Driving in Ireland

Dominika Rozycka 22.07.2015

Keep left!
If you come from continental America or continental Europe you may be put off driving by the fact that the Irish drive “on the wrong side of the road”. Don’t be! You will get used to it in no time.

Driving licences
It is possible to transfer or exchange a licence from most EU countries and some others (notably Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and South Africa) for an Irish one – but you must do this within one year of arrival in the country.

On the other hand U.S. and Canadian drivers must apply for a full Irish licence, which means first obtaining a provisional licence. To do this you will need to take a theory test and an oral one. You can get more information from the Vehicle Licensing (Motor Tax) office on +353 61 365000. It may be possible for you to drive in Ireland for a limited period with an international driver’s licence from abroad.

Bringing a car from overseas
If you bring a car to Ireland from overseas, there are three things you must do:

First, pay Vehicle Registration Tax. You can find details on VRT here.

Second, get motor insurance. This is compulsory in Ireland. If you have a no-claims bonus from the EU or other countries with similar insurance laws, this may be transferable to Ireland. The main motor insurers are:

Liberty Insurance
Chill Insurance
AIG Insurance

Third, pay Motor Tax. Rates vary depending on the size of the vehicle and can be paid quarterly, half-yearly or annually. 

Vehicles that are more than four years old must be tested for roadworthiness when you arrive and again every two years before they can be driven on public highways. For details contact your local National Car Test Centre.

Dominika Rozycka's picture


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