Trip Prep & FAQs

Wondering what to pack for Ireland? Need tips on planning your Ireland vacation? We've got the inside scoop on Ireland's weather, the Euro, safety & security while traveling, and lots more! Plus, check out our helpful videos in these sections: "What to Bring to Ireland" and "Electrical Items." Happy travels!

Check out this short video about 
packing for your Irish vacation!

The temperature in Ireland between May and September tends to be in the 60s -- sometimes a bit warmer (into the 70s) and sometimes a bit cooler (high 50s). Planning to wear layers is key to smart packing for Ireland. Also, Irish weather is quite changeable - it can be windy, sunny, and rainy all in one day!

We recommend you bring one medium-sized suitcase (smaller is fine!) and a day bag (example: small back pack or purse). A medium-sized suitcase is about 28 in. (height) x 17 in. (width). You can keep the day bag with you on the mini-coach (there's a nice overhead area above your seat) and your other suitcase will go in the back of the mini-coach which you can access during the day if needed.

** Click here to print this section about What to Pack **

A few reminders...
  • Pack lightly!
  • You will need to carry your bags from the mini-coach into a guest house and possibly up steps. Many of these smaller local guest houses do not have elevators.
  • If you need to lighten your load before the tour starts, items/luggage may be left at the Dublin starting hotel.
  • Remember, Ireland is a modern country. If you forget something, you can probably buy it there smile
Here is a suggested packing list:
  • Passport and travel documents such as airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • Shoes: 
    • 1 pair waterproof hiking shoes. You will be doing easy hikes in valleys and trails, which may be wet and/or muddy.
    • 1 other pair of shoes of your choice
  • Tops - long sleeve and short sleeves that you can layer
  • Fleece top and / or 1 warmer sweater
  • Long pants:
    • One pair of jeans
    • One pair of lighter weight pants
  • Pajamas
  • Socks and underwear
  • Personal effects such as a watch/alarm clock, jewelry, medications, and bathroom items
  • Windproofwaterproof jacket
  • Hats - we like to bring a baseball style cap (for those sunny days) and a warmer hat (for those windy/cooler days)
  • Scarf
  • Lightweight rain poncho or jacket / waterproof pants
  • Lightweight umbrella
  • Sunglasses and sun block
  • Camera with battery charger. Please see the section "Electrical Items, WiFi, Mobile - Cell - Smart Phones" for additional information.
Optional Items:
  • Swimsuit - On the Go North tour, there is a manor home with an indoor pool. On the Go West tour, there is a hotel with outdoor hot tubs. And there's always the Atlantic Ocean beckoning you!
  • Face cloth. Irish bathrooms do not typically include wash clothes/face clothes.
  • Small flashlight
  • Electrical items such as cell phones, tablets, e-book readers, laptops, power cords, plug adapters, electrical transformers, etc. Please see the section "Electrical Items, WiFi, Mobile - Cell - Smart Phones" for additional information.
Hair Dryers
  • Most of the accommodations have hair dryers but the Irish don't usually keep them in the bathroom. Look for the hair dryer in a dressing table drawer, bedside table, or a closet.
Irish Dress Code
  • The Irish tend to dress quite casually so you won't need any fancy clothes for dining out. 
Laundry
  • There are opportunities to have laundry done on the free day of each tour. 
  • Self-serve laundromats are not common. You will drop off your clothes the night before or in the morning and then pick them up later in the day. 
  • To enter Ireland, you need a valid passport with an expiration date of at least 6 months after your return date.
  • U.S. and Canadian citizens do not need a Visa to enter the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland (U.K.).
  • If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, here's a link that discusses Visa requirements for travel to Ireland.
Money
  • The Euro (€) is the official currency of the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland (U.K.), the British Sterling Pound (£) is the official currency. U.S. dollars are not accepted. 

  • Want to check the current exchange rates? Here's a foreign currency converter: http://www.x-rates.com/calculator.html

  • If you're traveling on the Go North tour, you will need British Pound Sterling for 1.5 days at the beginning of the tour (dinner and lunch the next day) and British Pound Sterling on the tour's last day for lunch.

    • An estimate of 30 - 40 Britsh Pound Sterling should cover these expenses. 

    • ATMs are readily available in Northern Ireland. For the remainder of the Go North tour, Euros are used in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Our recommendation is to use ATMs, credit cards, and avoid travelers checks. Banks have odd opening and closing times and smaller towns may not have the capability to exchange foreign currency. Some banks in Ireland don't cash travelers checks any more.

    • ATMs are available in the Dublin airport and all across Ireland. 

