REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Starter Kit
I have been living in Dublin for nearly a year, and as no one has written a ‘Republic of Ireland’ starter kit yet, I’ve decided to do so. I’m not Irish, I’m Scottish, but I love my adopted country, and if anyone wants to chip in with anything I’ve missed etc, please feel free. The information given regarding the Republic of Ireland has been sourced from various relevant websites & personal experience. It's intended as a brief rundown to get you started. Getting Around
The main airports are Dublin; Cork & Shannon, with smaller regional airports in Donegal; Sligo; Knock; Galway & Kerry. Ryanair; Aer Lingus and Aer Arann are the key airlines to get around by internal flights. The skyscanner website is a good site to get the best deals for flights to get you here in the first place. Aer Lingus do offer good deals from/to the States, for example.
Once here, try to travel by road or rail as Ireland is small enough to do so, and you don’t want to miss the amazing scenery! For train travel planning, you can use www.irishrail.ie to check timetables and buy tickets in advance. The train service isn’t the best as the trains aren’t very frequent, so it is often better to travel by bus / hire a car. For bus travel, the main company is www.buseireann.ie offering frequent services covering the entire island of Ireland. For the backpackers among you, you could also try the Paddy Wagon Visas
The Republic of Ireland is, as it says, a Republic. You will have to present your passport at the airport, even when travelling from a UK starting point. You will not pass through an official border control point when travelling into or out of Northern Ireland by car/bus, however random passport/visa checks between the two, do happen, and are conducted by gardai / police on either side of the border. For specific visa information by country, please refer to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Working in Ireland
You can’t legally work in the Republic of Ireland without a tax number, which is called a ‘PPS number’ here. You can’t apply for it in advance, you have to do in person, and you need to have an address first of all, because the office you apply to, has to be in the right area to where you live. You can find this out here: Welfare Office
They will also expect to see proof of your address which can be an employers referral letter. The website will also tell you anything additional you need to take with you to apply (e.g. your passport / birth certificate) Once you have your PPS number, you then need to fill in form 12A.
You can also now open a bank account, as you will have your letter with your PPS number on it to use as a ‘proof of address’. And that’s it…!Currency
The currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (€), which is different to Northern Ireland where they have the Great British Pound (£). Credit cards are widely accepted, and exchange services also available. Health
Healthcare in the Republic of Ireland is generally on a consultation fee basis, with some exceptions. You will pay around €60 to see a doctor, and then more for any additional treatment / prescriptions.
Tap water is safe to drink, and there is a large supply of this! You don’t need any immunisations to visit the Republic of Ireland, but if you have come from somewhere with a high rate of diseases like yellow fever, typhoid or polio, you may need to have proof that you have been vaccinated against them.Accommodation , Internet & Weather
There are many forms of accommodation available. Types of accommodation range from Apartments, Hotels, Hostels, Bed & Breakfast, Tourist Parks and Caravans. You will be looking at, at least €10 for hostel accommodation.
Internet facilities are widely available in main cities throughout Ireland, in internet cafes
It can be common to experience four seasons in one day in Ireland, but generally the seasons are as follows:
Summer is June to August
Autumn is September to November
Winter - is December to February
Spring - is March to MayTime Zones
Ireland is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This means we also put our clocks forward one hour in Spring, and back one hour in Autumn (“Spring Forward, Fall Back”) In the summer, the sun sets later and later each day, so it can still be a light sky at 10pm on occasion!Communication
The country code is +353. Mobile (cell) phones are commonplace. The postal service is covered by Anpost
and post boxes are green. Post offices are usually open 9am – 5:30pm (with a lunch-break), Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings. The electrical current here is 220-240 volts (50 cycles), and a standard three pin plug adapter may be required by visitors.Language
Both Irish & English are spoken / understood throughout the Republic. You will notice immediately upon arrival that all signage is in two languages – Irish, and the English equivalent. The Irish language is a mandatory part of the schooling system in the Republic of Ireland, so many people at least understand this to a degree, or they can be fluent / have a good grasp. There are areas of Ireland (known as the ‘Gaeltacht’) where Irish is the first spoken language, and where tradition and culture thrives. To find out more about the Gaeltacht areas, I would recommend visiting this Irish website Dublin
The Republic of Ireland’s capital city. O’Connell Street is the main street (and a prime area for buses from / to Dublin Airport). Grafton Street is the hub for shopping, and Temple Bar for the drinking. Key highlights include the obligatory Guinness Factory tour. Don’t shoot me down, but I do rate Kilmainham Gaol (jail) as a better tourist experience… ! The gaol is a guided tour experience, and takes you through the history of Ireland. The uprisings etc – really interesting! There is also the standard open top bus tour (which I haven’t done yet, but intend to!), however I have done the Dublin Rock ‘n’ Roll bus tour, which is in a very cool American style bus with blacked out windows, and introduces you to the music & literary culture that is the heart of Dublin. I also intend to do the ghost bus tours at some stage. Free stuff!
My friend Joerg writes a weekly newsletter called “Dublin Event Guide (for Free Events)” He sends this every Friday with listings of what’s going on in and around Dublin in the week ahead. This started as a hobby to a few friends, which has grown into a community of more than 4000 followers. If you would like to receive this guide, all you need to do is send an e-mail with “Subscribe” in the subject, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.orgRest of the Republic
– Although I live here, I still class myself as a tourist, and act like one. I’ve created an Ireland blog containing info on places I’ve been since living here, and I’ll continue to add to that when relevant, so feel free to take a lookYou’ve not visited Ireland unless you have….
• Been to a pub with live traditional Irish music.
• Kissed the Blarney Stone
• Visited the west coast
• Been to some castles – Trim; Kilkenny…
• Tried some Irish food/drink, for example
o Irish Stew
o Soda Bread
o Red lemonade – readily available in pubs too, and goes well with Southern Comfort!
o Guinness – what else?!?Related Guide Books & Websites
I feel the need to add to this already, and will do so, now that the basics are here! If anyone has anything they’d like to see added, just let me know. I have suggested some websites below, and if you have any queries, please feel free to ask me.
Places I've been in Ireland since June 2008Visit Ireland
(for arranging your itinerary. Provides further internet links for all things Irish)Skyscanner
(to get you your cheap flight to Ireland in the first place!)Trains Buses