Ireland Travel Tips | Ancient Ireland Tourism

Ancient Ireland Tourism Frequently Asked Questions

This page is crafted to provide answers to the various queries you may have about visiting Ireland. We hope that you are satisfied with the answers provided, if not, you can always contact us  for further inquiries. Our goal is to make your Ireland trip an exciting & memorable one, so we’d be super delighted to hear from you!

Why Visit Ireland?

With scene-stealing landscape of beaches, bogs and cliffs, breathtaking natural beauty, rich heritage, warm and friendly residents, gorgeous castles and lots more, its easy to see why Ireland is a dream tourist destination.

Ireland is home to the world’s longest defined coastal driving route known as the Wild Atlantic Way. It possesses quite a number of world class accommodation including the Ballyin Demesne Hotel in County Laoise which is voted best hotel in the world as well as other sprawling castle hotels like the Ashford Castle in County Mayo. History enthusiasts are also sure to discover prehistoric and early medieval sites in abundance which includes Mount Sandel, Ceide Fields (world’s largest neolithic site) as well as the famous passage tomb of Newgrange (UNESCO World Heritage Site) in County Mealth and lots more.

In Ireland, there is definitely something to satisfy varying needs. We have a thousand and one reasons why you should consider Ireland for your next trip, but you should absolutely visit and see for yourself!

When is the Best Time to Visit Ireland?

The best time to visit to Ireland is yesterday! However, the second best time will be anytime you can. Seriously, you will love to be in the country from May through September but you can also visit during the other months for a more relaxed atmosphere with less hustle and bustle.

What is Ireland’s Weather Like?

The weather in Ireland is mild and temperate with no temperature extremes, and it also rarely snows. However, it is important to note that the weather is very dynamic and you can experience all four seasons within 24 hours. And according to the philosophical Irish, ‘if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes’. It is bound to change at any time. During your Ireland visit, you can always hope for sunshine, but never forget to hold an umbrella! 

The best source of up to the minute weather information in Ireland can be found at the website for the Irish weather service, Met Eireann. 

Can I Take My Kids To Ireland?

Absolutely! Your kids can have the time of their lives at Ireland. From toddlers to teenagers, there are a plethora of activities that will keep them busy and excited. From puppet shows, train rides, dolphin cruises, petting farms and wildlife parks to quad riding, water parks, wax museums, zoos, time car rides and real medieval castles, there is no limit to family fun in Ireland!  

Where Should I Stay - at Hotels, B&Bs or Guesthouses?

The best choice for you is largely dependent on the type of accommodation you want. In a hotel, you will find more amenities than B&Bs and Guesthouses like elevator, restaurant, spa or swimming pool, a bar etc. B&Bs and Guesthouses are often run and operated by a family so you definitely do not expect to be catered to 24 hours a day unlike a hotel. However, they are definitely the economical choice if you are on a tight budget.

B&Bs usually feature a maximum of 6 rooms while a guesthouse typically has more rooms, and both provides you with your private bathroom as well as a full Irish breakfast. While staying in a B&B or guesthouse, you have a better chance of meeting the genuine Irish people with lots of personalized attention coming your way. So it all depends on your needs, budget as well as preference. 

Airfare

Airfare is quite variable depending upon the time of year and city of origin so we do not quote airfare as part of our pricing.  However, you can search for the best airfare here.  

Passport and Visa Requirements

If you are a citizen of the USA or Canada, you will not need a visa to enter Ireland or the UK. (Northern Ireland is currently part of UK.)  Do however, ensure that your passport has at least six months or more until expiration and if not, we suggest that you renew before you leave.

As with travel anywhere, we recommend an RFID Blocking wallet or sleeves for your credit cards and passport to hep prevent identity theft.

When departing for the USA from Dublin or Shannon airports, US Customs and Immigration have pre-clearance in the airport so flights arriving from DUB and SNN arrive in the United States as domestic flights, having already cleared customs and immigration. We recommend allowing plenty of time when departing from Ireland to return home and if using our departure service, our team will ensure that you arrive in plenty of time for your flight.

For our guests who are not US or Canadian citizens, please check the DFA website to determine visa requirements.

Airport Arrival and Departures

Please make flight arrangements to arrive at Dublin airport unless otherwise noted in the tour details.

Airport transfers are included in the price of your tour when arriving within our recommended arrival time windows. A representative of Ancient Ireland Tourism will meet you at Dublin airport after you clear customs and transport you to your accommodation starting point near Mullingar, County Westmeath.  Mullingar is less than an hour from Dublin airport.  Our representative can be identified holding the Ancient Ireland Tourism sign, and you will be provided with a contact number to call in case you cannot find our driver.

