Best time to go: May – September
Best for: Guinness, Architecture through the Ages
Ireland is a country of great natural beauty, with its green blanket landscape, picturesque villages and lively cities.
The pub is the centre of Irish social life, and there can be few things more enjoyable than drinking a pint of Guinness, one of the most famous, popular and distinctive drinks in the world. On 17 March, Ireland stops what it is doing, and parties, hard. St Patrick`s Day, celebrating Ireland`s principal Patron Saint, sees festivities around the world, and not content with merely one day, the St Patrick`s Festival has commandeered six days of comedy, music, film and lots of fun in Ireland itself.
Go bird-watching in a country famous for its variety of winged creatures. There are more than 70 reserves and sanctuaries in Ireland.
Visit the Guinness Storehouse, part of the world-renowned brewery and Dublin`s most visited attraction. It`s an interesting tour and the free pint of perfectly kept stout in the rooftop.
For up to date Health & Visa information click here
Official Name: Republic of Ireland, although some official documents may simply refer to Ireland
Local Name: Éire
Capital: Dublin (DUB)
Currency: Euro (EUR). In Northern Ireland, Pound Sterling is the official currency (GBP)
Language: English and Irish (Gaeilge / Gaelic)
Dialling code from SA: +353
Time Zone: Not UTC / GMT offset (2 hours behind South Africa)
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa)
Side of the Road: Left
Plugs: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but there have been reports of unsafe mains water in some areas, where residents have been advised to boil water before use. Bottled water should be used until you are sure of the quality of water.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services (usually in cash). Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. If you bring any medication on your travels it is best to bring it in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is (in generic names) and why you need it. Any controlled drugs and needles should be declared and explained in the letter.
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Irish are down-to-earth and modest, often talking themselves down. Avoid discussing topics of politics and religion.
Local Offences / Laws: Smoking is prohibited in public areas.
Duty Free: Ireland is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs – all at tax-free equivalent prices. If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits over 22% volume, 20L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume, 90L of wine (no more than 60L of sparkling wine) and 110L of beer.
However, you can only import up to 300 cigarettes from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. There is no limit on other tobacco products from these countries, provided they are for your own personal use.
If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Ireland by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 (reduced to €215 for children under 15).
Prohibited Imports: Drugs, indecent or obscene goods, and certain foodstuffs. In addition, if arriving from outside the EU, you cannot import plants or bulbs, live or dead animals, poultry, birds or eggs, hay or straw, and meat and dairy products. To import firearms and ammunition, fireworks and explosives, or domestic pets, you must obtain a licence.