Dublin Don’ts: What not to do in Ireland

Dublin Don’ts – what not to do when visiting Ireland…with tongue planted firmly in cheek I researched deeply the cultural do’s and don’ts in Ireland. I discovered 18 things you shouldn’t do in Dublin and have written all about my intensive cultural research here.

When you are a tourist in Ireland, there are some things you should avoid doing to ensure you have a positive experience in this beautiful country. One of the faux pas to avoid is mixing up Ireland and Northern Ireland, as Northern Ireland is actually part of the United Kingdom. Another mistake to avoid is assuming that all Irish people believe in leprechauns – this is just a stereotype and not a true representation of Irish culture.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you
landscape of Inisheer Island, part of Aran Islands, Ireland.

When visiting cities like Dublin, Galway or Kerry, be sure to respect the local customs such as tipping in Ireland and asking for directions politely. It is also important to be mindful of the drinking culture in Ireland – while enjoying a pint in an Irish pub is a great experience, it is important to drink responsibly.

Many visitors to Ireland make the mistake of trying to cram too much into their itinerary, and end up missing out on the hidden gems the country has to offer. Take the time to explore lesser-known attractions like the Slieve League in Donegal rather than the Cliffs of Moher or a museum in Dublin to truly appreciate the rich history and culture of Ireland.

Lastly, when driving in Ireland, remember to drive on the left side of the road and be aware of the currency, as Ireland uses the euro. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can make the most of your time in Ireland and look forward to coming back to Ireland in the future. Learn how to use a roundabout.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Do’s and Don’ts when visiting Ireland

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Visiting Ireland is a dream come true for many – those who have Irish ancestry or have dreamed for years of visiting the Emerald Isle plan every aspect of their trip. For those of you who have watched every Irish movie ever made, and those who are planning their dream trip here is a list of 18 Dublin Don’ts for you, this is just a little bit of fun or as the Irish say “craic” before you visit.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

The Emerald Isle was first named in a poem by Belfast born William Drennan.  Drennan did believe in Irish independence but he was also a great pacifist and parted ways when the rebellion became violent. It is a defining characteristic of Ireland that the perennial rainfall and Irish mist give the lush green landscape its 40 shades of green which were sung about by Johnny Cash.  

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Dublin Don’ts – Things not to do in Dublin

Don’t forget that Ireland is two separate countries, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland which is British. People in Ireland are pretty easy going but don’t mix the two up. North American tourists and those from outside the EU and even within the EU tend to mix up the two countries. But they have different governments and currencies although travel across the border is paperless and you don’t need a passport.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Ireland has a rich and unique Irish culture, making it a great destination for visitors to Ireland. Whether you are a tourist in Ireland from the the rest of the world or an american tourist, there are great places to visit in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. One of the top attractions is the Cliffs of Moher or the Ring of Kerry offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. In cities like Galway, you can immerse yourself in the local Irish culture by visiting an Irish pub for a traditional pint. Make sure to try tipping in Ireland and ask for directions if needed, as the irish people are known for their friendly hospitality.

If your time in Ireland is limited, creating an itinerary is essential to ensure you see all the hidden gems the country has to offer. Don’t forget to visit a leprechaun museum in Dublin and explore the picturesque countryside while driving in Ireland in your rental car. If you’re a visitor to Ireland, be aware that people in Ireland drive on the left side of the road. Back in the city, you can experience the bustling nightlife and the tradition of drinking in Ireland.

Irish Culture and Irish people – what not to do in Ireland to truly experience a great trip

What not to do in Ireland

  1. 1. Don’t expect to drink all night. The majority of pubs close at 11:30 on weeknights and 1 am on the weekend.

Famous Pubs in Dublin for a pint and some craic

Gogarty's pub in temple bar number on is the 15 Dublin Don'ts for a cheap drink

2.  Don’t call an Irish man or woman, British or English this will cause great insult.

3.  The Irish love a party and St. Patrick’s Day is a grand event with loads of craic. Enjoy the party but try not to drink too much.

MARCH 17: Saint Patrick's Day parade in Dublin Ireland on March 17, 2014: People dress up Saint Patrick's at The Temple Bar

4.  Don’t expect an “authentic” trad music session, these do not spontaneously drop from the skies you will be subjected to a canned version in most pubs. So choose carefully.

5. Don’t attempt to imitate an Irish accent, unless you have it down you will be thrown out of the pub.

Looking for some fantastic backpacker accommodation in Dublin check out Will’s posts on Backpacker Hostels.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

35 of the Coolest & Unique Places To Stay In Ireland

6.  Don’t not pay for a round in the pub when out with a group, this is just downright rude. It doesn’t matter if there are 12 people in the group a round is around. As mentioned by some commenters this may be a bit of an old fashioned thing to do but here in Donegal, we do it all the time unless there is an absolutely huge crowd.

