Some basic things to know for your trip to Ireland
Updated: Feb 9
We don’t have a climate, really, just weather. We have seasons, but sometimes all in one day. The one thing you can be sure of, whatever the weather … it will change.
Bring good rain gear, sturdy walking shoes, and layers.
We drive on the right. Our speed limits are confusing: a winding country road could have an 80 km/hr speed limit, while a perfectly straight section of motorway only allows 60 km/hr.
We encourage you to rent a car for your trip to Ireland. Many of the best locations are somewhat “off the beaten track” and are best reached with your own transport.
For those of you who are anxious about driving a car, there are alternatives ….. https://clissmannhorsecaravans.com/horse-caravans/
The official languages are Irish and English, as you’ll see on road signs, for example. The actual language, linguistically speaking, is Hiberno-English…you’ll discover its vagaries when you come to Cork!
Pub trading hours:
Monday-Thursday 10:30 – 23:30
Friday, Saturday 10:30 – 00:30
Sunday 12:30 – 23:00
These trading restrictions also mean that you can’t buy alcohol anywhere in shops or supermarkets outside those times.
Most Irish pubs serve food, and this is often a good way to meet the locals. When ordering beer or stout, ask for either a pint or a glass, never a half-pint – that gives you away immediately as a non-native.
Ireland has always had great produce, but in the past few decades the calibre of Irish cooking and Irish restaurants has risen dramatically. While the Irish still love their meat, the interest in vegetarianism and veganism, and greater awareness of issues such as allergies and special dietary requirements, means that whatever your needs, you will be able to find a good meal.
This is at your discretion. Many restaurants include a service charge, but it’s not always clear how this is passed on; giving directly to the server is appreciated. 10% is normal.
Shop times vary, but the main stores are open roughly 09:00 – 18:00, all week, often including Sunday. However, the small independent cool shops often don’t open till 10:00 or even 11:00.
Many goods and services are taxed at 23% VAT (Value-Added Tax). The price inclusive of VAT is required by law to be visible.
Frequency 50 Hz
Power plugs and sockets type G
If you are coming from outside the European Union (EU), you can get a tax refund on items purchased in Ireland which you are taking out of the country.
Visitors to Ireland from outside the EU can buy goods in Ireland to take home with them and benefit from tax relief. Tax relief is not allowed on services, for example, hotel accommodation, meals or car hire. The visitor must provide proof that they are a visitor from outside the EU when making each purchase. The proof includes evidence of the place of residence, inbound and outbound flight dates and a signed declaration.
The tax relief is provided under the Retail Export Scheme which operates in two ways.
i) The tourist pays VAT when making purchases and subsequently gets a refund from the relevant retailer or VAT-refunding agency when the retailer or the agency receives proof that the good or goods have been exported.
ii) In certain retail outlets, the goods are sold tax-free at the point of sale, with or without the involvement of a VAT-refunding agency. The goods must be paid for by credit card. If the retailer or the agency does not receive proof that the goods have been exported, they charge the VAT on the goods to the tourist's credit card account.
Before making a purchase, the tourist should confirm with the retailer that they operate the scheme. They should also clarify whether the retailer is operating the scheme in their own right or with a VAT-refunding agency.
When they are leaving Ireland, the tourist should deposit the documentation they were given for the purchase with the agency. (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 complete.
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).
If an agency is being used, the tourist should follow the agency’s specific procedures when making the purchase.