- First of all, in Ireland you will be driving on the LEFT side of the road!
- The speed limit for motorways – along certain stretches – is 120 kph – note, we no longer use mph (miles per hours) but kph (kilometres per hour).
- You will need to note this, because the normal maximum speed along major roads varies:
- Motorways (Blue signs on a white background) allow 120 kph;
- National roads (green background with white text on the large signs) 100 kph. Away from the motorways the speed limit is 100kph (national roads that are not dual carriageways).
- Approaching built up areas (or areas with some sort of traffic hazard) it falls to 80kph (about 50mph).
- In built up areas it is 60kph and 50kph is the speed limit in residential areas.
- Being caught speeding will result in a fine, and if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland you will be awarded penalty points – and more than a certain number of points will result in you being banned from driving!
- The use of mobile phones while driving is banned, although their use with headsets is allowed.
Bus lanes are to be found on most of the main roads into Dublin City Centre – generally enforced by the Gardai, and they are often Monday through Saturday from 7am through to 7pm, although some are 24/7. During these times you cannot drive in any lane marked for buses. If you do, you will be quite conspicuous, as the other motorists follow the rules pretty much 100% of the time. The only vehicles permitted in these lanes during the rush hour times as specified on roadsigns along the route are: buses, and taxis (hackney cabs are not – they are private taxi companies who may be contacted via the phone, but they do not have taxi plates, cannot use the bus corridors, and are obtained by phone – cannot be hailed in the street)- something to bear in mind if rushing to the airport to catch your plane home! Even at night, the average driver here will avoid the bus lane.
Driving in Dublin – finding parking in Dublin City
The centre of Dublin is home to many multi-storey car parks.
- Parking charges vary, but lie between €2.50 per hour to about €3.10 per hour. If you park in a multi-storey car park, you will collect a ticket at the entrance barrier, find a parking space (some have space vacancy recognition systems with lights over the spaces that will identify vacant spaces.
- In most, the “footprint” or layout of the car park is straightforward, but visitors would be wise to take extra care particularly on their first visit.
- Further out from the city centre, increasingly, parking on streets has to be paid for using tickets purchased in a Pay and Display machine. In this situation, you park, look for the Pay and Display machine – usually on the same street, tall, dark, solar powered… Put in whatever money required for the length of time you need – you can increase the valid parking time from 20 minutes up to a maximum or two, three or more hours, depending on how close you are to the city centre.
- Out in the suburbs, you may not see on street parking controls, except in their town centres.
- Increasingly, supermarkets/shopping centres have started to charge for parking, and to place time limits of two or three hours maximum. One reason for this was, because of the bus lanes and the increasingly expensive parking charges in Dublin City Centre, and because of the increased driving times associated with the bus corridors (one lane for cars instead of the former two), people were driving part of the way into Dublin city, parking, often in a supermarket car park or a church car park or hotel parking areas, and taking the bus in to town. This resulted in space problems in both car parking situations, and the solution has been to introduce parking controls, either supervised or unsupervised , where parking control is effected either by the use of pay and display machines or barriers.
Websites we recommend:
- www.aaireland.ie – the website of the AA – the Automobile Association. They have excellent pages on car parking in Ireland, including a comprehensive trip planner.
- www.dublin.ie – for things to see and places to go, and links to some of the main downtown carparks.
Illegally parking in any urban area in Dublin may leave you liable to be clamped – please ensure you have checked the area in which you have parked to make sure you know the time limitations, and whether or not this is a clamping area (Parking restricted area will have either single yellow lines, double yellow lines, and/or fingerpost signs). If you have allowed your car to remain parked for longer than the time for which you have paid, you may get a 10 minute grace period, but please note that the clamping companies in the Dublin area are very efficient. If you park in the city late at night, perhaps go for a meal, drink a glass or two of wine, take a taxi home, be aware that the traffic wardens and the clamping companies will start first thing in the morning and your car, unless removed before then, will be clamped. You will need a credit card to pay the fine – 80 euro or thereabouts. The company managing the clamping services for the Dubin City Council are Dublin Street Parking Services, and their website is at www.dsps.ie.
A number of parking spaces in each MSCP are reserved exclusively for disabled drivers (or those driving a person with a disablity), providing they have an in-date blue disabled driver’s card. For more detail on this, go to our page on the subject –