The UK’s gradually easing out of lockdown, so a lot of people are thinking about taking a well-earned break. But because there are still so many restrictions on air travel, it’s probably best to holiday closer to home, for now. And Ireland is just a small ferry journey away – or a short drive south, if you live in Northern Ireland. It’s a beautiful country that offers countless things to see and do. So why not take a trip to Ireland for a holiday?
But driving in Ireland is slightly different to driving in the UK. There’s a number of things you should be aware of before you arrive. Do you know what side of the road they drive on in Ireland?
What Side of the Road Do They Drive on in Ireland?
Don’t worry. Just like in the UK, in Ireland, they drive on the left and pass on the right. But that’s not the only thing you’ll have to consider when planning your Irish road trip.
Essential Guidance for Driving in Ireland
Your driving licence will still be valid in Ireland – so long as you obtained it in an EU country. And yes, this includes the UK. But if you obtained your driving licence outside of the UK, or from a country other than the US or Canada, you’ll need to obtain an International Driver’s Licence before you can legally drive in Ireland.
The essential rules of the road in Ireland are largely similar to those in the UK. You must wear a seatbelt at all times, and so too must your passengers. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t use your smartphone while driving. Indeed, in Ireland, it’s illegal for a driver to so much as touch their mobile while driving. Keep this in mind if you plan on using your phone’s navigation app.
Speed Limits in Ireland
The speed limits on Irish roads are:
- 30mph/50kmh in urban areas.
- 50mph/80kmh on single open roads.
- 60mph/100kmh on national roads – these are marked by a green sign.
- 74.5mph/120kmh on motorways.
Road Signs in Ireland
Irish road signs are different to UK road signs, but you should have no trouble identifying what most of them mean:
- Direction signs – They’re colour coded: Blue for major roads and motorways, green for national roads, and white for local roads.
- Areas of interest – These assigns are black with white lettering in Ireland.
- Place names and distances – Destinations are written in both Irish and English, and distances are given in both kilometres and miles. Some signs may only show the distance in kilometres.
Toll Roads and Country Roads in Ireland
Many of the major routes in Ireland are toll roads, so make sure you budget for this. Though most toll roads have toll booths, some use a system called eFlow. Fixed cameras will automatically take a picture of your registration plate, and you’ll then have to arrange to pay the toll yourself.
You can either do this at a dedicated eFlow kiosk, or online on the eFlow website. In either case, you’ll have until 8.00 pm on the day after you used the road to pay your toll.
If you want to avoid tolls, you should be able to get to most places using Ireland’s large network of country roads. Your journey will take much longer, though, and driving in the country carries certain risks. Take care on those narrow, winding lanes, and watch out for cows, sheep and tractors in the road!
Irish Petrol and Service Stations
There are motorway service stations in Ireland, but not nearly as many as you’ll find on UK motorways. Head here to see a map of every motorway service in the country, with a list of the facilities you’ll find at each.
There are plenty of petrol stations, but they may be few and far between on those country roads. Not all of them are open 24/7, and some of them may not take card payments. So it’s best to fill up whenever you can and to plan your journeys in advance, to avoid getting stranded on an empty tank.
Does My Car Insurance Still Apply in Ireland?
Just like in the UK, it’s illegal to drive uninsured in Ireland. You need at least third party cover. But will you have to buy specialist insurance for driving overseas, or will your current policy still apply? What if you are thinking of studying in Ireland and will have use of a car?
If you’re insured with Go Girl, your car insurance will still apply when you’re driving in Ireland. We just ask that you inform us of your travel plans in advance. That way, we can ensure that you get all the cover you need while driving overseas. For more information, please consult your policy wording.