Travel Insights

  Weather Temperatures

 

The temperature in Ireland between May and September tends to be in the 60s

Sometimes a bit warmer (into the 70s) and sometimes a bit cooler (high 50s).

 

Irish weather is quite changeable - it can be windy, sunny, and rainy all in one day!

Best Times for Travel To ireland

  • High Season is June, July and August.  Flight and accommodation prices  are highest.

  • Shoulder season, April / May and September/October offer cheaper prices and better availability.

  • In late spring, summer and autumn months, daylight begins early and lasts long into the evenings. In late June, dawn arrives before 4am and daylight on clear days stretches past midnight

  • During the Winter, the days are much shorter with darkness arriving by 4pm

 
 
Suggested Packing List:
Dressing in layers is key to smart packing for Ireland.
  • Passport and travel documents such as airline tickets (with photocopies)

  • Shoes: 

    • 1 pair waterproof hiking shoes. You will be doing easy walks on dedicated pathways which may be wet and/or muddy.

    • 1 other pair of shoes of your choice

  • Tops - long sleeve and short sleeves that you can layer

  • Sweatshirt and/or  warmer sweater

  • Long pants:

    • Two pair of jeans

    • Two pair of lighter weight pants

  • Pajamas

  • Socks and underwear

  • Personal effects such as a watch/alarm clock, jewelry, medications, and toiletries

  • Windproof/waterproof jacket

  • Hats -  baseball style cap and a knit cap (for those windy/cooler days)

  • Scarf

  • Sunglasses and sun block

  • Camera with battery charger, current converter, charge cords,  laptops, iPads (WiFi is available in most hotels)

  • Wash Cloth

  • Small flashlight

 

Electricity:

  • The electrical supply in Ireland is 230v 50hz. The plugs and sockets are different from the USA involving a three-pronged formation.; If your appliances operate on a different current (such as those from North America) you will need a power converter and plug adapter.

  • A plug adaptor does not change the electricity supplied to the appliance, only allows it to be plugged into a different type of wall socket. If the device you are using supports dual voltage and dual frequency then a plate/tag will be located on the item stating "120/240v, 50/60Hz".

  • Most laptop computer and battery chargers are dual voltage, so all you will need to use them with a different supply is a plug adaptor.

  • Power converters step down the voltage from 240v to 120v, allowing equipment which is not dual voltage to operate at the voltage for which it was designed. Converters do not alter the frequency at which electicity is delivered and should be used a maximum of 1-2 hours at a time.

  • Make sure that you select a converter that will accommodate the wattage of the devices you wish to operate.

  • Some laptop computers, electric razors and hair dryers have built-in power converters. However, an adapter plug will be required.

 
Hair Dryers
  • Do not bring hair dryer/Curling Iron from home; Most electrical items from the USA will not work in Ireland. Check the voltage ratings which should be marked on the appliance.
  • Most of the accommodations have hair dryers but the Irish don't usually keep them in the bathroom.

  • Look for the hair dryer in a dressing table drawer, bedside table, or a closet.

 
Irish Dress Code
  • The Irish tend to dress quite casually so you won't need any fancy clothes for dining out. 

Passport Requirements for Entering Ireland

  • To enter Ireland, you need a valid passport with an expiration date of at least 6 months after your return date.

  • U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a Visa to enter the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland (U.K.).

Money: ATMs, Credit Cards & Tipping

Money
  • The Euro (€) is the official currency of the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland (U.K.), the British Sterling Pound (£) is the official currency. U.S. dollars are not accepted. 

  • ATMs are readily available in Northern Ireland. 

  • Use ATMs & credit cards. Banks have odd opening and closing times and smaller towns may not have the capability to exchange foreign currency. Travelers cheques are no longer widely accepted and are more hassle than they are a  convenience. Some banks in Ireland don't cash travelers cheques any more.

    • ATMs are available in the Shannon & Dublin airports and all across Ireland. 

      • Check the back of your debit/ATM card to verify it is a Cirrus or PLUS account. If you don't see Cirrus or PLUS and the debit card is a MasterCard or Visa, look for an ATM with your card's logo (MasterCard or Visa) and your debit card should work there. 

      • If you have any questions about using your debit card abroad, please check with your bank.

        • Let your bank know when and where you're traveling to and to ask if there are foreign transaction charges. 

    • For credit and debit cards, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted for retailing and most services: supermarkets, accommodation, railways, restaurants, gas stations, department stores, payment of parking tickets, airport parking charges, etc.

    • American Express and Diners Club cards are also accepted by some service establishments.

