Car Hire: Dublin

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Dublin is maybe the most missed capital city in Western Europe. This is unexpected because it is a vigorous, energetic city with a long history and much in the way of cultural displays.

Situated on the east coast of Ireland at the aperture of the River Liffey, Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland. It is Ireland’s biggest city with a population of more than a million within the metropolitan area alone.

Forty percent of the country’s population is under 25 years of age, many of which have migrated to Dublin to study or look for a job, providing the city a youthful flair. Indeed, it gained a reputation as one of Europe’s leading party centers.

Dublin is a well-developed city with an up-to-date foundation. The city center rests at the very tip of the River Liffey with most of the visitors drawn south of the river. Most of the attractions in Dublin are within walking distance of each other and the streets are packed with tourists and youthful people during the day.

The revitalized Temple Bar area is recognized for its cafes and establishments as well as for its youth-oriented nightlife. There are also numerous pubs that you can walk on throughout the city. 

Dublin’s best-known shopping area is on Grafton Street. Much of this section has been pedestrianized and street performers are prevalent. Shops are frequently open Monday through Saturday but a few now have Sunday hours.

Ireland is a part of the European Union and has used the Euro as its currency. Other currencies are not generally accepted. However, major credit cards are accepted here.

English is a well-spoken language in the country. However, you will notice several signs written both in English and in Irish.

Within modern memory, the Irish language was generally spoken in rural areas of the country, but now it has witnessed a rebirth and it is much more extensively understood.

Places to Visit in Dublin

Dublin is a big city that is packed with historical landmarks and museums, in addition to theater, pubs, and shopping.  This part provides a sampling of Dublin’s most sought-off attractions.

Most of Dublin’s attractions are just inside the city center and within walking distance of each other.  Some places, like the Guinness Storehouse, are a little further away. Luckily, there are buses and public transportation that you can use.       

There are also attractions situated in the outskirts of the city such as Malahide Castle and the Powerscourt Estate.  These frequently require a tour coach or a taxi. 

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Nothing describes Ireland’s glory as beautifully as the Irish Museum of Modern Art!

Also recognized as the world’s leading foundation for the collection and exhibition of modern arts, the IMMA is a site worth your time and visit. The grand museum acts as a former royal hospital.

The most striking feature of the museum is the extensive corridors running along with a line of connected rooms. The museum hosts a plethora of performances and exhibitions year-round. It embraces artist’s studios as well.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

One of the most picturesque spots to visit also happens to be a profoundly rated monument in Dublin.

The stained colorful glass is the first and the most striking thing at the cathedral that would possess your attention. Before you go inside the cathedral, you will have to buy a ticket first to see the place around.

There’s actually a way to escape the queue by just taking a walk around the periphery and attending the mass that goes on during the week. The fact that St. Patrick’s is the biggest and the tallest church in Ireland and places it atop the list of must-visit places in Ireland.

Trinity College

Ireland’s well-known university is also the place where its famous alumni like Oscar Wilde, Katie Mcgrath, and Jonathan Swift went to. Trinity College is more popular for its extraordinary library, a site where bibliophiles recover their ultimate retreat. And a perfect place where book lovers would want to unwind themselves.

Ireland’s biggest library also happens to be the haven of the Book of Kells. It’s a 1000-year-old illuminated manuscript that possesses the four Gospels of the New Testament.

The main library is off-limits for visitors but the Old Library can be reached within the quarters and is open to the public.

Dublin Castle

Once the famous seat of the United Kingdom’s power in Ireland, the Dublin Castle survives as an outstanding figure today.

The grand structure is certainly the site you would prefer to visit on a day tour in the magnificent city. Quite notably, the castle had a Black Pool, from where Dublin acquired its name as ‘Dubh Linn’. Visitors can now visit it on the site of the present Castle garden.

Ha’penny Bridge

The charming pedestrian bridge across River Liffey in Dublin also appears to be one of the top tourist attractions and a remarkable place to visit.

The bridge was constructed in 1816, since then it has been drawing the eyeballs of individuals who visit the place from around the world, particularly when it’s nighttime when the bridge is lit in a myriad of colors! The bridge also unites Temple Bar with the North of The Liffey.

Ha’penny Bridge is a genuine charmer for the kind of magical picture background that it creates.

Kilmainham Gaol

One of the most unique spots to visit in Dublin from the historical point of view is the Kilmainham Gaol prison which is famed for its primary importance when the political prisoners were detained here as prisoners during the events of the uprising, revolution, and civil war.

