Finding a place to park your Irish rental car can be tricky depending on where you find yourself in Ireland. Parking alongside the road in unofficial parking spots is frowned upon in rural areas (especially along windy sections of narrow roads where this style of parking poses a safety hazard). This practice is actually prohibited in urban areas unless you're handicapped. Parking in the city in Ireland typically entails finding a spot, and then walking to it's associated pay machine, where you will pay a parking fee based on how long you would like to park. After the fee has been paid you will return to your vehicle and display the receipt on your dashboard.
Similar to what we have in the United States, many cities and towns in Ireland utilize a parking boot (known as a "clamp" in Ireland) to penalize people who park illegally. This can quickly sour an evening out in Dublin so it's important to read up on local parking rules and regulations in Ireland so that you can avoid this troublesome occurrence.
If you're in a no parking area (see our guide to road signs in Ireland for more information on this), then your vehicle is likely to be clamped or immediately towed (the latter usually occurs if your car is blocking traffic or is parked dangerously). Cars that are towed away or clamped incur fines of up to €160 for release.
Parking fines and tickets are no fun at home, but they tend to be even more troublesome abroad - particularly when driving in Dublin or elsewhere in Ireland. If you fail to pay parking fees, you'll likely receive a ticket from a traffic warden, which should be paid promptly by either check, credit/debit card, or in cash within 28 days. If you fail to pay within 28 days you can expect the fine to increase by 50%. If an additional 28 days passes without payment, no doubt you'll receive court summons, and if you've already left the country, you'll have quite the immigration control experience if you ever attempt to re-enter Ireland. If you receive a parking ticket, immediately contact your rental agency and arrange a payment plan if you are not planning on paying the ticket up front.
Parking in Ireland can be difficult at times, particularly in congested downtown areas. Savvy travelers would do well to plan the best time of year to visit Ireland around the busy tourist seasons when traffic is generally thinner. We recommend reviewing the road-signs section of this guide and allowing yourself plenty of time to find a spot and pay for it when driving in Dublin, parking at the Dublin Airport or visiting any other city in Ireland. If you're looking for more tips on driving in Ireland, check out our comprehensive Ireland travel guide:
Get Inspired: Auto Europe's Ireland Travel Guide