    • Very few if any establishments accept the Discover Card
      ** For U.S. credit cards when doing a transaction in Ireland, you may be asked if you'd like the amount processed in US dollars or the local currency, Euros (Republic of Ireland) or Pound Sterling (Northern Ireland). If you are not asked, You should ask for the local currency rate. In some shops, they've already factored in the currency rate, choosing the local currency so you will get the best exchange rate. If you choose US dollars, typically a 3.5% additional fee is added to your total. 

    • You should take €100 in cash, in €20s or smaller, from your bank before leaving home. Larger bills are not readily accepted

    • If you bring US/Canadian currency, you can exchange it  at the airports, Ireland banks and local ATM machines

    • Once in Ireland, You can then take out more money from an ATM as needed during your trip.

    • ATMs are plentiful in larger cities such as Galway,Cork City, Dublin, Belfast, larger towns such as Ennis, Killary, Armagh. However, they are hard to come by in the small villages  and townships such as Doolin.

    •  Use cash for smaller purchases and your credit/debit card elsewhere.

 
Chip and Pin Credit Cards
  • Ireland has "Chip and Pin" technology for their credit cards. Irish people enter a PIN with all their credit card transactions. If you have a "Chip and Pin" credit card, you will be asked to enter your PIN with a transaction.

  • American credit cards typically have "Chip and Signature" technology. Your credit card can be inserted into the slot for chip cards and a receipt will print out for you to sign.

 
Tipping
  • a customary service charge of 10 to 15% may be added to your check. If a service charge is included tipping is not necessary, unless you received exemplary service

  • In pubs, the bartender does not expect a tip. However, if you receive waiter or waitress services it would be appropriate to tip.

  • Porters should receive about €5-10 depending on amount of baggage

  • Cab drivers - 10% of the fare

  • For your tour driver/guide,  a suggested amount is €10 per day of the tour.

 

Daily Food Costs

  • A lunch of a sandwich, beverage, and chips can cost €8-12. A sit-down dinner in the evening can cost €15 - 25, look for Early Bird specials, usually between 4pm and 6pm. A pint of Guinness costs about €4.50- 7 Euro. On average, one may spend €20 - 40 per day on food and drinks depending on your tastes.

Driving Tips

  • You do not need an International driving licence. Your state driving licence is best

  • Smaller cars suit Irish roads

  • The driver’s seat in Irish vehicles is on the right hand side of the car 

  • Spend the extra money for an Automatic

  • Use a GPS or Sat Nav system; Most Rental companies offer one as an add-on. It is well worth the price

  • Make sure you have a good, concise map & hopefully, somebody else to navigate

  • Get comfortable with the car’s orientation controls and how it operates

  • Keep to the left side of the road; Hard left, wide right. In other words, you make narrow left turns, but wide right turns, the opposite of what you do in the US and Canada

  • Be alert at key moments when some visitors inadvertently revert to driving on the right:

    • The first time setting off in the car in the morning

    • Getting back into the car after a few hours of driving, especially when tired

    • Emerging onto a new road layout, for example after a junction or a roundabout, particularly when not following any other vehicles

    • If you cross the road to park or to visit a gas station, be sure to return to a driving position on the left-hand side when you return to road

  • Take your time - drive slowly at first until you gain confidence. Watch the signs carefully

  • When planning your day's driving schedule, don’t plan to achieve more than an average speed of 40 mph.

  • Direction signs will be in blue for major routes (motorways), green for national roads and white for local roads. Places of interest are signposted by brown (NI: black) signs with white lettering, Often times, these arrows are broken or pointing in the wrong direction

  • If you find yourself holding up traffic flow, simply pull off at the next pullout to allow traffic to pass

  • Expect the unexpected ~Farm equipment, flocks of sheep, cows, pedestrians, bicyclists

  • You will get lost and turned around, instead of geting frustrated, enjoy the Faery led adventure. 

  • Don't be afraid to stop and ask for directions. The locals are usually very helpful and more than willing to offer assistance

Speed Limits:

 

Republic of Ireland

  • Speeds are officially measured in kilometres. Your rental car will show speeds in kilometres, typically with miles shown in the inset (see image).

  • The speed limit for motorways (highways) is 120 kilometres per hour (kmph). The names of the motorways are prefixed with an M, for example the M6 connecting Dublin and Galway.

  • National primary and secondary roads are prefixed with an N, for example the N17 between Galway and Sligo. The speed limit for national roads is 100 kilometres per hour (kmph).

  • Local and regional roads are small roads between villages, prefixed with L or R. Sometimes without road markings, these roads have a top speed limit of 80kmph.

  • A road that has a default 100kmph speed limit may abruptly show a 50kmph sign. These signs often precede a tiny roadside village or school.

  • Many country roads are not well marked. Therefore, it is most helpful to know the name of the next town or village on your route.

