Who can drive in Ireland?

Any European Union citizen along with those in the European Economic Area can drive in Ireland with a current, valid driving licence issued by his/her country due to a mutual recongnition agreement regarding driving licences.

International driving permit

EU/EEA citizens who are resident in Ireland can apply for an International Driving Permit in Ireland. You can apply for an IDP on the AA website.

Driving licences agreements with Ireland

If you hold a current, valid driving licence from Australia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand or Taiwan, you can drive in Ireland for up to a year.

As soon as you become normally resident in Ireland, you’ll need to exchange your driving licence or apply for an Irish one. You’re considered to be normally resident in Ireland if you live here for a minimum of 185 days each year.

Holders of driving licences from other countries

If you are not from one of the countries that has an agreement with Ireland regards driving licences and you have a driving licence from your own country, you can drive here for the length of your visit up to 12 months.

If you’ll be staying in Ireland for more than 12 months, you’ll have to apply for an Irish driving licence. You’ll need to pass the full theory test, get a learner permit, complete a driving course and then pass the test. Once you pass the driving test, you can apply for a full Irish driving licence.

Vehicle registration tax

If you’re thinking about bringing your car over permanently, you’ll have to make sure that you register it for Vehicle Registration Tax. This will allow you to tax your car and make sure that everything is legal. If you pay the VRT but you leave the country, you may be entitled to a VRT refund. For more information you can contact Revenue – Irish Tax and Customs.

Motor tax

All cars in Ireland must have paid motor tax and display a tax disc to drive on the roads. You can pay this online and have an option of paying it for 3, 6 or 12 month periods. You will then be issued with a tax disc to display on your car. The price you pay will depend on the engine cc or carbon emissions of your car.

Car insurance

When getting car insurance it’s wise to obtain a number of quotes from different companies. You can also used a broker which will do the work for you. Their job is to find you the best deal that’s available. You then pay them a small fee when you buy the plan and it saves you a lot of work. If you do want to find a car insurance policy yourself, you can do a lot of the research online. Allianz Axa Aviva Zurich and Liberty Insurance  all offer car insurance policies.

The policies work on the basis of full disclosure meaning that you have to inform the insurance company of any driving offences or penalty points and be honest and truthful about things such as which type of driving licence you have. If you don’t you could find that your policy is void and you aren’t actually covered even if you have been paid the insurance company!

Tips for driving in Ireland

In Ireland, you are required to carry your driving licence with you at all times while driving. The Road Safety Authority operate a penalty points system for driving offences. The Road Safety Authority has a list of tips for driving in Ireland which might be useful in orientating yourself with the system.