      • Check the back of your debit/ATM card to verify it is a Cirrus or PLUS account. If you don't see Cirrus or PLUS and the debit card is a MasterCard or Visa, look for an ATM with your card's logo (MasterCard or Visa) and your debit card should work there. 

      • If you have any questions about using your debit card abroad, please check with your bank.

        • Also, it is a good idea to let your bank know when and where you're traveling to and to ask if there are foreign transaction charges. 

    • For credit and debit cards, Visa and MasterCard are commonly accepted.
      ** For U.S. credit cards when doing a transaction in Ireland, you may be asked if you'd like the amount processed in US dollars or the local currency, Euros (Republic of Ireland) or Pound Sterling (Northern Ireland). We recommend choosing the local currency so you will get the best exchange rate. If you choose US dollars, typically a 3.5% additional fee is added to your total. 

  • Should I take money (Euros or Pound Sterling) to Ireland with me?

    • We recommend obtaining about €100 in cash (denominations of 20s or smaller) from your home bank prior to your arrival in Ireland. You can then take out more money from an ATM as needed during your trip.

    • When traveling in Ireland, one strategy is to use cash for smaller purchases and your credit card elsewhere. 

Chip and Pin Credit Cards
  • Ireland has "Chip and Pin" technology for their credit cards. Irish people enter a PIN with all their credit card transactions. If you have a "Chip and Pin" credit card, you will be asked to enter your PIN with a transaction.
  • American credit cards typically have "Chip and Signature" technology. Your credit card can be inserted into the slot for chip cards and a receipt will print out for you to sign.
Tipping
  • Ireland is somewhat of a non-tipping country. If you think someone did an excellent job and you want to tip, people would accept the tip with much gratitude.
  • In pubs, the bartender does not expect a tip. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip.
  • In nicer restaurants, you may see a "Service Charge" on the bill. This equals a tip.
  • For your tour guide, tipping is optional. If you decide to tip, a suggested amount is €5 - 10 per day of the tour.
  • A hearty and delicious traditional Irish breakfast is included in the tour price.

  • To give you time to explore restaurants and towns, you have free time each day for lunches and dinners. This give you the flexibility to find the food you like and spend what you want. When you arrive in a town, your tour guide will provide recommendations for pubs and restaurants.
     
  • Being an island nation, food in Ireland is more expensive than the USA, Canada, or elsewhere in Europe as much of the food is imported. A lunch of a sandwich, beverage, and chips can cost about €10. A sit-down dinner in the evening can cost €15 to €25. A pint of Guinness costs about €5. A glass of wine costs €6 to €9. On average, one may spend €20 to €40 per day on food and drinks depending on your tastes.
Weather in Ireland
  • Ireland can have a mix of sun, wind, and rain on any given day.
  • Travel to Ireland is best between May and September. Temperatures tend to be in the 60s - some days may be warmer (low 70s) and some days cooler (high 50s). There is low humidity and few biting bugs smile. The days are long with light, the countryside is beautiful and green, plants are blooming, and everything's open and accessible.
  • Irish temperatures are in Celsius. Here's a link to the current Ireland weather forecast: http://www.rte.ie/weather/index.html
  • Ireland's weather is influenced by the Gulf Stream and has a year-round temperate climate with warmer summers and cooler/damper winters.
Irish Time
  • Ireland is in the Greenwich Mean Time Zone which is 5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time.
    • Therefore: 2 pm in Ireland = 9 am in New York City
  • The 24 hour clock is commonly used for air, bus, and railroad timetables.
WiFi
  • Ireland is a very connected country! WiFi is available in the majority of your accommodations and at bars, coffee shops, etc.
Mobile / Cell / Smart Phones
Hair Dryers
  • Most of the accommodations on our tours have hair dryers but the Irish don't usually keep them in the bathroom.
  • Look for the hair dryer in a dressing table drawer, bedside table, or a closet.
Electrical Items

How to Use Electrical Devices, Power Transformers, and Plug Adapters in Ireland and the U.K.

Q: What do you need to run a U.S. or Canadian electrical device in Ireland? 

A: There are two parts to the electrical equation: Voltage and the Electrical Plug Adapter.

The first part - Voltage. Ireland and the U.K. has 240 volt currency and the U.S./Canada has 110 volt.

  • Check the electrical device's power supply and see if it accepts voltage from 100 to 240.
    • If YES, you do NOT need anything to convert the voltage.
    • If NO, you need to buy an electrical transformer to convert the voltage. This can be purchased at most hardware or home stores.
  • Please Note: Many computers, tablets, phone chargers, and camera battery chargers have power supplies that accept 100 - 240 volts so you would NOT need a transformer (also known as voltage converter). For example, this camera battery charger accepts 100 - 240 volts.

