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Before you visit the island of Ireland, there are some things that you should know so that your vacation is hassle-free and safe.

Below you'll find useful visitor information that you should keep somewhere handy and that you can refer back to before you head off on your trip to the Emerald Isle.


Like the other 18 countries in the European Union, Ireland uses the Euro currency and has been doing so since Jan. 1, 2002.

There are eight different denominations of Euro coins. They include the 1-cent, 2-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, 20-cent, 50-cent, €1 and €2 coins.

Visitor information includes knowing what currency to use in both the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. Photo by Dom J for Getty Images.

The Euro banknotes include the €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 notes.

You can exchange your currency at the airport or in any bank throughout Ireland. However, I caution exchanging it at the airport because the rates are higher.

It is best to have some cash on you before you arrive in Ireland, then use an ATM with a specific bank card that does not incur foreign transaction fees.

I personally recommend the Charles Schwab debit card, which refunds you any fees that are incurred whether you use it at home or abroad. This is the card that I use here in the U.S. and in Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, the unit of currency is the British Sterling. The denominations of coins in the British pound system include the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins.

Notes are available in £5, £10, £20 and £50 denominations.

Photo: piotr_malczyk for Getty Images.

To check the currency exchange rate before you leave, I suggest you download the XE Currency Converter, which provides live updates on rates and also allows you to store and view them when you're offline.

Measuring System

The Republic of Ireland uses the metric system (the measurement of alcohol is still in pints) and Northern Ireland, like the remainder of the United Kingdom, uses the British Imperial system for measuring distance, speed, and liquid quantities.

Photo: Derick Hudson, Getty Images.

Most of the government agencies, as well as British commerce and other industries, use metric units.

On all of Ireland’s roads, everything is measured in kilometers and speedometers are also measured this way.

In Northern Ireland, distance is measured in miles.

One mile is equal to 1.609 kilometers.


In Ireland and Northern Ireland, the standard voltage is 230V on a 50Hz frequency.

This is a piece of key visitor information that you should know especially if you want to use electronic devices while traveling around Ireland.

The average plug has 3 square pins in it.

If you are coming from the U.K. and other parts of Europe, Australia and indeed most of Asia and Africa, you can use appliances like hairdryers, straighteners and shavers without issue since the voltage is the same as the one in Ireland.

Photo: Bleex, Getty Images Signature.

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If you are traveling from North America, you will need either a worldwide plug adaptor or a power or voltage converter depending on the electrical device you want to use.

For example, hairdryers, straighteners and curling irons purchased in the U.S. and in Canada cannot handle 230 volts of electricity, which is why you will need a transformer/converter to  ”step down” the voltage and get them to work in Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Most mobile phones, iPads and other modern devices can handle that voltage. But just to be sure, take a look at the sticker on the product. You should see something like, “100V-240V“ or “110V-220V.“

If your device is compatible with Ireland’s voltage power, then all you need is a worldwide plug adaptor like the one mentioned above and that will fit into an Irish outlet, thereby allowing you to use your devices as you normally would.

Driving in Ireland – Road Signs

Driving in Ireland can be confusing for visitors from North America, mainland Europe and other places where they normally drive on the right side of the road.

In Ireland, as in England, driving takes place on the left.

If you decide to rent a car in Ireland, you'll need to familiarize yourself with Ireland’s many road signs.

Tourist signs are usually brown with white lettering while other signs for various destinations throughout Ireland might be on white signs with black lettering or more recently, on green backgrounds with white lettering.

Photo: Chris Hill, Tourism Ireland.

You will frequently see the names of towns and cities in the Irish language. Don’t fear. They will also be translated into English.

Tourist information signs in Northern Ireland are also brown with white lettering. Regular road signs with the names of towns and cities in Northern Ireland are on green signs with white lettering.

a speed limit sign at the side of a road visitor information
If you plan on driving on the island of Ireland, knowing the speed limits in the Republic and in Northern Ireland is an important piece of visitor information that you should know. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The speed limit in Ireland is measured in kilometers and varies depending on what kind of road you are driving on.

In urban areas, it is 50 kph (31.07 miles per hour); on open roads, it is 80-100 kph (49.71 to 62.14 miles per hour); and on dual carriageways and motorways, it is 120 kph (74.56 miles per hour).

a speed limit sign visitor information
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In Northern Ireland, the speed limit is measured in miles per hour.

