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American citizens are permitted to drive in Ireland for the duration of a visit up to 12 months as a tourist. If you wish to apply for an International Permit for use during your visit you can apply through the AAA, but when renting a car, most car rental companies will require a driving license issued by the country you are normally resident in, not an international driving license/permit.

Drivers must be over 25 and under 69 and have at least 3 years driving experience for groups A to G.
Drivers must be over 28 and have 7 years driving experience for groups 7 and up.

Documents required when driving:
Valid driving license
Vehicle title document/registration certificate or vehicle rental agreement
Valid insurance documentation
Valid Certificate of Roadworthiness

Recommended equipment:
Visibility Vests are now compulsory in Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Spain (and likely to become compulsory throughout the EU). The rules vary from country to country concerning number of vests required and whether they should be carried in the car or boot. Common sense suggests that there should be a vest for every occupant, and that the vests should be carried in the car, and put on before getting out. Do this and you will not have a problem.

It is advisable to carry breakdown-warning triangle, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare bulb kit in your vehicle. Also, if you wear glasses, bring a spare pair in the car with you.