Given the high costs associated with car insurance in Ireland, it should come as no surprise that more and more people are opting to rent or car-share rather than invest in their own vehicle.
Car rental companies are dotted across the country, with many located in and around cities, larger town and Ireland’s network of airports. Depending on where you are coming to Ireland from, you may be familiar with some of the leading car rental operators such as Enterprise, Hertz and Budget car hire.
Like any part of your move to Ireland, you should take the time to research the best car rental company for you, as well as choosing the closest pickup location to your destination and the most competitively priced offers. An additional benefit for those moving to Ireland from abroad is that car rental rates are often more competitive before you land in Ireland than after you get here. A minimum age requirement of 21 is in place for car rental, but you will likely be hit with a surcharge if you are between 21 and 24 years old, inclusive. Similarly, if you are over 75, you may be asked to pay more for your rental. If you are looking for a site to compare car rental prices then this might be a good place to start. You will also need to have a full driver’s licence from your home country and a credit card in the driver’s name.
If you are looking for an innovative alternative to car rental, then car-sharing may be the perfect choice for you. Based on a pay as you go principle, car-sharing has the potential to revolutionize the Irish motoring industry, and its flexibility has a range of benefits for people who are new to Ireland or back home after a period abroad.
Just like car rental, car-sharing is available in most Irish cities, with GoCar and Yuko (only available in Dublin) being two of the leading companies in this burgeoning sector. With online booking options and competitive prices, it makes getting on the road cheap and convenient. The popularity of GoCar is evident by the fact that as of August, 2018 the company has 32,000 active members.
The car-sharing route has the potential to be a much cheaper option than purchasing a car, especially after tax, insurance and maintenance costs are factored in. To avail of a car-sharing service all you need is a full valid driver’s licence, a credit or debit card in the driver’s name and to be 21 years or older. So, if you have just arrived in Ireland but don’t have the means to purchase a new car, then this could be the perfect option for you. All you need to do is go online, find your nearest vehicle, and pay by the hour to get on the open road.
Automatic for the people
One of the most important points to keep in mind when it comes to car rental and car-sharing in Ireland is that the vast majority of vehicles will be manual transmission as opposed to automatic. If you are moving to Ireland from North America or other regions where automatic cars are more the norm, then you need to make sure that you know how to drive ‘stick’ and that you are comfortable doing so.
If a manual car is completely out of the question for you or your family, then the good news is that automatic options are available. Unfortunately, the bad news is that they will almost certainly be more expensive than a manual car, so bear this in mind in your budget.
If you are moving to Ireland from Australia, Japan, the UK or any of the other countries in the world that drive on the left-hand side of the road, then driving in Ireland should be no big deal for you. However, if you are moving from North or South America, or continental Europe, then you need to be prepared for driving on the left. While there are no shortcuts to adapting successfully to life on the left, patience and diligence will go a long way.Google Maps or a good GPS could end up being your best friend, especially if you plan on navigating Ireland’s many narrow rural roads. You should also be aware that the steering wheel in all Irish cars is located in the right-side of the vehicle, and therefore you will be operating the gear stick and handbrake with your left hand, rather than with your right.
Petrol or diesel
Another important consideration to keep in mind when it comes to car rental or car-sharing in Ireland is knowing whether your car takes diesel or petrol, also known as unleaded fuel. It is vital that you know what type of fuel goes into your rented car, as filling your tank up with the wrong type could prove to be a very costly mistake. One useful tip is that petrol (unleaded fuel) is dispensed from the green fuel pumps, while diesel comes from the black pumps. Most cars in Ireland will operate on petrol but don’t assume that this is the case. Make sure you know what type of fuel is required before embarking on your journey.
Other driving tips to keep in mind
Aside from driving on the left-hand side of the road, and most cars taking petrol and being automatic, there are a number of other rules to keep in mind:
- It is compulsory for drivers and passengers in Ireland to wear a seatbelt at all times.
- It is illegal to hold or operate a mobile phone while driving.
- It is illegal to operate a car under the influence of alcohol.The legal limit is 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood for fully licensed drivers, and 20 milligrammes of alcohol for learner or professional drivers.
It is also vital that motorists in Ireland are aware of all speed limits, which vary depending on the type of road being used:
- Motorway – 120km/h
- National road – 100km/h
- Regional road – 80km/h
- Urban area – 50km/h
- Special limits area (such as in the vicinity of a school) – 30km/h
Learn more about driving in Ireland here.