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What do I need to drive in Ireland?

Compulsory items include:

Recommended items:

What documents do you need to carry?

  • A full UK driving licence (you will need both the photo and paper counterpart. If you don’t have a photo license you should carry your passport or we recommend an International Driving Permit)
  • Evidence of motor insurance – third party cover is compulsory. Green Card recommended.
  • The vehicle’s registration document or a Vehicle on Hire Certificate – originals not photocopies.

Useful driving information

  • You must be 17 or over to drive in Ireland
  • Wearing a seatbelt is compulsory, the same as the UK
  • Some motorways operate tolls
  • You can’t use radar detection devices for speed cameras.
  • Children under 3 must be seated in an appropriate child restraint seat (except taxis). They can travel in the front seat providing the air bag is disabled.
  • Children over 3, less than 1.5m and weigh less than 36kg must travel in appropriate seats and restraints.
  • Horns must not be used between 23:00 and 07:00
  • The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited
  • Dipped headlights are compulsory in bad weather
  • Motorcycles must use dipped headlights during the day
  • Some level crossings use manual gates – you are responsible for opening and closing these.

Irish road and motorway speed limits

Police treat speeding very seriously, we advise all drivers to know the speed limits for roads while driving in Ireland.

Ireland uses miles per hour, as in the UK

  • Towns: 50 km/h
  • Secondary rural roads: 100 km/h
  • Motorways: 120 km/h

Local speed variations apply so please be aware of road signs and restrictions.

Drink-drive alcohol limits

  • Experienced drivers: 0.5 g/l
  • Novice drivers: 0.2 g/l
  • Professional drivers 0.5 g/l

If you have a blood level exceeding 0.5 g/l you will face penalties of fines, imprisonment and being banned from driving. You can be asked to go to a police station for blood and urine tests if you fail the roadside test.

Emergency numbers

If you need to contact the emergency services you’ll need to dial 999 or 112.


Whilst we endeavour to keep this information updated, the rules and regulations related to driving in Europe may change without notice and this information may contain technical inaccuracies. We cannot be held responsible for information which may become out of date or liability for incorrect information.

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