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Car Rental in Ireland

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Renting a Car in Ireland

When visiting Ireland, renting a car can be a convenient and flexible way to explore the beautiful countryside and charming towns. However, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Driving in Ireland

In Ireland, you’ll need to drive on the left-hand side of the road, and the speed limits are in kilometers per hour. It’s essential to have a valid driver’s license from your home country, and some car rental companies may require an International Driving Permit (IDP) for certain nationalities.

Car Rental Requirements

Most car rental companies in Ireland have a minimum age requirement of 21, and drivers under 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. You’ll also need a credit card in the driver’s name for the security deposit and rental payment.

Insurance and Additional Fees

When renting a car in Ireland, it’s important to understand the insurance coverage and any additional fees. Basic insurance is usually included, but you may have the option to purchase additional coverage for peace of mind. Be aware of any extra fees for things like additional drivers, GPS rental, or toll transponders.

Booking in Advance

To ensure availability and the best rates, it’s recommended to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can easily compare prices and options from different car rental companies online before making your reservation.

Exploring the Emerald Isle

With a rented car, you’ll have the freedom to explore Ireland’s stunning landscapes, historic sites, and quaint villages at your own pace. Just remember to drive safely, respect the local traffic laws, and enjoy the adventure of a road trip in Ireland.

By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, renting a car in Ireland can be a convenient and enjoyable way to experience all that the country has to offer.

Rental Requirements

Age Limits

To rent a car in Ireland, the minimum age requirement is 21 years old. Some car rental companies may have a higher minimum age requirement, so it’s best to check with the specific company you plan to rent from. There is also a maximum age limit, usually around 75 years old, though this can vary by rental company.

Driving License Requirements

To drive in Ireland, you can use your local driving license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) if your license is not in English. If you have held your license for less than a year, some rental companies may charge a young driver fee. It’s important to have a valid license for the entire duration of your rental period.


When renting a car in Ireland, you will need to present a valid passport, a credit card in the primary driver’s name for the security deposit, and your driving license. Some rental companies may require additional documentation, so it’s best to check with them beforehand.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in Ireland, it’s important to understand the insurance options available to you.

– Basic Insurance: The basic insurance typically includes Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection. CDW limits your financial liability if the car is damaged, while Theft Protection covers the cost if the car is stolen.

– Additional Insurance: In addition to the basic insurance, you may have the option to purchase Personal Accident Insurance, which provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits. Supplemental Liability Insurance is also available to increase your liability coverage.

– Insurance Tips: Before you rent a car in Ireland, it’s a good idea to check your existing travel insurance policies to see if they already provide coverage for rental cars. This can help you avoid purchasing duplicate coverage and save you money. Additionally, it’s important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the insurance offered by the car rental company to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in Ireland

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: In Ireland, driving is on the left side of the road.
Speed Limits: Urban areas – 50 km/h, rural roads – 80 km/h, highways – 120 km/h.
Other Useful Info: Speed limits are in kilometers per hour and are strictly enforced.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking is on the right and only when safe to do so.
Lane Discipline: “Keep left except to overtake” rule applies on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Be cautious of cyclists and pedestrians, especially in urban areas.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: All occupants of a vehicle must wear a seat belt, including rear passengers.
Child Safety: Children under 150cm in height or 36kg in weight must use a child seat or restraint.
Other Useful Info: Non-compliance with seat belt laws can result in fines.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving.
Other Useful Info: Hands-free devices are allowed, but caution is advised.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for most drivers, 20mg for learner and professional drivers.
Zero Tolerance Policies: Stricter rules apply to novice and professional drivers.
Other Useful Info: Random breath tests are common, and penalties for DUI/DWI are severe.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: Several toll roads in Ireland, with electronic payment options available.
Congestion Charges: No urban congestion charges in Ireland.
Other Useful Info: Some rental cars may come equipped with electronic toll payment devices.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are common, and vehicles already on the roundabout have right of way.
Intersection Rules: Yield to vehicles on the right at intersections unless otherwise signposted.
Other Useful Info: Pay attention to road signs and markings for guidance.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Use headlights from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, as well as in times of reduced visibility.
Windshield Wiper Rule: No specific requirement to use headlights with wipers.
Other Useful Info: It is recommended to use headlights at all times for increased visibility.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Pull over and stop to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
Other Useful Info: Failure to yield to emergency vehicles can result in penalties.

Driving Tips for Ireland

Road Conditions

Ireland’s road conditions vary from well-maintained motorways to narrow, winding country roads. Be prepared for different types of terrain, including coastal roads, mountainous regions, and urban areas.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

In urban areas like Dublin, traffic congestion and narrow streets can make driving challenging. In rural areas, you may encounter single-lane roads and less predictable driving conditions. Pay attention to road signs and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.

Navigational Tips

Consider using a GPS device or a reliable map to navigate Ireland’s roads. Some rural areas may have limited cell phone reception, so it’s important to have alternative navigation methods available.

Other Useful Tips

– Drive on the left side of the road in Ireland.
– Be aware of variable speed limits and be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
– Take note of parking regulations, particularly in urban areas. It’s common to pay for parking in city centers.

By following these driving tips, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while renting a car in Ireland.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

When renting a car in Ireland, it’s important to be prepared for any roadside emergencies. Here are some essential procedures and contact information to keep in mind:

Breakdown Procedures

If your rental car breaks down, the first step is to safely pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Then, contact the rental company’s emergency assistance line to report the issue. They will provide instructions on what to do next, whether it’s waiting for a tow truck or arranging for a replacement vehicle.

Emergency Services

In the event of a serious emergency, it’s crucial to have the contact numbers for the local police, ambulance, and roadside assistance readily available. The emergency number in Ireland is 112 or 999, and the rental company will also provide their own dedicated assistance line for immediate support.

Rental Company Policies

Most rental companies in Ireland offer 24/7 roadside assistance and towing services as part of their rental policies. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific support offered by your chosen rental company before hitting the road. This way, you can have peace of mind knowing that help is just a phone call away in case of any unexpected issues during your rental period.

Where can you Rent a Car in Ireland?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.