Ireland and You

Ireland, the land of Leprechauns, shamrocks, saints and scholars, fairy stories and fantasies, anxiously awaits you! For those of you who have not had this pleasurable experience, we guarantee a visit that will surpass your wildest dreams.

As your airplane descends from lofty heights, it will pierce the hovering clouds that hang suspended like misty veils over the Emerald Isle. Anxious eyes will devour a kaleidoscope of colors as intricate hues enfold into patterns of green blocks edged with pearl grays of stone and rocks so deftly fashioned into boundary walls.

The hours of travel across the vast Atlantic will be forgotten when voices become pitched with emotions only to be transformed into a deafening silence as passengers await the touch of the wheels upon the ground. Imagine, if you will, that great round of applause that rings through the interior of this great bird of steel, now pointing its beak towards the terminal.

From now on, Ireland embraces you as its guest. ( The arms of hospitality are for everyone. Enjoy every moment of it. The ageless greeting of Ireland is "Céad Míle Fáilte" which, when translated into English, means "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes". Last, accept your love for Ireland. Go with fantastic memories; to return here again.

Facts About Ireland

Location The island of Ireland is part of the continent of Europe, bordered on the east by Britain and the Irish Sea, which is from 11 to 120 miles across. On the West Coast is the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland has a total land area of 32,595 square miles.

  1. The Republic of Ireland makes up 27,136 sq. miles.
  2. Northern Ireland has 5,459 sq. miles From east to west, Ireland measures 171 miles at its greatest width, and 302 miles at its greatest length.
  3. The coastline of Ireland has a total of 1,970 miles.

Population The Republic of Ireland is estimated to be around 4 million people. N. I., about 2 million people.

Language: English: common language in Ireland, although Gaelic or Irish (more commonly known) is the first official language of the State, ( Irish Constitution). There are large areas where Irish is spoken as the everyday language, known as Gaeltachtaí. Irish is a compulsory for all schools, and outside the Gaeltachtaí, there are many Irish-language schools. This language/ on buses, trains, road-signs, street-signs etc. (Buses will frequently show a destination only in Irish).

Climate: Ireland lies in the mild south-westerly winds that come under the warm drifting waters from the Gulf Stream. Temperatures are considered moderate. January and February are the coldest, with temperatures ranging between 40 and 45 degrees. The sunniest months are May and June.

This section is no longer valid, with the advent of the Euro -Doc
Money: The monetary system is comparable to the United States, with the exception of the currency and some coins. Currency/Notes are issued in the following denominations: IR£5, IR£10, IR£20, IR£50 and IR£100. The ECU is not used yet.
Each pound (punt) is divided into 100 pence (pingin), with 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 coins.
The larger the notes, the larger the value. They also vary in colour and design.
The monetary unit in the North is the British pound / sterling pound (UK£ / STG£). It comes in similar denominations to the Irish money, and is also divided into 100 pence. April 2000, you will loose 25p on the Irish pound when buying in the North.(USA currency, May,2000 is great)

Government: The Republic of Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. There are two houses of parliament (the Dáil and the Séanad), an elected President (Uachtarach) who is Head of State; and a Prime Minister (Taoiseach) who is head of government.

Physical Features: Ireland is made up of a central limestone plane ringed by coastal mountains and hills of varying geological structure. It has a natural beauty unsurpassed in pleasure. Within the span of a few minutes you can be out of town and venture into hills and vales of scenic beauty.

Transportation Ireland has a well-organized transit system. Bus and train schedules co-ordinate with each other. Towns and cities have ample and adequate taxi-cab service upon request.
Air and Sea/Ocean transportation to various parts of the Continent is available.

Food: In general the Irish food is comparable to ours. They have similar dishes, entrees, soups, etc., however they may be prepared, seasoned and served in a different manner. The Irish are well noted for their excellent cuisine.
Seafood is available. Selections may vary from simple fillets to expensive and succulent lobsters. Fowl is prevalent as well as selections of vegetables will usually find potatoes, peas and carrots on the menu. Brussels Sprouts and cabbage and grilled tomatoes are other favorites. Irish breads and pastries are superb. Desserts can range from small tartlets, feather-light pastries topped with gobs of fresh whipped cream, fresh fruit or delectable sauces. Dieters beware! Non-dieters dig in!

  1. Tables may have formal settings. Water with ice, if not served, is available upon request. Waiters and waitresses will explain their gourmet delights to you (you may be able to get their recipes as well).
  2. Tipping is not required though you may, if you wish, leave a gratuity for excellence of service or friendly gesture. Americans are noted for those great tips.
  3. Last, be patient! Europeans are never in a hurry to eat. Your meals will be cooked and prepared upon order. Relax, and enjoy yourself. Remember that you are on holiday. Reservations may be required in advance. Make sure of the serving hours, types of meals being served, i.e. breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, etc.

Religion The Roman Catholic faith is the religion of Ireland. The ‘Church of Ireland’ is the name of the Anglican/Episcopal Church in Ireland. Religious denominations of the major faiths will be found.

Time: From April to October, daylight saving time or "summer time" is in operation, and clocks are kept one hour later than Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Eastern Time in North America is five hours behind GMT. For example, when it is 12.00 noon in New York, it is 05.00pm (1700 hours) in Ireland.


Subdivisions There are four provinces in Ireland; Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught. The country is made up of 32 counties:

Ulster (9) Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Derry, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Tyrone.

