The 2023 Motorhome Ireland Guide

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Motorhoming in Ireland – A Complete Guide

Motorhome & Campervan Travel in Ireland

Ireland is a viable non-Schengen destination for motorhome travel. It can be easily reached from the UK or Northern Ireland and offers a blend of scenic landscapes, cultural heritage, and urban centres.

This guide provides practical information on navigating Ireland in a motorhome, including tips for managing campervan life.

This resource provides comprehensive information for those planning a road trip in Ireland, including driving tips, accommodation options, motorhome services, recommended destinations, and more.

Getting Your Motorhome to Ireland

Crossing the Irish Sea

Liverpool to Dublin

The Liverpool to Dublin route is the sole means of travelling from England to Ireland, and P&O provides four crossings each day. You may select between day and night crossings, which last for eight hours, and arrive feeling energized for your motorhome tour.

Holyhead to Dublin

The Holyhead to Dublin route is available from Irish Ferries and Stena Line, with seven daily crossings from the northern tip of Anglesey in Wales.

The crossing takes only three and a half hours, making it a convenient option for those residing in central England.

Pembroke & Fishguard to Rosslare

Irish Ferries and Stena Line provide daily sailings to Rosslare from Pembroke and Fishguard, respectively, located on the south coast of Wales.

The crossing time from Pembroke is five hours, while it takes four hours and fifteen minutes from Fishguard to arrive.

The following transportation options are recommended for those in southern England seeking to travel to Ireland.

England to Northern Ireland

Stena Line offers two daily crossings on the Liverpool Birkenhead to Belfast route, each lasting eight hours, with the choice of daytime or nighttime travel.

Scotland to Northern Ireland

The are two Scotland to Ireland crossings.

The Stena Lines ferry route from Cairnryan to Belfast has six crossings per day, with a travel time of two and a quarter hours on their ‘Superfast’ ships.

The ferry route from Cairnryan to Larne (located north of Belfast) is operated by P&O. It lasts approximately two hours. The service runs six times daily.

The Stranraer to Northern Ireland crossings stopped in 2012 as the newer and larger ferries required a deep water port.

France to Ireland

Rosscoff to Cork/Ringaskiddy

Stena Line provides a twice-weekly overnight crossing that lasts fourteen hours between the ports of Ireland and Europe, making it a convenient option for those planning to tour between the two destinations.

Cherbourg/Roscoff to Rosslare

Brittany and Stena offer four weekly overnight sailings on the Cherbourg route, each lasting eighteen hours.

Stena offers a weekly 16-hour overnight crossing on the Roscoff route.

Spain to Ireland

Bilbao to Rosslare

Brittany Ferries offers two crossings per week from Bilbao and Rosslare, with a duration of 30 hours, making it a viable choice for extended European travels or individuals residing in Spain or southern France.

Crossing into Ireland from Northern Ireland

When sailing into Belfast, it is possible to navigate around the Mourne Mountains and reach the border of the Republic of Ireland within an hour. However, if entering through Larne, located north of Belfast, the journey south will take an additional thirty minutes.

Following Brexit, a formal agreement was established between Ireland and the United Kingdom, known as the Common Travel Area. Only citizens of Ireland and the UK can exercise CTA rights.

Do I need a visa for Ireland?

Passport controls are not in effect for Irish and UK citizens travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; you only notice the signs changing from MPH to KPH – that’s it. Neither a passport nor a visa is required to enter the other country.

When boarding a ferry, it is necessary to present identification, and some carriers require a passport. It is advisable to confirm the requirements beforehand. Additionally, an immigration officer may request proof of citizenship for Ireland or the UK; thus, carrying a passport is recommended.

How long can I stay in Ireland?

Ireland is excluded from the Schengen area. Therefore, visitors can spend time in the country without affecting 90 in the 180-day rule. UK citizens are allowed to reside in Ireland without any limitations or requirements.

