Most of the major car rental companies have desks at airports, ferry terminals and cities across Ireland. In general, car rental companies don’t rent to those under 21 or over 70 years. All drivers must hold valid licenses. For terms and conditions, always check with the car rental company before you travel.

Car rental tends to be more financially favorable if you make your reservations prior to arriving in Ireland. Make sure to book in advance if you’re traveling during the high season. The majority of rental cars are standard shift and not automatic. If ordered in time, automatic cars are available for an additional charge.

A child's car seat should also be ordered in advance to ensure availability.

For insurance reasons, advise the car rental company if you’re planning to travel between the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and Northern Ireland.

Driving laws

  • Driving in Ireland is on the left side of the road and seat belts must be worn at all times in the front and the back of the vehicle.
  • Motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets.
  • There are very strict laws on drinking and driving and those found to be contravening these laws will be heavily penalized. The best advice is don’t drink and drive.

Speed limits (Republic of Ireland)

The maximum speed limits:

  • Towns and cities 50 km/h.
  • Regional areas and local roads (speeds displayed by white signs) 80 km/h.
  • National roads (displayed by green signs) 100 km/h.

Speed limits (Northern Ireland)

The maximum speed limits:

  • Towns and cities 30 mph.
  • Regional/country roads 60 mph.
  • Motorway 70 mph.

Signposts

  • In the ROI, all signposts denoting distance and speed limits are now in kilometers per hour.
  • In the Gaeltacht (Gaelic-speaking) areas of the ROI, only the Irish/Gaelic versions of place names will be used on road signs and large-scale maps. Smaller scale ordnance survey maps, such as those used by tourists and currently distributed by Tourism Ireland can carry both Irish and English versions of names. The areas in question are relatively small and with the aid of a good tourist map and the help of friendly locals, visitors should be able to navigate their way around all parts of the country without difficulty.
  • In Northern Ireland, all signposts and speeds are in miles and place names are displayed in English.

Gas/petrol

There is a good network of gas stations throughout Ireland selling unleaded gas and diesel. Prices may vary, but for more information regarding prices in both the North and the ROI visit AA Road Watch.