 

The second part - Electrical Plug Adapter

  • The Ireland and United Kingdom electrical plug has three large prongs.  

  • To plug in your device, you need an electrical plug adapter. The technical name is Type G. This can be purchased at a hardware or home store.

Here's a picture of an Irish electrical outlet. Notice how there's an On/Off switch with each plug. When you see the red, that means On.

Here are a couple of electrical charging examples:

  • Charging your cell phone and the power supply accepts 100 - 240, you only need the electrical plug adapter.

Cell Phone Charger plugged into ---> Plug Adapter plugged into -----> Electrical socket

  • Charging an item that needs the voltage transformer, you need the transformer and the plug adapter.

Electrical Item plugged into ----> Voltage transformer plugged into ---> Plug Adapter plugged into -----> Electrical socket

Explore Dublin and the Surrounding Area! Trinity College, Museums, Tours...they all await you! 


Need to get acquainted with all there is to see and do in Dublin?

Dublin Museums

Guinness Storehouse
  • Head over to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate for a tour and possibly a pint at The Gravity Bar with uninterrupted panoramic views of Dublin.

The Book of Kells

Dublin City and Surrounding Area / Tours / Day Trips from Dublin

Shopping

A Picnic in the Park
  • Dublin has numerous beautiful parks scattered through the city.

A Walk Along O'Connell Street

Temple Bar
When to Arrive: Monday
  • If you are flying from the continental USA or Canada:
    • Take an overnight flight leaving on Sunday and arriving on Monday.
    • Do not take a flight leaving Monday night and arriving Tuesday morning. You will miss the tour's departure on Tuesday morning.
    • Flights arrive into the beautiful new Terminal 2.
  • If you are arriving from outside the USA or Canada, please be in Dublin by Monday evening to enjoy your night's accommodation.
  • When you make a reservation, you'll receive an email with details about the starting hotel. 
Dublin Airport to the City Center Hotel
  • The Dublin airport is located approximately 10 km or 6 miles north of the city center. You receive more detailed information about the starting hotel upon making a reservation.
  • You have the option of taking a taxi or an express bus to the city center. 
    • Taxis: There is a taxi stand just outside the Arrivals Hall. The fare is generally 25 - 30 Euro to the city center. Taxis are available at all hours of the day.
    • Express Bus: There is AirCoach (7 Euro one way, 12 Euro return) or AirLink (6 Euro one way, 10 Euro return). Both provide quick, direct access to the city center.
      • The AirCoach bus starts at 3:25 a.m. and runs every 15 minutes and drops off on O'Connell Street at the Gresham Hotel (just a short walk to the starting hotel).
      • The AirLInk bus starts at 6 a.m. and runs every 15 minutes and drops off on O'Connell Street across from the starting hotel. Please note: If you plan on doing a Hop On - Hop Off Dublin City tour, AirLink offers an Airport Combo Discount package.
Hotel Check-In
  • Your Inroads Ireland tour begins on Monday with checking in to your Dublin hotel. When you make a reservation, you'll receive an email with the hotel's details.
  • We will work with the hotel to allow an early check-in. If that's not possible, you can leave your bags at the front desk and return in the afternoon to check-in. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy. Please see our Dublin Sight Seeing Tips section for fun ideas.
Jet Lag Going to Ireland from North America
  • If you took an overnight flight, take a short nap. For some people, this helps with jet lag. On that Monday night, try to go to bed at your "regular" time.
  • Here are a link with tips to prevent Jet Lag from the Mayo Clinic
Returning to the USA or Canada
  • Your return flight to the USA or Canada should depart on Tuesday.
  • The tour ends late on Monday afternoon (around 5 p.m.) and your Monday night accommodation is included in the tour price.
  • With most flights to the continental USA or Canada, you arrive home the same day.
  • Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport allows U.S. citizens to clear U.S. Immigration & Customs at the Dublin Airport. Therefore, upon arriving into the U.S., your flight is treated as a domestic arrival. All you have to do is collect your luggage and off you go!
  • For U.S. citizens, we recommend that you arrive at the Dublin Airport 3 hours before your flight's scheduled departure to go through security and then U.S. Immigration & Customs.
  • Airlines operating from Terminal 2 include Aer Lingus (international flights), Delta, United, American Airlines, US Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways.
Airlines
  • Aer Lingus (the national Irish carrier) flies directly from several U.S. and Canadian cities to Dublin.
  • Other airlines (for example: United, American Airlines, Delta) fly direct depending on your departure city. 
  • Most major air carriers fly to Dublin (Airport code = DUB).
  • When can you get the best deal on airfare to Dublin? That's a tough question to answer. Generally, if you start watching airfares 6 - 7 months before you plan on flying to Dublin, you can get a sense of where the price is. Websites like kayak.com let you create a "Price Alert" on a particular route and you are notified by email with price changes.
    • TIP: Join the e-newsletter of the air carrier with direct flights to Dublin from your departure city and you'll get the inside scoop on airfare sales.

