The Most Beautiful Drives in Ireland

Driving is one of the most relaxing and practical ways to enjoy Ireland and, for visitors arriving from the UK in particular, it need not be the hair-raising experience that driving abroad often seems to be. As in the UK driving is on the left, roundabouts are common and narrow roads in fog or rain (not to mention the occasional wild sheep wandering in front of your car) should pose no particular problem to the seasoned British driver. With stunning landscapes, charming towns and a coastline to rival any other, Ireland is best enjoyed at your own pace and the flexibility afforded by self-drive is a freedom well-worth taking advantage of.

If you’re preparing to embark upon a self-drive tour of Ireland, then plan these unmissable routes into your itinerary to witness Ireland’s magical landscape in all its beauty.

Dublin to Portlaioise (Wicklow Mountains)

Wicklow Mountains

Barely outside Ireland’s culture-rich capital Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains dominate the rugged countryside offering breath taking views of pine-covered slopes. Here you can marvel at the country’s highest waterfall, Powerscourt, or soak up the stunning scenery of Glendalough, the Valley of the Two Lakes where Ireland’s finest monastic settlement can be explored.

If you’re arriving by plane, with a variety of car rental companies available at Dublin Airport including National Car Hire, Hertz, Budget and Avis, you can be confident of securing a vehicle for your journey around Ireland.

The Sheeps Head Peninsula

Sheeps Head Peninsula

A favourite among hikers, the Sheeps Head Peninsula offers visitors a stunning drive around an 88km trail from Bantry to the headland and back. From here you can enjoy the spectacular coastline and the virtually unspoiled countryside where daffodils grace the scene as early as January due to the temperate climate brought by the Gulf Stream. With a variety of walks for all abilities, a self-drive tour can be combined with some invigorating hiking to explore one of Ireland’s most beautiful locations.

The Copper Coast

Copper Coast

Forming a circular route from Dungarvan to Waterford, Clonmel and Ballymacarberry, the Copper Coast gains its name from the underground copper mines that used to dominate the region. This 120km road trip takes in the stunning coastline, the Comeragh Mountains, the Nire Valley and Stradbally Cove, not to mention the renowned Tannery in Dungarvan which serves authentic Irish dishes to hungry passers-by.

The Beara Peninsula


From Killarney, close to the acclaimed Killarney National Park, a variety of enjoyable coastal drives can be enjoyed including the Beara Peninsula. In this area which is rich in myths and legends you can witness serene lakes, ancient Neolithic graves and stone circles, rugged mountains and traditional fishing ports. For waterside peace and beauty Ballydonegan Beach is an unmissable stop while mouth-watering seafood dishes await you in the many restaurants of the lively town of Castletownbere.

A tour of Irelands innumerable eye-catching landscapes is sure to be practical, relaxed and enjoyable on a self-drive holiday, where you can revel in your freedom to follow your own itinerary at your own pace, absorbing the magical scenery of this spectacular country.

Spring Cleaning Your Car

When the winter has finally ended and the warmer, brighter days of spring returned, many of us like to give our homes and lives a bit of an overhaul, getting rid of the old and bringing in the new. Spring cleaning is part of this urge, and most of us diligently sort through our homes to eliminate dirt and clutter. However, have you ever thought about spring cleaning your car? Your hardworking car certainly deserves the same treatment as your home, so check out these easy tips for getting your car in tip-top shape for the warmer months.

1. Wash the cars exterior

The exterior of your car will likely be coated in salt, mud and other winter dirt its important to remove this not only to improve the cars appearance, but also to protect the paint and bodywork from corrosion. Use warm water mixed with some weak detergent or special car cleaner (don’t use too much you don’t want to risk leaving a residue on the car) and a soft sponge to soap the exterior, then rinse well with fresh water from a bucket or hose. Make sure you get into the crevices around doors and other openings, and don’t forget the undercarriage this is often the area hardest hit by dirt, and the most vulnerable to corrosion. Wash the wheel wells, the hubcaps and windows, too, then dry the entire vehicle with a soft chamois to help prevent streaking as it dries.

Cleaning Your Car

2. Start with a quick overhaul

The first thing to do is to perform a quick recce. Look around inside your car and see which items need to be kept in there and which don’t. Remember, keeping a load of bulky items in your car that you don’t really need will not only limit space and create a cluttered look, but will make your car less fuel efficient as well. So, lighten its load by eliminating anything you don’t need.

3. Scrub the dashboard and heater

Over the course of a long winter your dashboard can get pretty grubby. Take a washcloth, get some surface cleaner from the kitchen, and give it a scrub. You can also use an old toothbrush to get inside any little cracks and crevices to clean out any old bits of dust and grime, and use cotton swabs to get into those tricky gaps along the heater vents. When it comes to the ceiling, be careful to not scrub too forcefully if the ceiling is made out of fabric, as this can leave it looking fuzzy. Instead, use a damp washcloth with ultrafine fibres and use detergent sparingly. Read More

Reasons for Buying a Used Car

People who are looking to purchase a car will most of the time instantly think of buying a new one for varying reasons and they will forget idea of looking for a used car. Their reasons usually revolve around the fact that used cars come with a manufacturers warranty and will therefore be fixed if anything goes wrong with them.

