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I am going on a road trip for ten days in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

I read the various posts about adapting to driving on the left side. I am aware of the difference in speed indication in km/h and mph. I also read about speed limits and drunk driving laws. I booked a rental car with fully comprehensive insurance in Dublin. I am planning to got to Northern Ireland and back.

My question is, are there any other things to care about when driving in Ireland? E.g. (dangerous) road conditions, radar/speed control, local driving habits, fuel/gas stations (payment/credit cards), animals, driving license (German), weather, etc.?

(In Iceland, for example, one has to pay for every animal (e.g., sheep) damaged in car accidents.)

  • Heavy traffic, lights, roudabouts - yes. Slow driving not - I am german :) About 950 km/h in 7-8 days. google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zSBCd3g6ni6Y.kfdpzVp0jj34 – user937284 Aug 20 '15 at 22:23
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    Thanks for your comments. I prefer fast cars ;) And next time the southern part! – user937284 Aug 21 '15 at 9:44
  • In Iceland for example one have to pay for every animal (e.g. sheeps) damaged in car accidents, Uh, isn't the principle quite universal that you have to pay if you damage somebody's property? – gerrit Aug 21 '15 at 10:27
  • @gerrit, as pnuts mentions, in many countries, the question is whether the driver is at fault or not. OTOH, in some countries, the driver always has to pay. – MastaBaba Apr 2 '16 at 2:09
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    @amphibient Livestock owners in Canada and the US are strictly liable if their livestock escape, meaning the onus of proof falls on them. If they can demonstrate, e.g., that someone nefariously let out their livestock, they can avoid liability (but that wouldn't make the driver liable for the loss of the animal either). – Jim MacKenzie Nov 16 '17 at 19:20
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Remember that for most, adjusting to driving on the left isn't the hard part, it's adjusting to sitting on the right of the car. You'll have this instinct to veer more to the left of your lane than normal - fight this!

Roundabouts also seem to surprise some foreigners (we have them in NZ and see the results). Follow the general rule that traffic in the circle has right of way, and you'll be grand.

Be aware that many small country roads in Ireland (and wow, in Cornwall, but that's another story) are very narrow, often with stone walls. Do not go fast down these, and be prepared to stop and reverse if traffic comes the other way. If unsure, follow the local's lead, they're very courteous and will give you advice or help if you need it. If they blink their lights at you while pulled over, it may be an indication that you should pass while they wait for you.

Note that while speed is in km as you've noticed, sometimes not all signs are bilingual, so be prepared for some surprises.

Also note that the handles at the gas station might be different to back home - green is unleaded, in Ireland.

In general, drive defensively, safely, wear a seatbelt, and don't plan on achieving too much distance in a day.

  • Thanks for your answer. Good to know about the roundabouts right of way. I planned to spend max. 2 - 2.5h driving per day. Do you think it is realistically to travel a distance of about 150 km in this time? – user937284 Aug 21 '15 at 9:42
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    @ectomorph On small roads, you certainly won't do 100–150 km in 2 hours. – gerrit Aug 21 '15 at 10:29
  • Thanks for the answer. Then I have to adapt my time schedule. – user937284 Aug 21 '15 at 10:33
  • I actually nearly added - don't expect to do more than 40mph/65kmh, but figured it might be contentious. Agrees with @gerrit though. – Mark Mayo Aug 21 '15 at 14:43
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    Also, the rear-view mirror is to your left, and you shift with your left hand. It might seem obvious, but overcoming a lifetime of muscle memory can be difficult! – Mike Harris Nov 16 '17 at 20:05
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If driving from Ireland into Northern Ireland in a rental car make sure to tell the rental/insurance company as you are technically taking the car to a different country.

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