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Driving Guide for Ireland

Driving in Ireland is much different from most European countries. The biggest variation is that you need to drive on the left side of the road. This can be quite confusing for even the most seasoned drivers. It is important that you do some practice driving near your pick-up location to better prepare yourself for the busy roads. Read this guide for some valuable information about driving in Ireland.

Driver’s License

Type of License


EU license

Any license issue by an EU member is valid in Ireland

Non EU license

If the language of your license is English, it is valid

If it is a different language, you need an international driving permit

All drivers

Must be at least 17 years of age

Must have a valid license from their home country

If your license is printed in English, you will not need an international driving permit (IDP) for Ireland. Click here if you have a license that is printed in a different language. The link will give you detailed information about IDPs.

 Speed Limits

Type of Road

Speed Limit (km/h)

Urban roads (built up areas)


Rural roads (one lane)


National roads (minor highways)


Major highways


All of the speed limits in the Republic of Ireland are expressed in kilometers per hour (km/h). However, in Northern Ireland, the speed limits are expressed in miles per hour (mph). It is important that you are aware of your location and you drive at the correct speed. If you want more information about driving in Northern Ireland, please check out our driving guide for the United Kingdom.
Ireland has recently started a campaign to crack down on excessive speeding. There are speed cameras and traps set up by the police to help curb fast driving. That means you should never exceed the posted speed limit. Furthermore, if you are coming from a country that drives on the right, you will want to take it slow to avoid dangerous situations.

Rules of the Road



Flow of traffic

Drive on the LEFT side of the road

Only pass cars on the right hand side

Yield to traffic from the right at intersections and roundabouts

The driver

Is allowed a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08%

Is not permitted to use a handheld mobile phone

Must carry a spare set of glasses or contacts

Must use headlights from dusk until dawn


Must wear seatbelts at all times

Under 12 years old cannot sit in the front seat

Very small children need to be in the proper safety seat

Driving on the left side of the road will take some practice, but you should feel comfortable in about one day. The most common mistake is when drivers enter the road from an access point on the right side of the road and forget to move into the left lane. It is very helpful to have someone else in the car to navigate and remind you what side you need to be on. It is also a good idea to tape a piece of paper to the dashboard with a reminder to “STAY LEFT.”
If you follow the rules outlined above and drive with caution, you will have a safe and successful driving experience. If you become inattentive and overconfident, you will find yourself in bad situations. For more information about the traffic signs in Ireland, click here.

Parking in Ireland




Monday – Saturday (street)

7:00 – 19:00

1.30 – 1.90 EUR/hour

Sunday (street)

All day


Every day (lot or garage)

All day

1.50 – 2.50 EUR/hour

(1.00 EUR = 0.90 GBP, 1.40 USD)
The prices, times and locations listed above are the general trends for parking in Ireland. Please keep in mind that the restrictions are subject to change in different areas. Not all locations offer free parking on Sunday, and the hours of operation might be longer or shorter. You need to read the street signs to see where and when it is legal to park.
Most of the street parking operates with the pay and display system. That means you need to park your car, pay at the automated ticket machine and display the stub on your dashboard. Ireland has a unique system where the ticket machine prints two stubs so you can hold on to the extra copy and know exactly when you must return to the vehicle.
*Information on this page is accurate as of May 28, 2011