Driving In Ireland
The special pleasures of a touring holiday in Ireland, everyone agrees, are the traffic-free roads and the uncompetitive, easy driving style of Irish motorists. Away from main conurbations, compared with the rest of Europe the island's highways and byways are still delightfully uncongested. Driving along the open road, you look in the mirror and there's not another car in sight, and nothing coming the other way. That's the moment you start relaxing and tune to a gentler pace of life.
First-time visitors sometimes underestimate the time it takes to travel between two points. Distance is not the only criterion. Driving on motorways and dualled roads aside, prudent route planners reckon to cover an average 30 miles/50 kilometres in an hour. In the Republic of Ireland signposts and placenames are displayed in both Irish (Gaelic) and English, and distances and speedlimits are in kilometres. In Northern Ireland signposts and speed limits are all in miles, and placenames are in English, with a sprinkling of bilingual English/Ulster- Scots signposts in some areas and, occasionally, English/Irish Gaelic.
Drive On The Left
Always drive on the left and steer to the centreline. It is difficult to judge your distance from the left-hand side, so use the road centreline.
At Roundabouts go clockwise and give way to traffic on the roundabout. Stay in right-hand lane until turning off.
It is compulsory to wear seat belts, both front and rear. Small children and babies must be restrained in a appropriate child seat or carrier.
Mobile Phones or Cell Phones
- It is now illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving.
Drinking and Driving
- There are very strict laws on drinking and driving and the best advice is simply;
Don't Drink and Drive.
- In both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the speed limit is 30mph/50kph in built-up areas, 60mph/100kph on the open road and 70mph/110kph on motorways unless shown otherwise. For more information see the Speed Limits Section
Advice for those unfamilar with Irish roads.
- If you are used to driving an automatic, be sure to specify automatic when making your reservation.
- When you drive the car for the first time, take it around the block at the airport a few times to get used to the controls and driving on the left-hand side of the road.
- Try and avoid the narrower R roads for the first day or so until you are familiar with your car and the driving environment.
- Get a good map at the airport, and have someone other than the driver to navigate.
- Take your time - drive slowly at first until you gain confidence. Watch the signs carefully!
- If you cross the road to park or to visit a gas station, be sure to return to a driving position on the left-hand side after you exit the space!