Guide for Driving a Rental Car in Ireland
Renting a car in Ireland is an excellent way to see the rolling countryside or visit a number of cities in a single vacation. It's important to note the differences between Ireland's roadways and those you're familiar with so that you can stay safe en route. Notoriously narrow, these roads may be a bit of an adjustment, but are definitely worth it!
Picking Up Your Rental Car
If you're flying into Ireland, the airport is the easiest place to pick up your rental car. Be sure to reserve your car ahead of time to make sure a vehicle is available. The majority of the vehicles in Ireland have manual transmission. If you need an automatic, you must specify this when you make your reservation.
Dublin is the largest airport in Ireland, and the 23rd busiest airport in Europe, with nearly 600 aircraft movements per day. Alamo’s Dublin car rental location is found in the arrivals hall.
- In Ireland, cars drive on the left side of the road.
- Buckle up! Seat belts are a requirement in both the front and rear seats. Children must be in the appropriate safety seats.
- In rural areas, narrow roads and farm traffic are common. Drive carefully and watch for wandering farm animals.
- Be ready for tolls. Most highways have tolls of 2 or 3 euros. You can pay at the toll booth with a credit card or toss coins in if you have exact change.
- Most parking in Ireland is paid. Machines beside the road accept coins for paid parking.
Road Signs in Ireland
Most road signs in Ireland feature clear symbols that are easy to understand. The most common types include:
- Regulatory signs have a white background, red border, and black text. These include the round speed limit signs and triangular yield signs.
- Signage that indicates the direction of traffic at a junction has a blue background and white arrows.
- Warning signs are diamond in shape with a yellow or orange background and black text.
Speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour. These helpful conversions may give you a better idea of what to expect, when compared to American standards.
- Special zones, such as schools: 30 km/h or 19 mph
- Urban areas: 50 km/h or 31 mph
- Regional roads (prefixed with L or R): 80 km/h or 50 mph
- National roads (prefixed with an N): 100 km/h or 62 mph
- Highways (prefixed with an M): 120 km/h or 75 mph
Fueling Your Vehicle
Ireland's gas stations are staggered infrequently throughout the countryside, so fill up when you can. You won't find 24/7 locations here as you might in the US, so plan to get fuel during regular daylight hours if you plan on traveling at night. Green fuel pumps indicate unleaded gas while black handles are for diesel.
With proper care and preparation, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable trip on Ireland's roadways. Plot your route, drive with care, and stay prepared to enjoy the best trip possible in your Ireland rental car.