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Ireland: the underrated jewel of the Old Continent

The Green Island, as that is how Ireland is referred to, is surely one of the most underrated places on Europe's tourist map. It is even more surprising taken into consideration that this inconspicuous, yet unique, place holds much in store for the holidaymakers and that its incredible diversity is able to thrill even the most demanding globetrotters. Scenic cliffs, lordly castles, vast grasslands, or nostalgic towns make this country unique in many ways. 

There exist multiple possibilities to explore Ireland, but discovering it with a rental car is undoubtedly the most comfortable choice. Pursuing this option will guarantee travellers freedom and the possibility to experience an incredible adventure. Buckle up and let's start our journey!

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Ireland is not all about Dublin

Even though Ireland's capital is one of the most popular places in the country, you shouldn't limit yourselves only to visiting Dublin. It's worth taking a magical trip to Galway or the nearby Connemara, following the path of the most impressive castles and fortresses. On this almost 210-kilometre trail, you will have an opportunity to see many examples of such medieval constructions. It will also be a great chance to take stunning photos and experience breathtaking views. 

The western part of Ireland can boast numerous interesting highlights, including a medieval complex, Rock of Cashel, and a tourist route, Ring of Kerry. Also, you can't really miss the well-known Boyne Valley dotted with monuments commemorating the most important events from the country's history. You'll find here passage tombs, created several hundred years before the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Hill of Slane, where St Patrick started Christianity in Ireland. 

Ireland/Leinster/Dublin/Photo by MartinPociecha on Pixabay
Ireland/Munster/Killarney/Photo by Christian_Birkholz on Pixabay
Ireland/Leinster/Dublin/Photo by larahcv on Pixabay
Ireland/Munster/Liscannor/Photo by Megan Johnston on Unsplash

There's no time for boredom on the Green Island. It's worth entertaining yourself a little bit in between the sightseeing trips. The fans of water sports, golf, and sunbathing will find their small paradise in Spanish Point. Those who are into natural landscapes should visit Dingle Peninsula, located in County Kerry, where they will have an opportunity to enjoy the pristine environment and watch animals grazing on the pastures. Your must-see list should also include the charming Mallow town located at the intersection of Killarney-Waterford (N72) and Cork-Limerick (N20).

Tired of sightseeing around Irish monuments? Take a breath and head towards the picturesque Glendalough Valley. Thanks to a range of specially marked trails of varying difficulty, it is a perfect option for all the fans of trekking. Since Ireland is a country of contrasts, it can also boast rugged landscapes. An ideal example is the Burren Plateau whose topography is reminiscent of the lunar surface. 

Car rental in Ireland

Ireland offers a wide choice of car rental companies - especially at the airports. Thus, you won't have any problems in finding a vehicle that will live up to your expectations and that will be adjusted to the requirements of the Irish roads. 

Ireland/Leinster/Dublin/Photo by TeroVesalainen on Pixabay

In order to freely move around Ireland, you'll need a valid ID/passport and driver's licence that was issued in one of the EU Member States. Renting a car in Ireland is possible if you are 25 years old and have a two-year experience on the road. Some car hire companies can follow their own rules so it's worth familiarising yourself with them beforehand so that you avoid disappointment. 

Roads in Ireland

The first thing to be remembered is the fact that the Green Island follows left-hand traffic. Initial moments behind the wheel may turn out to be a real challenge, but it's enough to stay cautious and follow traffic rules to make your trip easy and pleasant. 

Ireland/Connemara/Photo by lufthansi on Pixabay

The state of Irish roads isn't perfect, but driving around the country is pretty comfortable. The situation changes when you decide to choose side streets and less frequented roads which are usually narrow and poorly marked. Remember to be extra cautious since other motorists and animals that can suddenly appear in front of your vehicle may become an additional risk factor. 

Ireland has a number of toll roads, tunnels, and bridges, and failing to pay the toll is a traffic offence. Not following the regulations may result in a high penalty that can sometimes amount to €1270!

Ireland: road safety

One of the most important issues while driving around Ireland is, of course, safety. Children below 12 years of age should be seated in car seats or in special seats adjusted to their height.

Each vehicle driving around the Green Island should have appropriate equipment. Among the obligatory items, you will find a warning triangle, a first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher. But what's important to remember is that it should be carried inside the vehicle and not in the trunk. It's also worth carrying a reflective vest and a set of spare bulbs. Lack of any of these items won't result in a ticket, but it's definitely worth carrying them in your car. 

Dublin/Connacht/Galway/Photo by CarinaChen on Pixabay

The allowed alcohol limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Exceeding this limit will result in a penalty payment and in a loss of driver's licence for 6 months!

While driving the vehicle, you mustn't use your mobile phone. This pleasure may cost you as much as €1000. In order to solve this problem, it's best to equip yourselves with a hands-free kit. 

Speed limits in Ireland

In built-up areas, you can drive at a speed of 50 km/h. A greater leeway is allowed in rural areas, where you can drive as fast as 80 km/h, on expressways (100 km/h) and motorways (120 km/h). 

Ireland/Leinster/Dublin/Photo by Stephen Bergin on Unsplash

Facts for safer driving in Ireland

drink drive limit
0.5
max speed urban
31 mph
max speed rural
62 mph
max speed highway
75 mph
headlights at daytime
on
fire extinguisher
no
tolls
yes
seat belts
yes
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