Car Rental in Ireland
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When renting a car in Ireland you will first have to choose what type of vehicle you want for example: Mini, Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-Size, Premium, Luxury, Minivans / MPVs or other vehicles such as trucks and special vehicles.
Rent your car from the following cities - Belfast Car Hire, Clare, Cork, Derry, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilarney, Knock, Rosslare, Shannon Airport, Sligo, Waterford, Wexford, Donegal and others.
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There are many car hire companies in Ireland and you can pick up in the cities or at the airports, though it may cost more to pick up at an airport. Note that Ireland is unique among European countries in that it will not accept third party collision damage insurance coverage when you rent a car. Many credit cards, for example, will pay the cost of the collision insurance (CDW) when you rent a car using that credit card. However, Irish car hire agencies will not accept this insurance. By Irish law, you must buy the CDW at the rental agency.
It is highly recommended that you call ahead to book a taxi. The hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast you are staying in will usually call the cab company they work closely with for your convenience. Taxis should be reasonably easy to pick up on the streets in Dublin and Cork but may be harder to find crusing the streets in smaller cities and towns so it is often best to telephone for one. It is recommended to call the cab company in advance if possible and give them a time to be picked up, no matter if its 4 hours in advance or 30 minutes in advance. Work with the same cab company your hotel does and let them know your final destination if there is more than one stop. You will also need to give them a contact phone number over the phone, so if calling from a pay phone, be prepared for them to deny your claim for a taxi cab. The average waiting time may be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on demand and time of day.
Driving and road rules are similar to the UK - e.g. drive on the left and yield to the right on roundabouts. The legal blood-alcohol limit is low so it may be best to abstain. Drivers often 'thank' each other by flashing their hazard lights or waving - this is purely a convention. Irish road signs are nominally bilingual, with place names displayed in Irish in italic font, with the corresponding English name in capitals immediately below. In the "Gaeltacht" areas in the far west, some road signs are written in Irish language only. There is four types of road classification:
N-roads 1-50 (National Primary routes, main arterial routes indicated by white/yellow on green signs)
N-Roads 50+ (National Secondary routes - green signs)
R-roads (Regional roads, indicated by black on white signs)
L-roads (Local roads, white signs - rarely marked)
Ireland has a small but steadily growing motorway network which centers around Dublin. The main motorways are:
M50 The ring road around Dublin
M1 From Dublin to Dundalk (part of the N1 cross border route to Belfast)
The M4 and M7 respectively form the Dublin ends of the N4 and N7 routes to Galway and Limerick
Note that unlike their UK counterparts, most Irish motorways have some tolled sections. Tolls are low by French or Italian standards, and vary from €1.70 upwards, depending on which motorway you are travelling on. Tariffs are displayed a few of kilometres from the plaza. For the visitor, it's important to note that the only tolled road that accepts credit cards is the M4 between Kilcock and Kinnegad. All others are Euro cash only, so take care if you're arriving from the North via the M1.
For 2007, the tolled sections and their charges (for private cars) are as follows:
M1, Drogheda bypass section, €1.70
M4, Kilcock to Kinnegad section, €2.60
M8, Fermoy bypass section, €1.70
M50, between exits 6 & 7, €1.90
M50, Dublin Port Tunnel, €3 to €12 (depending on time of day)
Until relatively recently, the road network in Ireland was very poorly maintained and road signage sparse. Things have changed markedly on the major arterial N-roads which have seen major renovation work with help from EU funding. The road surfaces can be very poor on the lesser used N- and R- numbered routes.