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Driving in Ireland.

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Driving in Ireland is mostly relaxed and straightforward. The road system has undergone a large-scale road improvement, which has made driving there quicker and easier. Road distances are indicated in kilometres on green signposts, although you still see some older signs which still show miles. Most signs are in English, although you may see the Gaelic give way sign, Géill Slí, and many place names are also in Gaelic.

Main highways have passing lanes, separated from the main carriageway by a broken yellow line. You are expected to use this lane to let faster vehicles pass; care should be taken when using this lane as it can be potholed. Rural roads can be in a poor state of repair, and the added hazard of livestock wandering on to these roads calls for extra care to be taken when traveling in rural areas.

Why not read our Ireland travel guide? You may also like to view information about destinations in Ireland.

Tips for driving in Ireland

Which side of the road do they drive on?

Drive on the left, overtake on the right. Traffic coming from the right has priority.

Seat belts

If fitted, seat belts must be worn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle.

Driving with children

Children under 3 must be placed in an appropriate child restraint. They may only travel in the front seat if the child restraint system is rear facing and the airbag is deactivated.

Children who are over 3, shorter than 150cm, and weigh less than 36kg must use an appropriate child restraint when travelling in cars fitted with seat belts. If the car isn’t equipped with seat belts they must travel on the rear seats. Child restraints must conform to the ECE R44.03 standard.  

Blood alcohol limit

The blood alcohol limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml blood. This falls to 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for inexperienced motorists and professionals such as hauliers and taxi drivers.

Can I use a mobile?

It’s illegal to use a mobile unless you have a hands-free kit.

Reflective vests, triangles & other essentials

It is recommended you carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, and spare bulb kit in the car. If you wear glasses, you should carry a spare pair in the car.


Parking is controlled by single and double yellow lines. Cars parked illegally may be towed away, so always check the parking restrictions before parking and leaving your vehicle.

On the spot fines

The Irish police or Garda can issue a fixed penalty notice. This may be handed directly to you directly or attached to your windscreen.  The fine must be paid within 28 days. If the fine is not paid within 28 days, it increases by 50%.

Illegally parked cars can be clamped and sometimes towed.

Horns and headlights

Dipped headlights should be used during periods of poor daytime visibility.

You must not use a horn in a built-up area between 23.30hrs and 07.00hrs unless there is a traffic emergency.

What should I do if I breakdown?

If you breakdown, you should place a reflective triangle 30m behind the vehicle to warn other drivers (if carrying one). Call the supplier who will be able to advise you further. It is recommended you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.

What should I do if I have an accident?

If you’re in an accident, you MUST notify the Police and get an accident report for insurance purposes. Failure to do so may result in you footing the whole bill. It is recommended that you contact the supplier and ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.

Toll roads

There are a number of toll roads in Ireland. Tolls generally cost between €1.90 and €5.10 and are payable at the tolling booth. The M50 currently operates a barrier free system which records your number plate and does not require payment at a booth.

Current toll roads in Ireland

M50: Barrier-Free Toll

M1: Gormanston – Monasterboice

M3: Clonee – Kells

M4: Kilcock – Enfield – Kinnegad

M7/M8: Portlaoise – Castletown/Portlaoise – Cullahill

N6: Galway – Ballinasloe

N8: Rathcormac – Fermoy Bypass

N25: Waterford City Bypass

Limerick Tunnel

East-Link Bridge

Dublin Port Tunnel

Driving distances

Dublin to Limerick – 202km (2hrs 15mins)

Dublin to Cork – 259km (2hrs 45mins)

Cork to Limerick – 100km (hr 35mins)

Limerick to Galway – 100km (1hr 25mins)

Limerick to Waterford – 126km (2hrs 5mins)

Galway to Cork – 198km (2hrs 45mins)

Sligo to Dublin – 207km (2hrs 40mins)

Waterford to Dublin – 170km (1hr 55mins)

Waterford to Cork – 132km (1hr 50mins)

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