See the Irish Countryside by Car and Ferry

The Irish countryside is among the most beautiful in Europe, and most visitors want to take their time and properly appreciate it.  Ireland is not blessed with the best public transport network, however, so many tourists opt to tour the country by car, whether their own or hired.  It is the perfect way to fully appreciate the landscape and soak everything up.

For those travelling by plane, car hire is quick and easy to arrange, but if you are driving your own car from the UK, you will need to arrive by ferry.  Fortunately there are frequent and reasonably priced services available from several ports in England and Wales, so this is a straightforward process.  There are seven routes from the UK to Ireland: Fishguard to Rosslare, Pembroke to Rosslare, Holyhead to Dublin, Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire, Liverpool Birkenhead to Dublin, Liverpool to Dublin, and Swansea to Cork.

Journey times vary from two to ten hours depending on the destination, and there are usually at least two sailings a day.  Ferry operators include Fastnet Line, Norfolk Line, P&O Ferries, Stena Line and Irish Ferries, and online booking makes things even easier.  The ferries are not restricted to cars either, with foot passengers, cyclists, motorbikes, vans and caravans all welcome.

Catching a ferry can also be a relaxing and enjoyable way to start your holiday, and modern ferries are fully equipped with cafés, bars, restaurants, shops and other leisure facilities.  It only remains for you to plan your route through the Irish countryside, and choose your points of arrival and departure accordingly.  Those wishing to catch the ferry to Northern Ireland, meanwhile, can take advantage of several routes to Belfast and Larne from England, Wales and Scotland.

Channel Crossings: Car arrival by ferry

One of the advantages of crossing the channel by ferry is that you can take your car with you. If you are taking your car allow be sure to allow plenty of time for your journey to avoid delays at the port.

Arrive at least 60 minutes before departure. This is because if you use a ferry which calls at more than one port, the vehicles have to be loaded in a particular sequence to prevent passengers having to move their vehicles so that others can disembark. This also explains why cars do not necessarily get boarded in the order that they check-in. The boarding order also depends on the size of the vehicle as well as destination.

Arriving earlier will also ensure plenty of time to go through your documentation at vehicle check-in. They will check that these documents are correct and that the dimensions of the vehicle match those on your ticket. It’s a good idea to check your paperwork beforehand, since any discrepancy in the dimensions may result in additional charges being applied.

Once your car is ready for boarding you drive your car straight onto the ferry. The crew will direct you to where your car should go. Once you are parked double check you have everything you want for your journey before you leave the vehicle. This is important since you cannot return to the vehicle until the ship arrives at the destination port for safety and security reasons. Ensure your car is locked and that all the windows are closed.