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We understand that arriving into a new country and requiring a vehicle straight away can be a daunting experience. To help ease your concerns we have put together some useful information and links to useful websites.

Driving orientation

Traffic in Ireland drives on the left.

Speed limits

Speed limits and modern road signs are designated in kilometres per hour (km/h).

  • Motorways – 120km/h
  • National roads – 100km/h
  • Regional roads – 80km/h
  • Urban areas – 50km/h
  • Special limits – 30km/h (schools etc)

Driving licence

You will require a driving licence issued by the country you are normally resident in or an international driving licence/permit.


Drink driving is a very serious offence 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 breath-test checkpoints.

Seat belts

Wearing of seat belts is compulsory in front and rear seats. Children must use booster seats or an appropriate child restraint system. Download the Child Safety in Cars booklet from the RSA website for more information.

Narrow roads

Although the national road infrastructure has been greatly improved in recent years, many local roads are still very narrow and have no ‘hard shoulder’ – extra road space to the side. During the winter, the roads may be icy. Stay informed by listening to local or national radio or contacting AA road watch or National Roads authority

Farm traffic

In rural areas, you are likely to occasionally encounter tractors and animals on the road so it is important to drive slowly and carefully.

Mobile/cellular phones

It is illegal to hold a mobile phone while driving.

Documents required when driving

  • Valid driving licence
  • Vehicle title document/registration certificate or vehicle rental agreement
  • Valid insurance documentation
  • Valid Certificate of Roadworthiness

Recommended equipment

It is advisable to carry breakdown-warning triangle, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare bulb kit in your vehicle. If you wear glasses, bring a spare pair in the car with you.

Dangerous driving and penalty points

Drivers with foreign driving licences who drive in Ireland are subject to Ireland’s penalty points system, a system designed to save lives and prevent injuries resulting from road crashes and collisions.

If someone is driving in Ireland on a foreign licence, the driver’s details are held on a separate database for the purpose of recording penalty points. If that driver later applies for and obtains an Irish driving licence, the penalty points are then activated on that licence.