You are here: Home > Travel and Recreation > Roads and safety > National speed limits in Ireland

National speed limits in Ireland


The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport sets national speed limits. There are five different types of speed limits and different limits apply to different types of roads throughout the country. If you are coming to Ireland for the first time or you are learning to drive, it is important for you to be aware of the speed limit on the roads. Driving in excess of the speed limit will result in a fixed-charge fine of €80 for speeding offences. You will also automatically receive 3 penalty points on your driving licence. Failure to pay the fixed charge will result in an increased fine and possibly more penalty points (see "Rates" below).

Speed limits are expressed through distinctive road signs throughout the country that state the limit in each area. These signs are found on every motorway and on major roads and minor roads throughout Ireland and consist of a circular sign with a white background and a red border. The speed limit in kilometres is shown in the centre of the sign in black numerals (i.e., 30 kilometres per hour, 60, 80, etc.). Road distances and speed limits in Ireland are measured in kilometres. The Irish police force (Garda Síochána) is responsible for enforcing road traffic legislation to ensure that citizens comply with speed limits. This means the Gardai are responsible for detecting speeding offences and initiating proceedings by issuing fixed penalties to motorists who break speed limits.

Garda Mobile Safety Cameras

As part of the Road Safety Strategy 2007 – 2012, the GoSafe consortium was contracted to operate new safety cameras on behalf of the Garda Síochána. Since November 2010, the safety cameras, operated by GoSafe staff have been on roads which have a history of collisions occurring where speed was a contributory factor. The areas where the cameras are operating are available on the Garda website. The cameras operate from vans which are marked with high visibility reflective material and display a safety camera symbol. Further information is available here.

Road speed limits

There are a total of five different types of speed limits throughout Ireland:

  • Town and city speed limits
  • National road speed limits
  • Regional and local road speed limits
  • Motorway speed limits
  • Special speed limits

Town and city speed limits (50 km/h)

A speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour is in place in built-up areas (other than motorways or special speed limit zones).

National road speed limits (100 km/h)

A speed limit of 100 kilometres per hour is in place on all national roads (including dual carriageways) throughout Ireland.

Regional and local speed limits (80 km/h)

A speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour is in place on all regional and local roads (sometimes referred to as non-national roads).

Motorway speed limits (120 km/h)

A speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour is in place on all motorways. You should note that learner drivers, vehicles under 50 cc, bicycles, pedestrians, animals and invalid carriages are not allowed on motorways in Ireland.

Special speed limits (30 km/h or 60 km/h.)

Special speed limits are sometimes applied to designated roads and zones (mainly, for example, on roads on the outside of built-up areas, around schools, etc.). Special speed limits are generally for 30 km/h or 60 km/h. Local authorities in Ireland have the power to introduce bye-laws to set special speed limits in designated areas. Read more about powers of local authorities here.

Ordinary speed limits

Certain vehicles in Ireland (specifically vehicles that are intended or adapted for the carriage of people, vehicles greater than a certain weight and vehicles that are drawing trailers) are subject to different speed limits than those outlined above.

  • Single and double deck buses and coaches (carrying standing passengers) - 65 km/h
  • Single and double deck buses and coaches (with accommodation for more than 8 passengers but does not carry standing passengers)
    - Motorways and dual carriageways - 100 km/h
    - Other roads - 80 km/h
  • Towing Vehicles - 80 km/h
  • Trucks (with a design gross weight of more than 3,500kg)
    - Motorways - 90 km/h (since 1 April 2012)
    - Other roads - 80 km/h

Exceptions to speed limits

Speed limits do not apply in Ireland to ambulances, Garda Siochana vehicles being used in the course of duty or fire brigade vehicles.


It is an offence for anyone to use a speed meter detector in any vehicle in Ireland under the Road Traffic (Speed Meter Detectors) Regulations, 1991. Under this legislation, it is also an offence to import, fit and supply speed meter detectors and jammers.

The Gardai are empowered to seize this equipment if it is found in your vehicle or in your possession under the Customs Consolidation Act 1876.


The penalty for speeding offences is a fixed-charge fine together with penalty points on your driving licence. If you have been caught speeding on police traffic camera, you will receive notice of your fine and penalty points of the offence by post. You have 28 days in which to pay your fixed-charge fine from the date the notice issues to you to pay your fine.

Further information on fixed-charge notices is available in our document on driving offences.

How to apply

Further information regarding the various speed limits in place throughout Ireland is available on the the Rules of the Road website.

Page edited: 6 January 2015



Related Documents

  • Penalty points for driving offences
    Penalty points for driving offences were introduced in 2001. How does the penalty points system work? Which offences attract penalty points and how long do points remain on your licence? Find out here.
  • Driving offences
    Find out about the penalties in place if you are convicted of a driving offence.
  • Seatbelts when motoring in Ireland
    There is a legal obligation in Ireland to be restrained when motoring and this applies to drivers and passengers. Overview of the law currently in place regarding the wearing of seatbelts and child restraints in motor vehicles.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.