When crossing the border, those who prefer alignment may switch their sat nav from miles to kilometres per hour. It should be noted that Ireland observes GMT, and therefore time does not need to be changed.

UK citizens are permitted to remain in the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days.

The 90-in-180-day rule operates on a rolling basis, making it challenging to determine if you have adhered to the regulations, particularly if you have travelled to the Schengen area multiple times in the last 180 days.

What food can I take in my motorhome to Ireland?

The regulations for bringing food into Ireland via motorhome are intricate due to the Common Travel Area and vary depending on the entry point. Additional information can be obtained from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s website.

Can I use my mobile data in Ireland?

Data usage limitations in the EU vary depending on the mobile phone contract provider and start date. It’s recommended to confirm with the provider to avoid unexpected charges. More information on European SIM cards can be found in the guide, particularly for longer trips.

We recommend ConnectPlus for cloud sim connectivity in the UK and Europe. You can choose from unlimited data packs to just single days depending on your needs. The device is slim and connects with up to ten devices. It can be charged easily with a USB and delivered within a few days. 

Can I take a pet to Ireland in my motorhome?

Navigating entry into Ireland can be complex due to the common travel area. Additional information can be found at the provided link.

The Differences Between Northern Ireland and Ireland Explained

Northern Ireland is a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, along with England, Scotland, and Wales.

Great Britain is a landmass comprising England, Scotland, and Wales and is not considered a single country.

The British Isles is a collection of islands that includes Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Isles of Scilly, the Channel Islands (such as Guernsey, Jersey, Sark, and Alderney), as well as several smaller islands.

Ireland is an independent country and a member of the EU, officially known as the Republic of Ireland. The term “Southern Ireland” is often misused to distinguish it from Northern Ireland. Still, it does not actually refer to a different country.

Motorhome & Campervan Hire Ireland

If you don’t own a motorhome or campervan, flying and renting one is an excellent option for touring Ireland.

Bunk Campers, a campervan rental company, is our recommended choice for Ireland. They offer pickup locations at Dublin Airport and Belfast, which makes round trips and one-way drop-offs convenient.

A two-berth campervan with a double bed in Ireland costs approximately €80-100 per night. Renters must be at least 21 years old.

When driving between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, there may be a fee of €20-30 that needs to be paid. You must inform your campervan rental company if you plan to cross the border.

When to Visit Ireland in a Motorhome

The peak tourist season is from June to early September, which offers longer days and warmer weather, making it ideal for a campervan holiday, although it may be busier.

Ireland’s areas with high tourist traffic include Dublin, Cork, and certain parts of the Wild Atlantic Way in Galway and Kerry. However, travelling in a van during the summer allows for quickly exploring less popular areas.

Planning between mid-April to May or late September to October is recommended for a more peaceful road trip in Ireland with favourable weather and liveliness as summer approaches.

From November to March, the number of visitors in the area decreases due to the colder and potentially dreary weather. Some tourist attractions may also be closed during this time. However, city sightseeing remains unaffected. The atmosphere in pubs and bars may be quieter during weekdays.

Winter is a popular time for festivals in Ireland, including St. Patricks Day on 17th March, the Galway food festival in April, the Cork Jazz Festival, and the Halloween celebrations in Derry-Londonderry held every October.

Driving a Motorhome in Ireland

Over the past decade, Ireland has received significant funding from the EU for its road network. As frequent visitors, we have observed substantial enhancements in the motorways around Dublin and the rural road system throughout the country.

Irish Speed Limits for Motorhomes

Adherence to speed limits when travelling by campervan in Europe is essential, as speed cameras and authorities may enforce fines for non-payment. This policy remains the same post-Brexit due to the continued information-sharing agreement with the DVLA.


