20% of all foreign tourists to Ireland hire a car and those who do so spend more time and money and are much more likely to visit rural Ireland. Car rental plays an important role in facilitating tourism, but the cost of renting a car here is high compared to the European average.
According to, some visitors to Ireland are canceling their holidays altogether due to the rising cost of renting a car. Visitors here risk being stung for far higher costs than a number of other top European holiday destinations.
A journalist attempted to book a car for the two-week period from eight different airports across Europe and results showed Dublin to be the most expensive.
I know a bit about this subject because over the years I have spent quite a lot of money on car rentals abroad, especially in Cyprus. Costs are rising there too, not as much as in Ireland, but enough for me to consider my options and think my rental days are coming to an end.
Not too long ago I was able to pick up a car at Paphos airport and keep it for a few weeks for a few hundred euros. There were days when it was just parked without moving, especially when I was alone, but at this price it didn’t matter. I was more likely to use it when my wife joined me or if we had visitors.
That has changed now because the cost of car rental has skyrocketed. I first noticed this about twelve months ago when there was a significant price increase, but this year it’s even worse. I was looking at prices for next September/October and the best price I can find is around eighteen hundred euros. Granted, it’s for an extended stay, but it’s still too expensive for something a little bigger than a wheelbarrow and I can’t justify it.
I have now decided that the next time I go to Larnaca I will try public transport. I’ve never used it before so I have no idea how efficient or punctual the buses are, but there’s only one way to find out and that’s to hop on it. If I need a car for any reason for a day or two, I will hire one.
It will be different but I’m looking forward to the challenge. Aside from the cost of renting a car, taking care of it comes with a responsibility and I’d be happy to have that monkey on my back. In Cyprus, when you rent a car, you either pay for additional insurance, which is an additional daily cost and can be expensive for longer stays, or you pre-authorise a payment on your credit card to cover the cost of any damage caused. to this one.
This amount varies but is usually around €800 or €900. If you return the car without a scratch, this pre-authorization is canceled and there is no problem. But if you return the car with a mark larger than the size of a €2 coin, the rental company deducts the cost of the repair from this sum. It’s a bit random though.
Last April, my rental was parked on the side of the street when someone backed into the driver’s door and drove off. A local guy witnessed it and said the driver was a little old lady. When she was later questioned by the police, she denied hitting my car. It’s possible she didn’t even realize it because the damage was minor, but it was still going to cost me dearly.
To counter this, I take out annual insurance, around €50, to cover this excess insurance, so that I can claim these costs when I return home. It’s a bit tedious and time consuming but it’s worth it in the end. Still, that’s not what you want to deal with when you’re on vacation.
I’ve been involved in several incidents over the years so I’m constantly on my toes and not just when I’m on the road. I even worry about the car when it’s in the designated parking space, so not having that responsibility next time will be a relief. If I think this way, you can be sure that visitors to Ireland will think the same way and that is not the only problem for Failte Ireland.
The hospitality industry needs support. Hotels are constantly reminding us of their struggles during Covid and how badly they need business. They want tourists to come. They would also like us to stay on vacation at home, but if they deny the price gouging, the costs are still exorbitant.
Expensive hotel rooms, the cost of restaurant meals, and our unpredictable weather are already serious considerations for any potential tourist. Also add the exorbitant cost of car hire to the pot and Failte Ireland has every reason to worry.