Driving your car in Ireland

With ferries travelling between Holyhead to Dublin several times a day, a road trip around Ireland is a great option for your next holiday. But what do you need to know about driving in Ireland? Does your standard car insurance protect you? Or will you need extra cover? Here’s what you need to know.

With ferries travelling between Holyhead to Dublin several times a day, a road trip around Ireland is a great option for your next holiday. But what do you need to know about driving in Ireland? Does your standard car insurance protect you? Or will you need extra cover? Here’s what you need to know.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
3
minute read
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Posted 5 NOVEMBER 2021

Will my UK car insurance cover me to drive in Ireland?

Yes. The good news is that all car insurance policies give you at least the minimum third-party cover when you’re driving in the EU. If your policy is fully comprehensive, you may want to call your insurance provider and check that you’re eligible for the same cover in Ireland.

Do I need any extra car insurance cover to drive in Ireland?

Generally, you shouldn’t need any extra insurance, but it’s worth keeping your insurance certificate handy, just in case anyone asks to see it.

If you’re going to be in Ireland for more than 90 days, it’s worth checking in with your insurance provider to see if you need extra cover.

Do I need a green card to drive in Ireland?

A Green Card is a certificate that proves you’re insured to drive internationally. You’ll need one to drive in some countries, such as Morocco and Tunisia.

That said, you don’t need a Green Card to drive in Ireland – or indeed anywhere in the EU. But you will need proof that you have valid car insurance. Your insurance certificate should be all the evidence you need.

Can I bring my car over from the UK?

Taking your car on the ferry to Ireland is easy and convenient. Not only does it mean you can take all the luggage you want, it also means you can take your dog (pets travel free on Irish ferries).

What documents do I need to drive in Ireland?

If you’re planning a road trip to Ireland, you won’t need to apply for an International Driving Permit or anything like that. However, the government recommends you take your UK driving licence, as well as your car log book. If you’ve hired or leased the car, you should also take a VE103 form. This shows that you’re allowed to take the car abroad.

What else should I know before driving in Ireland?

Driving in Ireland is pretty much like driving in the UK in that everybody drives on the left. The big difference is that here the road signs are in kilometres, instead of miles. But the rules of the road are mostly the same.

There are some things to look out for when driving in Ireland, however. These include:

  • Narrow lanes
    In rural areas, roads can be extremely narrow and may not have a hard shoulder, or space you can pull into if you need to pass. Be mindful of other traffic and be willing to reverse if you need to.

  • Farm animals
    It’s not uncommon to see cows, sheep, and other farm animals wandering down country lanes, so always drive slowly and carefully.

  • Signs
    If you’re travelling in an Irish-speaking area, you may find that signs are written in Gaelic.

  • As in the UK, drink-driving is very much against the law, as is using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

If I move to Ireland, do I need to get an Irish driving licence?

If you have a UK driving licence and are making a permanent move to Ireland, then yes, you’ll need to switch your licence for an Irish one. After Brexit, UK driving licences are no longer recognised in Ireland. To exchange yours, you’ll need to contact the National Driver Licence Service in Ireland.

Frequently asked question

What are the speed limits in Ireland?

Irish road signs are in kilometres, rather than miles, which can make the speed limits slightly confusing at first. In built-up areas, the speed limit tends to be 50km/h (this is equivalent to 31mph), whereas on motorways it’s usually 120km/h (or 75mph).

What happens if I’m in a car accident in Ireland?

If you’re involved in a car accident in Ireland and need the emergency services, the number to call is still 999. If you don’t need emergency assistance, then you’ll need to call your insurance provider.

Does my car need a UK sticker to drive in Ireland?

No. Some countries, including Spain, Malta and Cyprus, require you to display a UK sticker on the back of your vehicle, unless your number plate has a Union Jack in the corner. The UK sticker has replaced the GB sticker. However, these rules don’t apply to Ireland, so you won’t need a sticker.

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