  • Town and city – 50 km/h
  • National roads and dual carriageways – 100 km/h
  • Regional and non-national roads – 80 km/h
  • Motorway speed limits – 120 km/h
  • Particular speed limits – 30 km/h or 60 km/h (assigned)

Motorhomes > 3,500 kg:

  • National roads and dual carriageways – 80 km/h
  • Motorway speed limits – 90 km/h

Documents You Need to Travel & Drive in Ireland

To ensure compliance with travel regulations, it is recommended that visitors to Ireland have a valid passport covering their stay. It should be noted that UK citizens are not required to possess a passport for entry, although carrying one is advised.

  • As of August 2021, having third-party insurance is mandatory for all vehicles. Additionally, a green card is no longer needed to verify coverage while travelling in Europe.
  • A UK driving licence permits driving in all EU countries. However, suppose you possess only a paper licence or a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, or the Isle of Man. In that case, you will require an International Driving Permit.
  • Breakdown cover documentation (not compulsory).
  • Vehicle V5 logbook (which must show your correct address).
  • Personal travel and medical insurance (we recommend True Traveller), EHIC orGHICcard (optional).
  • Animal Health Certificate if you’re travelling with a pet to Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Vehicle Safety Equipment for Ireland

In contrast to other European nations, Ireland does not mandate possessing any vehicle equipment. However, our recommendation for necessary items is as follows:

  • Warning triangle.
  • Reflective jacket.
  • Spare wheel and the tools to change a wheel or a tyre repair kit.
  • First aid kit.
  • Spare bulbs and fuses.
  • Fire extinguisher.

Since 28th September 2021, you must display a UK sticker on the rear of your vehicle instead of a GB sticker unless you have a new style UK numberplate showing the Union Jack flag.

Driving a Motorhome in Ireland Tips

Ireland shares the same driving direction as the UK on the left side.

In certain rural regions, the width of the roads may not allow for safe motorhome travel. Still, smaller camper vans should be able to manage. In many cases, there are no areas designated for passing. Reviewing your intended route and strictly following any posted signs is advisable.

When driving in rural areas, it’s essential to be aware of slow-moving agricultural vehicles and animals like sheep and cows being herded along the roads. Driving cautiously and following local driving customs is recommended, as this is not a region where speed is a priority.

The use of A-frames by UK motorhomers abroad is not advised by the Department for Transport. There is some uncertainty regarding towing a car fixed to a trailer, as conflicting advice can be found online.

Vehicles that fall under the categories of campervans or motorhomes, and cars with caravans or trailers, must not exceed a maximum total length of 18.75m, a height of 4m, and a width of 2.55m.

The maximum weight limit for the driving axle is 10.5 tonnes, and for a single axle, it is 10 tonnes.

It is illegal to possess or utilize a radar detector. If discovered, one could face a penalty and have the equipment taken by the Garda.

Currently, there are no designated low-emission zones in Ireland.

Dublin is the only (at the time of writing) Irish city with an Urban Access Scheme implemented. Still, it solely pertains to vehicles with over five axles. Additional information can be found at the provided link.

The Garda has the authority to issue fixed penalty notices in person or attached to your windscreen. Payment must be made within 28 days, or you may choose to go to court. Fines not paid within the given timeframe will increase by 50%.

The legal limit for alcohol in Ireland is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, which is lower than the UK’s limit of 80 milligrams. Random breath testing is enforced in Ireland, and drunk drivers face severe penalties such as fines, imprisonment, and disqualification.

In the event of an accident, complete the EU Accident Statement. If your insurer hasn’t provided one, you can download it here. Use your hazard lights and warning triangle to stop safely and alert other drivers. Exchange details with the other party and take photos for your form. If the other party won’t give details or there is an injury, call the Garda on 112.

Toll Roads in Ireland

Ireland has a total of eleven motorways that require payment of tolls.

Certain toll stations do not accept credit cards. In contrast, the M50 toll road is solely electronic, necessitating online payment unless one possesses an electronic toll tag.

About the author - Colin M

I've been camping since Santa brought my first tent when I was a wee boy in Scotland. Since then, I've camped out, stayed in motorhomes and Glamped worldwide. By day I sit in front of a computer, and by day off, Im typically found (lost) in the outdoors.