In this article we will prove to you that buying a used car is sometimes a better option for the following very solid reasons:

* One of the most important factors when choosing a new or used car is the price. These days you can find cars that are only six months old with very low milleage and their selling price has been reduced up to 30 percent of what it was 6 months ago. How used can such a car be? This kind of car will still have at least two and a half years of warranty left (probably more depending on the manufacturer). It is true that it depends a lot on how it was previously used by its first owner, but lets face it, 6 months old used car can not be that bad, right?

Buying a Used Car

And besides, you can always get a mechanic to check it over, if you are buying a car on finance they will often send a mechanic to check it over for free. The price of a new car is always a result from various antecedents, such as promoting the car on the market, exhibiting it in the showroom, profits for the dealer, commission for the sales person and so on. All these costs are reduced considerably when it comes to a used cars price.

* If you do not have the money to pay upfront, you may want to apply for a car loan and guess what? You can often qualify for lower interest rates on a loan for a nearly new car as opposed to a loan on a brand new one, this is because a new car immediately loses 30 percent or more of its value as soon as you buy it so the lender is taking more risk with a new car as opposed to a second hand one.

One other thing that you may not know about is that many lending financial institutions along with used car dealerships offer facilities for financing the purchase of used cars. As a result you will get a cheaper car with lower loan repayments.

* When buying a car, new or used, consider what you will use it for, compare brands and test drive several before you make a final decision.

The good thing about used car dealers is that they usually have several different brands and different types of car for you to look at, this is not possible with new car dealers who only present one or two brands of cars.

How to Cope with a Roadside Emergency

When you drive regularly or over long distances all sorts of roadside emergencies can occur, such as experiencing a flat tire or a breakdown that leaves you unable to drive the vehicle any further. This article will show you how to cope with these situations, regardless of the situation it is important that you remain calm and consider your safety.

Check down below for the things that you should do:

* The most important thing when dealing with a roadside emergency is to get off the road as fast as possible. Pull over in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with other traffic and road users. If you have a flat tyre, you may as well drive your vehicle very slowly until it is safe for you to pull over or if you know of any workshop is in the vicinity, go to that and make sure you put your hazard lights on and drive there cautiously.

roadside emergency

* If your intention is to change the tyre on your own or try to fix the vehicle on your own, then pulling over and exiting the car with caution is advisable. If the road is a motorway or very busy, you may want to exit through the passenger side door and then address the problem that your vehicle confronts you with.

* When a roadside emergency happens at night, you should make your vehicle visible by leaving the headlights on and turning on the hazard lights, in some countries it is law to carry a triangle that can be displayed a few metres behind the vehicle too.

* If your roadside emergency can not be handled by you alone, call someone for help using the special phones situated on the side of the motorway these phones help the operator to pinpoint your location and you should use them even if you have a mobile with you. Read More

5 Tips for Better Rental Car Hire

Car insurance provides you with the peace of mind and relaxed attitude you deserve on a holiday. However, it can be often quite hard to know what to look for when picking a car rental insurance. Luckily for you, we have a number of great tips….


One of the main concerns is price and if you fail to choose the correct sort of cover you may end up paying a lot more than you bargained for. Most car rental companies will offer you higher prices that you would expect and this is why its often better to go with a third party retailer to get your insurance.

Check Coverage

Be sure to check what your insurance cover will meet. There are all sorts of policies and you should be sure to check up the details before you get cover. Be aware of rental companies, as they tend to fluff you up with all sorts of business speak. A third party insurance retailer often offers a far more straight talking and viable alternative than the rental company so consider using them instead.

car rental insurance

Small Print

Reading the policies small print can make all the difference if there is an issue. People tend to have strange perceptions of the things that car insurance covers. The best way to get a straight and real understanding of what your cover includes is to read the policy in full. Assumptions tend to lead to issues and should be avoided. So, take some time to read it and you will get an understanding of whats really included. Read More

Buying New Tyres for Your BMW X5

The BMW X5 is seen as an SUV with great performance and low running costs. Solidly built with all the safety features you’d expect from a BMW, the X5 comes in several different models. When buying new tyres, you need to be sure that you’re choosing the right ones for your specific X5.

Run-flat Tyres

One of the safety innovations that comes with the BMW X5 is a new kind of tyre technology. Run-flat tyres allow you to carry on driving even after you get a puncture. The specially reinforced sides protect your wheels from damage for a significant distance – giving you plenty of opportunity to get the punctured tyre repaired. Run-flat tyres mean an end to dangerous roadside tyre changes. They also obviate the need to carry a spare in the boot of your BMW, cutting down on weight and leaving you with more space for luggage.

