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    Tips for Driving Your Rental Car in Ireland

    Ireland Driving Overview

    Ireland Driving InformationIreland has an extensive road system due to the large rural population that exists. As you travel in Ireland, you are surrounded by breathtaking scenery, peaceful countryside and many destinations to explore. Most sights and attractions are a short distance from wherever you are because of the small size of this island nation. Remember, in Ireland, traffic travels on the left hand side of the road.

    Rules of the Road

    Traffic travels on the left and passing is on the right. You should turn left when entering a traffic circle. The pedals on manual transmission cars are in the same order as manual transmission cars in the United States.

    Speed Limits in Ireland

    Speed Limits & Gas Stations in Ireland 
    • M-Roads (Highways) - 75mph/120kph
    • N-Roads (Arterial Routes) - 60mph/100kph
    • R-Roads (Regional) - 45mph/80kph
    • L-Roads (Local) - 30mph/45kph
    Gas Station Availability - Most gas stations are open from 7am to 7pm. Those touring Dublin or traveling to Shannon should note that there are often stations open 24 hours in major cities.
    Ireland Parking Laws and Tolls

    Parking & Tolls in Ireland

    In Ireland the following require you to pay a toll: M1, M4, East Link Bridge and West Link Bridge. Toll amounts are dependent on the vehicle category and can range from $2-$12 USD.

    Finding a place to park your 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. Read our extensive parking guidelines below.

    Tips for Driving Your Rental Car in Ireland

    Searching for tips for driving in Ireland? Look no further than Auto Europe! Undoubtedly, a trip to the Emerald Island means freedom, folklore, and festivities the likes of which you won't find anywhere else on Earth, regardless of when you deem the best time to visit Ireland. With picturesque historic cities, miles upon miles of pristine, rocky coastline, and all of the modern luxuries a traveler could desire, acquiring a car rental in Ireland is arguably the most convenient and affordable way to explore this gorgeous nation.

    Car Rental Driving Tip #1 NAVIGATING ROUNDABOUTS

    Roundabouts are the most anxiety-inducing element of driving in Ireland as driving on the left side of the road is new to most tourists. Heightened vigilance will pay off while attempting to navigate a roundabout and one of our key tips is to remember that everything is the reverse from what you are likely accustomed to (look to your right when merging).

    Car Rental Driving Tip #2 PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY

    If you're caught using your mobile phone to text or to "access information," then you're subject to a mandatory court summons and up to a €1000 fine. Do yourself a favor and pull over to use your phone!

    Car Rental Driving Tip #3 SPEED CAMERAS

    Drivers in Ireland should be aware of stationary speed cameras monitoring roadways. Locations of these speed cameras can be found online and in most cases drivers may notice signs warning of speed camera use.

    Car Rental Driving Tip #4 RURAL ROAD TRIPS

    If you're planning a road trip in Ireland to explore the countryside and its humble villages, castle ruins, or ancient monasteries, you're going to find yourself cruising on many narrow, windy country roads. Look out for potholes, frost heaves, and elderly shepherds piloting their sheep across the road.

    Car Rental Driving Tip #5 LOCAL DRIVING HABITS

    Travelers may be stressed out by locals constantly waving, or flashing their high beams and/or blinkers. This is often just a way to say 'thank you' to another driver, or to make an indication of danger ahead, i.e. sheep in the road!

    Tips for Parking in Ireland

    Finding a place to park your 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 tends to be more difficult in Ireland the closer to a city center you get. Parking rates are fairly cheap in most cities but travelers will notice higher rates in Dublin.

    Ireland Driving InformationCity Parking

    Parking in a 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. This is commonly referred to as "pay and display" parking. If you are staying in a hotel in a city, many centrally located hotels will not have parking directly on the premises. There will likely be car parks in the area but it is important to check with your hotel or hostel for their policy or recommendation. Hotels with free parking can be rare in certain cities so do your research!

    Parking Tickets & Fines

    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. Parking where there is a double yellow line is prohibited while double red lines mean no parking OR waiting at any time. Be aware of Ireland's road signs, if you're in a no parking area, then your vehicle is likely to be clamped or towed. Cars that are towed away or clamped incur fines of up to €160 for release. If you receive a parking ticket, immediately contact your car rental supplier and arrange a payment plan if you are not planning on paying the ticket up front.

    For more answers to your questions visit our Ireland car rental FAQ page.

    Ireland Driving Laws

    If you're planning on acquiring a rental car in Ireland during your vacation, it's important to understand local driving laws and child safety information. Knowing and understanding the traffic laws and regulations is crucial to guaranteeing a hassle-free trip. Below you'll find all you need to know about the driving laws in Ireland - part of Auto Europe's effort to assist you in avoiding traffic fines while maintaining a high level of safety and comfort while on the road.

    • Children younger than 12 years old must NEVER be seated in the front row of your vehicle while driving in Ireland, and must always be outfitted in the proper booster seat. The costs associated with these seats varies by supplier, but you'll be able to quickly determine the cost of a child seat when you receive a free online quote.
    • Everyone traveling in your vehicle must wear their seatbelt at all times.
    • Insurance for your rental car in Ireland is required by law and can be attained through your credit card company, purchased locally upon arrival, or can be purchased in addition to your car rental when you book online or over the phone with Auto Europe.
    • Ireland Driving InformationRental car insurance documentation, rental paperwork, license, passport, and all other pertinent information must be kept in your rental vehicle at all times while traveling.
    • Like much of the United States, Canada, and the rest of Europe, driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or certain mind-altering medications is strictly forbidden and met with zero tolerance. The traffic police (known locally as the Gardai) in Ireland have the power to conduct random breathalyzer tests at any time or place, and should you fail the test, your vehicle will be impounded, and you will face very steep fines and possibly jail time. The legal BAC limit in Ireland is 0.05% (compared to 0.08% in the United States).
    • Minor traffic offenses require on-the-spot fines so it is beneficial to keep cash handy while you drive. Traffic police will require you to go to a cash machine to pay the fine.