English is the main language across both the Republic and Northern Ireland, although Gaelic is still spoken in certain areas. You are likely to see both English and Gaelic on road signs but the majority of Irish speak English as their first language.
Food & drink
Irish cuisine puts a focus on locally sourced, high-quality produce and there are some fantastic establishments, markets and festivals emerging which highlight this. Being an island nation, fish and seafood is plentiful, but nowadays you are just as likely to find excellent local meat and dairy products.
Traditional Irish soda bread is now an artisan product rather than a staple part of the diet, and the plenteous local herbs are being artfully used in dishes and even gin distilling.
Although not traditionally associated with Ireland, there are a number of gin stills emerging and whiskey too is on the rise, with several mini-distilleries opening across the land to compete with the more established names. Guinness is perhaps Ireland’s most famous export, but again micro-breweries are emerging to offer more local, flavored beers.
Ireland does not have the same tipping culture as you find in the US and Canada, and in general you'd only give tips to drivers/guides, to waiting staff in restaurants and to certain hotel staff. In restaurants, it is normal to tip around 10% of the total cost of the meal. Do check your bill first though, as some establishments will have added this on automatically.
Money & expenses
The currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (€). As Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, the currency here is Pound Sterling (GBP £). You can pre-purchase Euros from currency exchange offices across the world, or at the airport prior to flying. You will find ATMs accepting all major credit and debit cards in all cities and larger towns, but if you are visiting rural areas you should make sure you have enough cash with you.
Although most shops and restaurants will accept credit card payments, you may incur a fee if you use your card for small amounts. American Express and Diners Club cards are not widely accepted.
Food and drink is not cheap across Ireland and is at its most expensive in Dublin. Allow around €10-15pp for lunch each day (including drinks) and €20-30pp for a two-course dinner with drinks. The more exclusive restaurants, and hotel restaurants, may be more expensive but equally it is possible to find simpler, cheaper fare.
The international dialing code for the Republic of Ireland is +353, and in Northern Ireland it is +44. Phoning abroad from hotels can be expensive, although most hotels will also have complimentary Wi-Fi, which makes using programs such as Skype a viable option to speak to family at home.
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the State Department website.
When to go to Ireland
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Ireland.
6 hours 30 upwards dependent on airline (New York to Dublin)