'Stay Left!' And Other Tips For Driving in Ireland
All this week, Jaunted contributor CMB will be giving us notes on her Dublin Field Trip. Any questions or suggestions? Let us know.
Returning from our trip to Ireland last week, everyone wanted to know, “what’s the biggest difference between Ireland and the U.S.?” Here it is, drum roll please… they drive on the left. Disappointed? Yeah, we were too but it is a major difference and a tricky one for Americans in tiny rental cars. Luckily for you, we made plenty of mistakes driving on the wrong side of the road so that now you can learn from them.
First, even in if you rent a GPS with your rental car (they run around €5 a day), buy a map; better yet, buy two maps, one for the whole country and a separate one of Dublin. For whatever reason, the GPS always seems to go rogue at the worst possible time so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.
Most rentals in Ireland are manual transmission. You will pay more for standard transmission but if that is what you drive at home, buck up and pay the extra money. It is difficult enough pulling out of the airport trying to remember what lane to be in, let alone trying not to stall, this is no time to be cheap. Outside of Dublin, there are roundabouts everywhere, remember traffic coming from the right-hand side has the right of way.
After stopping at at one of Ireland's many tourist traps be cautious getting back on the road; old habits are hard to break, so make sure you are pulling out into the left lane.
It’s pretty easy to figure out the road signs and numbering system. Roads numbered in the range of M1-M99 are highways, N1-N99 are also highways, usually two lane, R001-R099 are narrow country roads, some of which aren’t marked at all.
Finally, no matter what your local travel agency tries to tell you (cough, AAA), you don't need an International Driving Permit; it's a waste of valuable money that can be spent on beer once you arrive. Most car rental companies will accept your state-issued drivers license without a problem.
· Top 10 Driving Tips for Ireland [About.com]
· Don't Jump! Surviving The Steep Irish Cliffs of Moher [Jaunted]