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Driving in Ireland for Tourists


It might sound intimidating but after a couple of days driving on the left side will feel like you never drove on the right side. Driving on the narrow remote Irish roads is the best way to discover the countryside. At times roads are so narrow only one car can pass through but don't worry you will get used to it.

Follow this guide which will prepare you to drive in Ireland on the left side of the road to narrow country roads. Learn about the documents you need to bring with you to drive and to rent a car, how to find cheap car rental and the difference between driving in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Ring of Kerry near Molls Gap

Driving Rules in Ireland

Driving in Ireland is like driving in the rest of Europe only on the left side of the road. Rules and traffic Signs are similar as well. There are a few things that you should consider while driving:

1. Driving on the Left Side of the Road

The first and one of the most important rule is to drive on the left side of the Road. Your car rental company will give you a briefing and there is a sign on the Windscreen of the car to remind you to stay on the left side of the road. Before driving on the road get yourself familiar with the car.

2. Speed Limit Sign

While you are driving in the Republic of Ireland the speed limit signs are in KMH but in Northern Ireland, these are in MPH.

3. Drink and Drive

Please refrain from driving if you had some drinks or planning on drinking. The legal limit to drive in Ireland is 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per ml of blood which is usually lower than in many countries.

4. Toll Roads

Northern Ireland has no Toll roads but the Republic of Ireland has a few Toll roads. You have the option to pay by a card or by cash. It costs only a couple of euros.

5. Driving Licence

You can drive with your American, Australian, New Zealand or European driving licence. For those outside of these regions please carry your international driving licence to avoid facing any problem.

Driving in Ireland is the best way to discover Ireland

Types of Roads in Ireland

There are 4 types of roads in Ireland and each road starts with M, N, R or L

  • Motorways (M) are the fastest roads so if you want to travel fast from one point to another then use these if you can. 
  • National Roads (N) are the second fastest roads usually one lane and sometimes two in the overtaking area.
  • Regional (R) and Local (L) roads are the scenic roads and these could be very narrow on some sections only room for one car to pass.
Driving in Ireland on the left side of the road

Renting a Car in Ireland 

Should you rent a car in Ireland? How expensive is it to rent a car in Ireland? Well, these are the questions that you might be dealing with. There is a good public transport network in Ireland but to see Ireland on your own pace it is best to rent a car and it is usually the cheapest way to travel as well especially if you are not renting a car in high season.

What Documents do I Need to Hire a Car in Ireland

  1. Valid driving license from America, Australia, New Zealand or any European country.
  2. International driving license if you are outside of these regions.
  3. Valid ID for European Citizens or Passport.
  4. Credit card which has a sufficient limit which is usually blocked in case of damage to the car as a security.
  5. Some car companies have age restrictions so please remind them how old are you, in case if you are under 26. you might need to pay a little extra for insurances.

How to find Cheap Car Rental in Ireland 

​You will find almost all the international car rental companies in Ireland but usually renting directly from AVIS, HERTZ or EUROPCAR is mostly the most expensive. I used the car rental service of RyanAir which was the cheapest one. You can also try Expedia.

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Saturday, 15 June 2024

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