Learning To Drive in Dublin: The test and all 5 RSA Driving Test Centres & routes explained

If you decide to move to Ireland and live, you will probably need a car to get around our beautiful Ireland.

Getting your drivers licence in Ireland is the sole responsibility of the Road Safety Authority and is set to standards that comply with an EU directive on Driver Licences.

This article highlights the process of getting a driving licence in Ireland and where to take your test in Dublin.

What you should do to apply for a driving test

It’s very easy nowadays to apply and pay for the driving test online. You just need a valid credit card and a valid email address.

Log onto www.rsa.ie and click on apply for driving test, pick the relevant location of the test centre from the list.

There are 6 driving test centres in the Dublin area: Finglas, Raheny, Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Churchtown and Mulhuddart.

When you have selected the location, then select the relevant category, for a car its category B.

Pay €85 and wait to receive notification from the RSA acknowledging payment receipt.

Approximately 6-8  weeks from then you should receive notification of the actual date of your test at the location you chose on application.

We will explain later a brief summary of each of the 6 RSA driving test centres.

Preparing for your RSA Driving test.

  • Make sure you have a valid and up to date learner permit.
  • Have an in-depth knowledge of the rules of the road
  • Find the best driving lessons Dublin has to offer.
  • Practice driving on all types of road and in all kinds of traffic situations.
  • Make sure you are confident and have excellent vehicle control.
  • Know the driving test marking sheet and the marking system.
  • Know how to carry out the manoeuvres.
  • Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and correct documentation in place.
  • Know the hand signals accurately.

Listen and abide by these important steps and help yourself to avoid the top 8 reasons why people fail the driving test in Ireland.

The Marking Sheet Explained

The Driving Tester will carry a tablet device to the car and will use this device throughout the test and mark accordingly in relation to the grading process where the tester feels a mark constitutes a grade 1 fault, a grade 2 fault or a grade 3 fault.

So, what is on the marking sheet and how is it marked by the tester?

The marking sheet which is in digital format is divided into 18 categories.

The categories are:

  1. Rules/checks
  2. Position
  3. Observation
  4. React to hazards
  5. Mirrors
  6. Clearance/overtake
  7. Signals
  8. Motorcycles
  9. courtesy
  10. Alighting
  11. Progress
  12. Vehicle controls
  13. Speed
  14. Traffic controls
  15. Right of way
  16. Reverse
  17. Turnabout
  18. Parking

On the driving test, you must be able to sufficiently prove you have what it takes to be able to drive competently and with due care and consideration for other road users.

You must demonstrate excellent vehicle control while always having a calm attitude and deal efficiently with any hazard as it should arise. Conducting yourself in a manner that the tester feels is in line with their guidelines and judgement.

To grade your test, the Driving Tester with their training and experience then grade the mistakes you make in the relation to severity and attach a mark to the necessary grade level.

Grade 1 fault meaning – minor fault

Grade 2 fault meaning – more serious fault

Grade 3 fault meaning – Dangerous or potentially dangerous and would be an automatic failure.

You will be deemed to have failed the driving test if you receive…

  • 1 or more grade 3 faults
  • 4 of the same grade 2 faults
  • 6 or more grade 2 faults in the same section
  • 9 or more grade 2 faults throughout the entire sheet.

Taking the best pretest driving lessons Dublin has on offer will seriously increase your chances of passing the driving test first time around.

Test Centres in Dublin by Location

1. Tallaght Driving Test Centre

Pass Rate 46%

The Tallaght Driving Test routes cover a mixture of residential areas, Dual Carriageways, School Zones such as Springfield,  Tymon North, Kilnamanagh and Bancroft. You may find yourself on the Belgard road with a speed limit of 60kmph and is a dual carriageway.

On entering the Tallaght test centre, you should slow to a crawl as it a tight left to park your car.

There are pedestrians walking to and from their cars and parking is tight.

Some prominent features of the Tallaght Test Routes are Schools, Ramps, Hatch markings and roundabouts. Second gear and a speed of around 20kmph would be adequate on approach to the Roundabouts and ramps.

Probably the easiest test centre in Dublin but as always getting the best driving lessons Tallaght has to offer would be wise.

Address: Premier Business Park, 52 Broomhill Road, Tallaght, Co. Dublin, Ireland

2. Churchtown Driving Test Centre

Pass Rate 42%

The Churchtown driving test covers mainly 3 areas.Rathgar/Rathmines, Nutgrove/Churchtown and Rathfarnham.

This test area is tricky due to being located in the middle of a residential area with lots of tight streets with on-street parking, Cyclists, Pedestrians and some complex junctions.

The Test Centre exit is one of the most difficult in Dublin due to the severe visibility restrictions and steep gradient at the top.

There are lots of bus lanes and right turn filter lanes which you will need plenty of Mirror work on approach and entry to the lane.

Show caution when you need to but make good progress where you can on this route.

Address: Landscape House, Landscape Rd, Newtown Little, Dublin 14, Ireland

3. Raheny Driving Test Centre

Pass Rate 47%

The Raheny Driving Test Centre is similar to Finglas which has a lot of Mini Roundabouts and should be treated the same way as ordinary Roundabouts.

From the Raheny Test centre heading down towards Clontarf, it becomes very narrow and sometimes only room for 1 vehicle to pass.

Proper Reaction and Observation will be needed here so that any obstructions or situations can be dealt with sufficiently while applying the correct gear for the relevant speed.

There are a few places where you will need to move to a right lane after the hatch markings.

Correct position and Observation changing lanes in the right wing mirror is essential. Lots of people get mark’s constantly for this mistake.

Driving lessons in Churchtown would be advisable.

Address: 4 All Saints Park, Raheny, Dublin 5, D05 HH42, Ireland

4. Finglas Driving Test Centre

Pass Rate 47%

Finglas Driving Test Centre is the busiest test centre in Ireland.

Always full of cars and HGVs ready to exit on the test or arriving back after the test.

At any one time, there could be 20 tests going out and 20 tests arriving back to the Test Centre.

The main features on this test area are Ramps, Roundabouts, Mini-roundabouts, Schools and bus lanes.

Second gear is advisable on entry to the roundabouts which makes is easy to observe sufficiently at the speed of 20kmph.

Second gear or third gear for the ramps is advisable and 20kmph or less is best suited for a smooth transition over the ramp.

Approaching ramps too fast and hitting them too fast is a Grade 2 fault.

Not the easiest of areas and driving lessons will definitely help you to pass the driving test here.

Address: Jamestown Business Park, Jamestown Road, Finglas, Co. Dublin, Ireland

5. Mulhuddart Driving Test Centre

Mulhuddart is surrounded by Blanchardstown, Hartstown, Corduff and Clonsilla.

This is a new test centre, and there are many complicated Bus lane layout merges that join into one lane, so a lot of road marking observation is very important here.

The Rathgar driving test centre which was situated on Orwell road has been closed since 2016, much to the delight of local residents

Making progress is important after leaving residential areas, and a good understanding of test routes would be very beneficial in the Mulhuddart area.

Again the LADA is needed on approach to all Junctions, Roundabouts and turns. Look, Assess, Decide, Act.

Address: Old Navan Rd, Parslickstown, Mulhuddart, Co. Dublin, Ireland

In summary, If you prepare adequately with a Qualified Driving Instructor who knows the business inside out, then there will be no reason why you can’t pass the Driving Test first time. Good Luck.

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