7.  Don’t drive in Dublin the traffic is horrendous and those roundabouts are killers, and of course, they drive on the wrong side of the road. Don’t be afraid of driving in Ireland either – the roads can be narrow but take your time very little road rage here. But rent a car travelling in Ireland by public transport is difficult in many places.

8.  Don’t expect the Irish not to take the piss. In other words, if an Irishman is not making fun of you they don’t like you.

Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery celtic crosses marking the graves

9. Don’t go to Temple Bar for “authentic” Irish drinking experiences this is not the place, it is full of young trendy and tourists particularly when the sun goes down, avoid it at night. It’s also crazy expensive.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

10. Don’t pay for Museum entry, most of Dublin’s Museums are free of charge.

11.  Don’t expect to see much of the Book of Kells, they only turn over 2 pages a day and it may not be the illuminated pages you see. You can see a copy of the book itself in Kells village which does have illuminated pages on display.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

Don’t forget to try some authentic Irish cuisine and a full Irish breakfast

12.  Don’t cross the street without looking the right way (or the left way) first, most streets are marked on the road which way to look – pay attention.

13.  Don’t expect table service and a bill in the pub, you pay for your drinks, that you order at the bar, one at a time when you order. Pubs with food expect you to go to the bar, grab a menu, when you are ready you go up to the bar, tell them your table number and order.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

14.  Don’t tip in a pub, generally speaking, the accepted “tip” is to hand over enough to buy a drink and say “have one yourself”.

statue to James Joyce in 15 Dublin Don'ts

15.  Don’t be surprised by the use of swear words, you will hear every kind of them around Dublin and a lot of them.

The Irish have certain “quirks” that sometimes puzzle North Americans, from the language, which includes many sayings and phrasings that have their roots in both Celtic and colonial history.  You will hear a great deal of swearing in Ireland that you don’t run across in North America or the rest of Europe for that matter. The Irish have no filters in that regard.

Study up on the “banter” before you go, the definitive guide to Dublin Patter and Belfast Banter

16. The “craic” which is a tenet of Irish society means to search out the good times and enjoy them wholeheartedly.  Other phrases you will hear are “yer man” and “yer other” which simply indicate him or her. The Irish are naturally friendly and gregarious people who love to chat and for this reason, you will see that many pubs are not set up with TV’s and loud music, the Irish believe that a visit to the pub is a chance to see what is happening in the community, converse with old friends and new and simply meet people.

Molly Malone statue in Dublin - Dublin Don'ts

17. I believe in doing your homework before you visit any country, but I simply cannot believe the number of tourists asking in pubs for an Irish Car Bomb – the sheer ignorance of this is mind-blowing all I can say is don’t just don’t and if you need to know why go and look it up.

18. Oh, and a final word on the subject, as one of my readers says don’t say “top of the morning to you” …..lol…..

Ireland travel is a truly unique experience that will help you make memories to last a lifetime. As the first country in the world to dedicate a “Irish day’ to celebrating the island of Ireland, you’ll find that the people are full of incredible genuine curiosity about the world around them. To truly enjoy your entire trip, it’s worth taking note of a few travel tips to ensure you have the best experience possible.

15 Dublin Don'ts - a little bit of Irish craic for you

When planning a trip to Ireland, especially if you’re from a country like the US and Ireland isn’t something you’re familiar with, it’s important to remember that “Irish isn’t like the English you’re used to hearing. Be respectful of the person you’re speaking to and take the time to learn a bit about Ireland’s history before you go.

During your trip, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you have the best experience possible. First and foremost, as long as you’re respectful of the culture and people you encounter, you’ll find that Ireland is a welcoming and friendly place. Additionally, there are some things you should avoid doing to make sure you don’t inadvertently offend anyone or miss out on the true beauty of the country. This includes not assuming that Ireland is just like your home country and not assuming that everyone in Ireland knows things about your country that you don’t already know.

Grianan of Aileach ring fort, Donegal - Ireland.

Oh, and a final word on the subject, as one of my readers says don’t say “top of the morning to you” …..lol…..

Before you go you may want to watch some Irish fil ems (films) that will enhance your knowledge and enjoyment of the Island.

So much to do both in and out of Dublin – here are a few more articles you may find interesting:

101 Irish sites for your bucket list

101 Northern Ireland landmarks to add to your bucket list

Want to do some off the beaten path do’s in Dublin? – here’s your information

Obviously, there are certain things that are must-see when you hit Dublin – so here they are

53 Ultimate tips for travel to Ireland Céad Míle Fáilte

Travel the iconic Wild Atlantic Way

Mysteries of the Ancient East of Ireland


  • Faith was born in Ireland raised in Canada and has lived in over 10 countries in Europe including England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Spain, Northern Ireland, Wales, along with Mexico, Antigua, the US and has slow travelled to over 40 countries around the world. Graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Women's Studies Faith is a student of history, culture, community and food and has written about these topics for over 40 years.

