The euro is the currency of the Republic of Ireland and the British pound sterling is the currency of Northern Ireland. Master Card and Visa are the most widely accepted credit cards. Some establishments accept American Express and Diners Club, but few accept the Discover Card.
Travel To Ireland
American Airlines, Aer Lingus, Air France, BMI, Continental, US Airways and Delta offer service to Ireland from the U.S. The country has four international and seven regional airports. All of Ireland's airports have shuttle services into the major cities.
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are considered to be different countries. The border between the Republic and Northern Ireland was opened in 1994. In most cases, you will not be required to stop when crossing the border. However, government officials do occasionally set up random checkpoints, so be sure to have your documents available. Unless you are staying for an extended period of time, U.S. citizens require a passport, but not a visa.
Even the more remote sections of Ireland have an extensive rail and bus system. However, for greater flexibility in your travel plans, you might consider renting a car. Most cars are small, and have a standard transmission. Keep in mind that the steering wheel will be on the right, and you will be driving on the right side of the road. Rental cars may not be taken out of the country. If you are traveling from Dublin to the south or southwestern section of Ireland, you will have to use the M50 and Westlink toll bridge. Be sure to have two euros available for the toll so you can throw the money in the basket and avoid waiting on the usually long traffic lines.
Winter temperatures average between 40 and 50 degrees F and summer temperatures range from 60 to 70 degrees. Ireland's reputation for consistent rain is not apocryphal, so dress accordingly. Pack a raincoat, or better yet, a rain parka that can be folded up and placed in your day pack if the rain stops. If you're taking a long hike, you might want to take along an extra pair of socks, in case your first pair gets wet. Be sure to choose waterproof hiking boots. Summer nights can be chilly, so bring along a jacket for evening hikes. Despite the rain, during the summer, it might stay light as late as 10 p.m.
ENFO, located on Dublin 2 on Andrew's Street in Dublin gives away free posters and calenders that depict Ireland's animals and wildlife. If you're short on souvenir money, stop by.
Where to Stay
While there are now many large hotel chains in Ireland, the bed and breakfasts still encompass the soul of the country. For the most part, the Irish owners are charming and personable, and enjoy chatting with their guests. They can give you the best tips on where to hike, visit and eat. In general, bed and breakfasts are more affordable than big hotels.