Thinking about traveling to Ireland? Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you get the best experience while on the Emerald Isle.
- Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for all types of weather. The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, and there’s almost always a chance of rain. It doesn’t hurt to pack that umbrella. If you’re going to be exploring downtown Dublin or seeing the Cliffs of Moher, make sure you wear your most comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you later.
- Take advantage of public transport. Big cities like Dublin have multiple ways to get around, such as the public bus system, the DART (electric rail system), the train and taxis. Most areas are walkable as well. If you’re staying for an extended period of time, look into getting a Leap Card, which pays for the bus and the DART.
- Explore local restaurants and pubs. While Ireland has some popular American restaurants, the local pubs are fun to try as well. They normally have a variety of traditional Irish food and classic meals. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people and learn about Irish history or pub culture.
- Connect with your group. Whether it’s people you’ve grown up with or a group of total strangers, the people you travel with can make or break the experience. You’ll enjoy your time more if you get along with those you’re sharing it with.
- Explore the scenery. Ireland is full of nature, with many different outdoor sights to see. A day trip to the coastal town of Howth, the Irish Botanical Gardens or the Cliffs of Moher is worth the drive. There are also tons of different hiking trails if you prefer a challenge.
- Ask about fairies or leprechauns. Irish history is filled with legends of magical fairies and leprechauns, but that doesn’t mean people want to talk about them. Whether it’s superstitions or just bad juju, some Irish people prefer to keep their mouths shut about these legends. If you want to learn about the folklore of Ireland, check out the Brazen Head for a unique dining experience filled with tales.
- Attempt an accent. Yes, their accent may be fun to try, but most Irish don’t see it as a joke. Stick with your own accent.
- Be afraid to talk to the locals. The Irish are kind and welcoming people, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. They’re normally happy to talk about where they’re from or their interests. Who knows, maybe you’ll make a friend along the way.
- Tip at restaurants and pubs. Tipping in Ireland isn’t needed, but it is appreciated. The servers and bartenders get paid well enough that they don’t rely on tips as Americans do.
- Assume that the bus will stop at every stop. On each of the Transport For Ireland (TFI) buses, there are red buttons on the interior. When your stop is approaching, press this button to alert the driver that you are looking to get off here. If you don’t press the button, you’ll run the risk of missing your stop altogether, and the bus won’t turn around for you.