Ireland local time
A knowledgeable travel professional, with their extensive knowledge and contacts in the industry, can provide support before your trip, monitor your progress en route and provide post travel assistance. Because we coordinate air, land, rail and sea transportation, your trip can proceed seamlessly to your hotel/resort, activities and excursions. Rather than than doing your own time consuming research, let us use our extensive knowledge to help you avoid costly mistakes and ensure the quality of trip you’ve been looking for.
Right in the middle of the city, south of the Liffey, stands the 12th-century castle that has defined and defended the city of Dublin throughout its history.
Only one tower remains from the original construction but within the castle complex you can see later buildings including the Royal Chapel, restored in 1989, the Portrait Gallery and the State Apartments. Note that the Castle is not just a tourist attraction; some parts are still used for State functions and may close to visitors occasionally.
Christ Church Cathedral
This splendid cathedral is the main place of worship for the Protestant Church of Ireland, although visitors from all denominations will be attracted to Christ Church by its other claim to fame as the oldest building in Ireland.
The structure was originally built in 1038, although the present church dates back “only” as far as 1240.
In the Long Room of the library at Trinity College Dublin is kept the world’s most beautiful illuminated manuscript surviving from the Dark Ages. The Book of Kells, written on vellum in about 800AD, contains the four gospels, commentary and images from the New Testament.
If you visit during the college term it’s easy to get a student to give you a guided tour of the college and library.
Next door to the famous Guinness brewery at St James’s Gate, the Storehouse is the official tourist attraction and chief pilgrimage site for lovers of the world’s favorite Irish stout.
The Visitor Experience reveals the many processes and ingredients that go into creating the perfect pint. The tour includes the “Arthur Guinness Story” exhibition and the cooperage museum, and even leaves time to sample the “official” best pint of Guinness (complimentary) on the planet in the Gravity Bar afterwards while taking in magnificent views of the city. True fans of the brew will be sorely tested by the alluring array of merchandise in the shop afterwards.
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
On the banks of the River Ratty in County Clare can be found the magnificently preserved Bunratty Castle, built on a site that has been a defensive strong point since Viking times.
Twice daily you can indulge yourself in a magnificent medieval banquet in the great hall of the castle – truly a historic experience. If that isn’t enough for you, the nearby Irish Theme Park tells the tale of Ireland’s rather interesting history, packed with heroic tales and adventures as well as the more poignant stories of invasion, famine and war.
West Coast Cliffs- Moher and Slieve League
On the County Clare coast, a few miles south of the village of Doolin, are the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs rise 660 feet above the Atlantic, and if you can handle heights, there’s nothing to stop you sitting right on the edge. This spectacular natural phenomenon is one of Ireland’s premier tourist attractions and has been attracting visitors for centuries. O’Brien’s Tower, the best vantage point from which to see the cliffs and the Aran Islands, was built in the 19th century as a dedicated viewing platform for tourists right on the edge of the cliffs.
If you thought that the Cliffs of Moher were spectacular then you should head way up to the north-west coast to Donegal, where you can find Slieve League, the highest sea cliffs in Europe. This mountain right on the coast rises some 2,000 feet, before plunging abruptly into the sea.
The Ring of Kerry
The longest and the most diverse of Ireland’s big circle drives, combining jaw-dropping coastal scenery with emerald pastures and villages.
The 179km circuit winds past pristine beaches, the island-dotted Atlantic, medieval ruins, mountains and loughs (lakes). The coastline is at its most rugged between Waterville and Caherdaniel in the southwest of the peninsula. It can get busy in summer, but even then, the remote Skellig Ring can be uncrowded and serene – and starkly beautiful.
The Ring of Kerry can easily be done as a day trip, but if you want to stretch it out, places to stay are scattered along the route. Killorglin and Kenmare have the best concentration of dining options; elsewhere, with a couple of notable exceptions, basic pub fare is the norm.
Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone
It may be a cliché, but if you’re in Cork, you can’t overlook beautiful Blarney Castle, and take the opportunity to kiss the stone.
One legend has it that the stone was originally part of the Stone of Scone, upon which Scottish kings were crowned. But wherever it originated, now it is located high in the castle battlements, and it requires a fair amount of athleticism to get to. If you succeed in planting a smacker on it you’ll earn yourself the “gift of the gab” and a lifetime of loquaciousness.
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Ireland Travel Information and Tips
- Passport and Visa
- Health Info
- Driving in Ireland
- Traveling with Pets
Of course we’ll say céad míle fáilte (one hundred thousand welcomes) when you arrive in Ireland. But just after that, we’ll probably ask you for your passport. Politely, of course. There are different requirements for different nationalities so here’s what you need to know.
To enter the Republic or Northern Ireland, you need a valid passport. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland. UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving license with photo).