Munster (6) Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

Leinster (12) Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford and Wicklow.

Connaught (5) Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo.

Six of the nine counties of Ulster are in Northern Ireland, and so part of the United Kingdom. These are Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.



Passport Your most important document – it identifies you!

Passports are now valid for a span of ten years from time of issuance. - Doc
Passports are valid for a span of five years from time of issuance.

Application for passport should be made at least four months prior to scheduled departure date.

Wardrobe Do not over-pack! Choose your wardrobe wisely. Dress for comfort. Select apparel that can be laundered easily and folded with minimum of wrinkles.

Comfortable shoes are a "must" item. Holiday trips involve a lot of walking. Jogging shoes seem to be very popular, but do take at least one pair of "dressy-type" shoes.

Bring outfits that are colour co-coordinated, such as sweaters, slacks, jackets, etc. Wear a minimum of jewelry.

Men and women: it is wise to take a raincoat. Sporadic rainfalls are not uncommon. If space permits, take a collapsible umbrella.

Electrical equipment: Hair dryers, electric shavers, blowers, etc. will not operate on the European current (230v AC 50Hz). Adapters or converters can be purchased at your electrical supply shop.

Luggage Needs to be sturdy. Travel regulations will limit luggage. Choose at least one huge piece of luggage and one that can be carried onto the plane. Hand-carried luggage must be small enough to place under the seat in front of you. Most carriers (planes or ships) will not allow luggage to be placed overhead.1. Be able to identify your luggage. Put colored ribbon or tags that can be easily recognized at baggage-claim areas.2. Your luggage be locked? Don’t forget the keys!


  1.   Do you need special assistance such as a wheelchair, crutch(es), cane, audio, etc.

  2. Are you on medication ?

  3. Do you have any allergies? (foods, animals, etc.)

  4. Are you covered by medical/surgical insurance policies?

  5. Who to contact in case of accident or emergencies?:
         i. Name of person(s) and relationship (e.g. spouse, parent(s), sibling(s))
        ii. Telephone number with correct area code.
        iii. Are you a member of a Church-affiliated organization that would have to be notified?
    (e.g. Priest, Rabbi, Nun, etc.)

  6. Police are called Gardaí (Guards) – a Garda is a policeman, and a Bán-Garda is a policewoman.
         i. If you are lost, do not panic! Present yourself to an officer on the street or report in at the local police station.
        ii. For reports of theft, immediately notify your hotel manager or business proprietor, who will in turn notify the police.
        iii. For accidents involving vehicles, follow the same procedure as in the US; notify the police immediately.

Irish/punts: A challenge !

  1. Acquaint yourself in advance.
  2. American money is not widely accepted. You should convert American money to the host country’s. Banks willingly transfer cash.
  3. For the best rate of exchange, cash travelers’ cheques at banks.
  4. Bank facilities are found in all air terminals for conversion of moneys upon arrival.
  5. Save your purchase receipts; needed for declarations of purchase upon re-entry.
  6.  Visa and MasterCard are accepted, American Express less so. Check as you make your purchase.

Suggested Hints For Travelers

  1. Do a lot of ‘mental packing’ in advance Plan your clothing co-ordinates. See what outfits can be used to their best advantage. Can one type of clothing be substituted for another – e.g. a sweater instead of a jacket.
  2. Take a notebook with you. Jot down things as you see them (places you have been, people you have met, etc.)
  3. Don’t forget your camera/film. Should you need to purchase extra film, etc., shops are available. Ready-next-day film processing is widespread, Hotels do not provide washcloths. A plastic soap dish/ Bring plastic bags for soiled clothing, small items and toiletries. 4.A change purse is a must for all, as coins can become a nuisance. For those staying in hotels, leave your room keys with the desk clerk whenever you are off the premises.
    1. Use the ‘buddy’ system – always let someone know where you are going to.
    2. Notify the hotel staff if you will be gone most of the day / overnight, and give instructions should messages arrive. Abide by hotel rules and regulations. Be considerate of those whose room adjoins yours.
    3. Notify the reception or housekeeper for items needed. Make all financial arrangements for settlement of bills as soon as possible after arrival (method of payment, etc.)
  4. Keep your passport etc. in a safe location that is readily accessible. 5. If you plan on bringing gifts and souvenirs back with you, dispose of all unnecessary cardboard, paper, etc., as they will use up valuable space.
  5. Don’t let the words "Duty-free1" fool you; many items can be purchased at lower prices. If you can make purchases elsewhere at a cheaper rate, do so. They can be declared as "un-solicited gifts"
  6. Save receipts, as VAT (tax on goods and services) can be reclaimed when departing the country.

A Brief Glossary of Irish Expressions

Straight away--Right now; Queue--In a line/row; Quay--A river inlet:

Loo-- Restroom/ Bathroom: Spirits—Alcohol;

Minerals—Soda Pop; Cooker—Stove; Grille—Broiler; Torch—Flashlight;

Fag—Cigarette; Playbill--Theatre Program; Hooley--An informal gathering for laughter and song; Seanachie-- Story teller / historian;

Culchie--Of lower station, one from the country (highly offensive, don’t use) Lorry--truck / large Van; Collect, to call for / pick someone up; Starter--An entrée, e.g. soup / salad;

Rashers—Bacon; Gammon--Ham steak; Bacon Ham / pork

Pissed/Full/Stocious—Drunk; Shagged—Tired ;