Driving in Ireland and Wild Atlantic Way
Driving in Ireland
In Ireland, we drive on the left side of the road, with the steering wheel on the left side of the car. This is easy to deal with as most other cars are the same. However, you may come along a narrow road on the Wild Atlantic Way and find a car in the middle on the road. This may because they are from mainland Europe or the road is just so narrow! You will need to bring your driving license with you, though an international license is not normally required in Ireland. You need to keep the rental agreement and insurance details of the car with you when driving in Ireland.
What type of Car
The cars rented in Ireland are petrol or diesel, manual or automatic. My preferred car is manual (to cope with the hills and narrow lanes) and diesel as it is cheaper to run. Petrol has a green funnel and diesel the black funnel in a gas station- at the same pumps.
There are few Gas stations along the Wild Atlantic Route so fill up in towns, and no 24 hour stations. You may not be able to pay at all Gas Stations with a credit card, so bring cash. A re-fueling of most cars will cost €50-€70.
Electric Cars are difficult to hire in Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way route does not yet have not have the power points as frequently as you would expect along Wild Atlantic Way. Get to know your car’s navigation system before you leave the car rental yard. Programme your satellite navigation system before you leave the yard. If you wish to hire a Classic Car for days drive along the Wild Atlantic Way take a look at what we can offer at Activity Days Ireland.
How Driving Distance is Measured in Ireland.
In Ireland distance is measured in Kilometres rather than miles. There are multiple road signs with details of the distance in Kilometres only to towns and villages. A Map is useful, but not essential.
Google maps are available in Ireland but along the Wild Atlantic Way coast, the Wifi is signal is intermittent. The routes offered by Google are shortest route from A to B, but this may be taking you down very narrow lanes not comfortable for driving on, so check the route. Also download the main route each day as the wifi signal disappears at the most annoying times, especially along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The speed limit on motorways is 120Km per hour, with 100km on major roads and 80 km on minor roads. However, the Wild Atlantic Way is a coastal route with few major roads and many bends which mean you will cover 40-60 per hour. Part of the attraction is to be able to stop, enjoy the view and take some memorable photographs. Don’t plan to cover too much distance on the map in a day – its not that type of place. We can advise you on the distance to cover in a day so you can enjoy the trip to the optimum.
Drink Driving is a serious offence in Ireland, when you go for a drink at night, get a cab home. Most small villages in Ireland have a person providing this service, due to the strict regulations. Do not answer your mobile phone when driving as this is an offence and
Farm machinery or all shapes and speeds, cows and sheep will be a feature of the route, as it is the artery of the local farms. Relax and enjoy as they will advise you when its safe to pass, with a friendly wave of thanks. They may even tell you about a hidden gem, just around the corner. For more driving information look up the Road Safety of Ireland Authority website.
Drink Driving is a serious offence in Ireland, when you go for a drink at night, get a cab home. Most small villages in Ireland have a person providing this service, due to the strict regulations. Do not answer your mobile phone when driving as this is an offence.
Seat belts and Children
Seatbelts are compulsory in Ireland and you can be fined for not wearing them. Children under 10 years of age (or 150 cm (5 Ft tall) or less than 36 kg (80lbs) in weight) must be in a car seat. The car seat or booster cushion can be rented from a car hire company or we can organise it for you.
The Wild Atlantic Way Map
Maps – We have a map of the full route of the Wild Atlantic Way, Irelands in a full map and then in 4 separate maps of the sections of the Wild Atlantic Way.
1 Cork and Kerry.
2 Limerick and Clare
3 Galway and Mayo
4 Sligo and Donegal
The Symbol for the Wild Atlantic Way is a wave design- a blue wave on a brown sign. A Fact sheet on the Wild Atlantic Way helps with planning a holiday and an area to visit.
Local road Signs
The sign here shows Castlewtownbere, Dursey Island and Cahermore – all on the main Wild Atlantic Route. These are local road signs.
There is som much to see and do along the Wild Atlantic Way with a range of Lighthouses to see, and lots of beaches in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Take a look at the best beaches of each county on our Wild Atlantic Way information,
Discovery and Signature Points of the Wild Atlantic Way
There are 15 Signature Discovery Points along the Route. These include Mizen Head, Dursey Head and Cable Car and we have all on a list here.
Cork -: Old Head of Kinsale; Mizen Head.
Kerry -: Bray Head Skellig View; Blasket Sound.
Claire -: Loop Head; Cliffs of Moher.
Galway -: Derringimlagh; KillaryHarbour.
Mayo -: Keep Strand; Downpatrick Head.
Sligo-: Mullaghmore Head.
Donegal:- Slieve League; Fanad Head; Malin Head.
This sign shows it’s on the Wild Atlantic Way, a Sign for the Discovery point of Mizen Head at the end fo the Mizen Head Drive and underneath the white local sign with the name in Irish first Can úI Néad and then the name in English Mizen Head. In Gaeltacht areas, there may not be a name in English. If you get lost just ask how to get to where you want to go. But do not be surprised if the person you ask says ‘Well I would not start from here!’
There are 188 discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way route – signs which you can have your photograph taken with and with information boards on an area. Take time to see the information or the view at these discovery points along the route.
There are 188 discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way route – signs which you can have your photograph taken with and with information boards on an area. Take time to see the information or the view at these discovery points along the route. If you want a holiday along the Wild Atlantic Way planned and organised for you contact Activity Days Ireland with the requirements.
Wild Atlantic Way Passport
The Wild Atlantic Way Passport is a unique record of your journey along this 2500 km costly route and there are 188 unique stamps to collect, one for each discovery point. Pre-purchase the Passport before the trip from An Post. Call into the tourist office of local post office along the route to get the passport stamped – and meet the locals, who may tell of the best place to eat or a hidden local gem.