EU citizens are required to have a passport or national identity card; while citizens of all other countries must have a valid passport. ALWAYS check what form of ID is required with your individual airline, ferry company or travel agent before traveling.
Citizens of the EEA member states (the 27 countries of the European Union EU, together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland. The full list of countries whose citizens do NOT require a visa can be found here.
Citizens of all other countries should contact their local Irish Embassy/Consulate prior to traveling to the Republic of Ireland, and visitors to Northern Ireland should contact their local British Embassy/High Commission or Consular Office. Irish visa information can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs website and citizens information website, and information on the UK (for visiting Northern Ireland) can be found on the Home Office website.
From July 2012 extending for a period of four years, tourists from 14 nations that previously did require a visa to holiday in the Republic will not need a separate Irish visa if they have a short-term UK visa. Check here for a list of the countries able to avail of this visa waiver scheme.
Visitors to the island of Ireland from a non-EU country must pass through custom controls at their place of entry.
Customs operate green and red channels at most ports and airports. If you need to declare goods over the duty and tax-free allowances for non-EU visitors you must use the red channel. Pass through the green channel if you have nothing to declare.
Certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect health and the environment. These include meat and poultry products.
For goods obtained within the EU
There are no limits imposed on importing tobacco and alcohol products from one EU country to another. Travelers should note however that they may be required to prove at customs that the goods are for personal use only.
For goods obtained outside the EU
For travelers to either the Republic or Northern Ireland, there are circumstances for allowances on duty-free goods. Travelers must be arriving either directly from a country outside the European Union (EU), or from a non-EU country via another EU country, or from the Canary Islands, Channel Islands or Gibraltar.
You are allowed to bring in goods (including gifts, souvenirs, perfume and clothing) free of duty, the combined value of which does not exceed:
- €430/£390 in the case of an individual aged 15 years or over (approximately 550 US dollars*)
- €215/£173 in the case of an individual aged under 15 years (approximately 270 US dollars*)
Be aware that the above monetary allowances do not apply to any individual item which exceeds the values above. So if you bring in something worth more than the relevant limit of €430/£390 or €215, you must pay import charges on the full value. If you are bringing back any duty-free goods you bought when you traveled out from Ireland, these count as part of your allowance.
You are allowed to bring in goods free of duty in the categories below (tobacco, alcohol etc) subject to the limits indicated.
- 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
Allowances are on a fractional basis, for example 100 cigarettes plus 50 cigarillos would be the limit together.
- 1 liter of spirits (more than 22%) or 2 liters of intermediate products (port, sherry, etc, but not sparkling wine) or
- 4 liters of wine or 16 liters of beer
- 50g of perfume and 250ml of toiletries
Customs Duty, Excise Duty and VAT (sales tax), where applicable, are charged on goods in excess of the duty free allowances.
Sales Tax (VAT) refunds
Visitors to Ireland who live outside of the EU are entitled to claim back a portion of the VAT on purchases made during their stay. Most retailers participate in the VAT refund scheme and you can ask for a VAT refund form in the store once your purchase has been completed. You must fill the form out fully, making sure to include a credit card number to facilitate the refund. The goods must be exported outside of the EU within three months following the month of purchase and typically, it will take between four to six weeks to receive your refund from the refund agent.
Alternatively, you can claim your refund in cash through Tax Free Worldwide and Carroll’s Irish Gifts at three refund points in Dublin – 57/58 Upper O’Connell St, Ballast House, Westmoreland St and 22/23 Suffolk St and one in Cork, at 10 St Patrick St.
If the purchase value of any one item on your VAT refund form is €2,000 or above, you will need to present your form, goods receipt and the item to Customs at your point of exit for a validation stamp. There are two main refund agents in Ireland, Tax Free Worldwide and Fexco and you can visit their websites for more information on how to shop tax free.
Ireland has great healthcare, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you go. If you’re bringing medicines with you into Ireland, carry them in their original, clearly labeled container, along with your prescription or a letter from your doctor.
It’s a rule of thumb that anything over a three-month supply of medicine will be questioned and any “controlled drugs” as well as any syringes or needles, should be declared and explained in a letter from your doctor.
There are plenty of pharmacies in Ireland, and they are a good first stop for travelers seeking medical advice or a local referral. Most towns have one or two pharmacies and urban areas have many. Pharmacies generally operate from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, but many pharmacies in urban areas open late and on weekends.
Bring a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses with you and your optical prescription just in case. Make sure that your travel insurance has medical cover. If you’re a member of the 27 EU countries or Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, bring a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which covers you for most medical care.
Just as with most of western Europe, there are no vaccinations required to visit Ireland.
