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Driving in Ireland

Driving is the premier way to experience Cork and the rest of Ireland as some of the world’s most beautiful scenery is to be found here. A modern road system links all major parts of the country. However, what people love though when they come to Ireland are the long winding roadways that link up the rest of the country.

As follows are some general driving rules and tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday.

  • Driving is on the left hand side. Road signs are in English and are similar to international design.

Speed Limits

  • As a general rule the following speed limits apply, however watch signs for changes in speed limits.
  • Built up areas 31 Mph/50 Kph
  • Open Road 62 Mph/ 100 Kph
  • Motorways 75 Mph/ 120 Kph
  • Wearing of seat belts is compulsory in front and rear seats.
  • Children under 12 years age not permitted in front seats.
  • It is recommended to carry breakdown warning triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare bulb kit in vehicle. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair in the car with you.
  • Minimum Driving age is 18 years.

Documents required when driving

  • Valid drivers license
  • Vehicle title document/registration certificate or vehicle rental agreement
    Insurance green card (not obligatory for vehicles registered in IRL or another EU state)
    National vehicle oval country of registration plate (not required for vehicles fitted with EU standard format license plates).
  • Traffic coming from the right-hand side has precedence on roundabouts (traffic rotaries)
  • Tolls are payable at on the Cork – Dublin road near Fermoy and costs €1.90 for a car.Tips for

North Americans driving in Ireland for the first time

  • Driving styles and regulations differ in every country. It usually takes between a few hours and a day to get used to a new driving environment, particularly if you have not driven in the country before.
  • If you are used to an automatic, be sure to specify automatic when making your reservation.
  • When you drive the car for the first time, take it around the block at the airport a few times to get used to the controls and driving on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Try and avoid the narrower R roads for the first day or so until you are familiar with your car and the driving environment.
  • Get a good map or GPS at the airport, and have someone other than the driver to navigate.
  • Take your time – drive slowly at first until you gain confidence. Watch the signs carefully!
  • If you cross the road to park or to visit a gas station, be sure to return to a driving position on the left-hand side of the road.

Drivers Licenses

  • When renting a car most car rental companies will require a drivers license issued by the state you are normally resident in – and not an “international driving license”.
    *Applies to regular motor cars only.

Make sure and consult our driving itineraries page for the best driving routes in and around Cork.

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