Driving / Walking, Dublin
I picked a hotel in Ballsbridge, southeast of the city center, specifically so we wouldn't have to drive through central Dublin but then we listened to the Dan Dooley representative who said that it was easiest to go right through the center of the city, during rush hour no less. We were going along fine until we got to the Liffey River, the streets aren't marked very well, we hadn't figured out the one way street markings yet and there are some weird curves, we got honked at MANY times in the span of 5 minutes. After getting past that weird junction we came upon Stephen's Green and the lovely man from Dan Dooley was trying to send us the wrong way down a one way street. We finally figured out how to get around that one just to find that we couldn't turn right onto Mespil Road, jetlagged and stressed out, after a couple of turns around the neighborhood we finally found the hotel and left the car there until we were ready to leave Dublin.
Getting out was actually fairly easy, once at St. Stephen's Green there were signs clearly marking the way to N1/N2 and it was Sunday morning so we didn't have the added stress of rush hour.
My advice is to leave the driving to someone else. If you are continuing on, rent a car when you are ready to leave Dublin, there is no reason that you should need to drive while in Dublin. The bus/Dart/Luas connections are excellent and should be able to get you where you are going.
At the end of our trip, we stayed at the hotel where the car return was. It was more expensive, but easy was more a priority at that point.
We turned the car in early, which ended up being an issue as they had already charged us for the full stay (we are still waiting for our refund).
On top of that they claimed that a close brush with a bush one day was grounds for repainting the door. We said we wanted to see a bill for the completed work first and are refusing to pay until they can show us that.
When we were driving through the city I had to navigate from the back seat (my mother is worthless with directions). In America, I am used to most signs being posted on separate street signs or by traffic lights. It took a moment to realize many of them are hung on the buildings or painted. Duh for me!
Street signs in Dublin can be found on the corner buildings at intersections. Bad thing is not all interesections have the signs and some signs arent correct. Take for instance Denmark Street. I wasnt sure I was at the right place because the sign on the corner says it is "Gardiner Row". The major road that I was turning off of was Parnell Square East so I knew it didnt designate that street but if you ask at the businesses on "Gardiner Row" where they were you would be told "Denmark St."
There were a few others that also didn't match but unfortunately I didn't write them down. Just keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to ask someone if you think you might be in the wrong spot.
One of the first things I noticed in Dublin was the strange way to drive of the bus drivers! They drive too fast in my opinion. I am used to go up and down with local busses but in my town drivers have a normal guide style; well not in Dublin. I found only 1 drivers that can be said "quiet" when he drives! So keep in mind that, after entering the bus, the best thing to do is to find a seat as soon as possible! You will probably see this plaque that is on the bus to explain whatt I am writing ;-) You wont see any elderly people on board, to hard for their balance without a free seat, and I wont tell you anything about the bus-stops, a very dangerous adventure !!
We once stayed in Dublin on a weekend when the All-Ireland finals were being played. I'd say many people drank more than their share, as vomit was EVERWHERE on the sidewalks. Almost felt like we were playing Hopscotch just to avoid them. We were even treated to the lovely sight of a young lady tossing her cookies right outside the window where we were having breakfast.
Hold the eggs, I'll just have coffee, please!
Dublin is a major city so as you might guess the congestion is pretty bad. Traffic in Dublin is terrible at all times during the day, and the pedestrian traffic can bottleneck in some parts of city centre.
I would not advise driving in Dublin and instead either walk of use public transportation.
2 times very polite Irish ladies warned us about keeping our purses and carry bags closed and held close to us.
The first time, we were very suspicious, and was waiting for someone else to brush by us while the lady attracted our attention. No such thing happened, this was just a very kind woman concerned that we were open to having our purses snatched or pilfered.
The second woman was another kind friendly woman from Belfast on the train who was giving us some tips about the city.
As you may already know, Irish drivers use the left lane instead of the right one while driving. I’m aware that this is a small inconvenience, but still, it usually require a couple of days to get use to the fact that cars will appear in the “wrong” direction…
Anyway, just in case your brain is unable to adapt to the new conditions (as it was my case), you’ll find signals in the roads around Dublin City center, reminding you where to look while crossing.
i'm not really sure if this should go here or in the cultural section... ah well.
one quick thing. i have found that dubliners (who are wonderful people) are absolutely crap at giving directions. if you walk into a shop and ask how to get somewhere, chances are you won't be able to follow their directions and they'll send you the wrong way anyway. it just seems to be a city-wide problem. so once again i recommend that you get your own map and learn how to use it. plus you will find that you know the city better from getting around without help.