Important Information about Ireland

Ireland also known as Éire or the Emerald Isle is an island on the northwestern edge of Europe and is 300 miles long and 170 miles wide. The principal language is English though Irish or “Gaelic” is spoken daily in pockets of the West and Southwest. Ireland is divided into 4 provinces: Ulster, Leinster, Connacht and Munster consisting of a total of 32 counties, 26 of which are in the Republic of Ireland and 6 in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary democracy and the government is headed by the Taoiseach (Gaelic for chief/leader). Ireland also has an elected President who is Head of State. Northern Ireland has its own regional government and is part of the United Kingdom. The population of the island is about 6.6 million (4.8 Republic of Ireland/1.8 Northern Ireland).

Before you travel:

1) Send your travel contact information to a family member or friend.
2) Ensure you have checked that your passport is valid and your name on your airline ticket or E-ticket is spelled exactly the same as your passport.
3) Complete your luggage labels and attach them to your suitcase.
4) We recommend that you take a photo of your Passport ID page and store it in an email/ cloud account. In the unlikely event it is misplaced; this will expedite the renewal process.
5) Keep your passport, tickets, medications, money, and credit cards on your person at all times.
6) Check in at the airport a minimum of 2 hours before flight time to allow time to comfortably check in and go through security and shop in the duty free store. If you are on a connecting flight be sure you ask the agent to check your bags through to Ireland.

Arriving in Ireland:
On arrival at Dublin Airport you will need to pass through immigration and then claim your baggage before you come out into the public.

Getting into the City:
There is a taxi stand right outside the door to bring you into the city. If the cab driver asks if you would like to go through the tunnel, say yes if it’s faster. The cost of the tunnel will be cheaper than the cost of sitting in traffic. It should take 20 to 30 minutes to your hotel or the train station and cost about €25 to €40 depending on how many passengers, traffic, and where you are going.

There is also a public bus to bring you into town which can be as low as €2 each and takes about 40 minutes (not including wait time) and drops you off along the Quays. Please note that most public buses have limited capacity for luggage storage. Please see this site if you wish to consider the bus options – Click here

Hotel Check in:
Most hotels will not have your room available until 3 or 4pm. They will have a place to store your baggage so you can take in the town unencumbered.
That said, for those staying at the Travelodge Plus, I have asked for early check in as much as possible for us, so, fingers crossed.

Pick Up On The First Morning of the Tour:
Nearly everyone is staying at the Travelodge Plus Dublin City Centre and we will gather after a lovely breakfast in the lobby for 9am. If we are there a little earlier to get the bags on to the bus even better!
If you are staying at a different hotel please meet us at

Travelodge Plus Dublin City Centre 44 Townsend St,
Dublin, D02 DY01,

Time Zone:
Ireland is on GMT and is 5 hours ahead of EST. So, when it is 12 NOON in New York it is 5:00 PM in Ireland.

Rotation of seats on motor coach:
On all our tours the seats are rotated at the beginning of each day to allow all participants an opportunity to sit closer to the front of the coach.

Ireland became the first country in Europe to ban smoking in all public places including pubs, restaurants, theatres, etc. Some hotels are entirely nonsmoking, however some of them will allow you to smoke in your bedroom. Please check with the receptionist of each hotel. There is no smoking on the motorcoach.

Special requests:
If you have a special request, please ensure that you advise us of this prior to traveling. We will gladly forward your request to the appropriate person.

Flight home:
Our trip will end on the morning of the 17th where you will now be in control of your own destiny. Please make sure you have a plan to stay in another hotel in Ireland or a flight home that day, Friday May 17th.

Access to containers of distilled water while in Ireland for CPAP/Bi-PAP machines: Most pharmacies in Ireland will have distilled water, although not all will carry it. Please be sure to have enough for the week with you before we depart from Dublin as the smaller towns will have less options and this, no doubt, will cause much unwanted stress for you if you run out halfway along our journey.

News reports have claimed Ireland is running short of 300 different medications. Please insure that you are traveling with at least 2 weeks worth of your medications.

When included in itinerary breakfast typically consists of juice, tea, coffee, cereal (hot & cold), breads, preserves and the traditional Irish breakfast of bacon, sausage, egg, tomatoes, black and white pudding and toast. Breakfast is usually served buffet style.
Dinners, where included are usually the table d’hôtel or fixed menu style with a choice of 2 appetizers, 2 entrees with vegetables, dessert and tea or coffee (although tea and coffee now is being charged extra in some places). Beverages are additional. You will be requested to dine at the assigned time with your group. Do let us know if you have a dietary requirement to be considered for the set menus.

Lunches are not included but ample stops will be made at suitable locations to obtain lunch.

Dress code:
In Ireland dress code is casual unless otherwise noted; jacket & tie / dresses are not required for our tours. We suggest you pack lightly and in layers; this way you can shed items if the day becomes warmer. A windbreaker or light raincoat is highly recommended, as are strong comfortable shoes for visiting outdoor historical sites. A small, folded umbrella is also advised. For dinner I do bring a sports coat, only because I need to look official but there is no need for anyone else to be fancy unless you prefer to yourself.

Ireland experiences a mild, temperate climate. Typical summer temperatures can average 60F, spring and fall 50F and winter around 40F. May should be lovely, but can be breezy. Rain can occur at any time of the day or year, so be prepared!
For more information:

Luggage/Packing Information:
On escorted motorcoach tours, you are limited to ONE suitcase per person not to exceed size 30″ × 20″ × 10″ and must not weigh over 50 pounds. You are also allowed one small bag for your personal and valuable items. Please be advised that the airlines have implemented fees for bags in excess of weight limits. Please pack light. Do NOT pack your valuables, passports, tickets, prescription medications or money in your checked luggage. These items should remain with you at all times.

