Considering… Ireland

Ireland is a beautiful country rich with rolling landscapes and ancient heritage.  The people are friendly, the food is comforting, the music is lively, and the history is fascinating.  What’s not to love?

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Why do we want to go?

Well, the photographer is, of course, going to say the beauty of this pastoral country alone makes it worth visiting!  Hailing from the damp-yet-green Pacific Northwest, I believe we’d feel right at home.  But there’s certainly more that draws both of us to this lush island.

Ireland is known for being a destination for genealogy seekers; in fact, my family has roots in Ireland.  Ancient castles fascinate me and abound throughout the country.  It served as a location for many scenes from Game of Thrones, and hiking is superb.  I can’t wait to explore!

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What are some bucket list contenders?

Country Profile

COUNTRY | Ireland
Region Europe
Best Season Summertime is popular for tourists and festivals, though transition months are beautiful and quieter.
Average Temp / Weather Conditions Temperatures are mild, ranging from occasional freezing temperatures in the winter to no warmer than 20°C/69°F in the summer. Weather is volatile with the Atlantic Ocean, and summer sees 18hrs of daylight, with light well past 11pm.
Key Attractions Stunning landscapes, castles, history, ancestry, Dublin, cultural music
Entry / Visa Requirements No visa requirements for U.S. citizens for visits up to 3 months, though you’ll have to answer questions about your trip to Border Control
CURRENCY | Euro (~€0.84 EUR = $1 USD); Northern Ireland uses the British Pound (~£0.75 GBP = $1 USD)
Daily Budget €90/couple (~$107 USD)
Frugal Tips Shop for groceries and hit early bird specials at restaurants; bring your student ID; purchase a Heritage Card (for cheaper access to castles)
THE STAY | Possible duration: a month
Lodging Types Hostels, Airbnb, hotel, Couchsurfing, castles!
Food Pubs, meats, seafood, potato bread, beef, chowder
Transportation Options Rental car (most are manual transmission), train, bus, BlaBlaCar
Driving Requirements Drive on the lefthand side of the road. It is illegal to turn on red lights.
Connectivity Internet is widely available, especially in urban areas.

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CULTURE | Language: Predominantly English; some Irish (Gaelic)
Customs Smoking is generally not tolerated in closed public spaces. Roman Catholicism is prevalant, and family ties are quite strong. There is a history of storytelling, and teasing is in good humor and is used endearingly. Punctuality is important, especially if food is involved, and modesty is valued.
Local Laws Sobriety checks are common, and driving drunk and posession of any drugs are severely punished.
Local Holidays/Festivals Many similar to the U.S.
Mid-March: St. Patrick’s Festival
June 16: Bloomsday (literary celebration centered around James Joyce’s “Ulysses”)
July: Galway horse racing festival
Various music festivals
English Availability Most speak English natively, though accents and local slang might prove challenging.
Attitudes Toward Americans Very friendly and inviting to all people, local and foreign
Photography Concerns Use common sense, and be respectful of others’ privacy.
SAFETY
General Safety Low crime
Emergency Number 999
Location of U.S. Embassy / Phone Dublin (42 Elgin Rd, Ballsbridge, Phone +353-1-668-8777)
MEDICAL
Medical Facilities Modern facilities are widely available.
Vaccinations Needed Standard vaccinations recommended
Health Concerns None
Water Quality Tap water is generally safe to drink, though there has been recent concerns of chemicals used in treatment plants contaminating the general water supply.

Additional Resources

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Have you been to Ireland?  Do you have any ancestry there?  What activities do we have to try out?  What other countries should we consider?

Photos by Paul A., Creative Commons

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