5 Things you should know about Ireland
From city beaches to the wilds of the Atlantic Way Ireland’s coastline spans over 7500 kilometers of magnificent scenery. The geographic isolation of Ireland has allowed it to develop a rich cultural heritage full of tradition and history and maintain its second language Gaelic. Over 39% of the Irish speak Gaelic and today there are entire regions on the west coast called gaeltachts that only speak the ancient language.
You will find lots to read on visiting Ireland on this blog. I have a series of posts on Getting Out of Dublin for the day to see Newgrange, Avoca Mill, and Powerscourt not to mention Dining in Dublin and Dublin’s neighbourhoods and of course my list of Dublin Don’ts.
Here are 5 things you should know about Ireland before you go.
1 Visas: Citizens of certain countries must apply for an entry visa before they travel to Ireland. If you require a visit/holiday visa and do not have one when you arrive in Ireland, you will not be allowed to enter the country. A visit/holiday visa is for a short-term stay and will not exceed a maximum of 90 days.
2. If you are a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland, you do not require a visit/holiday visa to travel to Ireland. You have the right to enter and reside in Ireland for a period of up to 90 days. Canadians and Americans also do not require a Visa to visit Ireland.
3. Currency: Ireland uses the Euro as its official currency. One euro consists of 100 cents. Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. Coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2. High denomination notes such as €100, €200 and €500 will not normally be accepted in the shops and restaurants, so bring cash in lower denominations when you’re coming to Ireland.
4. Banking and obtaining money: Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Ireland; American Express is accepted in some places but not all. Credit cards can be used for purchases and also to withdraw cash from ATMs. Ireland uses a “chip and pin” system for debit and credit card transactions. Some Banks in Ireland have arrangements with US or Canadian banks to use their ATM’s without fees so double check before you go.
5. Internet and Phones: Internet and email access is readily available throughout Ireland. Internet cafés and access points are available throughout the city and country. Wireless hotspots are common throughout the country, available at most hotels and at many pubs, cafes and restaurants. It may be advisable to pick up a SIM card to drop into your phone so you can use data at the going rate instead of expensive data from your home country.
6. Clothing/Weather: Ireland at any time of year can be damp, wet, and chilly. Depending on which time of year you are going to visit, check the weather conditions and dress accordingly. A good water and wind proof jacket are recommended if you are planning on hiking along with a good pair of walking shoes as Dublin is a highly walk able city.
7. Tipping: There is not a strong tipping culture in Ireland but many locals and visitors tend to tip for certain services, in particular restaurants, taxis and personal services (e.g. hairdressing). A rough general guide follows. If you want to tip and are in doubt about how much, think 10%. Warning, watch your restaurant bill, many already add a service charge to the bill and you could end up “tipping” twice. It is also worth keeping in mind that often serving staff, both bar and floor, do not receive tips which are added to either credit cards (or in hotels those which are added to room charge) it is always best to ask in advance, to ensure your tip is received by staff and not the establishment.
Bartenders: No tip expected, if you are part of a large group who have had a number of drinks and exceptional service from the staff, you might consider a tip of €1 to €2 Euros). Moreover, while barmen do not expect tips, lounge staff (floor serving staff) does and €1 or €2 for a large round is considered acceptable.
Taxis do not expect tips but it is common practice to round up the fare to the higher and not expect change.
Interested in finding some activities in Dublin that are no cost, then read no further my fellow blogger Maria has a great post here about Free Things to Do in Dublin.
Interested in visiting Ireland? Lots more to read here.
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