Driving in Ireland

For anyone planning to travel around Ireland by road, it is essential to be prepared. The information contained here will provide a broad background to road laws in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (the island of Ireland).

Roads in Ireland are generally of a high standard. One thing to be mindful of are terminology differences between the U.S. and both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Major driving routes, which would be comparable to highways or parkways in the US, may be referred to as motorways, national roads, primary roads etc.

In the Republic of Ireland, motorways are prefixed with an “M” (for example M50). National roads are prefixed with an “N” (for example N18) and can be either national primary or national secondary roads. National primary roads almost always consist of several driving lanes in each direction while national secondary roads may also include those with two-way traffic. Distances on road signs are shown in kilometers and speed limits are given in kilometers per hour (km/h).

Roads in Northern Ireland are prefixed with an “M” for motorway; an “A” and a “B” for primary and non-primary roads. In Northern Ireland, distances are provided in miles and speed limits are in miles per hour (mph).

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