Republic of Ireland
Emergency Police, Fire, Ambulance:
ROI Tel: 112 or 999
NI Tel: 999
The fire, ambulance and police services in Ireland and Northern Ireland are all contactable via the above numbers. When calling emergency services you will be asked to provide:
- The exact address of the incident or emergency and/or any noticeable landmarks nearby
- Directions to the scene of the emergency
- The telephone number you are calling from
- Details on the incident itself, the number of persons involved, the description of any visible injuries and knowledge of any pre-existing medical conditions
Try and stay calm and listen to the call taker’s instructions. It is also important to keep your own phone on as the emergency service may need to contact you for further information.
Republic of Ireland
Should you wish to avail of the services of the Automobile Association in Ireland, you will need to register for a minimum of a year’s membership with them. This will cost approximately €220.
Automobile Association (AA) Breakdown Service
Tel: 1800 66 77 88; www.aaireland.ie
When seeking roadside assistance in Northern Ireland contact the Royal Automobile Club (RAC), which is the equivalent of the AA. The RAC website lists prices for short-term cover and roadside assistance.
Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Breakdown Help
Tel +44 (0) 844 891 3111
Tourist Victim Support
Republic of Ireland
Tourists who become victims of a crime while in Ireland can contact the Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS). ITAS staff speak a number of foreign languages will be able to provide assistance to any problems facing a tourist in the aftermath of a crime. Trained staff and volunteers, who speak a variety of languages, will provide assistance so that the victim can get back to enjoying their holiday. Brochures are available in all tourist offices.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm; Sundays and public holidays from 12pm-6pm
6-7 Hanover Street East, Dublin 2 (Monday to Friday); tel: 1890 365 700 (local number; from outside Ireland tel: +353 1 661 0562); email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Store Street Garda Station, Store Street, Dublin 1 (Sat, Sun and public holidays); tel: 1 890 365 700 (local number; outside Ireland tel: +353 1 661 0562
For those who are victims of a crime in Northern Ireland, the body to contact is Victim Support Northern Ireland. Their staff and volunteers will speak to and help victims, family members and witnesses involved in the crime.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm;
Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 50°F.
A major warm ocean current called the North Atlantic Drift keeps sea temperatures mild too. Hills and mountains, mainly around the coast, shelter the rest of the island from strong winds coming off the ocean.
So while the weather can be changeable – it’s rarely extreme.
The seasons: spring and summer
In spring (February to April), the average highest temperatures range from 46 to 54°F, with April considered particularly pleasant. In summer (May to July), the averages for highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F.
The warmest months, July and August, get about 18 hours of daylight and it gets dark only after 11pm. Hence the well-worn phrase in Ireland; “sure there’s a grand stretch in the evenings”.
The seasons: autumn and winter
In autumn, (August to October) highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F. September is considered a mild, temperate month.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F, while the coldest months are January and February. The temperature drops below freezing intermittently, and apart from a few freak cold snaps, snow is scarce.
When to visit Ireland
There’s no such thing as a perfect time to visit Ireland. The summer months are considered high season for visitors. They come for the long sunny evenings, parks in full bloom and eating al fresco in cafés. And of course in summer, there are festivals around every corner.
Autumn and spring are mid-seasons for travelers. You’ll enjoy kicking bronze-burnished leaves about in autumn, while spring sees nature kick into gear and flowers blossom. As for winter, a walk through a national park on a clear, crisp winter’s day can mean seeing nature at its most impressive.
A weather-friendly wardrobe
Wondering what to bring? You’ll need to be adaptable. so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes. Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you won’t need sunscreen in the summer months – when the sun shines in Ireland it’s quite strong, so wear a high factor and bring a sunhat.
Okay, it does rain in Ireland, but long bouts of rain are pretty rare. So, you can either put on suitable clothes, or duck into a nice cozy pub to wait out the shower. You can imagine which one is our favorite strategy.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro. One euro consists of 100 cent.
Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
Coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.
In Northern Ireland, pound sterling is the local currency. One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Notes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.
Coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.
Visa and Mastercard are widely used, while American Express and Diners cards may not always be accepted. Credit cards can be used for purchases and also to access money from ATMs. The individual ATM will have a list of card symbols that can be used there (bank charges may apply).
Banks in Ireland generally open around 9.30am and close about 4.30pm Monday through Friday; 5pm on Thursday. Selected banks may open on Saturday mornings. ATM (cash) machines are located at most banks and in cities, towns and villages, and accept most credit and debit cards.
Traveler’s Cheques are no longer widely accepted on the island of Ireland.
Everyone on the island of Ireland speaks English, but such is our cosmopolitan way, in our cities and towns, you’re also likely to hear chatter in a variety of accents from Polish and Korean to Japanese and Brazilian – all you have to do is keep your ears open.
Languages in the Republic of Ireland
The Gaelic language in Ireland – Gaelige, or Irish as it’s known locally – is a Celtic language and one of “the oldest and most historic written languages in the world” according to Foras na Gaeilge. Its poetic flow can be heard in schools across the country and throughout the shops, pubs, streets, fairs and festivals of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) regions.
