Buying vs leasing vs other alternatives?
I'm planning on selling my old car in the US before moving over (it has 250K on it, so it's time, even if I wasn't relocating), and I'm thinking about what I was going to do in terms of transportation in Ireland. My first thought was simply to buy a lightly used hybrid, and when I was looking at Cars.ie, this seemed affordable. But in looking into things further, the reality of the 23% value added tax, plus other taxes and fees set in, and it looks like owning a car there is *very* expensive unless I get a vehicle with a lot of mileage on it.
Plus, I'm there for only one to two years, and with the resale value after that time and the high initial cost, I'm not sure if owning the car is the most cost effective means of transportation.
That leaves me wondering about alternatives like car leasing, which is fairly popular in the US, but I'm not sure about whether it's generally available in Ireland and what the costs are.
Otherwise, I'm trying to guesstimate how much some some combination of Uber or GoCar (for shorter hops) and car rental for longer drives might run me over a year.
I do definitely want some access to driving and not become "city bound" and entirely dependent on public transportation. My heavy workload at NUI, Galway will probably keep me home-bound during much of the school year, but I'd definitely like to take road trips when I have the time (it's one of my favorite things to do in California right now). Also, I'm a mycologist and naturalist, so I like to be able to pop off to woodlands and other natural areas that are near town on a regular basis.
On another topic about driving, is it true that most of the vehicles available in Ireland are manual transmission? If so, I'd better learn to drive a stick while I'm still stateside, since I don't want to have master that and get used to driving on the left at the same time. Also, how tricky is it to get used to driving on the left and other peculiarities of Irish driving? I suppose having the driver's side on the right of the car helps put one in the mindset of driving on the right. Is it something Americans take to readily, or would it help to do a few sessions of drivers ed once I've moved over there?
Apologies for the delay...
I'll answer some of your questions and possibly get back to you later on some of the others.
Yes it's true, most cars in Ireland are manual transmission, but automatics are available too. Usually when renting they are a lot more than expensive, but I'm not too sure about price differences when buying. You can probably get a good idea on various car buying sites.
Getting used to driving on the other side usually comes quite quickly, but it's definitely something that you need to pay extra attention to for sometime, especially when moving through intersections and when taking off in the car for the first time. In fact even while traveling on foot is an adjustment, looking the other way when crossing etc.
If you're planning on living within the city center you can probably avoid the need to own a car especially if most of the activity you will do will be in and around the city. Buses, train, taxis, rental cars are all viable solutions to get around. I'd suggest doing some cost analysis on various websites to get a feel for what your daily travel needs might look like, as well as what your expenses for occasional rental needs would be.