A passport or national identity card is the only documentation needed by citizens of the other EU member states to enter Ireland. Citizens from non-EU states must have a passport but not a visa for a short-term trip to Ireland.
Travelers from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are not required to have a visa to enter the country. Citizens of a number of countries from the Middle East, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe are required to hold visas in order to enter Ireland. For further information, you should refer to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
The summer months constitute the main tourist season in Ireland. July and August are particularly busy. This is also the time when the weather tends to be at its best. Hotels and accommodation in Ireland during this period can be expensive, although there are more affordable Irish hotels available for those willing to shop around. Cheap hotels are easier to find during the off-peak seasons, for instance in the autumn and spring.
Most stores and shopping centers open from 9-6, Monday to Friday, with late night shopping on Thursday evenings, normally until 9pm. There is selective opening on Sundays, through Sunday trading is increasing in both popularity and availability. There are a number of local convenience stores that open from 8-11, some even later.
Banks open from 10-4 from Monday to Friday.
Bars and pubs have had their opening hours curtailed in the last year. Bars open from 10.30am to 11.30pm between Monday and Thursday. On Friday and Saturday evenings, last orders are at 12.30am. On Sundays, closing time is 11.30pm. The majority of nightclubs serve alcohol until 1.30am, and close at 2.30pm. There are some exceptions to this, mainly in Dublin city.
Tipping is not ingrained in the Irish culture, and so is normally up to the discretion of the visitor. The minimum wage for workers in Ireland is quite high so tipping is not that customary. The most likely places that one may tip are in hairdressers, taxis, restaurants and in Irish hotels. 10-15% is sufficient, but in all cases, one should only tip if the service has been good!
The Republic of Ireland has introduced a blanket ban on smoking in all places of work to protect public health and reduce the incidences of smoking-related illness.
Smoking is prohibited in public areas within the Republic of Ireland – this includes all bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Although hotel bedrooms may be exempt from the ban, it is applied to all other areas within hotels.
Ireland extends a warm welcome to visitors with disabilities.
Since hosting the Special Olympics in 2003, many public places and visitor attractions are now accessible to wheelchair users, and an increasing number of restaurants and pubs, hotels and guesthouses are well equipped to accommodate disabled guests.
The island of Ireland is 304 miles/486 km long and 172 miles/275 km wide and is divided into four historic provinces – Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught.
Within these four provinces are 32 counties. The Republic of Ireland consists of 26 counties and Northern Ireland consists of six counties.
Vaccines are neither compulsory nor necessary unless you are traveling from an infected country.
Ireland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and, in accordance with daylight saving, clocks are put forward one hour mid-March and back one hour at the end of October.
During summer it stays light until as late as 11pm but by mid-December it can be dark by 4pm.
"Hi Martin - I wanted to let you know how much you were appreciated by our group on our trip through Ireland. I count it as a big blessing that I found you through the internet. It is a unanimous consensus that you were the perfect person to transport us along those ancient highways. Such courage in spending two weeks in a van with eleven women!
Sacred Tour, September 2010