Ireland is an island in Europe and it is divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
So far I only visited the Republic of Ireland, so this entry will focus on this area.
Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom and as such the currency there is pound. It was created in 1921 and for long two fractions fought each other – the Protestants and the Catholics. Nowadays it’s a lot calmer though.
The climate is maritime, wetter in the west than the east. The weather, overall, is quite unpredictable at all times of the year. It’s windy and rough along the coast, but it also offers beautiful landscapes which were also used for series such as ‘Game of Thrones’.
The Republic of Ireland, or just Ireland occupies about five-sixths of the island. The capital is Dublin, the language is English and the currency used is Euro.
When you travel to Ireland and don’t stay in one of the big cities which you can easily reach by bus or train, it is advisable to rent a car. There is local transport, but it is not really frequent and as a tourist a car is the best you can have to reach all the spots you want to go to. Renting cars is easy and can be done directly at any airport.
Visas are not required by most citizens of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada.
If you are from a different country, then please check this homepage: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_to_ireland/coming_to_live_in_ireland/visa_requirements_for_entering_ireland.html#l0aabc
The weather in Ireland changes quickly and in ten minutes you can have all: sunshine, rain and heavy winds. But if you want to travel there, the best season would be from June until Mid-September. From Easter to May and Mid-September to October weather is often good, with a good mix of sun and rain. From November to February the weather is colder, there can be quite some fog and some destinations close, but the big cities operate as usual.
You can find pizza, curry, Chinese food and also west African dishes in Ireland. But during the last quarter of the 20th century a new Irish cuisine emerged. It’s based on traditional ingredients which are handled in new ways. The cuisine includes fresh vegetables, fish, oysters, mussels, cheese and potato. You can also find traditional dishes such as Irish stew or the well-known Irish breakfast. There is always, of course, also the popular irish steak, which I for example enjoyed a lot during my stay!
You can find a lot of seafood in Ireland, but also sandwiches and snacks for every taste!
There are hospitals in every bigger city, and there are a lot of doctors or pharmacies if you ever happen to get injured or sick during your stay there.
make sure you are up-to-date on vaccines, but the usual ones should suffice. If you’re in doubt about anything, ask your Doctor before you travel to Ireland.
There is no real tipping culture in Ireland, but many tend to tip services such as taxis, hairdressing or in restaurants.
If you want to tip, but are unsure about how much, then give about 10%.
Ireland offers everything – cities full of life and action. Museums, discos, Nerd-shops (there is a Forbidden Planet in Dublin), boutiques… but also breath-taking landscapes, awesome cliffs, calm and great ruins.
The Irish are friendly people who may appear a bit rough on the outside. There are great food options all over the country and never shy to drive along one of the smaller roads to find true gems.
Ireland is full of ruins which are free to enter, and quite small roads. Cars also drive on the left side, so if you’re not used to that, please pay attention.
This homepage gives you a nice overview over the various areas in Ireland and what’s to see there: http://www.myirelandtour.com/travelguide/