While its possible to replace your run-flat tyres with standard tyres, its not really advisable. Run-flat tyres increase your cars safety, are more convenient and allow you to run your car more efficiently. Replacing just one or two out of four tyres with a non-flat-run tyre could also make your car much less safe to drive.

BMW X5 tyres

Tyre Load Rating

Any replacement tyre must have the same tyre load rating as the previous tyre. Like all cars made since 1973, your BMW X5 will have a tyre placard fitted that tells you the load rating you need to buy.

In some cases, a tyre offered as less expensive may prove to have a lower load rating than the one that you need. You need to check that the tyre you’re being sold has a sufficiently high rating. Purchasing a tyre that has the wrong load rating can be very dangerous. It makes your car less safe and may invalidate your insurance, leaving you uninsured in the event of an accident.

Tyre Matching

As well as ensuring that your tyres have the correct load rating, tyres need to be properly matched. If one or two of your tyres are significantly different to the others, this can compromise your vehicles safety. Matching tyres correctly is particularly important if your vehicle is one of the permanent four-wheel drive models. Read More

Flexible Fuel Frugal Ford Fiesta Favoured by UK Driving Instructors

There is almost nothing more reassuring than a vote of confidence from a group of drivers who spend their working lives in a car, and the fact that the AA driving school have announced the addition of the latest Ford Fiesta to its 2,000 strong fleet of cars, confirms that Ford have got things right with their latest model of this popular car.

Choosing the Fiesta over the Focus

The AA have ordered more than 200 units of the 2013 Ford Fiesta model and they are particularly attracted to the 1-0 Litre Ecoboost model, which will probably see the current 50/50 split of Fiesta and Focus models advance more towards favouring the Fiesta in the future.

2013 Ford Fiesta

Most popular model

The specific model that is flying off the shelves as it were is the Titanium 1.0 Litre Ecoboost model that delivers 123bhp. There is also a similar 1-0 Litre petrol unit that delivers 98bhp, and both versions of the Fiesta offer a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions at only 99g/km.

Fuel efficient

The fuel efficiency aspect is of course a strong selling point as fuel costs have been on an upward spiral for some considerable time and are a major part of the overheads incurred by driving instructors and motorists in general. The 1.0 Ecoboost model offers excellent fuel efficiency but importantly, it still delivers the sort of power that you might expect from a car with a larger engine capacity. Read More

Finding a used car for a great price

The internet is great for finding so many things, and cars are no exception. You will find literally thousands of second hand cars for sale every single day of the week, and it has truly become the best place to both buy and sell your car.

The advantages are almost too many to list. Firstly, you can peruse as huge number of vehicles at your leisure in the comfort of your own home. Secondly, you can find out information about these vehicles quickly and easily. Thirdly, you will find that prices are more fair and more even because there is so much choice and competition. You will also find that the number of cars available means that you have a huge amount of choice available to you which gives you a much better chance of finding a good quality car, which is why you are looking in the first place!

second hand cars

To find decent used cars simply look online today and start to compile a list of the right vehicles for you. If you are going to do this though, you might as well do it properly. Take your time, make notes on the cars you like the look of, and make sure you check them all out thoroughly in the flesh. Do this and you could end up with a great car. The devil is in the detail, and if you are prepared to leave no stone unturned, you should do well.

Why is it important to have proper tyre pressure?

If the tyre pressure is not proper, you have to shell out more money for maintaining your car. This is because unless the tyre is properly inflated, more energy is required to run the vehicle. Not only that, if you want to pick up speed, you again spend more energy for it. So, more energy consumption means that your car is giving out more harmful gases, which will not only affect us adversely but also the environment. So, make your bit of contribution to the environment by keeping your tyre pressure optimum at all times. Let us see what the other consequences are if you do not have your car tyres inflated properly.


Appropriate tyre pressure gives better mileage

If your car tyres are not inflated to the optimum or rather to its full capacity, you fail to get proper mileage. Study conducted at the Carnegie Mellon University indicates that the mileage can improve by as much as 3.3% with proper inflated tyres.

It is also important to check the pressure in tyres frequently; at least once a month would suffice. Till the time you are using the original tyres, you don’t have to worry about the pressure at the time of buying the vehicle. This is because the original tyre pressure details are usually mentioned in the user manual so you can be sure about the same. But the trouble starts when you are using a replacement tyre. In this case the PSI or the Pound Per Square Inch rating may be different. So, you might have to double check with the replacement tyre manufacturer.

When the weather is cold, the internal pressure of the tyres increases if it has been running on the road for quite some time. However, the pressure is restored when the car stops. So, it is important to check the pressure of tyres when the temperature drops on a particular day.

Tyre pressure monitoring system

These days you will find that most of the tyre manufacturers are required to install tyre pressure monitoring system. In this there are tiny sensors that are attached to the wheels. The moment the pressure on the tyres drop by more than 25% of the standard PSI, the sensor will send signals. So, after the introduction of this system, the consumers will have to shell out a little more for the maintenance of their vehicles.

It has also been established that if the tyre pressure is good, the incidence of accidents is also minimized considerably.