Driving in Ireland

In Ireland, people drive on the left side of the road, just like in the United Kingdom. Cars overtake on the right. Traffic and road regulations in Northern Ireland are similar to those in Great Britain. If you have a valid UK driving license, the minimum age for driving a car is 17.

Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to sit in the front and must be seated in a proper standard child restraint seat or fastened with a seat belt. Seatbelts are mandatory for passengers in the front. Seatbelts at the back are only necessary when the occupants are fitted. It is unlawful to use a mobile phone while driving in Ireland.

Always remember to carry important documentation like your driver’s license, vehicle registration, certificate of motor insurance along with your passport. If your license does not have a photograph, carrying a passport is compulsory. Always carry a valid photo ID to accompany your license. If you do not own the car you are driving, you need to get a written permission from the owner stating that you are allowed to drive his/her car.

The blood alcohol limit in Ireland is 80mg. Drinking and driving laws are strict and you can even get arrested for violating the law. Make sure you know the laws for parking, otherwise you may get charged fines on the spot. Make sure you get a receipt from the official for any fine you pay.

Parking regulations are strict especially in the city of Dublin. In most of the cities parking meters are used. Disk parking is always used outside the cities and in the suburbs. Some areas such as multi-story car parks accept credit cards. There are two toll roads in Dublin – the M50 Ring Road and between N4 and N3 interchanges.

It is recommended that you carry a first-aid kit in the car. A GB sticker indicating your country of origin should be displayed on the windscreen. It is not necessary to have headlamp converters if you own a GB car because in Ireland, people drive on the left side of the road. Visibility vests are compulsory and should be enough for the number of passengers in the car. It is illegal to use horns between 2330 hours and 0700 hours. It is important to use dipped headlights during low visibility. A warning triangle is recommended but not compulsory.

Speed limits in Ireland vary, depending on where you are driving. In major roads outside the built-up areas, the speed limits range from 60-100kph. Roads signs are distributed generously and you should look out for them. The speed limit on motorways is 120kph and in case you are towing a trailer the speed limit is 80kph. Violation of speed limits is taken seriously. Sensors and radar traps have been frequent and common. Recently Ireland changed to the metric system, so all distances and speed limits are measured in kilometers.

With all these rules and regulations firmly set in your mind, Ireland will be a pleasure to drive through. The Irish whisky will definitely taste a lot better provided you are not driving while drinking it.