- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Ireland Guide (PDF)
While the rest of Europe follows the standard of driving on the right-hand side of the road, one of the few remnants of British rule in the Republic of Ireland is driving on the left. This is the only major challenge self-driving expats are likely to face when it comes to transport and driving in Ireland.
While major cities such as Dublin have modern and efficient transport networks, some of Ireland's infrastructure isn't necessarily of the same standard. That said, expats won't have much trouble getting around the Emerald Isle, as its public transport network is still more comprehensive and efficient than that of most countries.
Public transport in Ireland
Ireland has a punctual and comfortable rail network that connects most major towns and cities. It is an affordable option if commuters plan ahead.
Dublin is connected to surrounding counties by a commuter rail and DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), which provide affordable options for those living outside Dublin but work in the city.
Ireland has a city and intercity bus network. Buses serving remote areas may not run on Sundays and may experience delays in winter.
Bus Éireann is the most prevalent intercity bus operator. Timetables, information desks and its website make it simple to work out routes. Other companies, such as Dublin Bus, also run intercity buses so there are usually several options for getting around.
Taxis in Ireland
It’s quite easy to hail a taxi in Ireland: just look out for the distinctive yellow and blue signage. One can either hail these from the street, get one at a taxi rank, call for one or order one via an app. All taxis are metered and charges are more or less the same throughout the country.
Ride-hailing services have been less successful in Ireland than in other major European countries, but they are available. These include Lynk, FREE NOW and, to a lesser extent, Uber (which only allows you to order regular taxis and limos through the app).
Driving in Ireland
Dublin’s roads are among Europe's safest and drivers outside the city are generally courteous. It is not necessary for expats living in cities such as Dublin, Cork and Galway to have a car, however. All have extensive public transport networks and are easy enough to navigate on foot.
However, a car may come in handy out in the countryside, where public transport may be scarce.
Country driving can be intimidating. Roads are narrow, unmarked or unsealed in places, and the hedgerows are in thick bloom during summer, sometimes obscuring back-road bends. The best advice is to keep left and drive slowly.
Expats can drive on a valid foreign driver's licence for up to 12 months in Ireland. After 12 months they must apply for an Irish driver’s licence. Ireland has an agreement with several countries, including EU nations, for licence conversion without testing. Other countries can convert their licences after completing testing.
Cycling in Ireland
For the eco-conscious expat, cycling in Ireland is becoming increasingly popular. Dublin has an extensive network of cycle lanes, and it is entirely feasible to swap four wheels for two in most cities. Outside the capital, it is popular to take a Sunday pedal through the countryside. There are cycle routes, particularly in County Kerry, that are hugely popular – even in the rain.