Hiring a Car in Ireland: Top Tips for a Smooth Ride on the Emerald Isle

Ireland, the Emerald Isle, beckons with its lush landscapes, charming towns, and friendly locals. And what better way to experience this captivating country than by hiring a car in Ireland and exploring at your own pace? While the prospect of navigating the land of a hundred thousand welcomes may seem daunting, fear not! Our comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know, from choosing the right rental company to understanding insurance and finding the perfect vehicle for your Irish adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Research and select a reliable car rental provider from highly-rated companies.

  • Consider pricing, location, and reputation when selecting a company for your journey in Ireland.

  • Understand the cost associated with renting a car in Ireland before making the decision to explore at your own pace.

Navigating Car Rental Options in Ireland

Car rental options in Ireland

The first step to an enjoyable journey on the Emerald Isle is selecting the right rental company. With many options available, you need to choose a reliable provider. Highly-rated companies such as:

  • Auto Europe

  • Sixt

  • Hertz

  • Europcar

  • Enterprise

We offer a range of rental cars from various car rental companies, including a top-rated rental car company, and convenient car rental locations in Ireland, providing top-notch car rental services at our rental car counter.

Navigating the car rental landscape can be tricky, so it’s crucial to understand rental rates and choose the best option for your budget and needs.

Choosing a Trusted Rental Company

Selecting one of the best car rental companies is vital for an effortless journey on the Emerald Isle. Top-rated providers include:

  • Auto Europe

  • Sixt

  • Hertz

  • Europcar

  • Dan Dooley Car Rental (now part of Enterprise)

offer high-quality vehicles and excellent customer service. When choosing a company, consider factors such as pricing, location, and reputation.

Investing time in studying your options will contribute to a hassle-free and enjoyable Irish car rental experience.

Understanding Rental Rates

Car rental rates in Ireland are influenced by factors such as:

  • The type of car

  • Rental duration

  • Season

  • Pick-up and drop-off locations

  • Additional products or services included in the rental

The taxation rate for car rentals in Ireland is 13.6%, and the car rental price on average ranges from €25 – €40 per day. Be mindful of necessary supplements and older vehicles when reserving economical rentals.

Gaining knowledge about rental rates and fees will help you prevent unexpected costs and optimize your Ireland car rental budget.

Locations for Picking Up Your Rental Car

Picking up rental car at airport

Picking up your rental car at major airports or transportation hubs offers convenience and easy access to a wide selection of vehicles. The airport collection fee at Dublin Airport is €22, so plan accordingly when choosing your pick-up location. When deciding between airport or city pick-up/drop-off, consider factors such as parking fees and car rental facility availability.

With careful planning, you can secure the most suitable pick-up location for your Irish adventure.

Essential Requirements for Renting a Car

Before setting out on your journey, understanding the requirements for renting a car in Ireland is fundamental. A valid driver’s license and meeting age restrictions are essential, as well as understanding the role of credit cards in rentals.

Valid Driver’s License and Age Considerations

To rent a car in Ireland, you must possess:

  • A valid driver’s license, which should be complete, legitimate, in English, and bearing your photograph and signature

  • Drivers must be at least 21 years of age and have held a valid driver’s license for a period of 12 months or more

  • If your driver’s license is not in English, arrange for an authorized translation or obtain an international driver’s license

Meeting these requirements will set the stage for a seamless rental experience.

The Role of Credit Cards in Rentals

Credit cards play a significant role in car rentals in Ireland, as they can be used to cover rental costs and provide additional insurance coverage and security deposits. The customary security deposit for car rentals in Ireland when using a credit card is up to €5,000. It’s essential to consult with your credit card provider to understand the precise terms and conditions of the coverage they offer for car rentals in Ireland.

Understanding the role of credit cards in rentals will help you prevent unforeseen expenses and guarantee a smooth rental process.

Decoding Car Rental Insurance in Ireland

Navigating car rental insurance in Ireland can be confusing, but it’s essential to understand the different types of insurance available, including the mandatory Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and supplementary options.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) Essentials

CDW insurance is mandatory when renting a car in Ireland and generally covers your liability for damage to the rental car. CDW insurance encompasses approximately €1,000 – €3,000 worth of damage, but be aware that damage to tires, the undercarriage, or the windshield may not be included.

Knowing the coverage provided by CDW insurance will ease the rental agreement process and allow for worry-free driving.

Supplementary Insurance Options

In addition to the mandatory CDW insurance, there are supplementary insurance options, such as:

  • Super CDW: an additional insurance option that further reduces your liability for rental car damage

  • Third-Party Liability Insurance: provides coverage for damage incurred to third-party property or persons in the event of an accident

  • Windscreen Protection Coverage: provides coverage for damage to the windscreen of the rental car

Investigating these additional insurance options can shield you from unforeseen costs and provide a stress-free driving experience in Ireland.

Selecting the Right Vehicle for Irish Roads

Selecting the right vehicle for Irish roads

Choosing the best vehicle for your Irish road trip will depend on factors such as transmission type and size. Opting for a compact car with a manual or automatic transmission can make navigating the narrow roads of Ireland a breeze while providing better fuel efficiency.

Manual vs. Automatic Transmission

Deciding between manual and automatic transmission for your rental car is an important consideration, as it can impact the cost of your rental. While manual transmission cars tend to be less expensive to rent, automatic transmission cars are now readily accessible in Ireland.

If you’re more at ease driving an automatic, consider the benefit of added convenience and comfort.