The multi-storied plan of the prison is worth a remark. Recorded back to the 1700s, the prison was an extraordinary place during Ireland’s independence and has witnessed a lot of Ireland’s freedom fighters. A trip to the prison could be a remarkable experience that will bring you back to the eventful past.

National Botanic Gardens

The verdant green National Botanic Garden established on the banks of Tolka Lake spans 19.5 hectares. It is also a must-visit place in the capital city of Ireland on the banks of the Tolka River.

While taking a walk in the garden area, one will surely find large herbaceous borders along with a brilliant display of flowers. The yearly exhibition of decorative plants which also incorporates the unique Victorian carpet bedding is a favorite attraction here.

Phoenix Park

Located at a walking distance from the city center of about 3 km, the Phoenix Park is Europe’s biggest enclosed park and a fine nature retreat that must be toured when you are in Dublin.

The urban park established to the north of River Liffey is an added celebrated attraction. It is also one of the famous places to visit in Dublin if you want to have quality time with nature and wildlife.

The park also has a venturing area for wildlife and people can witness them flourishing in their natural habitat.


For a picturesque and calm nature and outdoors, Killiney is a site worth a visit. The seaside resort area is just excellent for a day trip and you can look forward to allowing some more added time here.

Reachable by a dart train from the city center, Killiney thrives in Dublin Bay, accounting for remarkable times on your Dublin holiday. Killiney is a pretty-looking coastal village with lots of attractions and a wonderful ambiance.

The Temple Bar

Dublin’s most iconic site is situated in proximity to Ha’Penny Bridge. The bridge is constructed in the midst of the riverside town making for a magnificent place to roam around at night. The clobbered streets, lights, and river running by make for an excellent opportunity to visit the Temple Bar.

Also, there are lots of bars and multicuisine restaurants serving genuine Irish foods. If you stick around for a while, you will surely get to experience loads of live music in the active neighborhood.

The Science Gallery

Found on the grounds of Trinity College, the Science Gallery could be a clever getaway for individuals engrossed in science and technology advancements. The fact that admission to the science gallery is free makes it even more interesting. This place could also be an excellent educational encounter for kids.

Grafton Street

If you are still doubtful about what to do for your free day, then Grafton Street is the ideal filler between the lazy bits.

This is where the Irish diaspora goes when they have to go shopping. From high-end stores to loads of pubs and breweries, this area has got the best vibes to keep you occupied all day long. Should you wish to traverse the striking market streets of Dublin’s one of the most happening districts, this is the place to be!

Driving in Dublin

All cities on Earth are different – a point that is obvious whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time traveler, and when driving in Dublin, it’s crucial to be prepared. Make sure you have completely understood the local Irish driving rules and regulations.

Dublin made a reputation of being a hustling place to drive for quite some time. But this is mainly because of the unfamiliarity of driving on the opposing side of the road.

If you have been driving in busy cities in the United States or Canada, traveling Dublin by car will be no sweat once you get used to driving on the left side of the road. Compared to cities like Boston, New York, San Francisco, Montreal, or Quebec City, driving in Dublin is an absolute piece of cake.

To equip you for your future road trip through Dublin,  we’ve assembled many resources that will assist you to become familiar with driving in Dublin. After reading this quick guide, you should feel like an experienced pro easily able to drive Dublin’s city streets.

Pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing the street in Ireland unless they are at an assigned crosswalk or at a stoplight. That being said, pedestrians in Ireland normally anticipate cars to stop for them, particularly in Dublin.

It’s not unusual to see pedestrians crossing the street without first stopping to make sure the road is free from pedestrians. In some built-up areas with heavy foot traffic, you should pay extra attention and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice.

Take exceptional caution when driving next to a stopped or slowing bus as passengers are likely to disembark. You should also keep in mind that foot traffic will depend on the season, making seasonal masses a crucial factor in the best time to visit Dublin.

Commonly, drivers in Dublin will see the police (locally known as the Garda) to be relatively amenable if you happen to be driving your car a few kilometers per hour over the speed limit. However, we recommend that you err on the side of caution. Plan any driving you may have to make in advance so you won’t require speed.

Rushing while driving in Dublin will not only raise your odds of getting a fine but also raises the chance of getting into an accident or disaster.

Your vacation will surely get ruined if you get a speeding ticket.

Keep in mind that there are several hidden cameras placed throughout Dublin to check the traffic. If you’re speeding unreasonably, you’re likely to receive a ticket in the mail. Although there are particular speed limits for specific road types, posted speed limit signs must be followed at all times.

