Getting a Driver's License in Ireland - Part One

Robin Piggott

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As more and more Drivers take to the road every day here in Ireland and a good many of these are from countries where Driving regulations are not exactly top priority, we should look at what is required and how you go about getting a Drivers License.

Ireland as a senior member of the E. U. and the most successful country from an economic perspective has to comply with all E. U Directives in every sphere and that of course includes Driving, Driving Tests, Driving Schools and Driving Licenses.

At any given time there will be countries that are more advanced in their Driver and Road Safety strategies than others, but once a Law is passed in the E. U. then all countries must comply and those that have been lacking in foresight or just plain commonsense will have more work to do than others who have taken the time to implement sound Road Safety strategies as a matter of course.

It is usual for a reasonable time frame to be offered for compliance with all Driving Directives. In some instances several years can elapse before full compliance is obtained. A case in point is the new pan-European Driving License which is due to be fully operational by the year 2012 and all E. U. Member States will then have identical licenses for their Driving community.

Ireland is one of the countries who have neglected Driver Legislation over the years and now that the road fatalities are a daily talking point due to the horrendous number of young Drivers being fatally injured, things are beginning to change. Driver legislation must change change or we will see the cream of a generation wiped out due to negligence. Ireland has spent a small fortune (actually a large fortune) on educating each generation over the last thirty years and must now turn that Educational mindset towards Driver Education, Driver Training and Driving Instructor Standards.

Exactly what do you have to do?

1. Firstly the age at which you may learn to Drive is 17 and there is a well defined process in achieving the Provisional License, without which you may not take up a position behind the wheel.

2. In order to achieve a Provisional License you must first sit the Driver Theory Test which consists of a multi-choice exam completed on computer at one of the Nationwide Test Centres.

3. Booking for this Test can be done several weeks in advance and a candidate will usually get an appointment in about ten days or so.

4. The Test features 40 questions and the pass mark is 35.

5. Armed with your Test Pass Certificate you may then proceed to the Local Motor Taxation office in your Home town to apply for your Provisional Drivers License.

The Provisional License procedure is rather protracted but with some good organisation it is possible to complete your Theory Test and obtain your Provisional License on the same day. What will you need?

1. Theory Test Pass Certificate.

2. Application Form.

3. Application Fee.

4. Two Colour Passport Photos.

5. An Eye Test Certificate from an Optician.

6. Passport or Original Birth Certificate.

7. In certain cases of specified illnesses or ailments a Doctor’s Certificate.

With all these Documents arranged all that is left is for you to sit in the Queue at the Motor Taxation Office and usually the turnaround here is no more than an hour or less. If you get there early you could be out in half an hour!

This is the first hurdle over and you may now legally sit behind the wheel providing you have a fully qualified Driver alongside you.

We will examine the next stages of the process for achieving your Full Drivers License in Ireland in the second part of this article.

Robin Piggott is a Driving Instructor in Ireland who brings four decades of experience to his Astral Driving School based in Limerick. His newly refurbed web site can be found at Here you can find a treasure trove of everything for the Learner Driver and also pages for the visitor who is contemplating Touring Ireland by Car.

Pick up a free copy of the seven part mini course "Passing the Driving Test First Time" by dropping in to the web site.


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