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.