Upon arrival at the accommodation, we can usually arrange an early check in and, unless you are delayed in your arrival, there is often time for a short nap and shower before we start the day's activities.  Day 1 activities are light to allow time to recover from the jet lag and we visit a few attractions nearby to Mullingar.

On the day of departure, we will transport the group to Dublin airport in plenty of time to check in, go through airport security, and if flying to the USA, clear US customs and immigration.  Should you decide to extend your staying Ireland or take a late flight, you will need to make your own arrangements to travel to the airport.

Travel Insurance

Travel is an adventure and flights and other things sometimes may not go as planned.  Ancient Ireland Tourism cannot assume any liability for things such as delayed flights, missing the start of the tour, weather, lost luggage and any injuries sustained on the tour or while in Ireland.  We highly recommend that each guest purchase travel insurance for these contingencies.  Travel insurance is often available from your airline when booking flights, or you can obtain insurance through us via Travel Guard.

Cell phones, Internet, and Electrical in Ireland

Most cell phones will work in Ireland; be sure to check with your carrier before you leave as your carrier may need to update your PRL or make other changes to your configuration.  When you contact your carrier, make sure to clarify international charges and roaming fees as data fees can add up quickly.  Unless you have an international data plan at a reasonable rate, we recommend turning off data services on your phone and using Wi-Fi when available for browsing the Internet, checking email, Facebook, and the like.

Country codes for dialing phone numbers in Ireland are:

  • Republic of Ireland 0353
  • North of Ireland 44

In order to dial from US or Canadian phones, you would dial 011 + Country Code (353 or 44) + the phone number.  Note that you will see cell phones listed with area codes in Ireland which have a leading zero.  You can drop that zero when dialing.

Dialing to the USA from Ireland, you would dial 011 + 1 + Area Code + Number

Wi-Fi is widely available although as with any public Wi-Fi, we recommend caution and the use of a VPN application if you need to do any banking or other sensitive business over public networks.

Ireland uses 240 volt electrical and requires an adapter.  Most devices such as cell phones, laptops, camera chargers, tablets, etc. will handle either 120 or 240 volts although you should check each device to make sure.  If your device cannot operate on 240 volts, you will need a power transformer along with the adapter.

Electrical outlets are the same in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Money/ATM, Credit Cards in Ireland

The currency used in Ireland is the Euro while in Northern Ireland it's the British Pound Sterling.  ATM's are widely available so there is no need to convert a large amount of currency prior to your departure.  Carrying € 200 is a sufficient amount o cast to keep on hand. For tours which go into the north of Ireland, the same amount in pound sterling is also sufficient.

Likewise, credit cards are widely accepted, although some smaller establishments may prefer cash. Mastercard and Visa are almost universally accepted, but many establishments may not accept American Express.

Some establishments may add a surcharge to transactions using credit cards. 

Be sure to check with your bank or financial institution prior to departure.  Most credit cards will need to know the countries you plan to visit and ATM cards will need to be authorized for international use.

Meals

All of our itineraries include a full Irish breakfast each day.  A full and proper Irish breakfast usually includes eggs, rashers, sausage, black and white pudding, beans, mushrooms, potatoes, toast, coffee or tea, and juice.  Please advise us at the time of your booking and check with your guide upon arrival if you have any special dietary needs.

Alcoholic beverages are not included.  Your tour itinerary further describes which meals are included or not included.

Meals are generally not expensive in Ireland.  Lunch can average €10-  €15 with a reasonable dinner in the €20 - €25 range.  A pint of Guinness or beer is usually around €5 with glasses of wine starting at €6 and up.

Tipping in Ireland is not the same as in the USA.  When ordering meals or drinks at the bar a tip is generally not expected.  If you do tip for a meal, 10% is a completely acceptable amount and be sure to hand it directly to your sever instead of adding to the credit card slip.

Optional Activities

Admission fees to most sites and attractions are included in the price of your tour.  On some tours where we have allotted free time for you to explore, we may suggest optional activities which are an additional cost if you choose to participate.  Recommended optional activities and attractions will be clearly identified on your tour schedule along with current admission fees.

Fitness and Accessibility

Guests should be reasonably fit and able to walk moderate distances, in most cases 30 minutes or less  Some attractions may require walking over turf, uneven and rocky terrain, which may include some uphill climbing.  

Ireland is also famous for many spectacular cliffs and in many cases, you can walk right up to the edge of these cliffs.  We advise that you exercise due care near cliffs and decline all liability for accidents such as falling off cliffs.

Safety and Emergencies

Ireland is a safe country although you should take reasonable precautions as with traveling anywhere or even walking about in your home country.

