REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – EIRE
Ireland, or Eire in the Emerald Isle is a destination no traveller should miss. From its rolling green countryside, rugged Atlantic coast and full of history, legends and lively atmosphere, you’re sure to have a great time! The Republic of ireland occupies the southern half of the island, the north-eastern corner, Northern Ireland, forms part of the United Kingdom. The infamous battles betweent the two states have coloured Irish history over the last hundred years, but peace is generlaly prevalent today between the two coutnries. On your tour of ireland, Discover Dublin, the vibrant capital city with its famous bars, the colourful port town of Cork as well as travel through the beautiful interior of the country. And as they say in Irish, ‘Céad míle fáilte!’ – a hundred thousand welcomes await!

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
• Passports
Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. Please be sure to fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport.

Visas
Currently, U.S., Canadian, Australian and European citizens may enter the Republic of Ireland for tourist purposes without a visa. All other nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure. Further information can be found here:

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/moving_country/moving_to_ireland/coming_to_live_in_ireland/visa_requirements_for_entering_ireland.html

N.B. - For entry requirements to Northern Ireland, please check our United Kingom Travel Tips

• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Dublin, including those for the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. However, embassies for many other countries are located in other London or European cities, offering coverage to Ireland. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.

N.B. Please note, visa and entry requirements, regulations and restrictions can vary on a regular basis. Please ensure you check in good time prior to travel the current requirements applicable to you.

HEALTH, INSURANCE AND SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS
• Travel Insurance
It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to travelling, to include but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the travelling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer and the correct cover must be taken in regard to the specific type of holiday you are taking.
The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least 6 weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number and take these with you on tour.

• General Health
Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs.
Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.
We recommend you carry a simple travellers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints.
If you do need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort.

• Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility
Our Ireland Tours are rated Activity Level 2 and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable to you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.
If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability which may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.

• Medical Conditions and Personal Medication
Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you.
Important:

  • Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.
  • Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.

Vaccinations
There are currently no vaccination requirements for international travellers, but please consult your doctor before travelling for the latest immunisation information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.

• Travelling with CPAP or other Medical Machines
Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are travelling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply, such as on safari or smaller cruise ships. Also,

  • Check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting;
  • Check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labelled as medical machinery;
  • Always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you;
  • Ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements whilst you are travelling;
  • Check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are travelling to.

Please note, if you require distilled or ionised water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.

• Special Dietary Requirements
Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.

LUGGAGE
• What to Pack and Wear
We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for this tour. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish, however there is no pressure to follow a dress code. Layers suit the Irish weather best as there can be a cool breeze, especially near the coast. For those used to warmer climates, a hat and a warm coat are essential. An easily packable, light rain-jacket and foldaway umbrella will come in handy on Irish tours, as we will most likely encounter rain at some point during the tour.
Insect repellent and sun cream are also essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards.

• Luggage Allowances
International airlines are often strict about the size and weight of checked in baggage and carry-on luggage. Prior to your departure, please contact your airline or visit their website for specific luggage requirements, as size and weight limitations may vary according to the airline and destination.

Porterage
Luggage handling is not included in our Ireland tour. It may be available at the hotel for a local charge.

Laundry
Laundry services are available in some hotels on the tour.

LANGUAGE
The main language of Ireland is English. However, Irish is also the official language of Ireland. Though generally only spoken on a daily basis in rural communities nowadays, it is still taught in schools and promoted as the official language. You will see if written on official buildings, on road signs and in many locations around the country.

TIME ZONE
The time zone in Ireland is the same as GMT, the same time as London.

WEATHER
Ireland doesn’t get called the Green country for no reason – rain! Located in the middle of the Atlantic, it is the first land the clouds encounter, so it is almost inevitable you will encounter some rain during your tour – be it summer or winter. Weather can be blustery and cold in the winter, with some snow in rural areas. Spring and autumn are generally nice but not without showers. Summer days are long and can be warm, but it is still advisable to bring layers.

ELECTRICITY
In Ireland, the standard voltage is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. You will need a UK style plug adapter, and/or converter depending on which electrical appliances you bring with you.

