Credit Photo: Failte Ireland
Visa, Passport and Embassies
Ireland’s passport and visa requirements vary for different nationalities so check with your local Irish embassy or consulate before you travel.
5 top tips: Passports and Visas in Ireland
1. You need a valid passport to enter Ireland
2. EU citizens can also use a national identity card
3. Always check what form of ID is required by your individual airline, ferry company or travel agent before travelling.
4. Find out about visa requirements from your local embassy or consulate.
5. Your passport must be valid up to the return date of your trip to Ireland
US citizens will need to show a valid passport upon arrival in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Passports must at least be valid for the duration of your stay, but validity for six months after your arrival date is recommended.
Visas for Ireland
If you want to enter Ireland, you may need a visa. Find out more about getting a visa to come to Ireland. In Ireland, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) is primarily responsible for dealing with immigration and visa matters. Please consult the following website to find out if you need a visa to visit Ireland and the application process for securing a visa Visas for Ireland - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Money in Ireland
There are two currencies in use on the island of Ireland, so come prepared.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro. 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.
Remember, higher denomination notes such as €100, €200 and €500 will not normally be accepted in retail outlets, so bring cash in lower denominations when you’re coming to Ireland.
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.
Credit and debit cards
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout the island of 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 (although this usually is accompanied by a fee). You can also withdraw cash from ATMs with your MasterCard or Visa debit card. Fees will still be charged but at a lower rate to credit cards. Ireland uses a “chip and pin” system for debit and credit card transactions. Most retailers will accept swipe cards but please note this is not always guaranteed. It is recommended that you notify your bank of your travel plans prior to your departure.
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.
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.
Not too hot and not too cold. It can be described as changeable – it's rarely extreme – you'll find Ireland's climate just right.
In Ireland, everyone talks about the weather. Whether it's discussing the direction of the rain from a supermarket doorway, or musing that it's 75°F in March from a bar counter. Irish weather can be unpredictable, so we like to discuss it. A lot.
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 cosy pub to wait out the shower. You can imagine which one is our favourite strategy.
Getting around Dublin & Ireland
Traveling in Ireland by rail
Ireland's rail services are a comfortable and convenient way to travel around the country.
Ireland’s rail networks serve the island with Irish Rail in the Republic and Northern Ireland Railways operating in Northern Ireland. The Dart (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) serves Dublin’s coast and city area from Howth and Malahide in north County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in south County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow. Another way to travel in Dublin city is by Luas, the light rail service that travels across the south and west of the city including the city center areas.
And now, it's easier than ever to travel in Dublin! The brand new pre-paid Leap Visitor Card is a prepaid pass that allows you to travel on all public transport in the Dublin region - Dublin Bus, Irish Rail short-hop train zone, airport transfers via Airlink 747 buses as well as the Luas and DART for a whole 72 hours (3 days) from its first use. Simply use your card to Touch On Leap Card Validators before or as you board the bus/train/tram and Touch Off when you alight or leave the station and the journey is registered on your Leap Card. It's that easy!
The Leap Card isn’t just good for getting around the city: you can use it to explore Dublin far and wide, including coastal villages, suburban towns and everything in between. You can pick up your Leap Card on arrival at Dublin airport.
Renting a car
Car hire companies in Ireland are generally based in airports and cities.
You will need a valid licence and a credit card to rent a vehicle in Ireland. Most rental companies will not rent to drivers under 25 but there is no upper age limit. However, if you are over 75, you will be asked to meet additional requirements. This information is generally included in the terms and conditions on the company's website. Try and book in advance to get better offers or deals and to ensure availability during the high season.
In Ireland, the majority of rental cars are standard shift (manual transmission). Automatic cars are available, but you should book well in advance of travelling to avoid disappointment.
For information on driving in Ireland, follow this link Travelling around Ireland – use any form of transport | Ireland.com
(Information submitted by Abbey Tours)