If you are planning a trip to Ireland or a holiday in Ireland, then here are some useful travelling tips that you may well find useful.
About Ireland - Weather Outlook
The summers are warm (not hot) and the winters are moderate. You may sometimes get a little snow though it can be unpredictable. If you do it will typically be from December to March and usually it is not very deep, nor does it last very long.
May and June are the sunniest months and the temperatures are around 15-23 degrees Celsius. Weather changes quite frequently from cloudy to sunny and vice versa. If planning the visit during the spring or summer, lightweight woolen or cotton clothes are recommended. In the autumn and winter wrap up well and always have a rainproof jacket as showers can happen at any time.
In case of emergency call 999 or 112.
Different Currencies in Ireland
Ireland is a divided country. It is made up of 32 counties with the 6 counties in the North East forming Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.
In those 6 counties the £ sterling is used as the currency. In the remaining 26 counties the € Euro is used. The capital city of Northern Ireland is Belfast and the capital city of the Republic of Ireland is Dublin.
Please note that if you plan to travel to Northern Ireland that you will need to make sure that you have some UK sterling. Almost all the shops, bars and restaurants take both debit and credit cards, but a few smaller shops do not.
Understanding Irish Culture
Most of the locals speak English and some areas speak in Irish. For the vast majority though English is the most popular language.
Handshaking is customary when greeting someone. The Irish are social friendly people and are good at having a lively chat even with strangers. In Ireland they refer to this as the "craic" which is pronounced the crack.
Generally speaking people live in harmony and make great friends. Foreigners are welcomed with warmth and are made to feel at home. Guests are never sent back on an empty stomach as food is always served at any time of the day, to the guest.
Most of the locals come from an agricultural background as farming and fishing are two of the main industries in Ireland. . Dinner is considered to be a meal of importance as it is the time when the whole family gets together and eat.
One can dress casually when out on the streets and in many bars and restaurants. Most people will dress more formally at social gatherings and at fine restaurants. Smoking is banned in public places.
Shopping In Ireland
The larger cities such as Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Belfast etc all have shopping centres and also shops on the High Street. The smaller towns also have these but you may also come across farmer's markets at least once a week. These are worth checking out for cheaper goods.
Belfast is a popular shopping choice along with Dublin and most of the stores open up early 8.30-9.00 am and stay open until 5.30-6.00 pm. On Thursdays and Fridays, shops remain open till 9.00 pm.
Value Added Tax of almost 17% is charged in the Republic of Ireland and 20% VAT in Northern Ireland, which can be reclaimed later. So if visitors buy anything from the shops remember to check if the store operates the Retail Export Scheme, which would require the passport and filling of the Tax Free Shopping Form by the sales person.
If the restaurant bill doesn’t includes any tax, leave behind a 10% tip to appreciate their service. Giving a tip to the porters and hair dressers is customary here.
The voltage in Northern Ireland is 240V, 50AC. and uses 3-pin plugs. It is the same in the Republic of Ireland.
Travelling to Ireland
The national airline that operates in Ireland is Aer Lingus, which provides service from most of the major cities of the world. Airlines like Delta Air Lines and many other have been introduced and to promote them, promotional air fares are being offered. There is an International airport at Dublin, Shannon and Belfast.
There are many flights from UK to Ireland. The Dublin airport is located 10 km away from the city. Services like taxis, air coach, buses transport passengers to their destination. Airport has duty free shops, bank, currency exchange, car hire, tourism information, and restaurants for a comfortable journey.
Shannon Airport is situated to the north of Limerick City and is 24 km and 25 minutes away from it. Buses, coaches and taxis are available for transportation.
Belfast International Airport is 30 minutes away from Belfast City Centre. Sadly none of the two airports in Belfast are served by a train service. There are three choices which are bus, taxi or car hire.
Other services that are provided are duty free shops, currency exchange, bank, tourism information and restaurants. While planning to travel, check out other airports like Cork Airport and Knock Information Airport for more options. A departure tax of €10 is to be paid by people over 12 years of age at the Knock International Airport.
To take ferries check out the Baltimore, Galway, Dublin, Wexford Kinsale and Belfast ports. Most of the ferries offer high-speed services. Time to time special offers are being announced which can be availed to save money. Check out the websites as some of them offer online booking facility.
Duty Free Allowance
- 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
- 1l of spirits and distilled beverages (more than 22 per cent) or 2l of other alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22 per cent, including sparkling or fortified wine, plus 2l of table wine
- 0g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette
Tourist Attractions in Ireland
There are many attractions to see in Ireland so here is a list of the most popular choices:
- Giant's Causeway (Northern Ireland)
- Bushmill's Distillery (Northern Ireland)
- Titanic Quarter (Belfast N.Ireland)
- Trinity College (Dublin)
- The Guinness Factory (Dublin)
- Kissing the Blarney Stone
There are quite literally hundreds of tourist attractions in Ireland both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. Many visitors hire a car when they come to Ireland and they then tour around the island.
The island is 300 miles long and 100 miles wide so you can easily travel around it. The main motorways and the larger roads are all very high quality. Some of the smaller roads are narrow with lots of bends and care is needed when driving on those.
In Ireland you drive on the left hand side of the road and that can be difficult for many tourists to get used to.