There’s always been a strong connection between Ireland and the United States of America. There’s a reason the Boston Celtics go by that name, and even the phrase ‘luck of the Irish’ is related to the perceived fortune that Irish miners had during the California gold rush. Too many people – especially around the New York area and the East Coast in general, Ireland is ‘the old country,’ and a place many of us would like to visit at least once in our lifetimes. Five main things you can expect when you visit Ireland that will allow you to have a better experience. This is a list of Europe Travel Tips
Visiting Ireland is about more than making a personal connection to our distant past, though. Ireland is a beautiful country, rich with verdant landscapes, and rolling green hills. The seemingly endless greenery of the country is what gives it the nickname of ‘The Emerald Isle,’ and some of the coastlines and beaches have to be seen to be believed. It’s not just about the scenery either – Ireland is home to some of the friendliest people in the world, and visit in Dublin, it has one of the most lively capital cities in the world. Most people who go to Ireland find that the small country is more than they ever expected it to be.
For all its charm, though, it also has a few quirks. You may want to consider some of these handy Irish travel tips. We’ve put them all together in one convenient place for you.
Things to Know About Ireland
1. They Drives On The Left
This is something that the Irish have in common with Great Britain, their neighbors over the Irish Sea. We think it’s strange now, but it’s the rest of the world that’s changed, not Ireland and the UK. At one point in the early days of automobiles, almost everybody drove on the left. With their typical stubbornness, the Brits and the Irish didn’t change their ways when everyone else did, and they still drive on the left to this day.
Even if you don’t drive, this is important to remember when you’re crossing the road. You don’t want to be caught out by monitoring the wrong lane of traffic. If you do drive, think carefully before deciding to hire a car for your vacation. If you’ve only ever driven on the right, all of your instincts will be based on driving on the right. A single momentary lapse of concentration could result in an accident. You might just want to travel by public transport or taxi instead – most major cities in Ireland have Uber.
2. Tipping Isn’t Expected
In Ireland, you’re not expected to tip after every service you receive. The amount you see printed on a label in a store is the amount you pay at the counter. Your taxi driver is not expecting you to tip them, and nor are the people who serve you at the hotel. In general, the Irish only tip at restaurants or at bars, and even then it’s a custom more than an expectation.
In Britain and Ireland, tipping is considered to be a confusing and American habit. All of the staff who serve you in Ireland – including waiters and bar staff – are earning a full wage. They don’t require tips in order to make money in the same way service staff in America do. You might mean well by offering someone money they haven’t asked for, but the person you offer it to might be offended that you think they need it.
3. They Don’t Appreciate The Stereotypes
There are dozens of stereotypes about visiting Ireland, and we’re all familiar with them. The men are always portrayed as drunks, everybody dances, there are pots of gold at the end of the rainbows, and little leprechauns are hiding around every corner. These stereotypes are embedded in our culture, and they’re furthered by entertainment products like mobile slots.
The Irish theme is the most popular of all the mobile slots genres and contains slots like Rainbow Riches, Leprechaun Song, Irish Eyes, and Pots of Gold. In each of those mobile slots, the depiction of Ireland is the same. The Irish aren’t necessarily offended by the mobile slots – many of them even play them – but the caricature of the country seen in them isn’t rooted in reality. If you make references to leprechauns or pots of gold in casual conversation with your hosts or wish them ‘top o’ the morning to you,’ don’t expect a friendly response.
4. Nothing Happens On Sunday
Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest in the Christian religion, and as recently as thirty years ago, it used to be treated as one in most Christian countries. Commercialism has put paid to that, and in most places – including the USA and England – you can now do almost all the same things on Sunday that you could on Saturday.
The same isn’t true of visiting Ireland. Ireland is still a deeply conservative, Catholic country, and still takes the Sabbath seriously. Very few shops will open at all on Sunday, and those who do will likely only be open for a few hours. A lot of the attractions you may be planning on visiting might be closed for business, too. Take this into account when planning your trip, and don’t expect to do anything significant on the weekend’s second day. You’re liable to be disappointed when you find out that you can’t.
5. Northern Ireland Is Not The Same Country
Ireland is not a large piece of land, so it’s easy to assume that it’s all the same thing. It isn’t. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are different countries with different religions and exist in a state of constant tension. The Republic of Ireland is self-ruled, whereas Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, and is ruled by London.
There isn’t a hard border between the countries (although that may change after Brexit), so you can easily cross between should you wish to – just beware that there are important differences. You can easily see both Belfast and Dublin on the same weekend if you wish, but Belfast and Dublin have completely different currencies. You’ll be using Euros in Ireland, and the British Pound in Northern Ireland. Always have an awareness of where you are – and whatever you do, don’t get them mixed up with each other!
Oh, and as a bonus tip – try the Guinness. Even if you’ve tasted it before and didn’t like it, it tastes a little different in the place where it was brewed. It would be rude not to!