Posts Tagged ‘ireland’

I am starting this blog post without any idea of whether I will be able to offer a solution.

Over this past summer, guests have recounted so many bad dealings with car rental companies here.  As the car rental company is generally the first point of contact for an incoming tourist, the fact that this proves to be a nightmare reflects badly on us all.

Here are just a sample of the issues.

US guests having booked ahead and believing that they have paid everything in advance, arrive and are being charged €3 – 5,000 on their credit card as an extra security.  Similarly, US guests booking with a credit card that includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), on arrival being told that the cover isn’t ‘specific enough’ and are charged again – often doubling the cost of rental.  Here’s an American article which goes into great detail as to which credit cards offer best coverage (9 Best Credit Cards for Car Rental Insurance Coverage [2019]).

Then there was the German guest who booked and paid for his 10 day car rental prior to travelling.  Then got into Dublin and the rental company refused to accept his ‘old style’ driving licence.  It was valid and in date, but it was just the ‘old style’.  This guest ended up walking away from the pre-paid rental and forking out a substantial amount to another rental company that would accept his old style licence.

As I said at the start I’m not sure I can even offer a solution to all this mess.

From what research I’ve done, here is what I’ve discovered.

  • Often it is cheaper to hire a car away from the airport… even just travelling from Dublin Airport to Swords (4 miles away) can reduce your rental costs! (A taxi driver told me that it is a €10 journey from Airport to Swords).
  • If you are searching for a car rental company from outside Ireland…. it can often be cheaper to go for a .ie website rather than .com
  • With regard to the CDW issue, I have found that you can buy an annual policy for c. €60.00.  Now I don’t know if all car rental companies will accept such a policy, but it is perhaps worth asking them.

Of course, one of the biggest hurdles with all of the above, is that it is virtually impossible to speak to a ‘human’ when renting a car.

To me, the simple solution with regard to the CDW being included by your credit card company would seem that the car rental companies and credit card companies should perhaps ‘talk’ to each other and clarify the matter.  Or is that just too simplistic a resolution!!!

One solution, that I can offer, when we were travelling a number of years back and needed to hire a car, we too had a nightmare experience as we don’t use a credit card.  Car rental companies won’t accept debit cards!  We eventually found a company called Indigo based in the UK.  They now have an Irish office.  They organised our car for us, with one of the rental companies who had refused us when we approached them.  AND, the rate we were charged on our debit card, was lower than that quoted to us directly by the rental firm.  AND, we actually got to speak to a human to arrange our car hire.  Give them a call if you are travelling … they may be able to assist you.

I have spoken to Failte Ireland (our national Tourism Board) about this whole debacle.  I’m not sure what, if any, influence they can exert over rental companies.

Would love to hear if others have had negative experiences with car rental companies?  Or perhaps someone else has a solution?


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Last Sunday, Portumna Workhouse had an open day for locals – isn’t that a lovely idea?  I’m sure I’ve said it many times before but how often do we live in an area and never visit the local historical sites?

Workhouse Bench

It was wonderful to see such a large number of locals along at the event.

The workhouse in Portumna was one of 163 built across the country – the biggest construction project undertaken in Ireland until our recent Celtic Tiger arrived.  All workhouses were completed on time and within budget – not a bad feat back in the mid- 1800’s.  The Portumna Workhouse was built at a total cost of €6,500 and was fitted out with a budget of €1,500.  It was designed to hold 600 people but the largest number of people ever recorded in it was at 230.

We only caught the latter half of the introduction about how the restoration had been undertaken and funded by SE Galway IRD.  The video of the work undertaken and the mammoth tasks that faced the team when they started was pretty awesome – the haunting music being obligatory!

Next it was time to go outside and meet our volunteer guide, Pierce.  (There are over 25 volunteers that act as guides and help in the painstakingly slow job of the renovation).

Womens' Yard & Dormitory

There is something eerily disturbing about standing in the inner yard.  At either end are the accommodation blocks – one for girls, one for women – and on either side are 10 or 12 feet high stone walls which were to keep the occupants out of sight of outsiders and the men in the workhouse.

Going to school in Ireland, we were taught the history of the workhouses – how dreaded it was, how desperate families were.  Can we ever imagine or know what it must have been like for a family to go seek help in such a place?   One member of a family would not be allowed to enter – only entire families – the cruelty of it.  Imagine knowing that entering through the gates meant that immediately the family would be divided – never to see each other again!  Women in one block, girls in another, fathers in another and boys in yet another block.  Only children under 2 were allowed stay with their mothers.  Such utter devastation.



And then to add to that…. there was a policy that the food inside the workhouse should not be ‘better’ than that available outside!  So adults were fed 2 meals of porridge or potatoes a day, with children getting 3 meals.

Life was so regimented inside those walls.  The slightest misdemeanour meant you spent some time in the refractory cell – stone shed with no windows.  Your misdemeanour could possibly have been standing on a chair to look out a window in the hope of seeing your child in the yard.

Everyone worked – women did the laundry, men did maintenance and yard work.

Is it worth a visit?  Yes, most definitely – it is full of history and a reminder of how lucky we are now – no matter how bad we think things are.

Portumna Workhouse 

Open 7 days a week – May to October –  09.00 – 18.00 (last admission 17.00)

Cost:  Adults €6.00,  Seniors/Students €4.00,  Families €14.00



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I attended the photography workshop with Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland and I still haven’t managed to sort through the 399 photos I took! Or write the blog post…. it will come soon.

Doves on window sill

Coming in to land

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