Below is are some tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable holiday in the North West of Ireland.
Banking / Money / Currency
The unit of currency is the Euro and each Euro has 100 cent. For visitors outside of the EU, Euros can be purchased at any foreign exchange departments at your local bank or at any bank in Ireland (including those located at airports which are open for all flight arrivals).
In the Region banks open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 10.00am-4.00pm. Each bank has one late opening day per week.
ATM machines are widely available and most credit cards are widely accepted particularly Visa and MasterCard, as well as Plus and Cirrus debit cards.
The larger Tourist Information Offices in the Region have Bureau de Change facilities, as do all banks.
Money Transfer can be organised through Western Union Money Transfer. Freephone 1800 395 395, Credit Cards 1800 695 695. This company provides a service from 110 countries and has more than 250 outlets in Ireland.
Business / Shopping Hours
All shops are generally open from 0900hrs to 1800hrs Monday to Saturday. Many small local shops and grocery shops in villages and small towns open daily until 2200hrs.
Shopping centres normally have one or two late night openings each week. Some shopping centres are also open on Sunday afternoons.
Duty-free shopping is available at Shannon International Airport and at other airports and on-board ferries.
Driving in Ireland
All traffic drives on the left.
You must always turn left into a roundabout. Treat the roundabout as a normal junction, which means you yield right of way to traffic approaching on the roundabout.
at a junction where no road has priority you must yield to traffic coming from your right.
motorways are signposted white on blue. The Entry to Motorway sign means that Motorway Regulations apply from that point. Learner drivers, vehicles under 50cc, slow vehicles, invalid carriages, pedal cyclists, pedestrians and animals are not permitted to use motorways.
Information Signs: these signs give information regarding direction, distance, place etc. They may be in black lettering on a white background or white lettering on a green background.
- A general speed limit of 60 miles per hour (96 km/h) applies on all roads not subject to the motorway speed limit or speed limits lower than 60 miles per hour. When you see this sign the general speed limit of 60 m.p.h. applies
- In built up areas generally a speed limit of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) applies. On certain other roads, usually on approaches to urban areas 40 m.p.h. (64 km/h) speed limits apply. These limits will be signposted
- On motorways generally a special speed of 70 miles per hour (112 km/h) applies
- The maximum speed limit for a car towing a trailer is 50 miles per hour (80 km/h)
The electrical supply throughout the Region and Ireland is 230 volts (50 cycles). Plugs are 3 pin flat. Adapters are therefore required for 2 pin appliances. Ensuite bathroom shaving points normally have 110 and 240 volt outlets for using shavers.
At present, there are 104 embassies accredited to Ireland; 47 embassies are resident in Ireland.
In addition, 40 countries are represented by honorary consulates in various parts of Ireland.
For further Information see: www.irlgov.ie
In Ireland the general Emergency Telephone number in 999 or 112 (this is a Freephone number). These numbers will alert the appropriate services – Fire – Gardai (Police), Lifeboat (38 lifeboat stations in Ireland), Coastal, Mountain and Cave Rescue Services.
- The 24-hour helpline number for Tourist Victim Support is Freephone 1800-661-771
- Automobile Association Freephone 1 800 66 77 88
- RAC Members Freephone 1 800 535 005
Garda / Police
The Irish Police force are known as the Gardai. There are Garda Stations in most of the main towns in the region. Telephone numbers of Garda Stations are listed in the green bordered pages at the front of the Telephone Directory under "Garda Siochana". In an emergency the Garda Siochana can be contacted by dialling 999 or 112. These numbers are also used to alert the following services - Fire Brigade, Lifeboat, Ambulance, Mountain & Cave Rescue and Coastal Rescue services. For more information see: www.garda.ie
English is the spoken language here in Ireland. There is an area in County Donegal known as An Gaeltacht, which stretches virtually uninterrupted from north Donegal to the southwest of the county. Here Irish is spoken as a first language. The Donegal Gaeltacht has the largest native Irish speaking population in Ireland. The social, cultural and linguistic traditions are safe guarded and eagerly promoted in this area.
The control of on-street parking is the responsibility of the Local Authority. Each Authority decides on the parking controls that are introduced within its area and sets the level of on street parking fees. Ask local Tourist Offices for more detail on the local areas.
Passports and Visas
British-born citizens, when travelling to Ireland, do not require passports. Such visitors should, however, carry identification. All visitors from other countries must carry a valid passport.
At present there are 104 embassies accredited to Ireland; 47 embassies are resident in Ireland. In addition 40 countries are represented by honorary consulates in various parts of Ireland. Five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) maintain permanent cultural institutes in Dublin.
