As in most modern countries, public holidays can mean heavier traffic on the roads, while popular restaurants and accommodation can be more difficult to book
The Republic Ireland and Northern Ireland share the following public holidays:
New Years Day 1st January
St. Patrick’s Day 17th March
Easter Good Friday to Easter Monday (Dates vary)
May Holiday First Monday in May
Christmas Day 25th December
St. Stephens Day 26th December
National/Bank Holidays in The Republic of Ireland
First Monday in June
First Monday in August
Last Monday in October
Please Don’t Try and Do all of Ireland in 7 days!
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a private chauffeur guided vacation in Ireland. Any tour operator worth their salt will advise you against it. Ireland may look like a medium sized island to see in one week but this is forgetting that the Emerald Isle does not have an integrated highway system and most visitor attractions are not located conveniently to motorways. You risk spoiling your own Ireland vacation by trying to cram too much in.
The Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom both share a left-hand driving traffic system. This means that there is no change-over to worry about when driving across the border from the Republic into Northern Ireland.
Ireland has a modern network of primary roads but secondary roads can still be quite winding and narrow. Tractors are common and sheep sometimes stray onto more remote roads. Always drive with caution on back roads to reduce the chance of causing or being involved in an accident.
It is important to remember that the currency used in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro while the currency for Northern Ireland is Pound Sterling. The correct currency is required when travelling between the Republic and Northern Ireland. You can also use your credit card You can exchange your current money for Euro or Pounds at a Bureau De Change or a bank. Another option is to use your bank or credit cards at a local ATM machine. Most reasonably size towns have them.
Using Visa and MasterCard
Acceptance of Visa and MasterCard is almost universal for retailing and most services, including supermarkets, accommodation, restaurants, service stations and and department stores, airport parking charges, etc.
The electrical supply in Ireland is 220 volts AC. Ireland uses the same triple flat-pin plugs as the United Kingdom. If your appliances operate on a different current, you will need a universal AC adaptor.
It is compulsory for guests on any of my tours to purchase travel insurance: it covers you for everything from medical expenses and luggage loss to cancellations or delays in your travel arrangements, depending on what type of policy you decide upon.
Check if you can use your Smartphone abroad
It is always best to check with your smartphone provider as to what your price plan will be in Ireland and what phone network you can use.
Most hotels, B&B guesthouses, and restaurants provide Wi-Fi access for their guests as do all my luxury touring vehicles
When to Tip
As the cost of living in Ireland has risen substantially in recent years, it has become customary to tip certain working groups employed in the service industry. This includes restaurant staff, private driver guides, coach tour drivers and guides. Many of these are seasonal workers. If you are happy with the standard of service they provide then 10% to 15% is the average tip. If a hotel porter or concierge takes your luggage directly to your room from the lobby, then a few euro may be given at your discretion.
When Not to Tip
It is not customary in Ireland to tip bar staff working in a pub, hairdressers, barbers, taxi drivers or staff working in a heritage centre or visitor attraction
Temperatures in Ireland
From May to the middle of October, temperatures in Ireland rarely drop below fifty degrees Fahrenheit and all guesthouses and hotels have central heating.
Packing for Your Ireland Vacation
As the climate is mild, moist and changeable, the most important items of clothing are a breathable waterproof rain coat and light waterproof leggings for very wet days. Waterproof shoes or boots are a good idea but also pack a comfortable pair of sneakers or sandals, just in case! Otherwise pack light layers and leave space in your suitcase for all the lovely gifts you can buy!
The Irish are a friendly people
You will often see people sign and wave to one another across a town or village street and motorists who meet neighbours on local roads will also sometimes flash their lights or raise a hand, fingers or thumbs in a friendly greeting. It is not uncommon on back roads, to come across two motorists stopped side by side, having an impromptu chat!
Ireland has a moderate climate that is dominated by Atlantic weather systems and the Gulf Stream. This means that our summers are pleasantly mild and our winters are relatively mild with only occasional wintry cold snaps. The general impression is that it rains quite a lot of the time in Ireland, but two out of three hourly observations will not report any measurable rainfall. The weather in Ireland is ever changing which often makes for breathtaking skies while the fresh Atlantic air is simply invigorating.