Transport and Driving in Ireland
While the rest of Europe follows the standard set by Napoleon by driving on the right, 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. Otherwise, the Irish public transport network is comprehensive and efficient.
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.
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 public transport networks and are easy enough to navigate on foot.
However, a car may come in handy out in the countryside, where roads are narrow and public transport may be scarce.
Country driving can initially be intimidating. Roads are narrow, unmarked or unsealed in places, and the hedgerows are in thick bloom during summer, beautifully obscuring back-road bends. The best advice is to keep left and drive slowly – more experienced locals will overtake.
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 (including Canada and the United States) can convert their licences after completing testing.
Cycling in Ireland
For the eco-conscious expat, cycling is becoming increasingly popular. Dublin has a network of cycle lanes, and it is entirely feasible to swap four wheels for two in the 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.