Like any major city, Dublin has very overcrowded rush hour traffic on both its motorways and smaller roads. The most reliable way to evade congestion is to take advantage of toll roads, which may be more pricey but the road quality is of excellent condition and there are only some other drivers on the road.

During rush hour traffic, the tolls on these roads can rise from €3 to €10. During the summer months, Dublin’s city center is crowded with tourists from Ireland and particularly all across the world, making driving very challenging to the inexperienced.

Driving Rules In Dublin

The majority of driving rules implement the same all over the world with common sense, following the speed limits prescribed by road signs and wearing seat belts.

  • All vehicles in Ireland are driven on the left side of the road.
  • Speed limits in Ireland are presented in Kilometres per hour (km/h). 50km/h is just over 30mph and 100km/h is a little more than 60 mph. However, the road signs switch to miles when dividing into Northern Ireland.
  • Seatbelts must be worn at all times as well as the passengers.
  • Children under 36 pounds, or shorter than 4’11”, or 150 cm must use a suitable car seat or booster seat.
  • It is unlawful to hold a mobile phone while driving in Ireland.
  • The allowable alcohol limit for fully licensed drivers is 50milligrams per 100ml of blood.

The Road Safety Authority in the country presents information about the road rules of Ireland and it should be required reading for all visitors who are intending to drive a hire car around Ireland.

Things to Remember

You will know that you are about to drive on a motorway or highway in Ireland because it is displayed in blue symbols with an “M,” like M50. On national roads, though, they are displayed in green signs with an “N,” such as N7. “A” is applied for primary and non-primary roads with mileage displayed instead of kilometers.

You should also be familiar with the Irish motorways or highways. But once you proceed onto the local, more rural roads, you will notice that the road will become narrower than anticipated. Standard, two-way and urban roads are frequently about two feet closer than in larger countries, and usually have no verge or shoulder for stopping over. It’s not unusual to spot a farmer driving cattle or sheep towards you as you turn on a bend.

The trick that you should do is to stay calm and proceed with caution. The locals do drive their cars very quickly, so if traffic starts to build up behind you do not feel urged to speed up. Just simply pull over safely and let them pass. Despite the roads’ smaller size, they are still well taken care of, in good restoration, and subject to extremely light traffic.

Sat Nav can be valuable in rural Ireland, as several remote parts of the countryside seldom only have street signs in Gaelic. This can also be rented from car rental companies in Ireland.

At unmarked crossings, the car from the right should have right of way, and the same rule applies for cars already in a roundabout.

In the Republic, yellow signs with black indicators provide instructions at marked crossings. It includes a visual estimate of the layout with thick lines, indicating the right of way. Meanwhile, the thinner lines depict roads that have to yield.

On rural roads, which can be very narrow, it is best to give big cars and buses the right of way to be safe, unless they are obviously stopping to yield to you.

Documents Needed While Driving in Dublin

If you are a citizen of the US, Canada, or the European Union and you possess a valid driver’s license, then you are allowed to drive in Ireland, but drivers from other countries are required to get an International Driver’s License.

Before you drive in Dublin, you must obtain third-party insurance (credit card-issued insurance does not count). Be sure that you remember where your vehicle registration is. You should also bring a copy of your rental contract or a letter from the car owner if the vehicle you will be driving is not registered in your own name.

Checklist for Driving in Ireland:

  • Valid US, Canadian, or EU driver’s license (required)
  • Passport (this is required if your driver’s license does not have a photo)
  • International driver’s license (optional for US, Canadian, and EU drivers but required for others)
  • Vehicle registration document or V5 (required)
  • A contract from the rental car company or a letter from the certified owner allowing you to drive, if the car is not registered in your name (required)
  • Verification of third-party insurance (required)
  • First aid kit and visibility vest (recommended)

Car Rental Companies in Dublin

When it comes to the best European dream scenery, enchanting narrow roads, and sheep; there is nothing like touring the Republic of Ireland and hiring a car to visit as much as you can.

Ireland, with its capital Dublin, along with its other cities, beautiful towns, and villages; is a country that draws countless visitors every year, particularly for Saint Patrick’s Day, but also during the rest of the year, several of whom prefer to rent a car.

As for driving a car in Ireland, some people might easily panic about driving to the left side of the road or just by having the steering wheel to the right, which you will surely get used to in no time.

However, deciding on a car rental company in Ireland might be the most challenging decision you’ll ever make, as there are some accounts on overcharges, as well as potential extra fees if you want to take the chance to also tour Northern Ireland.

Luckily, by showing you the best car rental companies in Ireland, you can have a magnificent experience, and have the best drive on the narrow and fine Irish roads.

