Driving in Ireland as a foreign country

May 10th, 2020

Welcome to Ireland. If you are coming from abroad we have put together some tips for driving in Ireland, along with some helpful links. If you are going to be staying here for more than a year you may need to get an Irish driving licence.

We drive on the left side of the road in Ireland. The path, cycle lane, bus lane, hard shoulder or ditch will be on your left. Over taking or oncoming traffic will be on your right. We go clockwise around roundabouts.

Speed limits are in km/h and are signposted where the speed limit changes up or down. City centres, town centres, housing estates and certain designated areas are 30 km/h. Otherwise the general speed limit for an urban area will be 50 km/h. Rural roads will usually be a maximum of 80 km/h. However some of these can get very narrow. National roads from one city or town to another can be 100 km/h. Motorways can go as high as 120 km/h.

We have some very small roads in Ireland and experienced drivers from certain countries sometimes get surprised by how narrow a two way road in Ireland can be.

You need to have a full and valid licence from your home country to drive here. Learner permits or provisional licences are not enough. Even ones from the UK.  If you are going to be staying in Ireland for more than a year you will need to get an Irish driving licence. Some countries can do a straight swap. Most can go through a streamlined process. some need to go through the full process.

Drink and drug driving are very serious offences in Ireland.  The legal limit for fully licenced drivers is 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood.  The legal limit for professional and learner drivers is 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood.  Local police (An Garda Siochána) have powers to set up random roadside checkpoints.

Category: by Darragh Dunne

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