Travel Essentials: Visiting Ireland

Travel Essentials: Visiting Ireland

Written By: Lobster

Over the last few decades, travel to Ireland has become more common and is now a bit easier of a country to visit for any first time travellers or those coming from international destinations. While I have visited Ireland many times throughout the last five years, I can definitely see that things are a lot more streamlined and less complicated thanks to changes to European travel regulations and currency.

Even though things have changed, there is still some information you should know before visiting. These factors could make a difference in your experience of Ireland and give you a heads up for things that you need to expect once you’re there.

For those who might not be aware, Ireland is actually divided into two countries -- and Northern Ireland doesn’t use the euro like most European countries, but instead uses the pound sterling. If you’re using an international banking system or card that works at the ATMs, this likely won’t be an issue for you, but if you need to go to certain locations where that’s not possible, you’ll need to obtain the proper currency. Most goods are often cheaper in Northern Ireland than they are in other parts of the country -- something to consider if you plan on doing a lot of shopping. With Brexit on the horizon, things could always change so you want to make sure to do your homework before you set out on your holiday. One interesting note to make is that if you are travelling as a visitor from outside of the European Union, you will be able to shop tax-free throughout Ireland.

Though I don’t always advocate hiring a car, you might be interested in getting a small one while you’re visiting Ireland. If you’re visiting major cities, you will definitely be able to use the mass transit system conveniently and easily, but if you’re wanting to explore the more rural areas, you will need to have your own vehicle. Depending on which country you’re visiting from, you’ll want to remember that in Ireland drivers are on the left side of the road, which is opposite of those driving in the United States. You’ll also want to be extra careful if you’re driving, as many of the country roads are winding and rather narrow. The local drivers definitely know how to navigate these winding streets, so you’ll want to pay special attention to the road especially if you’re not used to driving on the left side.

When travelling to any international destination, the custom of tipping varies and is important to know what the customs are before you arrive in a destination so that you don’t insult anyone or appear rude. In Ireland, restaurant table service is a common avenue for tipping, and any service that provides you personal assistance usually accepts a tip of at least 10 percent. This includes taxi drivers or anybody at the hotel that might offer you extra assistance -- in these cases tipping is not mandatory but it is often acceptable.

The weather in Ireland is often unpredictable and the oceanic-like climate means that Ireland is often prone to a good amount of rain throughout the year, especially if you’re visiting any of the points of interest on its western coast. Weather can change rather quickly, so even if you leave the hotel during the morning and it’s perfectly sunny, you might end up in an afternoon downpour. One of the best ways to prepare for Ireland weather is to wear layers and have a pair of waterproof shoes, just in case it cools down over the course of your visit. Lightweight clothing is often best because it’s easier to pack and allows you to add or take off layers as you see fit.

Though mass transit is very affordable throughout Ireland, the trains are a little bit more expensive but they do come with many great amenities like bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. If you want to try and save some money when using the trains, book your train tickets in advance so that you can take advantage of any discounts that are applied when you purchase early. Otherwise, you will need to pay full price if you purchase your tickets at the station. Exploring Ireland by train is one of the best ways to go because you don’t have to worry about driving and you have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you.

Ireland is one of the true beautiful destinations in the world and creates a relaxing and interesting atmosphere full of friendly people and historic sites.

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Countries: Ireland
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