Travel during the Covid-19 Restrictions in Ireland: FAQs

A blue sky with the words "Covid-19 Travel Restrictions" and the AA Roadwatch logo

Measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland have included wide-ranging restrictions on travel within the state.  We are now in Phase 1 of the government’s roadmap for reopening Ireland. During this time you, should stay within 5km of your home, unless you are making an essential journey. Here’s a round-up of all our information about travelling (or not) during this time.

Is my journey essential?

The government restrictions have specified the types of journeys that are classed as essential:

  • Travelling for work if your workplace is open and you cannot work from home

  • Travelling to provide care for others

  • Journeying for medical reasons

  • Journeys to collect essential food, medical or household supplies for yourself or for a family member

As of Monday 18th May, you can meet in groups of up to 4 people outdoors, provided you are within 5km of your home and keeping 2 metres apart. Brief physical exercise within 5km of your home is also permitted under the restrictions.

All journeys for any other reasons should be avoided. Bear in mind that Gardaí will be operating checkpoints throughout this phase of the restrictions, which can be viewed in full here.

Is public transport running?

Yes, public transport is running for essential journeys. However, there are changes to timetables and some other restrictions in place to allow for physical distancing. We’re keeping a live list of the latest changes over on the AA Roadwatch Newsroom for the duration of the restrictions, and it’s also worth checking with the provider before you set out.

My journey is essential; what else do I need to know?

If you must attend work, or have to make one of the other essential journeys listed above, you can keep an eye on the AA Roadwatch Newsroom, where we’ll be reporting any possible disruption to your route (ie. collisions, road closures and any further changes to public transport). We also have a list of major roadworks that may affect your journey.

All road safety regulations and laws remain in place as normal; despite the lower levels of traffic, you should take all usual precautions. Be extra aware of other road users: pedestrians and cyclists may need to travel further out from the side of the road to allow the 2m safe distance between them. This is particularly important to watch out for if you’re driving.

And while the last thing you need if you’re driving is a breakdown or a puncture, we have advice on how to deal with these too: see our posts on how to change a tyre, and how to deal with a breakdown on a motorway. If you’re an AA member or frontline healthcare worker, you can always call or contact AA Rescue via the AA app for assistance.

I’m staying at home or travelling less; is there anything I need to do with my vehicle?

It’s worth keeping up your car maintenance while you’re staying at home to avoid any nasty surprises when the time finally comes to move it again – see our tips on things you can do to maintain a vehicle during the lockdown. If your bike is temporarily off the road, we also have some tips about bike security at home.

If you have a car parked up at home for a while, make sure you’ve parked in a safe spot that isn’t obstructing any road users. With more vehicles parked in housing estates and residential streets, please also check if you’ve left enough space for ambulances or fire trucks to pass by in a hurry – if cars are parked on both sides of the road, the space between them may not be sufficient. You can find out more on this in our blog post about safe parking.

What about my upcoming NCT or driving licence renewal?

If your NCT, driving licence or learner permit is due to expire between March and June, the expiry date has now been extended by 4 months. However, while you wait for your next NCT, you still have responsibility for keeping your vehicle in a roadworthy condition. Don’t drive it if it’s not. We have more details on all of this in our blog post here.

I was due to travel abroad in the next while, what happens now?

The Department of Foreign Affairs is currently advising against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. Keep an eye on their travel advice website for any updates to this for the coming months.

If you have a trip booked in the next few months, you should keep in touch with your airline or ferry company, and if you have AA Travel Insurance, you can find more information here.