The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Ireland

Ireland is a gorgeous country and perfect for a vacation. You can visit places such as the Cliffs of Moher, the Blarney Stone, Killarney National Park, St. Stephen’s Green, the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, and so much more. There is a world to explore, and it’s easier when you have a rental car.

Renting a car in Ireland

The country of Ireland does not recognize driving permits and licenses that do not make use of Roman letters and numbers. You can drive in the country legally if you have a valid driver’s license and international driving permit. While the minimum age to drive in the country is 17 years old, you have to be at least 23 years old to rent a vehicle, and you must have held the license for at least a year.

Foreign drivers need to have their passport, license, international driver’s permit, third party insurance, and rental agreement. It is recommended that you have a warning triangle, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, visibility vest, and a spare bulb kit in the vehicle as well as an extra pair of glasses if you have eyewear. Be sure to get the contact information from the rental agencies, so you can get in touch with them if you have an emergency.

Road conditions and safety

The road conditions in Ireland are good in general. There will not be too many potholes or other issues with the roadways, and the road network is easy to follow. The signs are in English and the distances are in kilometers. When you drive, you will be on the left side of the road, and you will need to overtake on the right side of the road. When you come to an intersection of equal roads, you will yield to the traffic on the right.

When you are in built up areas, you are not allowed to use your horn between 11:30 PM and 7 AM unless there is an emergency. The driver and all of the passengers in the vehicle need to wear their seatbelt. Children who are less than 12 years old are not allowed to sit in the front seat of the vehicle.

There are a number of roundabouts in Ireland. The cars that are already in the roundabout will have the right of way. Drivers are not allowed to use cell phones unless they are using a hands-free system.

Toll roads

There are a number of toll roads in Ireland. The cost of the tolls varies and can change, and you should check the website for Transportation Infrastructure Ireland for the latest prices and changes.

  • M1 Motorway toll
  • M50 Barrier free toll
  • East link toll bridge
  • Port tunnel (northbound and southbound)
  • M4 Kilcock
  • N6 Galway
  • N8 Rathcormac/ Fermoy Bypass
  • N25 Waterford city Bypass
  • Limerick Tunnel
  • M3
  • M7/M8

Speed limit

The speed limits in Ireland depend on the type of road you are on. The following are the typical speed limits.

  • In Towns and cities – 50 km/h
  • Regional and local roads – 80 km/h
  • National roads – 100 km/h
  • Motorways – 120 km/h

Having a rental car should make getting around Ireland much faster and easier.


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