Northern Ireland - AA Travel Hub
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Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the north-east of the island of Ireland. It is variously described as a country, province, or region of the United Kingdom, among other terms.

Northern Ireland shares a border to the south and west with the Republic of Ireland. In 2011, its population was 1,810,863,constituting about 30% of the island’s total population and about 3% of the UK’s population. Established by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 as part of the Good Friday Agreement, the Northern Ireland Assembly holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters, while other areas are reserved for the British government. Northern Ireland co-operates with the Republic of Ireland in some areas, and the Agreement granted the Republic the ability to “put forward views and proposals” with “determined efforts to resolve disagreements between [the two governments]”.

Via Wikipedia

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Speed Limits

Speed limits are fixed according to the place, the vehicle and the weather. Standard legal limits which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers. In built-up areas 31 mph (50 km/h), outside built-up areas 55 mph (90 km/h), but 68 mph (110 km/h) on urban motorways and dual carriageways separated by a central reservation and 80 mph (130 km/h) on motorways.


Lower speed limits of 49 mph (80 km/h) outside built-up areas, 62 mph (100 km/h) on dual carriageways and 68 mph (110 km/h) on motorways apply in wet weather and to visiting motorists who have held a driving licence for less than three years. Additionally, speed limits are reduced on stretches of motorways in built up areas. Minimum speed limit on motorways 49mph (80km/h).

Licence / Insurance

Minimum age at which an Irish licence holder may drive a temporarily imported car 18, motorcycle (up to 80cc) 16, motorcycle (over 80cc) 18.


Third party insurance is compulsory.


Unleaded petrol (95 & 98 octane), diesel* (Gazole) and LPG available. No leaded petrol (lead replacement petrol ‘Super carburant’ available or lead substitute additive). Petrol in a can is permitted but forbidden by ferry operators.


SP95-E10 (Sans Plomb 95 Octane, Ethanol 10% = Lead Free 95 Octane containing 10% of Ethanol) is now being sold throughout France. This fuel is not suitable for use in all cars and you should check compatibility with your vehicle manufacturer before using it. If in doubt use the standard SP95 or SP98 Octane unleaded fuel which continues to be available alongside the new fuel.


* B8 biodiesel is now available in France. Similar to SP95-E10, this Diesel is not suitable for use in all cars and you should check compatibility with your vehicle manufacturer.


Credit cards accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage in France before travel. There are many automatic petrol pumps operated by credit/debit card however, cards issued in Ireland are not always accepted by these pumps. If accepted, automatic/unmanned petrol stations operate by authorising a transaction of between €100-€150. Any ‘overpayment’ i.e. the amount between the price of the fuel and the amount authorised is usually refunded straight away. However, in some circumstances the ‘overpayment’ stays on hold and can sometimes remain unavailable for up to a week.


Snow tyres marked M&S are recommended on roads covered with ice or snow. These tyres must have minimum tread depth of 3.5mm.


Pay-as-you-go tolls are charged on most motorways in France. You can pay toll fees by credit card or cash.

Other Requirements

The regulation requiring motorcyclists to wear reflective jackets was abolished on the 2nd January 2013.


It is recommended that visitors equip their vehicle with a set of replacement bulbs.


In built-up areas where you see the sign “priorité a droite” give way to traffic coming from the right.


At signed roundabouts bearing the words “Vous n’avez pas la priorité” or “Cédez le passage” traffic on the roundabout has priority; where no such sign exists traffic entering the roundabout has priority.


Overtaking stationary trams is prohibited when passengers are boarding / alighting.


Parking discs for ‘blue zone’ parking areas can be obtained from police stations, tourist offices and some shops.


When overtaking a bicycle, drivers must leave a distance of at least 1m in built-up areas and 1.50m outside built-up areas between their vehicle and the bicycle.


In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited except in cases of immediate danger.


Apparatus with a screen which can distract a driver (such as television, video, DVD equipment) should be positioned in places where the driver is unable to see them. It is prohibited to touch or program any device unless parked in a safe place.


It is absolutely prohibited to carry, transport or use radar detectors. Failure to comply with this regulation involves a fine of up to 1500 Euros and the vehicle and/or device may be confiscated.


Road signs indicating the location of fixed speed cameras are being removed and additional fixed speed cameras added. A GPS based navigation system (Sat Nav) which has maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras must have the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function deactivated, ideally they should be removed.

Travel Advice

Entry Requirements

A Common Travel Area (CTA) is in existence between Ireland and the UK (including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man). Under the CTA, it isn’t necessary for Irish citizens travelling to the UK to carry their passport with them. They must, however, carry an acceptable form of photo-identification, examples of which are listed below.

  • A Valid Passport
  • A driver’s licence with photo
  • An international student card
  • A national ID card
  • A bus pass with photo
  • A Garda ID with photo
  • A work ID with photo

Please note, however, that some airlines and other carriers require that you have a valid passport before you can travel with them. Please check with your travel company regarding their requirements before travelling.

Local Laws & Customs

Practical Advice

  • Read the Department of Foreign Affairs travel advice, inform yourself before travelling and get advice locally when you arrive
  • Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them
  • Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal


Illegal Drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

European Health Insurance Card

The Department of Foreign Affairs advise you to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel to Great Britain. This card replaces the E111 form and entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as British nationals.

The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. You can apply for an EHIC online at

Emergency Assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Contact the Embassy

If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in London or the Irish Consulate in Edinburgh.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you’re staying)

The Department of Foreign Affairs regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

How they can help you 

The Department of Foreign Affairs have a lot of experience helping Irish citizens who run into problems when they’re abroad. Learn more about the kind of emergency assistance they can offer you.


Practical Advice

  • Read the Department of Foreign Affairs Know Before You Go travel guide for useful security tips when travelling abroad
  • Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
  • Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
  • Know who to contact in case of an emergency

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