Whether you want to drive along the roads of Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Westport, Castlebar, Kerry, Donegal, or Galway, we have prepared a ranking of the best car rental companies in Ireland. This is to assist you in choosing your next car rental booking.

Documents Required When Hiring a Car in Dublin

You will be asked to present your reservation number, which is emailed to you when you book your car on any car rental site. You should also bring a current, valid driver’s license with you and it should be in your possession for at least two years.

Visitors from overseas are required to present a license issued in their country of residence along with an English translation (where appropriate). Plus, some form of identification with your photo is required, such as a Passport, ID card, etc.

All citizens from the United Kingdom, United of States, Canada, Australia, and EU member states who intend to drive in Dublin are no longer required to provide an International Driving Permit. For those who are not, International Driving Permits are still required and must be accompanied by the original domestic license of the driver.

Insurance Needed When Hiring a Car in Dublin

If you intend to drive the roads of Dublin or anywhere in Ireland, you should check that you have the proper insurance. If there are two of you who will be driving the car, check that you are both insured.

If you are being offered a discount in price for not holding a particular cover (such as collision damage), think carefully about what this involves before waving this advantage. You should also clarify to the car rental company how this discount works. For instance, you are required to leave a deposit in case you create damage to the car in a collision.

If you intend on driving a rented car across a national border (for example, to Northern Ireland), ask the car rental company if this is allowed.

When you give the car back to the rental company, make sure that you have the car checked while you are still there. That way, you can avoid any charges being put on your credit card due to damage you did not know about.

Even though you may have acquired a damage waiver, car rental companies may still charge you an excessive amount for no reason. For that purpose, it is crucial to have the vehicle thoroughly checked on return and have any damage noted.

You can obtain more knowledge on renting a car from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the European Consumer Centre. The Car Rental Council of Ireland has all the information that you will need on the Code of Practice for the car rental industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of car can I use that is best for driving in Dublin?

When choosing a rental vehicle for your vacation in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, it’s essential that you take into account your travel ideas and what precisely you’re looking for in a vehicle.

If you’re touring with a family, a group of people or thinking of taking long trips, a full-size wagon, SUV, or minivan rental is the best option. But if you’re spending most of your time driving in large cities or overcrowded towns, a compact-sized car would be more suitable. That’s because it will enable you to park easily in small spaces.

Ultimately, the best vehicle for your vacation depends on your travel needs and your budget.

What is the age requirement when hiring a car in Dublin?

Before you rent a car in Dublin or elsewhere in Ireland, you have to make sure that you are at least 21 years old and own your license for a minimum of one year.

Several rental companies in Ireland ask young drivers for a tax on anyone intending to drive under 24 years old that rents a car in Ireland. While this charge isn’t typically quite high, make sure you ask your car rental agent to clarify any charges you may acquire as a young driver.

Am I required to present a credit card when renting a car in Dublin?

Yes, you are required to present a credit card to rent a car in Dublin or anywhere in Ireland.

Technically, there are car rental companies that will allow you to rent with a debit card, but if they do allow such a rental, expect that you will have to provide a large amount of cash deposit. Unfortunately, reclaiming this deposit normally takes longer than simply withdrawing the authorization from your credit card would.

If you’re trying to rent a car in Dublin and have a credit card, our advice is to employ it. Some cardholders provide rental car insurance coverage that is already included when they use their card.

Can I drive my rental car to the rest of the UK?

Most car rental companies will permit their rental vehicles to be driven into Northern Ireland for a cross-border fee. However, the fee differs by company.

Some car rental companies allow their vehicles to be driven to the rest of the United Kingdom like Scotland, England, and Wales, and those that do will ask you to acquire additional insurance.

If you want to procure a rental car in the Republic of Ireland and intend to drop it off in either Northern Ireland or the rest of the United Kingdom, you will be asked to pay an international one-way charge in addition to any supplemental insurance the rental company might require.

Can I extend my rental contract while staying in Dublin?

Yes, you can definitely extend your car rental contract while staying in Dublin for a longer period of time.

If you’d like to drive your current vehicle for additional days or if you notice that you require to upgrade to a different model for a longer stay in Ireland, just simply contact the car rental company to arrange an extended rental.

Final Thoughts

Ireland developed a bus system that merges most major and mid-sized towns, but hiring a car is considered the best way to see the Irish countryside, particularly the city of Dublin.

In Dublin, parking spaces are at a premium and the traffic is heavier than in New York City, and almost all sights are within walking distance of each other. Determine the location of your accommodation carefully so walking is possible and rent a car for destinations that are not within walking distance.

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