  • In rural areas,, directional road signs are usually a single post with a number of arrows pointing in different directions.

Northern Ireland: 

  • There is no marked Border between the Republic and Northern ireland

  • Speed limits and road signs change if you cross into Northern Ireland 

  • in Northern Ireland are prefixed with an "M" for motorway; an "A" and a "B" for primary and non-primary roads. 

  • Northern Ireland uses the miles per hour (MPH) system

Toll roads

  • There are no tolled roads in Northern Ireland but you'll find tolls on a number of roads in the Republic of Ireland

  • Disabled drivers are not charged tolls on roads in the Republic of Ireland

  • Generally tolls are paid at the barrier of the toll booth

  • There is one exception: M50 eFlow Barrier System.

 

M50 eFlow Barrier System

  • There is a barrier-free toll system in operation on the M50 ring road around Dublin. Instead of paying your toll at a toll booth, the system will record your trip by photographing your vehicle's licence plate number. It is important to to pay your toll before 8pm the next day, either online, in branded Payzone outlets or by LoCall 1890 501050.

  • Your rental car company will normally have pre-registered your car, so they will pay your M50 tolls and this will be covered as part of your rental agreement. You should check your rental company when you pick up the car.

Traffic Laws:

  • Seat belts are mandatory; Children under 12 years of age must be in the rear seats. Infants & Toddlers be properly placed in child seats.

  • If, unfortunately, you get a parking ticket, you should pay it even if you are driving a rental car. If a ticket is unpaid the rental car company will be charged, and they in turn will bill your credit card

  • No cellphone usage whilst driving

  • DUI is a serious offense in Ireland. The legal blood alcohol limit is .08.

Parking

  • In some areas parking discs are used instead of meters. Parking discs can be purchased at local shops.

  • If you have a Handicap Placard, you can use this in any vehicle in which you are travelling. Australian and New Zealand Disability Parking Permits can also be used in Ireland. Contact the Disabled Drivers' Association for more information.

  • Do not drive in Dublin ~ Parking spaces are at a premium, the traffic is slower than in New York City and nearly all sights are within walking distance of each other 

 

Roundabouts

  • Only use a roundabout clockwise

  • Once you enter a roundabout you should keep moving. If you miss the exit you wanted keep moving until you come back to it again. You should use your direction signal when exiting in a roundabout.

  • Yield to all vehicles coming from your right and always turn left on entering

  • Don't hesitate when entering theRoundabout

Crossroads:

  • At unmarked crossings the car from the right will have right of way

  •  In the Republic yellow signs with black markings will give instructions at marked crossings

    • a graphic approximation of the layout with thick lines denoting the right of way

    • thinner lines representing roads that have to yield.

    • Additional stop signs or markings on the road surface will help you.

  • At a Crossroad, if you are uncertain as to which way to go, Straight on is the usually the best choice

Petrol

  • Pick the right pump! A green handle denotes unleaded petrol in Ireland

  • i​f you make the mistake of filling up with the wrong fuel: Do not start the car, push it to the side and contact your car rental company immediately. They'll put you into contact with a mobile tank-cleaner. It will be costly, but much cheaper than losing the engine.

  • It would be a good idea to not let your tank drop below 1/3.

  • Gas stations can be few and far between in rural areas with almost none of them offering 24/7-service.

  • Not all gas stations will take credit cards.

 

Irish Times

This is a general guide, as opening hours will vary.

  • Banks are usually open about 10:00 AM and close at about 12:30 PM for lunch. They reopen at about 1:30 PM and generally close sometime between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday.

  • Post offices are open Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM and usually close for one-hour at lunchtime

  • Shops are generally open Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 5:30 PM. Most shops are open late on Thursday and Friday until about 9:00 PM. Some shops and stores close for one hour at lunchtime. Many shops are closed on Sunday.

  • Pharmacies in small villages and towns usually close about 5:30 PM during the week and are closed on Sunday. There is usually a 24 hour pharmacy in larger cities

  • The pubs usually open about 11:00 AM and give last call about 11:00 - 11:30 PM Monday through Saturday. On Sunday the pubs open around 12:00 PM and may close at 2:00 PM and reopen about 4:00 PM. On Sunday, pubs had to close midday (2:30 PM - 3:30 PM) for Holy Hour by law. They are now permitted to stay open all day. However, some may still follow the tradition of closing midday especially in the smaller towns and villages.

  • Restaurants keep various hours. However, full service establishments and many pubs stop serving early by some standards. If you want to have dinner it would be a good idea to check their hours in advance. A good rule of thumb is to arrive no later than 8:00 PM

  • B&B's are not hotels. The B&B proprietors do not want to be up all night.  If you are going to be late checking in (after 6 PM) you should call ahead and let them know.

   

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