In towns and cities, it is 30 miles per hour (45 km); on open roads, it is 60 miles per hour (95 km) and on motorways, it is 70 miles per hour (110 km).

Getting Around Ireland on Public Transportation

If you are not renting a car or using the services of a private tour company, you'll want to look into Ireland's train and bus systems.

A Translink Goldline bus that takes passengers from Belfast to Derry, as well as other routes across Northern Ireland. Photo: By KK70088 –, CC BY-SA 2.0,

To get around by bus, you should become familiar with the bus routes operated by Bus Eireann.

If traveling by train, Irish Rail (in the Republic) will be your go-to service.

In Northern Ireland, the bus and train services are managed by Translink.

WiFi in Ireland

Like many countries across the globe, most people in Ireland use WiFi.

It is relatively easy to stay connected if you know where to go for free WiFi.

clouds in the sky visitor information
Photo: Iryna Nazarova for Getty Images.

While it’s possible to get free Wifi in Irish airports, as well as in restaurants, coffee shops and pubs across the country, having continuous Wifi while you travel isn’t possible unless you purchase an international usage plan from your mobile phone carrier or you rent a personal WiFi device like the one that WiFi Candy provides.

You can rent a Wifi Candy device for as little as three days or for as long as two weeks.

You can collect the device at the excess baggage in T1 at the Arrivals area in Dublin Airport. Devices can also be delivered to your accommodation.

When you’re leaving Ireland, simply put the device in the packaging that’s provided and drop it in the collection box in Dublin Airport's Terminal 2 (between Cafe Nero and the Arrivals Gate located at Level 1). You should do this before heading to the departure gates.

The device is easy to use and syncs well with either an iPhone or Android device.

In Northern Ireland, you’ll find a free public WiFi service in Belfast, part of the city's Super Connected Belfast scheme.

Belfast city center. Photo: Tony Pleavin, Tourism Ireland.

The network is available at 109 hotspots, including visitor attractions, community and leisure centers, and other public buildings.

Other options include buying a SIM card for your unlocked phone. You'll find more information on this important topic in this blog post.

Emergency Situations

While most people visiting the island of Ireland do not encounter emergency situations, it is always good to know what to do in case of such an event.

It is wise to keep this sort of visitor information handy and accessible while you're vacationing in Ireland.

a sign visitor information
The official Garda Siochana sign that is outside all police stations in Ireland. Knowing how to contact the police in Ireland is a key piece of visitor information that you should know. Photo: ptrabattoni, Pixabay.

If you need an ambulance, police or the local fire department, in the Republic of Ireland, dial 999 or 112. If in Northern Ireland, dial 999 only.

The agency in charge of maintaining law and order in the Republic is called An Garda Siochana.

In Northern Ireland, the PSNI is in charge.

Tourists who are victims of a crime can contact the Irish Tourist Assistance Service.

Support and assistance are available 7 days a week. Call 01-666-9354 or email [email protected] if you find yourself in need of help.

Safety Tips While Traveling Around Ireland

While Ireland is relatively safe, visitors should watch their belongings, especially in places like Dublin where crime is higher than in other parts of Ireland.

Photo: joaquincorbalan.

Here are some safety/visitor information tips to keep in mind as you travel throughout Ireland.

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  • To protect yourself in the event of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance before your trip.
  • Be sure to tell your bank that you are traveling so that they can put safety measures in place when using your bank card.
  • It goes without saying that you should not carry valuables on you while sightseeing. That applies to visiting any destination, not just Ireland.
  • Crossbody bags are recommended when sightseeing or even in a pub or restaurant. They make ideal daypacks because pickpockets can’t snatch them or get access to your belongings as they can with over-the-shoulder bags.
  • Make copies of your passport and any other important documents in the event they are stolen or lost. Store them online in Google Drive, Dropbox or another file hosting service.
  • Do not walk around with your mobile phone in your back pocket or anyplace else that is visible to pickpockets.
  • If your phone is stolen, having the make, model and IMEI number of your phone is useful. To obtain the number, simply dial *#06# and the number will appear on your screen. You do not have to use the call feature.