It is almost always necessary to have a credit card to rent a car in Ireland; if you plan to use a debit card, be prepared to have a large cash deposit on hand. It is also important to have comprehensive car-excess insurance, available either through the rental agency itself or through another reputable company such as a credit card provider.
There are many recommended self-driving routes for touring Ireland with a rental car, including a route once named the world’s "Best Self-Drive Holiday Destination": the 2,500 km (1,550 mi) Wild Atlantic Way. Other popular destinations accessible by rental car include the coastal town of Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Boyne Valley, and the cliff-top "Sky Road".
Children under 5 ft (59 in) in height and weighing less than 36 kg (79 lbs.)—usually those younger than 11 or 12 years—are required to be seated in an appropriate child seat or booster seat. Most rental companies like Europcar and Sixt offer baby or child seats, which must be booked in advance and will cost an additional fee, starting from about €6 ($6.80) per day. Note that some agencies do not provide seats for babies under 6 months old.
Anyone planning to rent a car in Ireland and travel into Northern Ireland or take a car ferry to the rest of the UK will first need to check with their rental provider. The vast majority of agencies do allow rental cars to be driven into Northern Ireland or even dropped off there; however, they will usually charge an additional fee, e.g., 34 € ($38) for cross-border travel with Europcar. But only a few providers like Easirent allow for trips to Scotland, Wales or England.
25% of our users found rental cars in Ireland for $91 or less
Book your rental car in Ireland at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Off-airport rental car locations in Ireland are around 36% cheaper than airport locations on average
FAQs about hiring a car in Ireland
On average a car hire in Ireland costs $114 per day.
Compact (Ford Focus or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Ireland.
In the past 72 hours, the cheapest car hires were found at Payless ($30/day), CARHIRE.ie ($39/day) and Budget ($46/day).
Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car hire companies in Ireland are Budget (6.8, 89 reviews), Hertz (6.8, 72 reviews), and Sixt (6.5, 381 reviews).
Based on car searches on KAYAK, the most popular cities to hire a car in Ireland are Dublin (83% of total searches of users looking to hire a car in Ireland), Cork (9%) and Kilkenny (2%).
On average a car hire in Ireland costs $695 per week ($99 per day).
On average a car hire in Ireland costs $2,980 per month ($99 per day).
Travelers who choose to rent a car in Ireland will find driving around a straightforward procedure: roads are usually paved and well maintained. Do, however, be aware of very narrow roads and note that in Ireland people drive on the left-hand side, like in the UK. Toll roads are not especially common—there are only 8 in the entire country—but they include some popular roads like the M50 highway around Dublin.
To rent a car in Ireland, drivers need to be at least 21 years of age and have possessed a valid driver’s license for 12 months or longer. Most drivers between 21 and 25 years old will find themselves paying a daily surcharge (for example, about 24 € ($27) per day with Hertz), though a few smaller local companies may choose to waive this fee. A US or other English-language driver’s license can be used to rent a car in Ireland.
Petrol prices in Ireland are relatively average for Europe. Compact or midsize cars often run on diesel, which may help to save on fuel costs. Payment is usually made inside the station, with most accepting cash or credit card. In rural areas, petrol stations can be few and far between, so make sure to fuel up regularly. Expect to pay around 1.30 € ($1.47) per liter of diesel and 1.45 € ($1.64) per liter of petrol.
Different speed limits are enforced throughout Ireland, with speed cameras regularly operated from visibly marked vans. In towns and cities, the limit is usually 30 or 50 km/h (19 or 31 mph), while regional and local roads have a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph). National roads, including highways, carry a limit of 90 km/h (56 mph), while motorways allow up to 120 km/h (75 mph).
The rates displayed include all taxes and fees for hire cars for the class listed and were found by KAYAK users in the last 48 hours. Offers are subject to change and may not be available on all car hires listed or dates of travel. Some hire car providers charge additional fees for other services (GPS, infant car seats, etc.). Please check the website of the respective hire car provider.