English is the official language of Ireland, although Gaelic is also an official language. The ancient tongue of the region is still spoken in rural areas.
The Irish Republic is part of the European Union, with the Euro its official currency. Banks, currency exchange outlets and ATMs are found in every city and town, and major credit and debit cards are accepted at the majority of restaurants, shops, gas stations and car hire offices. Amex and Diners’ Club may be less popular than Visa or MasterCard due to the higher cost of transaction processing.
The Republic of Ireland operates on Greenwich Mean Time, five hours ahead of the USA’s eastern seaboard.
Electricity here comes as 220V/50H, with sockets and plugs conforming to the British three-square pin plug standard. For users of non-dual voltage electronic equipment from the USA, a plug adapter and a voltage adapter will be needed. For visitors from the EU, a plug adapter should be all that’s necessary.
The country code for Ireland is +353, with area codes in single digits and local telephone numbers having seven digits. The county’s cell phone network providers operate in the GSM frequency, making many US cell phones useless as regards international roaming. The answer is to have your cell phone unlocked and purchase a prepaid Irish SIM card from one of the country’s four network providers, 3 Ireland, O2 Ireland, Meteor and Vodaphone Ireland. Internet cafes are found in the major cities, with most hotels also providing access, but in rural districts it’s far less common.
Visitors arriving from non-EU countries are allowed to bring in tax-free 200 cigarettes, one liter of spirits, two liters of fortified wines, four liters of wine, 16 liters of beer and a reasonable amount of goods for personal use. For arrivals from EU countries, there are no restrictions. For those en route to the US, the limits are 200 cigarettes, one liter of alcohol and goods to the value of US $400 duty-free.
Irish Republic Tourist Office: +353-1=605=7732 or http://www.discoverireland.ie/
Embassies in Dublin
Australian Embassy, Dublin: +353-1-664-5400 Canadian Embassy, Dublin: +353-1-234-4000 US Embassy, Dublin: +353-1-668-8777 UK Embassy, Dublin: +353-1-205-3700
Emergency services: 112