Travel Tips for Ireland
Citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom will need to provide a passport and a visa to enter The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland has become safer for tourists in recent years and turned into a vibrant tourist destination.
You can find information about visiting Ireland from the U.S. by contacting the Embassy of Ireland: embassyofireland.org
What to Wear When Traveling to Ireland
Ireland is famous for its constant rain showers, so you can expect it to rain for most of your trip. Plan ahead with light layered clothing, a light rain jacket or a winter coat depending on the season.
Year round temperatures are relatively mild; summer highs range between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and winter highs range between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
You don’t need to worry about snow in Ireland, but may experience some frost and a cool wind chill during the Fall and winter seasons. Simple, casual and lightweight clothes are recommended.
The best times to visit are the high summer months (July and August) when the weather is always warm and it’s the season for local festivals and live entertainment in almost every town and city.
Eating Out in Ireland
Ireland is home to dozens of bed and breakfasts, locally owned pubs and inns, and small cafes that serve traditional Irish meals all day long. Don’t be afraid to try some strange-sounding dishes to enjoy a genuine Irish experience! You can enjoy a hearty meal at restaurants that fill up the downtown areas of villages and cities around Ireland, or visit the supermarket or food market for a roundup of freshly prepared sandwiches, baked goods and organic cheeses from local farmers. Most dishes are made with fresh meat and butter, and you’ll find a number of stews and hearty soups on the menu.
Popular foods and meals to try in Ireland include:
- Bacon and Cabbage Stew – fresh bacon and cabbage steamed together and seasoned with fresh herbs
- Corned Beef with Cabbage
- Classic Irish Stew – a lamb, potato, onion and carrot stew that’s perfect for a chilly evening
- Colcannon – a mixture of potato, cabbage and butter
- Champ – a creamy potato and butter dish that is typically served with grilled meat
Important Traveler Information When Visiting Ireland
Smoking policy: Smoking is prohibited in pubs, restaurants and cafes in the Republic of Ireland, but is permitted outdoors. Pubs, restaurants and cafes in Northern Ireland have not banned smoking .
Medical insurance: Carrying your own medical insurance can help to offset expensive doctor’s fees or medical costs in case of an emergency. Many insurance companies offer special rates for customers who are planning an extended international trip; check with your insurance agency to see what you are eligible for.
Driving and transportation: Many people choose to drive when visiting Ireland; if you have a U.S. driver’s license, you are allowed to drive in Ireland without obtaining a permit or additional license. However, it’s important to remember that motorists drive on the left hand side of the road, and Irish cars are built with the driver’s seat on the right. This can take some time to adjust to, so avoid the rural roads and unmarked countryside area until you feel confident about driving unknown territory.
Store hours: Most stores are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and some stay open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Banks are typically only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and many locally owned businesses will close down completely for lunch between 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.Pub hours are typically 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. the remainder of the week.
Money and finance: Not all banks will be able to offer currency exchange services, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and convert your money before you arrive. Almost all purchases you make will be taxed between 17 – 21%; this is Ireland’s value added tax (VAT), but you are eligible to receive a tax refund if you are a Non-European Union visitor. You will need to complete a tax refund document when you leave Ireland to receive a check; this money may be issued at the airport, or in the mail.
Fun Things to See and Do in Each Region of Ireland
From walking through Kilkenny’s medieval treasure trove to exploring the farms in Cork, here are some fun sites and activities to experience in each major region of Ireland:
- Visit luxury mansions, manors and castles with a tour to Glin Castle, Marlfield House and The Park Hotel
- Drive to the Cliffs of Moher
- Visit Blarney Castle
- Explore the Ring of Kerry
- Buy antiques at local craft and pottery shops
- Go horseback riding in Donegal
- Visit Glenveagh Castle
- Explore the medieval farms in Castlebar
- Go to the beach in Clifden
- Enjoy a Spartan seaweed bath
- Escape to a relaxing reareat on Inishbofin
- Visit the shipwrecks and learn about Irish legends on Spanish Point
- Explore Cape Clear island
- Visit the lighthouse at Clare’s Secret Peninsula
- Visit Cobh I Cork
- Stay at a bed and breakfast near Shannon
- Walk through the town of Limerick
- Buy organic cheese and baked goods in West Cork
- Take a day trip to County Wicklow to see stunning views of the valley
- Go on a tour of Kilkenny’s Medieval Treasure Trove
- Visit the Cullintra B&B, a legendary luxury guesthouse
- Explore the works of Chester Beatty
- Watch the ancient lightshow at Newgrange