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23 thoughts on “15 Dublin Don’ts – a little bit of Irish craic for you”

  1. Don’t frequent pubs before 5pm cos you’ll only meet wasters and bullshit artists.
    Have a coffee in some of the very nice cafés that are not one of the global brands.
    Go to a cattle mart for an authentic Irish experience and have dinner in the Mart canteen. It’ll give you months of talking points.
    Go to a hurling match. It doesn’t matter where, just go.

    1. good points David I loved the hurling matches we went to and absolutely avoid the global cafes they totally suck…lol

    2. don’tgo to the pub before 5??? that’s complete BS. I used to live in Dublin and I can tell you that quite a few locals go to the pub for their lunch hour, and yes, having a pint, or at least a half with that, is often considered normal.
      if you only go the pub at night, you’ll just meet more tourists than during the day. pubs and beer are a normal part of everyday culture there (just as they are in the United Kingdom), not just for partying and getting drunk, but for also for daytime socializing, just as cafés are in most other European cities.

  2. Ha!! Good article. We went to Ireland 3 yrs ago. Drove around those scary roundabouts :O….on our first day there. So that was a very well-advised “don’t”. You forgot one thing which we learned: “Don’t expect to eat corned beef in Ireland”. We couldn’t find any restaurant that served it, & when we asked someone about that, he said we will not find corned beef in any Ireland restaurant.

    1. LOL good point about corned beef, I have never seen anyone who is Irish in Ireland eat the stuff but I do know a lot of Canadians who love their kosher corned beef.

  3. Spot on! My husband was born and raised for 27 years in Dublin, and I’ve visited many times. So refreshing to see such an “on point” list!

  4. Not sure if ‘your other’ is a term? ‘ I’m from Dublin and have never heard that before! It’s usually Yer man’ (male) and ‘yer one (female) 🙂 😉

  5. Ok list, bit heavy on the stereotypes, there’s a lot more to Dublin than alcohol. Also it’s not that Irish people or indeed British people drive on the Wrong side, its simply different to the USA.

  6. These points are somewhat exaggerated. The Irish are very friendly and understanding, especially if you are a tourist. The only time they will be rude is if you are rude and/or obnoxious, or ignorant/condescending towards them (*cough Americans). That is my experience with family/friends/locals over there. It really is an amazing place to visit!

    1. Ummm yeah exaggerated that was the point…lol… that’s why it’s a bit of craic and tongue in cheek. Where I live (Donegal) it’s all about the sarcasm, the cynics, the craic, taking the piss and more…

  7. I think rounds are more of an older person thing, anyone that turned 18 during the recession doesn’t really adhere to that unless the drinks are cheap. Don’t buy a round for 12 people, you most certainly won’t get 12 drinks back. Also when a drink costs anything from 6 to 12 euro it wouldn’t be hard to spend a hundred on a round.

    Also don’t bring up politics if you’re American… or British

    1. You could be right about rounds Paul, I notice its mainly us old folk doing that these days lol. Good point on the politics as well.

  8. Gary F Garren

    We do not drink alcohol, but we’d very much like to experience the local life styles and are looking forward to meeting the people. So, when in pub, and not wanting to not be rude or hurt anyone’s feelings, what might be a good way for us to deal with this? And, as a rule, what reaction might we expect from the locals?

    1. You don’t need to worry I’m not a drinker and don’t like the taste of alcohol so I usually order a coffee, tea or water. Most pubs have fancy coffee machines and are well accustomed to folks not having alcohol as drink drive laws are very strict here. You can easily go into a pub and order just an orange juice or a coke and the locals won’t think anything of it.

  9. Barrie Cubbon

    If you pass by a bog and folks are hand digging peat. Stop, chat and dig. The Irish are accommodating and digging and tossing peat is not easy. Try it. Your B & B hosts are your best tour guides. We’ve been to Ireland 9 times for 3 weeks or more each and we haven’t seen it all yet so don’t try to see it all in 10 days
    And forget all the tacky attempts to speak as they do. After all they have been at it for centuries.
    The Irish don’t drive on the wrong side. We do! It is a fun place. Can’t wait to go back

  10. I agree with Paul… pub rounds are now more an older person thing in Ireland, or perhaps something that lingers in some parts of the country. It’s considered nice if you offer to buy the next “round” for one or two friends you are spending a lot of time with, but do NOT feel pressured into buying for a larger group of people.

    You will be seen as a bit of a fool if you are not drinking as much as you are paying for in rounds. Far too often I have seen visitors buying a round for a table, while they sit with just one or two pints all night. Drink in Ireland is expensive, especially if some are ordering spirits and shots – which will surely happen if they see you are easily parted from your freshly converted dollars!

    Irish people are generally kind, friendly and considerate, but in the drunken… I mean merry… haze of a pub, you can end up emptying your wallet in the mistaken belief that you are just doing what is expected of you.

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