-Drive

Starting from $895

7 Days

This fast-paced, short-and-sweet Ireland tour features top Irish highlights: the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, the Cliffs of Moher, and a medieval castle banquet. Stay in Dublin, Killarney and…

Independent Adventures

Irish Classic Self-Drive

Starting from $1,945

13 Days

Drive the rugged coastlines and countryside as you explore. See Dublin’s highlights, then head to Belfast as you start your route around Ireland. See the Giant’s Causeway, Donegal, Westport House…

Independent Adventures

Irish Gold Self-Drive

Starting from $1,595

9 Days

Venture to the most acclaimed sights and scenic byways of the West and South of Ireland. Visit Kylemore Abbey in beautiful Connemara, raise a glass in Sean’s Bar – Europe’s oldest pub, stroll…

Independent Adventures

Irish Legends Self-Drive

Starting from $1,695

10 Days

Explore hidden gems along with tried-and-true favorites on this self-drive adventure. Begin with a stay in a beautiful Georgian mansion, visit medieval Kilkenny, and ferry across Galway Bay to the…

Independent Adventures

The Irish Pub Tour Self-Drive

Starting from $1,820

9 Days

Enjoy driving adventures by day, and raise a glass in some of Ireland’s liveliest cities and towns by night. Visit Sean’s Bar in Athlone, the oldest in Europe. See Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse –…

Independent Adventures

Irish Spirit Self-Drive

Starting from $1,195

8 Days

See spectacular scenery as you drive this great route, offering castles, coastlines, and a coal mine – and luxuriate for two nights in a castle hotel. Venture to Slane Castle, the setting for…

Independent Adventures

Best of Ireland South Self-Drive

Starting from $1,095

8 Days

See many of Ireland’s most amazing attractions, including the stunningly beautiful Dingle Peninsula. Visit the Irish National Stud and see the regal thoroughbreds, kiss the Blarney Stone, and take…

Independent Adventures

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