What to Know Before Driving in Ireland

Car in Dublin

Traveling to Ireland is exciting but planning your transportation can be tricky. Getting around the city is easy as there is very reliable public transportation and other options. However, if you plan on leaving the metropolitan areas which is a must, you will need to rent a car and drive yourself unless you plan on taking part of group tours. If you’re going to rent a care, here is what to know before driving in Ireland.

License Requirements

When renting a car you will be required to present a drivers license of the country you reside in. An international drivers license is not required.

Driver side

The driver sits on the right side of the car which is contrary to the what we are used to in the United States.  Sitting on the right side requires additional skills when we consider the vehicles transmissions will be to ones left.

Vehicle Transmissions

Most rental cars have a manual transmission which can be a challenge when one takes into account that you will also be driving on the right side of the car as described above. Automatic transmissions are available with rental car companies but are limited and require advance coordination.  Additionally, be prepared to pay more for an automatic transmission vehicle.

Manual Transmission


Traffic in Ireland drives on the left side of the road.  Therefore, traffic signs are also located on the left side of the road.

Street in Dublin

Additionally, you will find some roads to be very narrow and lack a hard shoulder to pull over if needed. Keep this in mind as you will see some beautiful sites along your drive and not have anywhere to pull over.

Road in Ireland


As in any metropolitan city in the world, parking can be a challenge to find.  It is also very expensive, so plan your day and park your rental car strategically so that you avoid having to move the vehicle from the parking spot more than once a day.

Traffic signs

Before you travel, make sure to become familiar with the traffic signs as they are different from those found in the United States.  A known example is that the speed limits are in kilometers versus miles per hour.

Speed sign in Ireland


As in most of Europe, you will find plenty of roundabouts throughout the country.  Drivers must yield to enter the traffic in the roundabout, you can then enter the intersection and exit on the desired road/street.

Seats Belts

The use of the seat belt is mandatory in Ireland in the front and rear seats. If you are traveling with children, make sure they are in a child safety seat.


Driving in Ireland is fairly easy if you are prepared in advance and know what you will be facing.  Start slow, ease your way into traffic and in a few days it will be second nature. You can read additional travel tips here.


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