Essential tips for visiting Ireland
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Climate and Weather
Ireland has a mild, temperate climate with a mean annual temperature of around 10°C. Temperatures in the centre and east of the country can vary, with summer mean daily maximums of about 19 °C and winter mean daily minimums of about 2.5 °C. Rain showers can occur at any time of the year. Find out more information on Irish weather.
Dial code for Ireland
Voltage: 230 volts
Plug type: IS 401 (BS1363). Plugs are identical to those used in the United Kingdom (3-pin). Plug-adaptors will be required for visitors from Continental Europe.
Call 999 or 112, the EU-wide emergency number for police, the fire brigade or ambulance.
Irish is the official first language of Ireland but English - the second official language - is the most widely spoken. All official documentation, place names and sign posts appear in both languages.
GMT (CET -1 hour)
The official currency of Ireland is the Euro. All banks in Ireland operate exchange desks and there are some independent bureau de change kiosks in Dublin city centre. Alternatively, ATM cash machines will accept most credit and debit cards.
All common credit cards are widely accepted in Ireland.
Shopping hours are generally 9am-6pm Monday to Saturday, although in Dublin and other larger towns some may stay open later, and some are open on Sundays. Generally newsagents open earlier in the morning and stay open longer in the evening.
Banks are open from 10am-4pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 5pm on Thursdays (some banks open on Saturdays too.)
Opening hours for restaurants vary. Lunch is typically served between 12.30 and 14.30 daily. Dinner is usually served from 19.00 onwards, however many restaurants offer an “early bird” menu between 17.00 – 19.00, providing two or three-course meals at reduced prices. Restaurants usually take orders until 21.30, though many open later on weekends.
Find out more about dining out in Dublin
Pubs are open 10.30am to 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, until 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, and 12.30 pm to 11.30 pm on Sunday. Pubs in Ireland are closed on Good Friday. Most nightclubs will serve until around 2.30am.
Post offices usually open Mon-Fri 9.00am to 5.30pm (some smaller offices close at lunchtime), and Sat 9.00 to 1.00. The GPO in O’Connell Street is open until 6.00 pm Mon-Sat.
Public Holidays during the Irish Presidency
New Year's Day (1st January)
St. Patrick's Day (18th March *)
Easter Monday (1st April)
First Monday in May (6th May)
First Monday in June (3rd June)
As St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) falls on a Sunday in 2013, 18th March will be a public holiday in lieu.
A smoking ban has been in place in Ireland since 2004. Smoking is not permitted anywhere indoors, except in hotel rooms (if permitted by the hotel), and private accommodation.
Telephone Directory Assistance
11850, 11890, 11824 or 11811 (connection fees may apply for use of these services).
Ireland does not have a particularly strong tipping culture. As a general rule:
No tips are expected in pubs, at counter service bars or restaurants, in Bed and Breakfast accommodation, or in restaurants where a service charge has already been added on the bill (this is usually printed somewhere at the bottom of the menu, and should show up on the bill, but if in doubt just ask the waiter). In restaurants where no service charge has been added, 10% is acceptable.
A small tip is expected for lounge staff (about 1-2 Euro for every round served at your table), taxi drivers (usually just rounding up to the next Euro or a bit more, if the driver has been very helpful) hotel housekeeping (also about 1-2 Euro per person per night unless service has been exceptional), and for room service and porter’s services.
Travelling in Ireland
Find out about travelling around Ireland.