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Ireland – Driving

Ireland is a beautiful country to explore by car. The roads are generally in good condition, and there are plenty of scenic routes to take. However, it’s important to be aware of the road rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Road Safety in Ireland

The road safety record in Ireland has improved in recent years, but there is still work to be done. In 2020, there were 149 fatalities on Irish roads, a decrease from the previous year, but still a significant number. Speeding, drink-driving, and not wearing a seatbelt are among the main causes of fatal accidents.

The local driving standards in Ireland are generally good. Irish drivers are courteous on the road, and there is a strong emphasis on road safety. However, it’s important to be aware of some of the unique challenges of driving in Ireland, such as narrow country roads and driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Equipment Required in Your Car

When driving in Ireland, there are a few items that you are legally required to carry in your car at all times. These include:

  • A warning triangle
  • A reflective jacket
  • A spare tire
  • A jack
  • A wrench

Legal Obligations in the Event of a Road Accident

If you are involved in a road accident in Ireland, it’s important to stay calm and follow the correct procedure. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Check for injuries and call the emergency services if necessary
  2. Exchange details with the other driver(s) involved
  3. Take photos of the scene and any damage
  4. Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident

Driving Rules in Ireland

In Ireland, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road. This can take some getting used to if you are used to driving on the right-hand side. The speed limit is generally 50km/h in urban areas, 80km/h on regional roads, and 120km/h on motorways.

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It’s important to give way to traffic on your right, and to always signal when turning. Roundabouts are common in Ireland, and you must give way to traffic on your right when entering a roundabout.

In Ireland, it is illegal to use your phone while driving, unless you have a hands-free kit. You must also wear a seatbelt at all times, and children under 12 must be seated in the back of the car.

Road Signs and Traffic Lights in Ireland

Most road signs in Ireland are similar to those in other European countries, but there are a few unique ones to be aware of. For example, the sign for a pedestrian crossing is a yellow diamond with a black pedestrian, rather than the familiar white stripes on a zebra crossing sign.

Traffic lights in Ireland follow the standard red, amber, and green sequence. However, it’s worth noting that some traffic lights in rural areas may be activated by a pressure pad in the road, rather than a sensor or timer.

Where to Get Up-to-Date Traffic Information

There are several websites and apps that provide up-to-date traffic information in Ireland. Some of the most popular include:

It’s a good idea to check the traffic before setting off on a long journey, as road conditions can change quickly.

Parking Rules and Permits

When it comes to parking in Ireland, there are a few rules and regulations to keep in mind:

  • Parking is prohibited on double yellow lines at all times.
  • Parking is prohibited on single yellow lines during specific times, which are indicated on nearby signs.
  • Parking is prohibited in bus lanes during certain times, which are indicated on nearby signs.
  • Parking is prohibited in disabled parking bays without a valid disabled parking permit.
  • Parking is prohibited in loading bays during certain times, which are indicated on nearby signs.
  • Parking is prohibited in clearways during certain times, which are indicated on nearby signs.
  • Paid parking is available in many cities and towns, and payment methods may vary (coins, card, mobile app).
  • There are designated parking areas for motorcycles and bicycles in some areas.

Parking Permits in Ireland

If you are a disabled driver or passenger, you may be eligible for a parking permit in Ireland. The permit allows you to park in disabled parking bays and other designated areas. To apply for a disabled parking permit, you will need to provide medical evidence of your disability. The permit must be displayed clearly in your vehicle when using disabled parking spaces.

There are also parking permits available for residents of certain areas, which allow them to park in designated residential parking areas. These permits are usually obtained through the local council.

Parking for Expats in Ireland

For expats living in Ireland, parking can be a bit of a challenge in busy cities like Dublin. Many areas require residents to have a parking permit in order to park on the street, and parking in paid areas can be expensive.

If you are living in an area with limited parking, you may want to consider alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, or public transport. Carpooling or using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft can also be a convenient option.

Disabled Parking in Ireland

Disabled parking in Ireland is available in designated disabled parking bays, which are usually located close to building entrances and other amenities. To use a disabled parking bay, you must display a valid disabled parking permit clearly in your vehicle.

It’s important to note that parking in a disabled parking bay without a valid permit can result in a fine and penalty points on your driver’s license.


Driving in Ireland can be a great way to explore the country’s scenic landscapes and historic sites. However, it’s important to keep in mind the local rules and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the road.

From road safety and driving rules to parking and permits, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of what you need to know before hitting the road in Ireland. With a little preparation and attention to detail, you can enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer from the comfort of your own car.

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