I went with a friend, but I found Dublin great. You can definitely plan it and do it on your own. Many walkable spots, train station to access day trips, etc.
Feel free to drop by the Dublin forum, where there are some great experts who offer great advice:
Dublin is pretty civillised. Safety for solo's is not really much of a problem. You might suffer from drinking too much black nectar though!!
The place is heaving with tourists, either over for a quick week end break, or as a starting point for travelling futher around Ireland.
The new(ish) coach station at Dublin airport makes it very easy and quick to get into Dublin itself, or to travel across Ireland without having to go into Dublin first. There is no need to get a taxi from the airport into Dublin itself.
There are plenty of day trips you can do from Dublin by public transport, so you don't to pre- arrange tours. Walking tours for seeing the main sites are very easy to arrange once you are there and can be booked from the tourist information centre.
Eat a good hearty meal before a pub crawl!!!!
The hop on hop off tourist bus is a good way of getting your bearings.
If you get the time to travel south to Kinsale, you will be in food heaven.
As has already been said, the friendly Dublin forum is an excellent source of information... but, please... don't go in just to ask weather questions!
Just got back from a solo trip in Ireland. I went to Dublin, Galway, Cliffs of Moher, and all over the western area. Rented a car and had no problems at all. Met a lot of people and shared a few pints. Just remember your camera because it's beautiful.
While at a bar in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, a guy I had a few drinks with warned me to watch my camera because the area was known for theft. I had no problems but I figure if a local tells me that, it must be true. So just watch your valuables and you shouldn't have any problems.Edited: 17 March 2012, 20:44
I was very interested in your comments as I am thinking about going at the end of this summer (Aug-Sept). My idea is to rent a car, visit smaller towns and main sights but experience as close to a "local" trip as possible. I am 62, in good shape and female. While I have traveled extensively on my own before, it has mostly been in the US, or with a companion if abroad. From what you saw, do you think it would be safe on the back roads and small towns for someone like me?
I had a great time in Dublin. Coincidentally, it was a rare trip where I wasnt completely alone. A friend from the NYC forum from the UK got a 1 pound Ryan Air fare, so she met me for the Dublin part of my Ireland trip. We stayed in different hotels, and met for dinner nightly. We did go sightseeing together once (Kilmainham Prison and the Guiness Factory), but I like museums whereas she wanted to visit every distillery. It was very easy to get around - in fact I had an easier time than she did understanding people and getting directions.
It's great for sightseeing alone because there is so much to see, and you can arrange a lot of day tours where you will meet people. I did the Trinity College tour, but also did 2 day trips from Galway. And, I met a beautiful man on the train from Galway who I could have hung out with there, but he just oozed bad boy and my days of bad boys are hopefully over (I kept seeing him all over town, drinking on the street or in parks with vagrants so my gut reaction was right)!
I dont drive, so I cant advise you there... My advice would be to include the Aran Islands. 2 nights on Inishmor were the highpoint of my trip. Most people go for the day but there is enough to do for 2-3. The ring forts are amazing!
Maureen F - I rented a car in Dublin and drove over 600 miles on my trip. I drove over to Galway, down to the cliffs, up to Ashford Castle and over to Clifden. I drove on a lot of back roads that were only wide enough for 1 car but I didn't have any problems because there usually wasn't anyone coming from the other way. A lot of the roads in Ireland are narrow but if you know how to drive then you should be fine. Learning to drive with the steering wheel on the right side of the car and the roads being backwards for US citizens like myself was interesting but it became pretty easy after a while. I got a GPS with my car and it was a must since it allows you to go anywhere and still find your way back. Hope this helps a little! Have fun!