Make copies of your ID, passport and travel documents.  Take printed copies with you, and either leave copies with family or friends back home, or store copies on Google Drive, Dropbox, or One Drive.

In emergencies, please advise your guide.  The Garda Síochána (National Police) and other emergency services can be reached by dialing 112.  (Dialing 112 works anywhere in Europe)

For reaching the police for non emergency reasons such as filing a police report, you should contact the local Garda station.

Other tips for staying safe and secure when traveling:

  • Never carry large amounts of case and divide your cash.  Store excess cash in hotel safe deposit boxes.
  • Keep your wallet in your front pocket when walking in cities and crowded areas.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewellery and consider leaving these at home.
  • Carry backpacks, fanny packs and purses in front of you when in a crowded area such as cities.
  • Carry only enough money on your person for the day.
  • When using an ATM, use only in a well lit area and be suspicious of strangers lingering around the area.  Take a companion with you.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and enjoy your trip!

Irish Facts and Culture

You will find people in Ireland friendly, welcoming and hospitable.  We enjoy the craic (conversations)! Many strangers you may meet will engage you in stimulating conversation.

The Irish Republic was declared in 1916 with the Easter Uprising which left Dublin in ruins.  A subsequent war was fought with England which resulted in the declaration of the Irish Free State in 1922 which included 26 counties, leaving six counties in the North under British rule. Ireland was officially declared a Republic in 1949.

Ireland is part of the European Union and also has special travel arrangements with Britain as part of the CTA (Common Travel Area). There is currently no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the Northern counties, although many are concerned that the Brexit situation may result in a hard border which would have detrimental impact to the people and the economies of both areas.  As it stands today, the only way one notices that the border is crossed is that the speed limit and road signs change from kilometers to miles.

The North of Ireland, once mired in sectarian violence, has been peaceful on account of the Good Friday Peace Agreement signed in 1998.  Belfast in County Antrim, Derry and the rest of the Northern counties are wonderful to visit and just as beautiful as the rest of Ireland.

Ireland has two official languages:  Irish and English. Street signs and government documents are bilingual and you will notice the Irish language.  Outside of the designated Gaeltacht on the far western coasts, people speak English every day although most people also understand the Irish language since it is taught in schools.  When in the Gaeltacht, people speak Irish everyday and we encourage you to learn a few phrases.  (Your guides will be more than happy to help you with Irish phrases.)

 If you would like a great language app for your Android or iPhone, try Nemo Irish Gaelic which can be found in the app store.  The app has plenty of useful phrases.

You will not find corned beef and cabbage in Ireland as it is not a traditional Irish dish.  It was adopted by Irish immigrants to the USA, most likely living in close proximity to Jewish immigrants. Corned beef was cheap and plentiful which is the reason Irish immigrants adopted the dish.  In Ireland, the closest thing you will find is bacon and cabbage.

Guinness might as well be our national drink and you will find it everywhere.  You can be the judge, but many will tell you that it really DOES taste better in Ireland.  Be sure to ask your guide the proper way to drink Guinness as the way it is served in many American bars is not correct.

Ireland is not a huge tipping culture.  In many pubs, you order food and drinks at the bar and they will bring it out to you.  Tips are not expected when ordering at the bar.  For food ordered at the table, 10% is an appropriate amount to tip.

In crowded pubs, it is not advisable for each member of the party to go up to the bar and order drinks.  We follow the "rules of rounds" which means one person will usually order the drinks for the group and pay for them.  It is proper etiquette  to take turns purchasing the drinks for your group.

Cab drivers also do not expect a tip although you can round up to the nearest Euro.

Click here for more information on tipping in Ireland.

Your guide is an excellent resource on Irish culture and customs so be sure to ask; we love to talk about Ireland!

Cancellation and Refund Policies

All bookings require a deposit of 15% of the tour price at the time of booking.  Payment in full is required within 60 days of tour departure.  The 15% deposit is non-refundable.

You may cancel with a refund, less your deposit, up to 60 days prior to departure.

Cancellations made between 31 and 60 days from departure will be refunded at 50% of the tour price.

There are no refunds for cancellations made within 30 days of tour departure.

You may request a space available transfer to a different tour offered in the same calendar year although, depending on the time to departure, you may be responsible for cancellation fees incurred for any lodgings booked as part of your original tour.  Please contact our office and we will work to accommodate your request and advise you of any cancellation fees before confirming the transfer.

Ancient Ireland Tourism declines all liability for refunds due to late arrivals, early departures, personal emergencies or illness, flight delays and/or cancellations or weather.  We highly recommend that each guest purchase travel insurance to cover these contingencies.