MOBILES & INTERNET COMMUNICATION
Ireland has a well-developed communications infrastructure. A number of cellphone/mobile phone providers offer national coverage and there are well-established landline phone networks. In populated urban areas, there should be good mobile signal but as we head into rural areas, signal may fluctuate. Internet and Wi-Fi are easily accessible in most urban areas and most hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI. Please check data roaming charges for Ireland with your service provider before leaving home as these can quickly become very expensive.

MONEY
• Currency
The currency of Ireland is the Euro € (EUR). Credit cards are widely accepted at mid-high range establishments, but it is advisable to carry money in cash with you as well, especially when in pubs, restaurants and rural areas. ATMs are widely available in cities, but not so in rural areas smaller villages.

Budget
Ireland can be quite expensive, with prices for even day to day items comparably higher than other the UK. Food and drink in restaurants and bars can be quite pricy.

• Bank Opening
Banks in Ireland are usually open 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

• Tipping
Based on feedback and experience of previous groups, tipping collectively as an entire group is easier, stress free and potentially offers us better service throughout our itinerary. Furthermore, it will be one less thing to worry about! Gratuities will be offered to the local Italian tour guides, bus/ transfer drivers and hotel and restaurant staff for group meals.
The suggested gratuities package is $12 per person per day. At the start of your journey, we ask for you to place your gratuities into an envelope clearly marked with your name(s) and hand it to your tour director. They can then pay out the gratuities on your behalf to everyone who plays a part in the smooth running of the tour and provides any form of service to the group at the various locations throughout the trip.
If you do not wish to be part of this package please let your Tour Director know as we will start to distribute the tips for services received as soon as you arrive in country.

FOOD
Food in Ireland traditionally revolves around the staple – potatoes! Often served with beef and vegetables, as roasts, in stews or boiled. But there is more to Irish cuisines. Ireland has a huge dairy industry, with the butters, milks, cheeses and of course, beef, some of the best in the world. Being an island, there is also lots of fish and seafood. And many liquors to taste – of course whiskey as well as the infamous stouts, the best known being Guinness.
Some meals are included as part of your tour – please check your individual departure for the relevant meal inclusions.

WATER
When in Ireland, it is advisable not to drink the tap water, unless it has been filtered due to the potential exposure to chemicals. Bottled water can be bought at supermarkets, kiosks and many shops.

SHOPPING
Although it is inevitable a shamrock and leprechaun will make their way into your suitcase, there are many more things to buy in Ireland! From the fine Waterford crystal-ware, tweeds and linens, as well as the whiskey!

• Opening Hours
In the cities and towns, most retail shops are open from 9am – 6pm Monday–Saturday, though may vary locally. Most shops in Dublin are open on Sundays, but with reduced hours. Opening hours in rural Ireland can vary though, with reduced hours and Sunday closing.

• VAT/Tax Refund
Numerous shops in Ireland offer a VAT refund when leaving the country. Please ask the salesperson whether tax-free shopping applies to the shop in question.

SAFETY & SECURITY
Crime levels in Ireland are low. However, there’s a risk of petty theft, particularly in popular tourist attractions and on public transport. Please take sensible precautions to protect your belongings, particularly your passport, money and credit cards.

SMOKING
Smoking is banned in all indoor public places, but there are usually designated outdoor areas where people can smoke. Smoking is prohibited on all means of public transport.

RELIGION
Ireland is predominantly Catholic, though there are pockets of Protestantism close to the northern border. However, in recent years, the power of the Catholic church has weakened over the country.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Ireland offers photo opportunities one after another. You will return with many photos that can never be repeated. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries and a spare memory card!

ARRIVAL IN IRELAND
Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 3pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.

TOUR HOTEL INFORMATION
Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information attaining to your tour departure.

OTHER COUNTRIES ON TOUR ITINERARY
For our Travel Tips for the United Kingdom and other countries that may feature as part of your tour to Ireland, please click here.

FLYING & TRAVEL HINTS
• Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
• It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as camera, toiletries, reading material etc.
• Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
• Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
• Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination, most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.

If you have any other questions that we have not covered here; then please send us an e-mail to: info@thebigjourneycompany.com

Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained in the website.
Updated November 2019

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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