These tours are fairly easy going and involve easy walks to sites. 

  • You should have an average fitness level and good mobility. Bring a walking stick if you'd like.
  • You are able to go on walks along uneven surfaces, up hills, and carry your bags to your room. 
  • To get to sites, walks can be 10 - 30 minutes and people take them at their own pace.
  • And if you're just not feeling up to it that day, you can always opt out.
Transfers
  • If you have booked your Inroads Ireland tour and need to transfer your trip start date to a different tour, we are happy to do that as long as there is space available on a new tour date in the same calendar year. 
  • If you transfer your tour within 14 days of the original tour start date, you are responsible for accommodation cancellation fees. Transfers are allowed to tours within the same calendar year. 
  • If no space is available on another tour and you must cancel your trip, please see below.
Tour Cancellation / Refund Policies
  • If you must cancel your reservation, a cancellation fee will be determined using the following table:

Cancelled x Number of Days 

Prior to Tour's Start Date

Cancellation Fee
91 days $400
31 - 90 days 50% of tour price
0 - 30 days No refund
  • Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including those of weather or personal emergencies.
  • There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early.
  • Single room supplements are considered part of the trip price and are subject to cancellation fees.
  • On the rare occasion that Inroads Ireland must cancel a trip due to natural disaster, terrorism, or civil unrest, or any other circumstance, all payments received to date will be refunded.
  • Inroads Ireland is not responsible for expenses incurred in preparation for any cancelled trips, such as airline tickets or for costs incurred due to travel delays, flight cancellations, or illness.

Inroads Ireland tours takes no responsibility for delayed airlines and missing the tour's start, lost baggage, or any injuries that may occur while on tour.
We recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover cancellation fees, airline tickets, and medical expenses. Here are some links:

Here are some helpful Safety and Security Tips when traveling in Ireland:
  • Make photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, write down the account numbers of items in your wallet along with phone numbers to call if lost/stolen. Bring a copy of this information with you PLUS leave a copy of this information with a trusted person at home.
  • Minimize financial risks by leaving expensive jewelry, watches, and electronics at home.
  • If you are carrying a purse, sling it across your chest or hold it close to your side with the clasp towards you.
  • If you are wearing a backpack, swing it around to the front if you are in a crowded area.
  • Keep your passport and other important items in a money belt that is under your clothing
  • Carry small amounts of money on you.
  • Don't put a wallet with money in your back pocket.
  • Split up your cash. Only carry what you need for that day. If you are carrying a purse, put some money in your front pocket.
  • When walking about town, take only the items you need - some cash, a credit card/ATM card, photo ID, etc.
  • If you are using an ATM after dark, go to a well lit ATM with pedestrian traffic.
Ireland Facts & Customs
  • From the 2011 census, there are about 4.6 million people in the Republic of Ireland and about 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland (U.K.) making the total population of the isle approximately 6.4 million people.
     
  • Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland (commonly abbreviated ROI) and the most populous with approximately 1.1 million people.
    • Dublin was originally a Viking settlement and was founded in approximately 800 A.D.
    • The official Irish name for Dublin is Baile Átha Cliath, meaning "town of the hurdled ford". 
    • The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name 'Dubhlinn' meaning "black pool". Dublin is situated in the province of Leinster near the midpoint of Ireland's east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey.
       
  • Irish and English are the official languages of Ireland. In primary and secondary schools, children are taught both languages.
     
  • There are four provinces in the Republic of Ireland: Leinster (in the east), Ulster (in the north), Connacht (in the west), and Munster (in the south).
  • There are 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland and 6 counties in Northern Ireland.
  • Largest cities on the island by population:
    1. Dublin (1.1 million)
    2. Belfast (286,000)
    3. Cork (198,500)
    4. Limerick (91,000)
    5. Galway (76,700)
       
  • Ireland achieved independence from Great Britain in 1922 and ratified the Republic of Ireland constitution in 1937.
  • Ireland's head of government is the Taoiseach and has a parliamentary system.
     
  • Driving is on the left side of the road. The steering wheel is mounted on the right.
    • A good tip to remember to stay left: Keep the driver in the center of the road and the passenger on the edge.
    • Driving speeds are in kilometers per hour in the Republic and in miles per hour in Northern Ireland.
       
  • Here's a general map of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: