Located in northwestern Europe, the majestic island of Ireland with rolling mountains, breathtaking monuments, ancient castles exquisite landscapes, rugged terrain, and lip-smacking beer and whiskey is truly a stunner. Housing two unique and magnificent UNESCO World Heritage sites – Brú na Bóinne and Skellig Michael, Ireland is one of the world’s most greenest and friendliest tourist places, making it ideal for all kinds of travelers. But while the warmth and hospitality offered by the Irish makes it a traveler’s delight, you must follow some basic Ireland travel tips when you visit it for a fun and trouble-free vacation.
15 Best Ireland Travel Tips To Keep In Mind
Like any other tourist destinations, there are various safety precautions and tips to be kept in mind while traveling to Ireland. Here are some useful things to know before visiting Ireland that will help you plan and execute a wonderful holiday.
1. Pack For An Unpredictable Weather
Ireland’s weather is pretty notorious for changing with the blink of an eye. One minute it’s weepingly wet and the next minute it’s sunny and warm. You must keep a tab on the weather forecast on the internet every day before leaving your hotel. And here’s what you must pack for Ireland:
- Rainproof jackets and umbrellas
- Sweaters and knitted tops
- Extra pair of trekking shoes and comfortable boots
- Plenty of warm clothes even in the summer
- Hats, scarves, and gloves
- Portable mobile chargers
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
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2. Know The Difference Between Ireland And Northern Ireland
Although Irish people are kind and helpful, one must know the geographical attributes before visiting this famous tourist destination. The Republic of Ireland, commonly known as just Ireland is a separate country and is a part of European Government. Therefore, the currency used here is Euros. On the other hand, Northern Ireland is a separate nation that falls under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, which uses Pound sterling as currency.
3. Rent A Car To See The Country
The public transport system of Ireland is less reliable when it comes to exploring the hidden jewels of Ireland. If you wish to explore the popular attractions of Ireland all by yourself, then renting a car is the best option. Most of the roads in Ireland are windy and are one-way, making it easy to navigate. So, if you are planning to rent a car, then here are some quick things to remember:
- Drive on the left side of the road
- Seat belts are compulsory for persons sitting at the front seats
- Use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited
- Children under 12 are not allowed to sit in the front
- Drive within the speed limits, look for signs
- Drinking and driving is a serious offence in Ireland
- Don’t use horns between 11 PM and 7 AM
- International driving permit is must to rent a car in Ireland
- Most of the places in Ireland have paid parking
- Look for street signs showing parking information displayed in both Irish (Gaelic) and English
4. Do Not Tip In Ireland
Most of the restaurants, bartenders, food counters, and even the taxi drivers in Ireland do not accept tips. The invoices are usually inclusive of the service tax, which is generally 10%. If you are too happy with the services offered, you can appreciate the efforts with a small tip.
5. Plan Your Dining And Shopping Schedules
This is one of the most important Ireland travel tips for travelers. Restaurants, pubs, and shopping stores are not open round the clock in Ireland. Therefore, it is best to get your shopping errands done before sunset and by Saturday. Sunday is observed as a day of rest in many smaller towns and villages. However, many independent cafes, restaurants, and shopping stores in major tourist places are open till late to entertain guests.
6. Wear A Swim Cap In The Pool
If you wish to plunge into a public or even a hotel pool, you must wear a swim cap. Ireland laws do not let swimmers not wearing a proper swimsuit with all accessories to enter the swimming pool. Swim caps are compulsory even for young children. You can even buy them from the hotels for 3 to 5 Euros.
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7. Don’t Drink In Public Areas
Among all the travel tips for Northern Ireland and even for the Republic of Ireland (or Ireland), this is the foremost thing to remember. The Irish government has strict laws against locals and tourists caught drinking in parks and on the beaches. Heavy fines are levied, or the individual is even imprisoned till a bail is issued.
8. Respect The Irish People And Customs
Regardless of which country you are traveling to, this is probably the most important travel tip every tourist must be aware of. It always nice to make eye contact with everyone you meet on the street and nod. In Ireland, make a conscious effort to thank the bus driver, the shopkeeper, the hotel staff, and so on.
9. Buy A Heritage Card To Visit Historic Marvels
One of the most affordable ways to explore all cultural and heritage sites of Ireland is to get yourself a Heritage Card from the Office of Public Works (OPW). The Heritage Card costs just 25 Euros and is valid for up to one year. There are more than 75 heritage sites all over the country besides castles, national parks, and war memorial gardens. A few of these heritage sites give free entrance. You can also buy a Heritage Card online in advance. The card comes handy to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites like Bru-na-Boinne and Skellig Michael.
10. Shop Tax Free
Don’t forget to grab a refund of the tax money levied on all your shopping bills when you’re at the airport. Many retailers across Ireland will specially have posters or stickers on their store frontage saying that the items sold here are tax-exempted for tourists. This is one of the best Ireland travel tips for shopaholics who don’t want to spend a lot on shopping but still wish to take home loads of gifts for friends and families and some local memorabilia.
11. Backpack Across Ireland
Image source: One of the best backpacking tips for Ireland travel that we can give you is to book a stay in a hostel. Other than this, you must make sure to book your tickets for all attractions as well as the Heritage Card way in advance. Try to travel on foot around the cities, and eat like a local from street side vendors, diners, and small restaurants. Ireland is undoubtedly a perfect retreat for backpackers if these tips are followed.
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12. Know Some Irish Lingo
No matter which country your choose to travel, It is extremely important to know some common words and phrases of that particular nation. Irish people on the other hand love to talk in slang coupled with strong accents. So it is good to know a few common Irish phrases.
“Top of the morning to you” – Good Morning
“Bang on” – That’s great!
“Aye” – Yes
“Wee” – Small
“Hey boyo” – Hey there (aimed at guys)
“What’s the craic?” – What are you up to?
13. Consider More Than One Airport
Ireland receives a majority of tourist traffic coming through the Dublin International Airport, which makes it crowded during peak season. So it’s absolutely convenient to consider other international airports. You have the Belfast International Airport in Northern Ireland and Cork Airport in the southern part of Ireland that you can fly to. In the western part of Ireland, you have Shannon and Knock airports for easy breezy flying experience.
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14. Plan Your Trip In Advance
Thee flight tickets to Ireland during the peak tourist season are expensive. So, it is recommended to book your tickets in advance. You can book a cheap Ryanair flight and like many other European countries, Irish Rail gives you the option of booking train tickets in advance.
15. Don’t Just Drink At The Irish Pubs
Renowned for its drinking culture and nightlife, Ireland pubs are famous for many more things than just Guinness, Ireland’s famous beer. Most Irish pubs serve traditional and authentic Irish dishes that are so enticing that you would want to revisit.
From nature to history and from serving the best beers in the world to taking you to enchanting places, Ireland has a lot in its kitty to offer to all kinds of travelers from any corner of the globe. Keep these Ireland travel tips in mind before you book your getaway to Ireland and enjoy a fabulous holiday experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ireland Travel Tips
A. There are quite a few things to know before traveling to Ireland like renting a car, no tipping, packing for an unpredictable weather, and so on.
A. Irish people do not entertain tipping. But if you are impressed by the services offered at a restaurant, you are allowed to tip as per your discretion.
A. When in Ireland, never debate with taxi drivers, never say that Ireland is part of the British Isles, and never ask for directions in Kerry.
A. Ireland is a famous tourist destination and like other tourist places in Europe, the flight tickets are expensive during the peak season. Christmas holidays in December and the summer months (from June to August) are the times when the airfare costs are high.
A. Well, one of the best ways to save money when traveling to Ireland is by buying a Heritage Card which costs around 25 Euros. The card comes handy in exploring the historic places and monuments of Ireland.
A. No matter what places you choose to explore here, your Ireland vacation will not disappoint you. But, here are a few places that are best for an Ireland vacation itinerary:
1. Rock of Cashel
4. Cliffs of Moher
6. Ring of Kerry
7. Achill Island
8. Slieve Cliffs
9. Dunluce Castle
10. Dark Hedges
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