How much is 12 driving lessons in Ireland?

Taking driving lessons is an important step in gaining the skills and experience needed to pass the driving test and become a safe, responsible driver. For many people learning to drive in Ireland, a package of 12 driving lessons is a good place to start. But how much do 12 driving lessons typically cost in Ireland?

The average cost of 12 driving lessons in Ireland

The average cost for 12 driving lessons from a professional Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) in Ireland is approximately €480-€600. This works out to around €40-€50 per lesson.

The typical duration of a single driving lesson in Ireland is 60 minutes. So a package of 12 lessons provides 12 hours of professional driving tuition.

The cost can vary depending on factors like:

  • Location in Ireland – Costs are higher in larger cities like Dublin
  • The driving school and instructor
  • Whether you pay per lesson or buy a discounted package
  • Manual vs automatic car lessons

But €40-€50 per 60 minute lesson is fairly standard across the country.

Breakdown of costs

The main costs involved for professional driving instructors in Ireland include:

  • Their time spent teaching
  • Wear and tear and maintenance of their dual-control car
  • Fuel costs
  • Insurance for an insured driving school car
  • ADI license fees
  • Ongoing training and CPD requirements
  • Tax and other business expenses

So part of what you’re paying for with driving lessons is the instructor’s time, experience and expertise guiding you through the learning stages to become a safe and confident driver.

Cost comparison of manual vs automatic car lessons

Manual car lessons typically cost less per lesson than automatic car lessons in Ireland. On average:

  • Manual lessons cost €40-€45 per hour lesson
  • Automatic lessons cost €45-€55 per hour lesson

So 12 manual lessons may cost around €480, while 12 automatic lessons could cost €540-€660. The extra cost is because automatic cars are more expensive for the instructor to buy, tax and insure.

Value of professional driving lessons

While driving lessons represent a significant investment, they are worthwhile to help maximise your chances of passing the driving test. According to statistics from the Road Safety Authority (RSA), people who learned with a professional ADI have a much higher first-time pass rate on the driving test compared to those who didn’t take formal lessons.

A driving instructor will also help identify and break any bad habits you might be picking up as a new driver. They can teach you sound driving techniques and the rules of the road.

Twelve one-hour lessons give you a solid foundation. You’ll have the chance to experience a wide variety of road environments and scenarios, under the guidance of your instructor.

Ways to reduce the cost of learning to drive

While professional lessons are recommended for safety, there are some ways you may be able to reduce the cost:

  • Look for introductory offers – Some driving schools offer a discounted starter pack of lessons for new pupils
  • Take longer lessons – You may pay less per hour for 2-hour lessons compared to 1-hour lessons
  • Pay upfront for a block of lessons – You’ll often get a discounted rate per lesson compared to paying individually
  • Share lessons with a friend – Some instructors offer reduced rates if you share a 2-hour lesson
  • Shop around – Get quotes from a few local instructors to compare prices

While cheaper, trying to cut costs too much on lessons could be counterproductive if it means taking fewer lessons from a good instructor.

Factors that may increase the cost

On the other hand, some circumstances can increase the cost of learning to drive:

  • Extended course – If you need more lessons to reach test standard, costs add up
  • Peak demand times – Lessons may be more expensive leading up to the summer test period
  • Cancellations and rescheduling – You may lose money from booked lessons you can’t make
  • Location supplements – Major cities like Dublin often have surcharges
  • Additional practice outside lessons – Private practice with a friend or family member using their car

Most people find they need between 40-50 hours of practice before taking their test. So a 12 lesson package is just the starting point on the learning journey.

How many lessons on average to pass the driving test first time?

The average number of professional driving lessons taken before passing the test first time in Ireland is 20-30 lessons.

However, the number of lessons needed varies significantly based on the individual. Some key factors that can influence how quick you pass include:

  • Natural ability and co-ordination
  • Confidence behind the wheel
  • The amount of private practice outside of lessons
  • Ability to self-reflect and self-correct
  • Commitment to independent study and revision

Those who put in effort between lessons tend to have greater success. Preparing for lessons helps reinforce what you’ve learned.

Advantages of intensive courses

One option used by some learners is to take their lessons in an intensive driving course format.

This involves taking several longer lessons over consecutive days, like:

  • 2 x 2-hour lessons per day over 5-6 days
  • 1 x 4-hour lesson per day over 5-6 days

The advantages of intensive courses include:

  • Learning is focused into a short time period, which can lead to faster progress
  • You may pay less per hour for longer lessons
  • Skills and lessons stay fresh in your mind when learning intensively

The downside is that cramming a lot of learning into a short period can be extremely tiring and demanding. You may not have time to properly process everything beforemoving on to the next topic.

Intensive courses work best for confident learners who are able to revise and practice independently in their own time.

Saving money by sharing lessons

Some driving instructors offer the option to share 2-hour lessons between two learners at a reduced hourly rate. For example, two people could share a 2-hour lesson for €50 each, so €25 per hour each.

The potential advantages of shared lessons include:

  • Cost savings from the lower hourly rate
  • Someone to relate to during the learning experience
  • Take turns practicing and observing, which can help reinforce learning

Drawbacks include:

  • Needing to coordinate schedules with the other person
  • Less individual attention from the instructor during the lesson
  • Potential personality clashes

So shared lessons work best when both learners are at a similar driving level and get on well together.

