How to Drive in Ireland

Like any country, Ireland's roads have their own unique set of hazards that you might not find back home. That's why it's important, as always, to be alert and know what to look out for.


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    DO NOT drink and drive. It goes without saying, no matter where you're from, but in Ireland, drinking is part of the culture and atmosphere, so you need to be extra vigilant and realize that you are still not immune to it. Also, in a country such as Ireland where alcoholism is a rather serious matter, it won't hurt to look out for other folks who are driving erratically and appear to be drunk. Should you see someone in this condition, give them the right of way so that you don't get your own car damaged.
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    Watch out for anything unusual on the road. If you're in a larger city, such as Dublin or Cork, you don't need to always be on high alert, but in any city you'll see the occasional cardboard box, coffee cup or blown tire. If you're driving out west, in rural Ireland, where the roads may be nothing but dirt paths, it's especially important to look out for loose vegetables (namely potatoes), livestock, and even locals who aren't very street smart.
  3. Image titled Drive in Ireland Step 3
    If you are from North America or any other place where they drive on their right side of the road with the driver's side on the left, you must remember to drive on your left side of the road, in an Irish car where the driver's side is on the right.
    • Even if you're in the countryside, still do this. You never know how many other people you will happen upon.
  4. Image titled Drive in Ireland Step 4
    Don't drive for long periods of time, fatigue is a killer. Switch drivers if you're in a group, especially if you're on an excursion in the countryside.


  • Should you have to stop and take a break, any public place will do. And if you break down or experience problems, don't hesitate to ask a local for help. The Irish are rather friendly and at the very least will point you to the nearest place to get help.
  • Be prepared to drive very fast on narrow and often winding roads. They drive very fast there. Their roads are far narrower than those in the U.S. with no shoulders. Country roads can be very challenging.
  • It is not a good idea to practice your driving in a big city, like Dublin. Go to a less crowded area to get used to the Irish cars and roads. If you do pick up your car in Dublin, find the nearest road out into the country. Then practice your driving. Also avoid the obvious rush hours when traffic is heaviest.
  • When renting a car, steer away from the less expensive stick shift and go for the automatic transmission. There are enough distractions as is, it is not a good idea to complicate things. Remember that everything in the car is opposite of an American car (e.g. the stick shift is on the left of the driver).
  • Use those headlights.
  • If you're in a group, it might help to have someone sit in the passenger seat and watch for any hazards, distractions, etc.
  • If you are driving long distances, particularly in the west, make sure that the car you will be driving is in good working order and filled with gas (or petrol as they say in the Emerald Isle).


  • Don't drive drunk. No matter where you're from, it's stupid, dangerous and, in some cases, disastrous.
  • Beware of anyone that you distrust, and also of anyone who may have had one too many drinks.

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Categories: Country Specific | Ireland