Keep your eyes open because you’ll be introduced to Irish almost as soon as you arrive, with all street and road signs in the Republic of Ireland in both English and Irish.
Roads in the Republic of Ireland
Roads in Ireland are generally of a very high standard. Motorways (highways) are prefixed with an “M” (for example M50), while national roads are prefixed with an “N” (for example N18).
Roads in the Northern Ireland
Roads in Northern Ireland are prefixed with an “M” for motorway (highway); an “A” and a “B” for primary and non-primary roads.
Be mindful that signs in the Republic of Ireland show distances in kilometers, while in the North miles are used.
More information can be found at the National Roads Authority (nra.ie).
There are a number of tolled roads in Ireland.
Republic of Ireland
West-Link (M50 Motorway, Dublin)
M1 Motorway Boyne Bridge, Drogheda
East-Link (Dublin Port)
Dublin Port Tunnel
N25 Waterford City
There are no toll roads in Northern Ireland.
License and insurance
Visitors wishing to drive in Ireland will require either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit issued abroad. Either of the above can be obtained from the country of origin.
Driving in Ireland is on the left hand side of the road and it is required that all passengers wear seat belts at all times in both the front and back of the vehicle. For those riding motorcycles, both motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets. Ireland’s laws on drink driving are very strict. Those drivers found to be contravening the laws will be heavily penalized.
Speed limits in the Republic of Ireland are:
50kph/30mph in built-up urban areas
80kph/50mph on single non-national open roads
100kph/60mph on national roads
120kph on motorways
In Northern Ireland, speed limits are:
30mph/50kph in built-up urban areas
60mph/96kph on single carriageways
70mph/112kph on dual carriageways and motorways (highways)
In the Republic of Ireland, signposts denoting speed limits are now in kilometers per hour. Also only in the Republic, signposts and place names are displayed in both Irish (Gaelic) and English. In Gaeltacht areas (an area where Irish is the primary language) only Irish is used.
Signposts and speeds in Northern Ireland are in miles and miles per hour while all place names are displayed in English only.
The island of Ireland is well served by petrol (gas) stations. Prices will vary between the petrol (gas) stations. The Automobile Association website features information on pricing in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Purr-fect for pets
Bringing your pet on holiday with you is fun – they’re part of the family after all. Selected hotels, guest houses and B&Bs happily accommodate pets: the five-star Hayfield Manor in Cork even has matching dog kennels (marked Lord and Lady). B&B Ireland has over 150 members who accept pets into their homes and many self-catering properties are now pet-friendly.
For the enthusiastic dog owner, the possibilities for walks are endless on the island – although remember to keep your dog on a leash at all times as sheep can pop up out of the most unlikely places! During the summer months, country fairs and festivals hold all sorts of dog shows, cat shows and pet races; so if you’re particularly proud of your pooch why not see if they can bring home the gold?
Bringing pets into the Republic of Ireland
Entry requirements from bringing your pet to Ireland will depend on what country your pet is from and is coming from.
For example, if you’re coming from the EU and want to bring your furry friend with you to Ireland, you’re going to need an EU Pet Passport. This document proves your pet has been micro-chipped and vaccinated against rabies.
Only airlines registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine can transport pets. Each ferry operator has differing rules on traveling with animals but pets must travel with their owners or with a person acting on behalf of the owner while on a ferry.
If you want to bring your pet to Ireland from a country outside the EU you must first check whether your country is a qualifying low risk country or a non-qualifying high risk one.
A pet from a qualifying low-risk non-EU country must:
- Be micro-chipped (this must be done before anything else)
- Be subsequently vaccinated for rabies
- Have a veterinary certificate issued or endorsed by the competent authority in the country of origin
- Dogs must be treated for tapeworm between 24 and 120 hours before travel and the time and date of treatment must be entered on the passport
A pet coming from a non-qualifying high-risk country must do all of the above and also have a blood test after the rabies vaccination at least three months before entry. The animal must be transported by air to Ireland on an approved airline or owners can apply to the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine life for a prior approval. Entry by airline is into Dublin airport only where your pet will be inspected in the quarantine facility.
Check out the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s website for lots more information.
Pets traveling from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland should be micro-chipped, vaccinated against rabies and accompanied by a pet passport.
Bringing pets into Northern Ireland
The Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) allows dogs, cats, ferrets and domestic rabbits and rodents from certain countries to enter Northern Ireland without quarantine providing that they meet certain rules. The scheme only applies to pets coming into the UK from certain countries and territories.
Pets entering Northern Ireland from non-qualifying (unlisted) countries must spend six months in quarantine on arrival. For more information visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website.