Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in Ireland

Once you’ve learned to drive on the left and the rules around roundabouts, you’ll find how much better it is to drive in Ireland. It’s more convenient public transport, and it offers more flexibility for the self-guided tourists. Many travellers come back with stories of how frightening it is to drive around the country, but it’s really all about knowing the ropes.

Here’s a little tip: try getting a “P” sticker from a gas station or car shop and put it on your window. This is the symbol for a driver who has a license but is on probation. You’ll find that the roads will cut you a lot of slack when driving.

Adjusting to the left side driving is all about practice. Take some time to get used to it, and you’ll have smooth driving in the long run. As for roundabouts, keep in mind that traffic coming from these areas get the right of way, while those entering the roundabouts are expected to give way. If you get too caught up in the circles, calm down and just go around the circle to get a clearer view of all your exits before making one. Taking an exit too hastily can only cause confusion.

Try to have a more cooperative point of view on the Irish roads, as they tend to be narrower than what you may be used to. There will be times that you have to drive past the center lines in order to get around parked cars, but be mindful of other cars who might do the same. When in doubt, just give way.

Do your research before you hit the road: speed limits in Ireland are marked in kilometers, not miles. Motorways have a 120 km/h limit, national roads are at 100 km/h, regional roads at 80 km/h, and urban areas at 50 km/h. There are some special zones, such as school areas that observe a 30 km/h limit. Speed signs, however, are well placed, so all you need to do is to keep an eye out for them.

Most of the car rental companies in Ireland will ask for a license issued from your country, not an international permit. So make sure you’ve got one if you plan on renting a car from within the country. The usual documents such as car registration and insurance papers, should be with you at all times as well. Drunk driving is strictly sanctioned in Ireland, so make sure you don’t go beyond the 50mg/100ml drinking limit for fully licensed drivers. Remember that local authorities are allowed to impose breath tests at checkpoints.

Seat belts are also mandatory, and you’re required to have a child restraint system when travelling with kids. In Ireland, it is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving. So just don’t use it when you’re driving.

Drive carefully and take your time to enjoy the rural scenery in Ireland, and be mindful of the farm traffic – you don’t want to run into any crossing animals.

Summary

Irish roads tend to be narrower than most other European roads.
Motorways have a 120 km/h limit, national roads are at 100 km/h, regional roads at 80 km/h, and urban areas at 50 km/h.
50mg/100ml drinking limit for fully licensed drivers.
Seat belts are also mandatory.
You’re required to have a child restraint system when travelling with kids.
It is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving like most countries.

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