Every year, millions of people travel to Ireland from the USA after work or during weekends. Some do so for business purposes, some plan romantic getaways with their spouse, and others want to explore the green land of their ancestors.
No matter what your reason is for travelling to this wonderful country, it’s always wise to learn more about the place you’re visiting before actually setting off on a trip. The following list describes 17 essential things you should know before planning travel to Ireland from USA:
Irish (Gaelic) is one of the official languages spoken in the country; however English fluency is high among its population. There are several other minority languages as well that are understood by but not necessarily used in daily life.
2. Currency, weights and measures
Although the Euro is used for most transactions in Ireland, many people still use British pounds. Distance is measured in kilometers while weight is measured in kilograms. Clocks are set to Dublin time – GMT+0 hour during winter months, GMT+1 hour during summer months (Irish Standard Time).
3. Culture traditions
Some of the culture-related items you should familiarize yourself with include traditional Irish music session (craic), green attire on St Patrick’s Day, Guinness World Records Museum, etc. Note that pubs are often crowded at lunchtime and that it’s customary to order food when drinking alcohol. If invited to somebody’s home for dinner or other occasion, be punctual; it’s impolite to arrive late.
Ireland has humid, temperate oceanic climate with few extremes of temperature and ample precipitation all year long. The sea moderates the impact of cold fronts from the Atlantic Ocean, which produces high temperatures during summer months (June – August). Rainfall amounts vary greatly between coastal areas and mountains; be aware that potential visitors should come prepared for rain regardless of time of year they plan travel to Ireland from USA.
Although crime rates are higher than many other European countries, one can feel relatively safe while traveling in Ireland as long as common sense is applied. Avoid public drunkenness, especially on St Patrick’s Day when there tend to be more people out celebrating than usual!
6. Cultural diversity
The Irish are very friendly towards foreign visitors, but be prepared for occasional disdainful looks from locals if you’re wearing revealing clothes or acting in a way that’s not considered to conform with local standards (for example, kissing your spouse on the street).
7. Natural disasters and disease outbreaks
Ireland is located in an active seismic zone. While there haven’t been any devastating earthquakes recorded here, people should take precautions before travel to Ireland from USA by consulting experts and checking online information sources about potential dangers. Note that the climate is favorable for ticks; make sure to wear long pants and closed shoes when going into the woods.
8. Transportation, traffic and driving rules
There is a well-developed public transport system in Ireland; use it if possible as roads are limited to 30km/h (19mph) speed limits in urban areas, 60km/h (37mph) outside of towns and 160km/h (100mph) on motorways. Note that you should always check your route before travel to Ireland from USA so you won’t get lost – even large cities like Dublin have parts where maps aren’t accurate because they were designed decades ago!
9. Shopping and expenses
Ireland is known for its woollen knitwear, ceramics, crystal glassware, Irish linen products and other goods. Make sure to pick a “charity bag” whenever you purchase any of those items as a portion of the proceeds usually goes to homeless people. Food and drink is relatively inexpensive in Ireland, but visitors should be prepared for smaller portions than they’re used to. Local restaurants follow closely Irish traditions when it comes to food quality and taste; if something was undercooked or doesn’t seem appealing you shouldn’t force yourself to eat it unless it’s specially made for vegetarians!
10. What if something happens?
If anything happens – fire, flood, accident – your first call should be always to 999 or 112 (the European Union standard). Make sure that somebody from your party stays at the scene until help arrives because there have been cases when intoxicated people moved the debris and caused more harm or even fatalities.
11. Organized excursions in Ireland
Guided tours are available in most major cities, e.g. Dublin City Tour, Ring of Kerry tour etc.; they’re recommended if you want to explore places of interest quickly and with knowledgeable guide who can provide historical background information about the attractions you visit. Note that most guided tours require reservation up to 2-5 days in advance during peak season (May – September). If you travel on your own outside this period it’s advisable to ask for advice from local tourist office since some museums and theaters have different opening hours during low season!
12. Can I drink the water?
Tap water is safe for drinking purposes in Ireland; however, visitors who prefer bottled water can choose from a wide selection available in shops and restaurants throughout the country.
13. How to get out of Dublin?
The cheapest way to get out of Dublin is by train, but if you want more freedom it’s better to organize carpooling with other people who are visiting Ireland at the same time. There are many carpooling options available on the internet; make sure your driver is trustworthy before agreeing on specific arrangements! You may also use bus or coach service depending on how much money you’re willing to spend (generally buses are cheaper). The main coach station in Dublin is Dublin Busaras; there are regular connections to Belfast, Derry, Galway and more cities around Ireland – check schedules and book your ticket in advance if you want to travel during peak season or on weekends!
14. What is the best time for traveling to Ireland?
The best time for traveling to Ireland from USA depends on what’s your primary destination: major cities like Dublin, Cork and Limerick are popular all year round; while smaller towns like Kilkenny and Waterford have their high season between May and September; places such as Dingle (Kerry) attract visitors who prefer outdoor activities such as hiking, surfing and horseback riding between June and August .
15. How much money do I need to travel to Ireland?
Ireland has a significant tourism industry so it can be expensive at times but still cheaper than other countries in Europe. The average daily budget for one person is around 100-150 Euros; the prices heavily depend on types of activities and accommodation you select (city center hotels will be more expensive than locations outside the town). If you’re traveling on a shoestring budget, note that there are lots of free attractions in most towns and cities: parks, castles, small museums etc.
16. Where to find good nightlife?
Dublin is known as a party city with lots of local pubs where you can enjoy live music or visit some nightclubs after dark. Kilkenny has its own version of Dublin’s Temple Bar district so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to go dancing! Other popular places include Cork City Centre and Limerick City Center where you can find some decent pubs with live music.
17. What to do when landing in Dublin?
After leaving the plane, follow signs marked “arrivals” and then proceed towards baggage reclaim area – remember that it’s located on a different level from where you came in. On your way pick up an “official guide to Ireland” brochure because it contains useful information such as important telephone numbers (emergency services +353 999 or 112; police +353 1 666 2000 etc.), local time and currency conversion etc.; if you prefer electronic format simply read this article and keep it on your smartphone or tablet device during entire trip to Ireland! Note that you can buy SIM card in the arrivals hall – it’s much cheaper than obtaining mobile connection when already there. Finally, pick up a taxi organized by one of the official companies (they are always near exits) to reach the destination faster and safer!