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Tips for driving in Ireland

Driving in Ireland

Updated: 25 July 2024



Advice, Checklist & Legal Requirements

Irish driving regulations are similar to those of the UK and driving is on the left-hand side of the road, but they have recently changed their road signs to the metric system, so be aware that all distance and speed limit signs are in kilometres. Be advised that in Dublin city parking regulations are strictly enforced both with Parking meters in the town centre and disk parking in areas outside the central zone and other cities.

The M50 is using now a cashless Toll system with cameras that record registration numbers. For more information please visit http://www.eflow.ie or www.payzone.ie


What do I need to drive in Ireland?

In Ireland it's permitted to drive cars and motorcycles over 125cc with a full UK licence if you are 17.

Driver's checklist:

  •  · Valid driving licence
  •  · Vehicle documents
  •  · Insurance documents
  •  · Proof of ownership (registration certificate)

If you are driving a vehicle that does not belong to you then written permission from the registered owner may also be requested.


Driver safety

Ireland’s road incident rate is slightly higher than that of the UK. In 2011 there were 186 road deaths in Ireland, this equates to 4.1 per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 3.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2011.


Legal Requirements

Seat belts are required for all occupants and children under 12 need a suitable restraint system to travel in the front.


Speed Limits

Standard speed limits (km/h) unless otherwise stated by traffic signs:

50Kmh Urban roads (31 mph).

100Kmh 80Kmh Non-urban roads (62 - 50 mph).

120Kmh Motorways / expressways (74 mph).



50Kmh Urban roads (31 mph).

80Kmh Non-urban roads (50 mph).

80Kmh Motorways / expressways (50 mph).


Alcohol Consumption

The Republic of Ireland has laws stating that it is illegal to drive with more than 0.8% of alcohol in the system, similiar to Uk. They are serious about drink driving and have strict penalties such as heavy fines, loss of licence and imprisonment.



Motorcycles driving in Ireland are required the use of dipped headlights during the day. The wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger of any two-wheel motorised vehicle.


Mobile Phones

Using a mobile phone while driving is not allowed and will incur a heavy fine. The use of 'hands free' equipment is allowed.



Dipped headlights is recommended for all vehciles and must be used in poor daytime visibility.


Getting to Ireland

Eurobreakdown clients have several choices available to them when deciding how to get to Ireland.

There are 4 main ferry routes between Ireland and the UK: Holyhead - Dublin, Liverpool - Dublin, Fishguard - Rosslare and Pembroke - Rosslare and they are served by Stena Line, Irish Ferries and P&O Irish Sea.

The price of a return ticket is dependent on a number of factors including the time and date of travel, the vehicle size and the number of occupants and whether you require the use of a cabin or club lounges. Crossings durations vary between 2 and 8 hours being Holyhead - Dublin (Irish Ferries) the shortest route.


General Driving Advice

So to recap here is our checklist for driving in Ireland:

  1. Ensure you have proper documentation: valid driving licence, ID, driving insurance covering driving in Ireland, proof of ownership (registration certification).
  2. Take plenty of breaks when driving long distances.
  3. Ensure rear passengers are wearing seat belts and remember children 12 and under are not allowed to travel in the front seat without using a suitable restraint system.
  4. Do not drink and drive.
  5. Observe local speed limits – as a general rule built up areas have limits of 50km/h (31 mph), outside built up areas are 60 to 100 km/h (37 to 62 mph).
  6. Dipped headlights are recommended even in daytime conditions and must be used with poor visibility.


Driving through Ireland to another destination? You might like to read our guides to:

Need breakdown cover for Ireland? Eurobreakdown.com can provide you with comprehensive single trip breakdown cover or annual multi trip breakdown policies with a best price guarantee.


Reference: The statistics mentioned on this page were sourced from the International Transport Forum’s Road Safety Annual Report 2013 and, to the best of Eurobreakdown.com’s knowledge, are correct at the time of publication (June 2014).


For general European driving tips click here