Catherine McGlynn was so nice to write down these driving tips in Ireland. She lives in Donegal, Ireland. These tips will definitely help you with your driving in Ireland.
- Rental car – Have a quick check of the car before leaving the rental place. Check in- and outside, that there are no scratches. Try to see if there was any previous damage. Note: Make sure that you know where the car jack is stored. When returning your rental car, see if your contract says it has to be returned with a full tank or not. Try to arrive during opening hours so an employee of the company can check in- and outside of the vehicle and issue you with a certificate confirming this.
- Taking your own car to Ireland – If you normally drive on the right hand side of the road at home remember that you MUST have your beam lights adjusted otherwise when you dip your lights they will be shining into the eyes of on-coming drivers.
- Papers you must have – To drive in Ireland you must hold a valid driver’s license issued in the country of residence of the driver. You may also drive using an international driving permit. If your home license is for an automatic car, you will only be able to drive an automatic in Ireland.
- Minimum driving age – The minimum driving age is 17.
- Roundabouts – Roundabouts are frequently used on Irish roads to keep the traffic flowing. Approach them slowly when you see the sign signaling one is coming up. Keep to the left. You must ALWAYS give way to traffic already on the roundabout. If you are leaving the roundabout on the first or second exit, keep in the left lane. If you are leaving the roundabout on the third exit, you drive on the inside lane, the right lane, passing the first exit and just after second exit indicate left and get into the left lane. Then exit as before.
- Speed limits– From 20th January 2005 all speed limits and distances are in kilometers. (NOTE HOWEVER: the signposting in the 6 counties of Northern Ireland (Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh are still signposted in miles not kilometers). The speed limit on National roads in Ireland is 100 km/h. Except: On motorways ~ maximum: 112 km/h, in urban areas ~ Towns and Cities: 50 km/h*, special speed limits apply in certain areas: 30 km/h* and in other areas: 60 km/h.
These limits are generally well signposted ~ keep your eyes open.* While these are the legal speed limits, we would ask that you would stay well within them and as low as you can in urban areas ~ children and cars don’t mix very well! And always be extra vigilant if you see a sign that indicates a school is coming up ~please! Lower speeds apply when towing a caravan or trailer.
- Signposts – Motorway/freeway are blue. Distances will be in kilometers. National, Primary, and Duel Carrigeway are green. Regional and local routes are white. Sometimes these are still in miles.
Warning signs are generally yellow. Speed limit signs generally consist of a circle with a red edge and the limit inside it in black.
You will see signs (white with a red edge) saying Yield as you approach a junction. This means that you must wait at the junction until the road in front is clear, traffic on the main road have right of way. STOP signs mean STOP. Once again, be careful to look right then left then right again before any maneuver. The road signs are generally in English, however in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking areas) the signs will be in Irish but most have the English translation on too.
- Seatbelts – You and all your passengers MUST by law wear a seatbelt. It is stupid not to and it is costly too, as if caught you will automatically have to pay a fine on the spot. Children under 12 are not allowed to travel in the front of a vehicle and babies should at all times be carried in a strapped in baby seat.
- Drinking and driving – DO NOT drink and drive. Although it is not an offence to drive having consumed a limited amount of alcohol (for more info: driving tips in Europe ). But keep in mind you’re driving in another country, possibly driving on the opposite side of the road from what you’re used to. If caught driving under the influence you will receive a very hefty fine and possible imprisonment. (Taxis are available in nearly all towns and villages and the fare is quite inexpensive.)
- Cell phones – It is illegal use a cell phone when driving in Ireland. If caught, you will be fined.
- Tolls – At present in Ireland, toll charges are levied on the following roads: East Link Bridge (Dublin) / West Link Bridge (Dublin) / M1 Toll (Drogheda By-Pass) / M4 Toll (Kinnegad-Enfield-Kilcock) / N8 Toll Rathcormac/Fermoy By-Pass) The toll varies, but at all tolls you must have the correct change ready.
- Safety – When driving in a city make sure all your windows are closed. You can lock your doors. Do NOT leave valuables on the seat in full view ~ there have been cases of cars having their window broken at junctions and traffic lights for thugs to steal valuables on display.
- Parking– If parking in an urban area, you can park your vehicle in an allotted car park or ‘Pay and Display’ lots. With the ‘Pay and Display’, you have to put the ticket on the dashboard ~ there will be a number of machines around the car park. The machine will take euro coins only. If you do not display a valid ticket the traffic warden will issue a penalty notice which will be under your wiper when you return to your car with the amount of the fine to be paid on it.If you see double yellow lines at the side of the road it means NO parking at any time. Sometimes these no parking times will be between certain hours but you need to check this ~ there will be a sign telling you the hours if applicable along the pavement.A single yellow line means no parking between 8am and 6.30pm, Monday ~ Saturday.
- QUICK CALCULATION ~ MILES TO KILOMETRES: If you are used to miles as opposed to kilometers, a very quick way to work out how far you have to go is take the kilometers, divide by eight and multiply by five, ie: sign says 32 kilometers, so divide by eight = 4, times by five = 20. You have 20 miles to go. It’s a really simple way to work it out and you get used to doing it very quickly. Why not practice at home before coming over? Don’t be too fussy with the mathematics ~ if the sign says 34 km just round it off and allow for the slight difference.
Thanks Catherine for writing down these wonderful driving tips in Ireland. If you want to know more about Catherine, you can read about her and her holiday home ‘Daisy Cottage’ on her blog.
If you want to read more than just driving tips in Ireland, you can check out car driving tips in Europe.