For further information log on to: www.irlgov.ie
Passport Office, Dublin phone enquiries: 00 353 (0) 1-6711633 / LoCall: 1890 426 888
Pets - Cats / Dogs
There are no restrictions provided your pet is coming directly from Britain, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Pet Dogs and Cats entering the UK from the continent can travel on to Ireland without the need for quarantine, provided they have come along routes approved under the terms of the UK Pets Pilot Project. For further information regarding the conditions of the PETS Pilot project please contact/see below
Ireland will not be operating a pilot scheme and for the present, the existing quarantine requirements will continue to apply for animals entering Ireland directly from outside the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. Likewise the free movement regime of pet cats and dogs between Ireland and the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be maintained.
Telephone Ireland: 00 353 (0) 1 6072827
An Post is Ireland’s national postal service provider. As the parent company operating Ireland’s largest communications, distribution, logistics and financial related service networks, An Post provides a wide range of services to both business and personal customers.
Generally Post Offices are open from:
- Monday – Friday 9am – 5.30pm
- Saturday 9am - 1pm
In larger towns the Saturday opening times may be extended.
For more see: www.anpost.ie
In the Republic of Ireland, the State transport authority, C.I.E. (Coras Iompair Eireann) is the umbrella body for three companies. Dublin Bus (Service Bus Eireann) servicing provincial areas from Dublin. And Irish Rail (Operating city trains as well as the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) system.
Timetables for bus and train services, including details of various commuter and tourist tickets, are sold in outlets throughout the city.
For bus and trains information within Ireland.
Dublin Bus: Tel: +353 (0) 1 873 4222
Bus Eireann: Tel: +353 (0) 1 836 6111
Irish Rail: Tel: +353 (0) 1 836 6222
You can dial direct for a recorded timetable for most mainline rail details, and check phone directory under Coras Iompair Eireann.
The DART rail service provides an efficient means of travel along coastal strip between Bray and Howth.
For more see www.irishrail.ie
Radio and Television
Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) is the Irish national broadcasting company and they operate Radio 1, 2FM, FM3, Radio na Gaeltachta (Irish Language Service) and Lyric FM (classical music). See the weekly RTE Guide for details of RTE TV and Radio programmes, and programmes provided by other service providers including TV3.
Local radio has been licensed extensively in Ireland. The five counties of the North West all have local radio stations.
Please be aware that signposting in An Gaeltacht is in Irish only.
Fáilte Ireland (Irish Tourist Board) produces a map of Ireland, which depicts place names in both Irish and in English. We would advise that visitors use this map, which is available from any Tourist Information Office. In the main Irish road signs appear in metric displayed on green and white signs – however, some of the older black and white signs still remain and distances on these are in miles.
To ring an Irish telephone number from outside Ireland first dial 00-353, then drop the 0 at the beginning of the Irish telephone dialling code. For example to call the Sligo Tourist Information Office from abroad dial 00-353-71-9161201. Dialling codes are not necessary when you are making a call within the same dialling code number area.
Dialling Codes from Ireland to our main markets are as follows:
- Australia: 0061
- Belgium: 0032
- Canada: 001
- Denmark: 0045
- Finland: 00358
- France: 0033
- Germany: 0049
- Great Britain: 0044
- Italy: 0039
- Malta: 00356
- Netherlands: 0031
- Norway: 0047
- Spain: 0034
- Sweden: 0046
- Switzerland: 0041
- USA: 001
Call the USA 800-COLLECT
When in Ireland dial: 1-800-COLLECT (265 5328)
Signal coverage for mobile phones in the North West is generally very good with the exception of some mountainous areas.
For directory enquiries:
- Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland telephone 11811
- Britain and International enquiries 11818
A normal tip for good service in Dublin restaurants is between 10%-15%. Service charge is normally included automatically for groups of six or more. Tipping porters, taxi drivers, etc is customary but not obligatory. In pubs it is not usually customary to tip.
- North West Tourism Headquarters, Sligo (All Year) Tel: 00 353 (0) 71 9161201
- Letterkenny Tourist Office, Co Donegal (All Year) Tel: 00 353 (0) 74 9121160
- Donegal Town Tourist Office, Co Donegal (All Year) Tel: 00 353 (0) 74 9721148
- Buncrana Tourist Office, Co Donegal (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 74 9362600
- Bundoran Tourist Office, Co Donegal (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 71 9841350
- Dungloe Tourist Office, Co Donegal (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 74 9521297
- Carrick - On - Shannon Tourist Office, Co Leitrim (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 71 9620170
- Cavan Tourist Office, Co Cavan (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 49 4331942
- Monaghan Tourist Office, Co Monaghan (seasonal) Tel: 00 353 (0) 47 81122
- Fermanagh Tourist Information Centre, Co Fermanagh Tel: 048 66323110
VAT Refunds for Visitors
Value Added Tax (VAT) is generally included in the price of goods and services in Ireland. Visitors to Ireland from outside the European Union can obtain a refund of VAT.
A few of the large stores will deduct the VAT (from large purchases) at the point of sale when they are to be shipped abroad.
Goods purchased by visitors and taken out of Ireland within three months after purchase qualify for VAT refund.