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Self-Drive Motoring holidays in Ireland.

Tips on driving abroad in Ireland. Motoring rules and regulations in Ireland. Irish motoring laws.

Self-Drive Motoring holidays in Ireland.
Tips on driving abroad in Ireland. Motoring rules and regulations in the Republic of Ireland. Irish motoring laws.

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In Ireland you drive on the left - just like in the UK!

  • Ireland has stricter drink driving laws than the UK, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood. Our advice: never drink and drive.

  • Seat belts front and rear are obligatory everywhere.

  • Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent.

  • Ireland has changed to the metric system for road signs, so be prepared for distance and speed limit signs in kilometres.

    Motoring regulations and laws in Northern Ireland are the same as in the mainland of Great Britain. Below are motoring regulations relating to the Republic of Ireland. In all countries a full UK driving licence is required.

Speed Limits Motorway Open Road Town Alcohol mg/ml
Ireland 120 km/h 100 km/h (see notes) 50 km/h 0.8
With trailer 80 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h   -

Children in cars: Children under 12 cannot travel in the front unless using a suitable restraint system.

Documentation: always carry your driving licence, vehicle registration document (V5), and certificate of motor insurance. If your licence does not incorporate a photograph ensure you carry your passport to validate the licence. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, carry a letter from the registered owner giving you permission to drive.

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Over 0.05 per cent and you could face anything up to imprisonment.

Fines: On the spot fines are issued for parking offences. Ensure an official receipt is issued by the officer collecting the fine.

First-aid kit is advised, but not compulsory.

Fuel: All grades of petrol, diesel and LPG are available as well as lead replacement petrol (LRP). It is allowed to carry petrol in a can. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted. It's a good idea to let your card issuer know you will be travelling abroad. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure.

GB sticker: UK registered vehicles displaying Euro-plates (circle of 12 stars above the national identifier on blue background) no longer need a GB sticker  when driving in European Union countries.

Headlamp converters are not required for GB cars as in Ireland you drive on the left.

Horns not to be used between 23:30 hrs and 07:00 hrs.

Lights: dipped headlights must be used in poor daytime visibility. Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day at all times.

Minimum age for driving, provided you hold a full UK licence, is 17 for a car and for a motorcycle over 125cc.

Mobile phones: it is illegal to drive and use a mobile phone in Ireland.

Motorcycle drivers and passengers must wear crash helmets.

Motor insurance: third-party insurance is compulsory. A green card is not required but your insurer should be advised of your trip.

Parking: Parking regulations are strictly enforced, particularly in Dublin city. Tow trucks and vehicle disabling programs are in operation. Parking meters operate in the centre. The typical cost is euro 1,30 to 1,90 per hour. Disk parking operates outside the central zone and in some suburbs and many cities outside Dublin. Some multi-storey car parks accept credit cards.

Seat belts are compulsory for front and rear seat occupants, if fitted.

Speed limits: Limits on major roads outside built-up areas vary from 60 - 100 km/h - look for signs.

Toll roads in Ireland:

Many motorways in Ireland are toll roads. The tolls vary so below is a summary of the roads subject to tolls. Further general information is available at the NRA website.

M50 - The M50 is now a paperless/cashless Toll Plaza. There are no barriers or Toll Booths. It is operated by a system of cameras recording registration numbers of vehicles from the front and rear. You have 24 hours from 8pm to pay for the Toll.

  • Online at
  • By telephone using a credit or laser card on LoCall 1890 50 10 50/ From UK 0845 301 5405/ International ++800 50 10 50 11
  • BBy cash payment at Payzone branded outlets nationwide - for further information

M1 Dublin to Belfast Toll is at Drogheda
M6 Dublin to Galway Toll is at Ballinasloe
M7 Dublin to Limerick/Cork Toll is at Portlaoise
M8 Dublin to Cork Toll is at Portlaoise AND Fermoy
N18 Limerick Bypass(Tunnel) Tunnel is in Limerick City
N25 Waterford Bypass Toll is on Cork side of Waterford (Bridge Crossing)
East Link Toll Plaza Dublin City
Dublin Port Tunnel - leading from East Link under City emerging on the M1 Motorway to Belfast / Connecting with M50
M3 Dublin to North West
M4 Dublin to North by North West

Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out. Do this and you will not have a problem.

Warning triangle is recommended.


All information on this page is provided as a service to our clients. It is intended as a guide to the more important rules for the different countries to which we offer driving holidays. It is not meant to be a comprehensive document. We try and keep the information on this page up-to-date, but we cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising from any inaccuracies. If you find a mistake or would like to send us some additional information, please email us. Your co-operation is appreciated.

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