In Ireland, as in England and the UK (and Northern Ireland), all traffic drives on the left hand side of the road. That means that you give away to the right and this includes roundabouts which are very prevalent in Ireland. You must by law give way to any emergency services vehicles such as ambulances and police cars with flashing lights Meanwhile overtaking on the left is illegal. Most cars are manuals although you can rent automatics if you are willing to pay a bit more. In Ireland you are not allowed to use your horn between 11.30pm and 7am in built up areas. It is illegal to talk on your mobile while driving. At lights red means stop and red and amber means get ready to go, but wait for green.
If you are driving in rural areas then watch out for potholes or livestock crossing the road. It can be a good idea to rent a 4x4 vehicle. And you should always have a map with you. On the other hand if you are driving in Dublin make sure that you avoid the rush hours.
If you are involved in an accident or witness an accident you should stop your vehicle in a safe place and switch on your hazard warning lights to alert other drivers. If serious, the accident should be reported to the relevant emergency services by dialling 999. Ensure all uninjured parties are moved to safety and away from the highway, however do not attempt to more injured drivers, await the emergency services who will assess the situation accordingly. If the accident occurs on the motorway, get the car to the hard shoulder if possible and stand the other side of the barrier on the embankment. Orange emergency telephones are located along the motorway at short intervals if needed. You must share insurance details with any other drivers involved in the accident.
It is mandatory to for all passengers to wear seatbelts in the front seat and back seats. The driver can be prosecuted if a child under 12 is not wearing a seat belt or child restraint. 12-year-olds can use adult seat belts as long as they are over 150 centimetres tall.
Motorways have white writing on a blue background. Brown and white signs mark tourist attractions, while tourist information is marked in blue. While most road signs are in English some are in Gaelic.
Petrol prices are 1.33 for 95 unleaded and 1.25 for diesel.
The Drink Driving Limit in Ireland is 80mg alcohol per 100ml of blood.
You need your passport and driving licence to hire a car. When you are driving you should also have the vehicle registration and proof of insurance documents on you in case you get stopped by the police. Some companies require you to book vehicles using a credit card.
You can have an EU community licence, a national driving licence or an international driving permit (IDP).
Petrol – Gasoline
Hard Shoulder – Left hand lane of motorway only to be used for stopping in emergencies.
Services – Motorway rest stops.
Zebra crossings - Pedestrian crossings
Excess – Deductible (insurance)
Gearbox – Transmission
Boot – Trunk
Bumper – Fender
Detour – Diversion
Indicators - Blinkers
Yes there are eight different toll roads in Ireland so be sure to have some change handy, the country uses Euros. However most motorists purchase an electronic tag which can be fitted to the car - ask car hire Ireland staff about this. The main M50 road also uses an electronic toll system.
This is a list of the toll roads in Ireland –
1. M1 Motorway (Gormanston to Monasterboice Toll Road)
2. M50 Barrier Free Tolling
3. East Link Toll Bridge
4. Dublin Port Tunnel
5. M4 Kilcock - Enfield - Kinnegad Motorway
6. N6 Galway - Ballinasloe
7. N8 Rathcormac - Fermoy Bypass
8. N25 Waterford City Bypass
50 kilometres per hour in built up areas
100 kilometres per hour on open roads
120 kilometres per hour on dual carriageways and motorways.
Speed cameras are very frequent but there are signs to warn you of their presence. Anyone caught speeding can expect to pay an on-the-spot fine.
The conversion from kilometres to miles per hour is one kilometre = 0.62 miles per hour. Therefore the speed limit on Irish motorways in miles is 75km.
The minimum driving age is 17. Most hire car companies require you to be over 25 years of age with some driving experience.
The emergency services are on 999 or 112.
The British embassy is at 29 Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 and can be contacted on (353) (1) 205 3700. Their website is http://britishembassyinireland.fco.gov.uk/en/
The American embassy is at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 4 and can be contacted on (353) (1) 668 8777. Their website is http://dublin.usembassy.gov/
Parking is expensive and can be difficult to find in the busy cities. There is also a risk of crime in Dublin so make sure you have parks in a safe place. Parking is controlled by single and double yellow lines and if you park on either of these you can be towed away, so always check the parking restrictions before parking and leaving your vehicle. After 6pm on weekdays and on weekends it is sometimes possible to park in spaces which have single yellow lines.
Double yellow lines mean no parking, double red lines mean no parking or stopping, single yellow lines mean you can’t park at certain times and single red lines mean you can’t park or stop at certain times. Dashed lines mean you can park except at restricted times – there should be a sign giving you details. If there are no lines you can park for as long as you want without having to pay any extra. Pay and display parking is available in many towns and cities, prices for this vary. To prevent congestion many cities offer a Park and Ride scheme where you can park your car on the outskirts and take a bus service into town.