MyHolidayIreland tips – Ireland by car….

The most flexible way to travel the country is by taking a self-driving car trip. The following tips will help you along the way…

If it is your first time driving on the left hand side of the road, take it slowly to begin with. It won’t take long to get comfortable with the changes. Ensure that you are familiar with the stick shift and other features of the car before setting off.

Be aware of the different types of roads on the country when mapping out a route. The roads are numbered and the letters dictate what type of road you’ll be travelling i.e. M8 – Motorways/Highway, N17 – Nationals Road, R390 Regional Road, L220 – Local Road. If you need to save time, stick to the larger motorway and national roads.

Irish towns tend to favour roundabouts in place of traffic lights to allow free flowing of traffic. Here you need to be especially careful to remember which side you are driving on – that you do not take an immediate right hand turn!

If you are approaching any of the major towns or cities switch to the local radio station for traffic reports in case there are any delays or diversions in place. The best traffic reports can be found on if you have internet access. This website also has a great route planner facility which maps out directions, gives estimated time of arrival and fuel cost for your trip.

Do not rely too heavily on your Sat. Nav. system. Make sure your co-pilot also has a good old-fashioned road map. Your rental car company may has supplied one already. If not you can buy a good copy in any gas station in the country. Be aware of the opening hours of gas stations along the way so you are never caught out. If you are in doubt any of the locals can inform you.

If you are planning any particularly early or late driving fill up the day before. Be careful when filling your tank that you know if your car requires petrol or diesel. Check your tyres every day to make sure you don’t have any slow punctures. Most gas stations will have air and water machines free of charge.
Parking regulations will differ in each town.

You should easily be able to spot signage on the streets with parking information. “Pay and Display”; parking discs can be bought in newsagents shops and gas stations. Fill out the date and time as directed and display on the car window. If in doubt have a look at a nearby car or ask a passer by. “On Street Parking Machines”: these machines can be found at intervals on the street. Insert the required amount of money and display the printed ticket on your dashboard. Most street parking has a maximum stay of 2 hours. In most places you can park for free after 6pm in the evenings and all day Sunday.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are travelling on a dual carriageway (2 lanes of traffic) or if there is an overtaking lane – stay on the left hand side unless you are overtaking.
In certain rural areas, especially in mountainous regions take care of wildlife on the road. Do not be surprised to find sheep, deer or goats on the side of the road. In such areas, you will see signage warning you of these local appearances!

The most important road safety tip of all is to take your time. You will feel safer and you will appreciate the countryside more. If you are unsure of your route pull over and study your map or ask a local for directions.
Ireland has built many toll roads in the past number of years. These can be found on the major motorways. Always have some spare change in the car to pay for these. Some will accept credit cards, but not all. There will be plenty of signage warning you that you are approaching a toll. The charge will be approximately €1.90 each time you pass through.

If you are opting to see Ireland using Public Transport
Here are some helpful listings
  • Rail: The country’s national rail network is Iarnrod Eireann and it links all of the major cities in the country. In recent years the rail service has greatly improved with refurbishment of the rail stations and the carriages. Tickets are best booked in advance to avail of discounts and promotions. Local rail networks in Dublin city include the DART servicing Dublin County and the LUAS servicing the city centre.
  • Bus: The national bus network is Bus Eireann and every large town and city will have a central station/depot. In rural areas you can purchase tickets on the bus or tickets can be purchased online in advance. Private bus companies offering very competitive rates now service most areas of the country.
  • Local Airports: if time is of the essence you might consider taking a short flight. Ireland has a number of smaller local airports including Kerry, Galway, Sligo, Donegal, and Aran Islands. Internal flights can be quiet reasonably priced and might be worth considering.

Dublin City; Dublin’s newest travel initiative is the “Smartcard”. The system uses an integrated ticket that can be used on Dublin Bus and the Luas. If you are staying in the capital for a longer period avail of the “Bus & Rail Short Hop” or the “Rambler Bus Tickets”. These tickets will be of interest to you if you plan to take a day trip outside of the city and can be bought for a 1, 3, 5 or 30-day ticket.

  • Bicycle: Dublin City has embraced the greener way of living by introducing public city bicycles at over 40 locations around the city centre. You can collect a bike from any station and return it to any station on the network. An automated card machine is located at each station where a smartcard can be used to take out a bike. The bicycles are free to use for the first 30 minutes.
  • Taxis and Cabs: Public taxi’s can be hailed from the side of the street or can be picked up at a taxi rank in the larger towns & cities. Private cab companies must be telephoned in advance and are usually a little better priced than a taxi. All hotels and B&Bs will have business cards of local taxi & cab companies.