I can't advise it enough: if you're planning to drive in Ireland get a good map!
Sure, it only costs a few dollars per day to rent a sat nav (GPS) with your rental car in Ireland. And it is well worth the cost if you'll be visiting new locations or trying to find your way through a maze of city streets in Dublin, Galway, Cork or Limerick. Another option is to use the navigation feature on your phone, but be sure you have an international calling plan or mobile wifi!
But be aware that a sat nav is only as good as its last update. And that is only as good as the information in the update.
During our 2013 to Ireland we had use of a sat nav for the first time. My cousin, who is a horrible navigator, was thrilled to have this electronic bit of help. Until she input Doolin. Now, Doolin is a rather popular village just north of the Cliffs of Moher. But the sat nav seemed never to have heard of it, instead trying to send us south of Limerick to a music store in Killarney.
Having a decent idea of where I was headed, I followed the signs to the Cliffs of Moher until Doolin began to appear on them and made my way to the village.
Later in the trip, after realizing the sat nav was in desperate need of an update, I bought a map. The Collins Ireland Handy Road Map is, by far, my favorite Ireland road map. Laminated, and opening from either side- almost like a book- you see only a section of Ireland at a time. Perfect for using in the car.
This little map came in handy again in 2015 when we were, again, in the west of Ireland where wifi signals were weak, at best. Looking at the map I knew our destination, the small village of Kilshanny, was between Lisdoonvarna and Ennistymon. Once pointed in the right direction I used the map and road signs to guide me to one of the best meals we've ever enjoyed in Ireland.
In our tech enabled world, map reading is a dying skill. But on the remote roads of Ireland it's a skill that is helpful to have!
No matter what map you use – even the free one you are offered when you rent your car- be sure to have a map. You never know when you might need it!
3 reasons I use the Collins Hand Road Map Ireland:
- Accordion type pages that open like a book. No more struggling to fold the map!
- Laminated pages. Perfect for circling destinations or tracing driving routes.
- Sections are numbered and color coded making it easy to find the pages you need.