Getting there

British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet all offer regional daily flights to Ireland’s major cities from the rest of the UK. Average flight times vary from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours. The ferry is also an easy and affordable way to travel to Ireland and is a great option if you are planning on a self-drive trip. There are multiple ferry services between the Great Britain and Ireland and Northern Ireland where the most popular ferry route is from Liverpool to Dublin or Belfast.

Time zone

Ireland follows GMT.

Visa requirements

British citizens do not require a visa for travel to Ireland.

Do's and don'ts

Try to avoid cheap souvenir shops that sell imported goods at a low price. Instead try to ‘buy local’ and support small Irish businesses.

When ordering whisky at a bar, make sure you order a dram, not a shot. A dram should be appreciated, sipped and savoured. Ask the bartender for good recommendations on local Irish whisky.

Ensure you have packed a waterproof coat and layers. Even in the summer, Ireland still receives a lot of rain and the temperature can be cool, especially in the evening, so ensure you are prepared for this.

Manners and politeness is important in Ireland. The Irish are known for their friendliness and appreciate good manners and eye contact.
Try to avoid imitating the Irish accent as this can potentially offend locals.


The local currency in Northern Ireland is the Pound Sterling, and in Ireland is the Euro. Both cash and card payment, both chip and pin and contactless, are commonly accepted throughout the country in line with the rest of the UK. ATMs are reliable and commonplace throughout Ireland.


Tipping in Ireland is not expected and is left to your discretion and should, of course, be based on the satisfaction of the services you receive. There is no set rule for tipping in Ireland, but 10% for good service in hospitality is appreciated. In some restaurants service charge is added to your bill automatically so ensure you check this. Tips in cash are preferred. If your trip includes guides and you believe they have offered an outstanding service, they will welcome any monetary gift at the end of a trip.

Food and drink

Home to verdant rolling hills, fertile soil, clear mountain water and the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland boasts a rich array of high quality, fresh and seasonal produce. Hearty Irish stew is the national dish. This hearty meal combines mutton, potato and onion and is a must-try. Other classic dishes include the potato-based colcannon or champ – buttery mash with cabbage or spring onion, coddle – a slow cooked pork stew and boxty – a potato dumpling/pancake that is often served with bacon and eggs.

Ireland is also renowned for its exquisite seafood boasting some of the world’s best oysters. These plump west coast native oysters come into season in September and are best sampled at the famous Galway Oyster Festival. Other local shellfish include the clams from Connemara, Dublin Bay prawns and Molly Malone’s famed cockles and mussels. Other Irish specialities include soda bread, smoked salmon, black and white pudding, farmhouse cheese and barmbrack, a fruity tea loaf.

Ireland’s most famous drink is Guinness, a dry and dark stout. It is also famed for its Irish whisky. With a growing number of distilleries throughout the country, it is highly recommended to visit one of these during your visit to enjoy a distillery tour and tasting experience.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

With such a proud culture and rich heritage, the Irish calendar is packed with events and festivities throughout the year, from the lively Dublin Fringe Festival to the famed Galway Oyster Festival. Ireland’s best-known celebration is St. Patrick’s Day, which isn’t just celebrated here, but all over the world. Traditional suppers, large parades and musical events take place all over the country on 17th March in memory of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick.

Ireland’s most beloved festival, the Cat Laughs Festival, is an acclaimed comedy celebration set in the atmospheric and charming medieval city of Kilkenny. This five-day festival in June highlights the very best of Irish and international comedy acts showcasing stand-up, satirical, plays, readings and more. For music, Fleadh Cheoil nah Eireann celebrates traditional Irish music, dance and culture whereas the Cork Jazz Festival in October is one of Ireland’s flagship arts and cultural events and is world acclaimed. Other interesting and popular events include the Galway Races, Dublin’s Writers Week, Kilkenny Arts Festival and the Rose of Tralee.

Irish bank holidays mirror the UK’s standard Christmas, New Year and Easter holidays and they also receive the following days as bank holidays: St Patrick’s Day, May bank holiday, June bank holiday, August bank holiday and October bank holiday.


Although Irish city and town highstreets are home to well-known shops and department stores, Ireland boasts a wonderful array of independent stores selling handmade crafts, local produce and artisan goods. Inspired by the beautiful countryside and available natural resources, it is easy to see why Irish artists, designers and craftspeople create brilliant products. Locally made pottery, jewellery, paintings, fashion and souvenirs make for a great gift for yourself or loved ones. There is a good selection of farmers markets in Ireland, these are great ways of sampling Irish food and drink and buying local produce, from smoked salmon and oysters to soda bread and farmhouse cheese. Ireland is also world-renowned for its whisky, so a trip to a distillery is a great way to try and buy a bottle of your favourite tipple.

Suggested reading

Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and DK Eyewitness have excellent guidebooks on Ireland and offer regional and city variations. There are also a number of walking and hiking books available including Sandra Bardwell’s ‘Walking in Ireland’ and ‘Best Irish Walks’ by Joss Lynam. For books on Irish history, ‘The Making of Modern Ireland 1603-1923’ by JC Beckett offers a fascinating overview, Terence Brown’s ‘Ireland: a Social and Cultural History 1922-1985’ provides a very good insight into contemporary Ireland, whereas ‘The Oxford Companion to Irish History’ by SJ Connolly explores facts and concise accounts from the earliest of times to the present. For a wonderful collection of folk stories and mythology try ‘A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend and Folklore: Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry’ by Yeats and Gregory, or ‘Celtic Tales’ by Kate Forrester for a more contemporary version. There are also many great fictional reads set in Ireland, including:

‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt
‘The Country Girls’ by Edna O’Brien
‘Eureka Street’ by Robert McLiam Wilson
‘The Silent People’ by Walter Macken
‘The Spinning Heart’ by Donal Ryan
‘The Sea’ by John Banville
‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney
‘The Green Road’ by Anne Enright


Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad and precautions necessary for your itinerary and relevant to your personal circumstances. There are no vaccinations you must have when travelling to Ireland.

Travel advice

For current information on Ireland the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ( which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website ( before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.