Size Matters: Compact Cars and Fuel Efficiency

Selecting a compact car is advantageous for enhanced fuel efficiency and simpler maneuverability on the slender roads of Ireland. The Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, and Fiat Punto are among the most fuel-efficient compact cars available for rent in Ireland. Generally, manual compact cars offer better fuel efficiency compared to their automatic counterparts.

Selecting a compact car will allow for simpler navigation, conserve money on fuel costs, and lessen your environmental impact during your Irish road trip.

Practical Advice for Your Irish Road Trip

Practical advice for Irish road trip

Planning for an Irish road trip demands preparation and useful advice. We will provide tips on handling toll roads and speed cameras, and using technology for navigation.

Navigating Toll Roads and Speed Cameras

There are 11 toll roads in Ireland, and the cost for cars is €2. Be prepared with cash, as credit cards are not accepted at toll booths. To avoid fines, it’s crucial to adhere to the local speed limits and road signs.

Staying alert and following traffic rules will guarantee a safe and pleasant driving experience in Ireland.

Using Technology to Stay on Course

GPS devices and smartphone apps, such as Google Maps, are dependable for navigation in Ireland. For offline use, consider downloading maps or using apps like Maps.me or OsmAnd+.

Using technology for navigation, you can concentrate on the scenic beauty of the Emerald Isle for a relaxed driving experience.

Extra Charges and How to Avoid Them

Unexpected charges can put a damper on your Irish road trip. In this section, we’ll discuss potential extra charges like cross-border travel fees and accessory charges, and how to avoid them.

Cross Border Travel and Associated Fees

Driving your rental car into Northern Ireland may incur additional fees. To avoid unexpected charges, be sure to check with your rental company for their cross-border policies and fees.

Staying aware of potential extra costs will aid in trip planning and sidestep any unwelcome surprises.

Child Seats and Other Accessory Charges

Additional accessories like child seats and GPS devices can incur extra costs, starting at approximately €6 ($6.80) per day. To avoid unnecessary charges, consider bringing your own child seat or GPS device, or explore rental companies that provide these items for free or at a reduced cost.

Planning in advance and considering potential accessory costs, you can manage your rental expenses and concentrate on your Irish adventure.

Making the Most of Your Rental Experience

To guarantee a seamless rental experience, inspect your car thoroughly before driving off and adhere to efficient pick-up and drop-off practices.

Inspecting Your Rental Car

Before driving away with your rental car, carefully examine it for any signs of:

  • scratches

  • dents

  • bumps

  • general wear and tear

Check both inside and out. Be sure to take photographs of the car as evidence of its condition before you leave the rental lot. By thoroughly inspecting your rental car, you can avoid disputes with the rental company and drive with confidence.

Efficient Pick-Up and Drop-Off Practices

Following best practices for picking up and dropping off your rental car will help you avoid delays and additional charges. Make sure you have all necessary documents ready, such as your driver’s license and credit card, and adhere to the rental company’s policies and requirements.

Preparation and efficiency will result in a smooth pick-up and drop-off experience, so you can concentrate on your Irish road trip.

Exploring Ireland by Car: Is It Worth It?

Exploring Ireland by car

Renting a car in Ireland provides the freedom to explore the country at your leisure, but you must balance the expenses with the convenience it offers. In this section, we’ll discuss the joy of discovering Ireland by car and whether it’s worth the investment.

Weighing Costs vs. Convenience

While renting a car in Ireland can be costly, the convenience and freedom it offers for exploring the country are unparalleled. Having your own vehicle allows you to create a unique itinerary, visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, and drive through the stunning countryside at your leisure.

Careful evaluation of the costs and benefits of car rental will help you determine if it’s the optimal choice for your Irish adventure.

The Joy of Discovering Ireland at Your Own Pace

There’s something truly magical about exploring Ireland by car, whether it’s driving along the dramatic coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way or meandering through the rolling hills of the countryside. With a rental car, you can:

  • Create your own unique journey

  • Visit charming towns

  • Explore ancient ruins

  • Experience breathtaking natural wonders

  • Travel at your own pace

Why not seize the opportunity and witness the unforgettable beauty of Ireland from your rental car?


In conclusion, renting a car in Ireland offers a unique and unforgettable way to explore the Emerald Isle. By choosing a trusted rental company, understanding rental rates and insurance options, selecting the right vehicle, and following practical advice, you can embark on an incredible journey through the enchanting landscapes and charming towns of Ireland. So go ahead, take the wheel, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is car hire so expensive in Dublin?

Due to the small size of the Irish car market and a global microchip shortage, car hire in Dublin is more expensive than other places.

What is the best site to rent cars in Ireland?

For the best car rental experience in Ireland, book with the Best Ireland Car Rental Companies for reliable service and great prices.

Can I rent a car in Ireland with a US driver’s license?

Yes, you can rent a car in Ireland with a US driver’s license, just make sure to bring your passport, credit card and driver’s license when doing so.

What is the mandatory insurance for car rentals in Ireland?

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance is mandatory when renting a car in Ireland, so make sure to include it when making your rental arrangements.

Are there additional fees for driving a rental car into Northern Ireland?

Yes, there are additional fees for driving a rental car into Northern Ireland, as some car rental companies impose such a fee.

About the author

Originally from Scotland, Colin now resides near the beautiful seaside town of Portstewart on the Causeway Coastal Route. By day he works in IT and by day off he spends much of his time travelling around the Island with his young family, writing about his experiences for many sites both locally and nationally.

Leave a Comment