Visitors to Ireland wishing to explore the country would be wise to consider their transport options in advance. Using public transport is usually a good way of getting around in the towns and cities where driving around can be quite congested.
However if you are heading out of town to explore the stunning Irish countryside you may want to consider buying or renting a car, depending on how long you have to travel.
Driving In Ireland Left or Right?
Motorists drive on the left side of the road in Ireland, with steering wheel drivers side to the right. Unfortunately drivers used to driving on the right in their own country sometimes forget or become confused with driving on what is to them the ‘other side of the road’. Lapses in concentration have been the cause of accidents, sometimes fatalities. When pulling out from off road parking, for example a garden, remember to take care to ensure both sides of the road are clear of oncoming traffic, and only move out when confident it is safe to do so. Take regular breaks to avoid becoming tired and confused, as driving on the left require a great deal of concentration if you are used to driving on the right. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your journey, and always think safety first.
When driving on straight roads always look out for hazards of potential hazards, and be prepared to react before they become a problem. Check your mirrors regularly and keep and eye out for road signs, in particular watch for signs of ‘black spots’ and sharp bends, as these can be dangerous if you are not used to road. Often sharp bends can be extreme, so reduce your speed in advance and proceed with caution.
See the video below for Irish Road Signs
If approaching roadwork signs that are encroaching in your lane, always check your rear and right mirror before moving out into the road to pass them. In this instance it may be okay for you to cross a continuous white line as the roadwork signs may be considered an obstruction.
You can view a PDF with Irish Road Signs complete with explanations by clicking here.
Drink Driving In Ireland
Any amount of alcohol will impair your driving, and it is recommended that you never drink and drive. The drink limits change regularly in Ireland, always reducing the amount of alcohol you are legally permitted to have in your system when driving. You can see the latest details as the RSA website.
Using Roundabouts Ireland
Roundabouts can be particularly tricky for drivers used to driving on the right side of the road.
Remember to always yield to traffic coming from the right and try to ensure you are in the correct lane. When taking the first exit off a roundabout ensure you get into the left lane in advance of the roundabout, indicate your intention to turn left before proceeding to complete the maneuver if safe to do so. When taking the second exit you do not need to indicate entering the roundabout, as you are going straight through. When you have passed the first exit, you then indicate to let other traffic know you are exiting. When taking the third exit from the roundabout, approach in the right lane, indicate right, and yield to traffic from your right. Stay in the right lane as you go round and after passing the second exit, indicate left to signal to other drivers that you are exiting the roundabout. Look over your left shoulder and exit in the left lane. Check out the video below for a guide to using roundabouts in Ireland.
Hiring A Car
Hiring a car can be a good option if you have a couple of weeks to spare. The benefits include, getting a car you know is going to be in good condition and that has car insurance already organised. In addition you are able to opt in for options such as air conditioning and a CD player should you wish to make your journey more comfortable.
Do be careful when choosing your hire car company to ensure you are not paying more car excess than you want to should anything go wrong whilst driving around. The downside to car rental is that it can be quite expensive and if you are travelling on a budget, and may mean that your spending money is severely reduced. You also may have to visit a number of rental companies if you need a specialist car such as a people carrier for a big family or group of friends.
Buy A Car For Your Travels Around Ireland
If you are on holiday for a longer period, you might want to consider buying a car for the duration of stay and then selling it on afterwards. There are a number of good places to look for a second hand car and if you are only keeping it for a few months, you could sell it on for the same price as what you brought it as long as it remains in good condition.
If you decide to buy a car to travel around Ireland with you need to consider your motor insurance options. Lucky Ireland offers a number of good car insurers who offer competitive deals, either over the phone or on the web. If you think you might want to take your car out of Ireland for a short period remember to discuss this option with your car insurer to ensure they allow this. Once you rented or bought a car, and sorted out the best insurance option you are free to roam and there are some amazing places to visit.
Aside from the large cities such as Dublin, it is worth visiting some of the country’s great national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. A drive down to the coast is also recommended so you can soak in all that the emerald isle has to offer.