Extra costs to factor in

Along with the lessons themselves, it’s important to budget for some additional costs of learning to drive in Ireland, including:

  • The RSA learner permit – €40 for first-time applicants
  • The driving test fee – €85 for cars
  • Theory test fee – €45
  • Accompanied driving practice – Petrol costs, insurance, etc
  • Medical reports if needed – €20-€60
  • Eyesight test fee – €20-€35

So realistically, the total cost will be €700-€800+ to go from zero to achieving a full driving licence. Spreading the lessons out over a period of several months helps to spread this cost.

Is it cheaper to get insured as a learner or after passing the test?

Insurance costs are actually generally cheaper while you hold a learner permit compared to after passing the driving test, when you’ll be driving unaccompanied.

Some key points:

  • Learners are only allowed to drive when accompanied by an experienced driver, limiting risk
  • Novice drivers pay higher premiums due to lack of experience and higher claims
  • Learner policies may have lower premiums and excesses

Typical ballpark costs for learner insurance include:

  • Comprehensive cover: €1,200-€1,800 per year
  • Third party only: €600-€800 per year

Once you pass the test and gain full licence status, premiums usually rise quite a bit. Comprehensive cover could be €2,000-€3,000+ depending on your circumstances and profile.

So it makes sense financially to stay on your learner permit for as long as you need to gain experience and confidence before attempting the driving test.

How automatic cars can help learners gain confidence

Learning to drive in an automatic car instead of a manual transmission can help some new drivers feel more assured and composed behind the wheel during the initial stages.

Some of the potential benefits include:

  • Not having to coordinate gears and pedals can reduce the workload
  • Keeps your hands and eyes freer to observe the road
  • Stalling is impossible in an automatic
  • Hill starts are simpler
  • Automatic cars often have more driver assistance features

This can help build confidence in car control and road awareness at the start. Once these skills are ingrained, many learners then transition across to manuals to have the full licence flexibility later on.

While automatics reduce the physical and mental workload, the core skills of observation, judgement, signalling, maneuvering, and understanding road position are still essential for any new driver.

How to choose your driving instructor

Choosing the right approved driving instructor is key to getting value. Some tips when comparing instructors include:

  • Check they are on the RSA register of ADIs
  • Consider reviews and recommendations
  • Ask about their pass rates and experience
  • Get a sense of their teaching style and personality
  • Ask about availability for lessons and tests
  • Compare package costs and options

It’s advisable to book an initial assessment lesson before paying for a larger block. This lets you trial the instructor to ensure you’re comfortable with their style.

Paying a bit more for an instructor with a proven high first-time pass rate is often a wise investment.

How many practice driving hours are recommended?

Gaining experience across a wide variety of road types and traffic scenarios is critical. Many experts recommend aiming to complete 40-50 hours of supervised practice before attempting the driving test.

This practice should include:

  • A mix of daytime and nightime driving
  • Driving on fast roads like national routes and motorways
  • Navigating smaller rural roads, junctions and roundabouts
  • Driving in towns and cities
  • Reversing and parallel parking

A set of 12 professional driving lessons will contribute around 12 daytime hours. The remaining hours can be built up through accompanied practice with a sponsor.

Getting experience driving in challenging weather conditions like rain, wind and mist is also highly recommended before your test.

Final costs before taking your test

Once you and your ADI feel you are ready to pass based on your skills and experience, there are a few final costs to consider just before your test date:

  • Refresher lessons – 1 or 2 lessons leading up to your test date for final pointers and reassurance
  • Mock driving tests – Your instructor can conduct unofficial mock tests to help prepare
  • The official RSA driving test fee – €85 for cars

You will also need to verify your eyesight by getting a vision report from an optician.

Can accompanying drivers claim expenses for supervising learners?

Accompanying drivers or “sponsors” play a vital role supervising learners as they build up experience outside of professional lessons.

Unfortunately sponsors are not able to claim tax relief or expenses for this accompanying driving supervision.

However, the learner may be able to make a small contribution towards fuel costs as a gesture of goodwill during long periods of driving practice.

Sponsors should ensure they have “LDW” learner driver cover noted on their insurance policy before accompanying a learner.

Pass rates and costs to repeat the driving test

The average first-time pass rate for the driving test nationally is about 43%. But this can vary across regions and test centres.

Typically, each further repeat test has a lower chance of passing due to nerves and a lack of confidence.

If you fail your first test, useful steps include:

  • Requesting your marked test report to see where you lost marks
  • Taking refresher lessons to sharpen any problem areas
  • Practicing the test routes in your local area
  • Ensuring you are well-prepared and get a good night’s sleep before a retest

Each repeat test costs a further €85. So not passing first time adds quite a bit to the overall cost of securing your full licence.

Top tips for saving money learning to drive

In summary, some top tips for reducing the costs around learning to drive include:

  • Shop around instructors to compare lesson rates
  • Take advantage of introductory offers and lesson packages
  • Consider longer lessons or share lessons with a friend
  • Use accompanying driving to build experience
  • Allow enough practice time to pass first time
  • Choose an instructor with a high first-time pass rate


Learning to drive is a major milestone for many people, but also a significant investment. While professional lessons are recommended for safety, there are ways to reduce the cost burden through careful research, lesson planning, and practice.

Allowing sufficient time to become a competent, confident driver before attempting the test is one of the biggest factors in passing first time and avoiding the need for repeat tests.

Most people find a package of 12 lessons provides a solid baseline. But further lessons, private practice and self-study are needed to consolidate skills before taking the test. This patience and preparation pays off by maximising your chances of passing your driving test the first time.

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