Just in case you’re too lazy to flip through a guidebook…
Here’s a quick rundown of Irish etiquette, Wi-Fi info, cash exchange, SIM cards…and more!
5 Things to avoid:
- Probably the most important thing to avoid is describing the whole country as being part of the United Kingdom. Only the counties in Northern Ireland are considered part of the UK, with the other 26 counties being part of the independent Republic of Ireland.
- Avoid bringing up politics or religion, as Irish people can be sensitive about these topics. Stay away from talking about the IRA and the Troubles, especially in the North.
- Refrain from public displays of affection, it’s considered inappropriate.
- Ireland was the first country in the world to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces, so they are very serious about it. Avoid doing so unless you want to receive a hefty fine.
- Don’t brag about what percent Irish you are. However, if you know which part of Ireland your family comes from, locals may be willing to discuss your heritage.
Irish weather is generally pretty mild, though wet and it can sometimes change very quickly. The average temperature is 50°F.
From February to April, the average highest temperatures will range from 46 to 54°F
From May to July, the average highest temperatures are between 64 and 68°F.
From August to October, highest temperatures hit between 64 and 57°F.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 46°F.
Ireland uses Greenwich Mean Time less than half of the year. During the summer it becomes Irish Standard Time (IST) in the Republic and British Summer Time (BST) in Northern Ireland, that’s GMT+1. This lasts from the last Sunday of March until the last Sunday of October.
Citizens of the EEA member states and many other countries including USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand do not require visas to gain entry to Republic or Northern Ireland. The full list of countries whose citizens do NOT require a visa can be found here.
Citizens of all other countries should contact their local Irish Embassy/Consulate prior to traveling to the Republic of Ireland, and visitors to Northern Ireland should contact their local British Embassy/High Commission or Consular Office.
English is the main language in Ireland, though the Irish do tend to twist it a bit and blend the grammatical styling of Irish into the English language. At least 30% of the population are able to speak Irish Gaelic, the first official language of Ireland. Ullans is also sometimes spoken in Northern Ireland.
When with a group of friends at a pub, a system of “rounds” is used. Each person will offer to buy a round for everyone in their group. If you’re one of the people who don’t offer, it’s considered extremely rude.
While you may be tempted to jokingly use phrases like “Top of the Morning” or “May the Road Rise to Meet You,” the Irish don’t actually ever say these types of things. Many might even consider it a major insult.
In general you should always demonstrate decent manners and respect to the local culture and traditions.
Keep in mind that cars in Ireland drive on the left. So beware when you’re crossing streets.
For emergency, dial 999 or 112 for ambulance, police, coast guards, mountain rescue or fire.
Ireland is generally very safe, and pickpockets don’t occur as often as they do in other European countries. Just use your common sense and intuition.
In the Republic of Ireland, the official currency is the euro. In Northern Ireland, the pound is the local currency.
ATM machines can be found in many places.
The best place to do money exchange is at the airport.
While cash is widely prefered over credit cards, most places will accept credit cards.
It is customary to leave 10-15% tip, however, restaurants often add on a service charge so it’s worth checking your bill if you don’t want to tip twice.
The country code for Northern Ireland is +44, and the country code for the Republic of Ireland is +353.
You can buy a SIM card at the airport, and folks at the store will advice you about which card is the best for your trip. The best may be a pay-as-you-go card so you can add time whenever you need more.
Wi-Fi is quite prevalent throughout Ireland, so you won’t have a problem getting connected.
It is an offense to use wireless internet without being given the permission of the administrator, so always check for “Free Wi-Fi” signs before logging on.
Power is supplied from wall sockets between 220-240V. The alternating current cycle is rated at speed of 50Hz. (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts.)
You can safely drink the tap water in Ireland.
Taxis and minicabs are prevalent throughout major cities. The more rural you go, the less you’ll see taxis.