20 Ireland Travel Tips – Here’s all you need to know!
If planning a trip to the Emerald Isle there are some things you should take note of. Like pretty much any country there are little quirks and characteristics which make Ireland, well… Ireland.
Here’s our rundown of the 20 most important things you should understand before you visit Ireland.
“Sorry” in Ireland is used in a variety of ways. Of course, it can be an apology, as is the general usage. However, “sorry” can also mean “excuse me” or “pardon me”.
For example, if you accidentally bump into a passer-by or step on a stranger’s toe, you would say “sorry”.
Equally, it can be used to get someones attention: “sorry, do you mind if we get some ketchup with that?”
Ardal O’Hanlon once hilariously explained how the word sorry distinguishes the Irish from the English. You can watch the clip below.
19. We use Euro in the Republic and the Pound in Northern Ireland
As part of the European Union, Ireland uses the Euro as currency and has done since 2002. Before that, we used the Irish Pound which was suspended in 1999 and fully withdrawn two years after the millennium.
However, British Pound Sterling (GBP) is used in Northern Ireland as it is part of the United Kingdom.
18. We drive on the left-hand side
We drive on the left-hand side in Ireland, like most countries which were colonised by the British.
Most would consider this the wrong side, but to us, it’s the right side, which happens to be the left side.
Fit in with the locals by using the word “cheers”. This simply means “thanks” and can be used in pretty much any setting. A great way to break the ice is to toast your drinks and say “cheers” with your comrades.
16. Rounds are expected
If you’re drinking in a pub in Ireland, “rounds” are the status quo. This means that one person from a group buys each member of that group a drink, the next “round”, another person buys every member a drink. This goes on until each person has purchased a “round”, and then it may start again.
15. Ireland and Northern Ireland?
Simply put: Ireland is broken into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the UK. The Republic of Ireland is not.
14. Don’t bring up the past
Ireland has a very troubled past, and the impact of this still lives on today. In a bid to avoid any animosity, steer clear of bringing up the Irish Civil War or The Troubles in company (especially a local pub after a few jars!). If curious, best discussed with a tour guide who can answer all your questions.
13. “Banter” is in good humour
“Banter” is woven into the fabric of each and every Irish person. It can also be described as “taking the piss” or “messing about”. Although in good humour, it can be sometimes misinterpreted as slagging (being deliberately mean or rude). In Ireland, however, it’s a part of our culture, and although cheeky, it is good-natured, too.
12. “The Black Stuff”
If you hear the phrase “the Black Stuff” it means Guinness, or stouts in general, such a Beamish or Murphy’s.
11. Must-try dishes
Irish food may not be the leading European cuisine, but there are some classic dishes well worth a shot. Top dishes to try include coddle, boxty, Irish stew, fish & chips and beef & Guinness pie. Best chances to grab one of these dishes is in a local pub.
10. Get off the beaten track
Oftentimes as tourists – and we’re all guilty of this – we stick on the best-trodden route. Do yourself a favour: speak to some locals and get some hidden gem tips. Like every country, there are tonnes of things off the tourist trail well worth a visit.
9. Live music
Live music is in our roots. It is what has defined us as a nation over generations. Don’t leave the Emerald Isle without getting to see a good “trad session” in your local!
8. The people
Irish are incredibly friendly people. Like in most instances, it’s nice to be nice, and kindness is generally met with kindness.
7. We don’t all speak Irish
Sad to say, the Irish language (or Gaelic) is not spoken by the masses these days. The widely spoken language in Ireland is English.
Tipping culture in Ireland is not a given. Whereas it is generally considered appropriate to tip 10% in a sit-down restaurant (unless the service is poor), it is not thought necessary to tip bartenders or taxi driver unless you feel the service has been way above par.
5. We curse a lot
The Irish curse a lot. Be prepared.
4. The Rain
In Ireland, it rains often. Like really often. Bring a decent rain jacket and waterproof shoes for maximum comfort.
3. Alcohol sales times
If looking to purchase alcohol from a supermarket or an off-license (a liquor store), you need to consider the restricted sales times.
Alcohol may be sold over the counter between 10.30am and 10pm (12.30 pm – 10.00 pm on Sundays).
2. The legal age of drinking
It is illegal to drink underage in Ireland. The legal drinking age is 18; this is also the legal age for purchasing cigarettes. Many bars, however, are 19+ or even 21+.
1. Expect to be offered a lot of tea
We drink a lot of tea. Oftentimes when you’re welcomed into someone’s home, it is the first offering. It is seen as a sign of welcome, so get ready to drink a lot of tea!