Best road map for your Ireland vacation

Best Ireland Road Map for Your Vacation

Before my first trip to Ireland, I bought a guidebook that included an Ireland road map. I used it before my trip to get a good idea of where the places I was reading about actually were.

And then I left it at home.

I'll blame it on excitement or last-minute research. Either way, the map didn't accompany me to Ireland.

Which actually turned out to be fine as there was a map of Ireland in my rental car. Though it was unwieldy and I could never get the silly thing to fold correctly again, it guided me through my first Ireland vacation.

And though rental companies will still offer you a large, multifold map if you request one, those are not the best road map of Ireland for your vacation.

GPS, Wifi, and Mobile Data May Not Always Work

“Some rental cars come with GPS,” I can hear you saying.

Yes, they do. But Sat Nav (or GPS) is only as good as its last update.

Which is how I keyed in Doolin (County Clare) and ended up on the road to Kerry before I figured out I was heading in the completely wrong direction – to some shop in Killarney with Doolin in the name.

At which time I had to stop the car, dig out the Ireland road map in the glove box, and get myself turned around and on the correct road to Doolin. As we were on a schedule, it was not my best morning.

“What about using the map app on my phone?” I can hear you asking.

Yep, that works. You just need to set it up to use offline, purchase an international phone plan or rent a portable wifi unit. But it isn't foolproof. There are still a few areas of Ireland where you just won't get a signal and the GPS will drop.

Read This: How to Use Your Mobile Phone in Ireland

When I'm driving in Ireland I prefer to have a road map close at hand.

The Best Ireland Road Map for Your Vacation

Collins Handy : The Best road map for your Ireland vacation

I didn't find the best driving map of Ireland until 2013.  And you can bet I snatched it up when I saw it. The Collins Handy Road Map is everything you could want in a travel atlas. 

Portable: Its laminated pages fold easily and neatly into a thin, light rectangle approximately 8″ high x 5″ wide.

Easy to Use: No need to unfold an entire map to find the one corner of Ireland you need – simply open the map to the county you are traveling in and find your destination.

Really Easy to Use: The little color-coded image of Ireland on the front makes it easy to find the map section you are looking for – find the color and open directly to that page.

A Couple Hacks for Using the Collins Handy Road Map

If you're the kind of traveler who likes to work out the next day's route the night before, bring along a dry erase marker. Circle your starting point and destination and mark your route. Wipe it off easily the next evening.

The print in the map is tiny, so if your eyes are tired (as mine are beginning to become), pick up a plastic credit card sized magnifier or pack some magnifying glasses (aka ‘readers').

It's always good to have a general idea of the direction you are facing when you are using a map. If you're not able to tell direction by the position of the sun (definitely not a skill I claim to own) or don't have a rental car that tells you which direction you are heading, you can't go wrong by keeping a small compass in your travel bag. (Also handy if you decide to go for a walk in a wooded area and lose your way. Yes, I'm speaking from experience.)

These are a few of my favorite things: Best Ireland Travel Gear

Jody Halsted
Follow Along

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  1. Pingback: Dublin Airport Tips for Arrival and Departure | Ireland Family Vacations

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