Passport Requirements:
A valid passport is required for US Citizens visiting Ireland.
Non-US citizens should check with the relevant Embassy or consulate. Please ensure you keep your passport with you at all times – do not check it in with your suitcase. Hotels in Ireland never ask a guest for their passport to keep behind the desk. Take time today to insure your passport will be in date for at least 30 more days after you plan to return.page3image44021568 

Porterage of luggage:
On previous tours we have always had the hotel staff bring your bags to the room. This is a lovely idea, to walk in and feel pampered. But as it turns out there is usually not enough staff to get it to you in a timely manner, causing a delay for you to get ready for dinner.
We pulled into Tralee last year behind a German tour bus of 50 people. The one man trying to figure out the names of each bag assigned to each room was distressing to see. Most bags now have wheels and hotels have elevators. That said, if you need assistance, we will be sure you are not left without help and we will get your bag to your room post haste.

Ireland uses 220 volts and 3 prong square plugs. Most hotels will have hairdryers and irons available to you. It is not advisable to bring an American hairdryer. Please ask the front desk if your room does not have one.
There are so many options for a travel plug; here is one to consider – Click here

Cell Phones:
Contact your cellular provider and inquire about the cost of using your mobile phone in Ireland. Confirm that your device is compatible with GSM (Global System for Mobile) used in Europe, and then inquire about an international plan that includes both talk minutes and data. It is advised that you turn off your data when not using your phone in Ireland or keep your phone in airplane mode to minimize the cost (every ‘ping’ counts against your data plan). Many places in Ireland use WhatsApp. This is also a great way to contact folks at home and share photos as you go. Consider having your loved ones download it and sign up before you travel.

When calling from Ireland to the USA, you need to dial 001 and then the area code and phone number. You may call from your hotel; however, surcharges will apply. We suggest you check with your hotel about the per minute cost. Prepaid phone cards are widely available for purchase and can be used from most phones.

Calling from the US to Ireland you need to dial 011 353 the area code (excluding the first zero) then the number. Or indeed at the + sign to your number if you are using a cell phone i.e. +1 or +353 WhatsApp again, or FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, are great ways to connect.

Wi-Fi is usually free in hotels, restaurants and many stores; ask staff for password if needed.

Pubs/ Restaurants:
Pubs in Ireland can legally open at 10:30am except Sunday, when it’s 12:30pm. Closing time on Monday through Thursday is 11:30pm. On Friday and Saturday, it’s 12:30am, and on Sunday 11:00pm. In major cities, restaurants will take orders up until 9:30pm with smaller fast food places staying open until around 11pm. Nightclubs are open until 2am and most have full liquor licenses. Please take a moment to think about where you would like to eat on the second nights in Tralee, Kinsale & Dungarvan and maybe make a reservation. 7:30pm should be safe enough. I will give recommendations soon for these towns.

Ireland offers visitors a wide variety of attractive locally produced goods and souvenirs. Woolen goods, tweeds, cashmere, handcrafted items, jewelry, china and crystal are probably the most popular. Major stores can arrange to ship the goods back to the USA for you and advise you on any import duties.

Tax free shopping and tax refunds:
All goods in Ireland have the tax included in the price. This is referred to as VAT and may be refunded to US tourists on many goods (not services). Before making a purchase, you should confirm this with the retailer. You should also clarify whether the retailer is working in their own right or with a VAT-refunding agency. If an agency is being used, you should follow the agency’s specific procedures when making the purchase. When you are leaving Ireland, you should deposit the documentation you were given for the purchase with the agency at the airport. (Some VAT-refunding agencies use a plastic card to record a tourist’s purchases by swiping the card when making a purchase.) If VAT was paid, the agency will make the necessary refund within 25 working days if the documentation is completed at the Airport. If the goods are being purchased without the involvement of an agency, the retailer should issue the tourist with an export voucher for the purchase. When leaving Ireland, the tourist should get the voucher certified by Customs at the airport.
The certified voucher is returned to the retailer. If VAT has been paid, the retailer refunds the VAT (less any processing fee).

Credit Cards:
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards in Ireland. American Express and Diners Club are accepted by most major hotels, but are less commonly accepted elsewhere. IMPORTANT: Inform your banks and credit card companies of your travel plans/dates ahead of time to ensure your credit card transactions will process. Sometimes they will put a stop on your card if they are unaware and this can cause unwanted stress to get it going again for you.

In the Republic of Ireland the currency is Euros. You can order currency in advance from your bank, or purchase at your departing US airport. You may withdraw Euro cash from ATMs in Ireland using most US cards. The way I would usually get my money is at an ATM in Dublin (or even at the airport). Remember each time you take out often has the same fee i.e. if I take €400 out my bank charges $3 and if I take €100 out my bank still charges $3. It might be a good idea to ask your bank the costs of ATM use as you are alerting them about your travel.

Customs & Excise:
Here is a general guide of what you are allowed to bring into Ireland: • 200 cigarettes • 1 liter of liquor • 2 liters of wine. Full details can be found on
For returning back to the states, please check the following
website – Click Here

Duty Free:
Duty free shops are available at both Shannon and Dublin airports.

Tipping in Ireland is not a standard practice but welcomed as outlined. Some restaurants include a service charge on your bill and if not, it is at your discretion to tip for exceptional service anywhere from 10-15%. For taxis round up to the nearest Euro for short trip, a little more for longer. Housekeeping 1-2 euro a day. Café, contribute loose change to tip jar. Pubs – not usually done, offer to buy the bartender a drink, tip 1-2 euro to the server.

Driver gratuities are not included in your tour price. The recommended amount is 5-8 Euro per person, per day. This can be given directly to the driver at the end of your trip.
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Emergency Services
(Police, Ambulance, Fire) Dial 112 or 999