YOUR WARM WELCOME IN IRELAND IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!
HERE IN ADVANCE, ARE SOME ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. (FAQ)
Luggage: We suggest one large piece of luggage and one carry-on for each person. You will be supplied with luggage tags, but you may also want to put some identifying mark on the bag, and you should put a business card or other identification inside. In addition to your main bag and carry-on, please feel free to bring your camera and purse. You may want to invest in a "fanny pack” to keep your passport and cash in. That way your hands are free and your valuables are close to you.
Smoking: No smoking is allowed on domestic or Trans Atlantic flights, or on the coach (but we do make frequent stops). Since March 2004 there has been a Workplace smoking ban. Essentially this means everywhere. Pubs, bars, restaurants etc. Most locations now provide an outdoor smoking area.
Passport: Check this frequently and keep it with you at all times. Please make 2 photocopies of your passport, the page with your number and picture. Leave one copy at home or with a friend and take the other copy with you. Pack it in a different location than where you put your passport. Then, in the event you lose your passport, it will be a little easier to replace.
A new alternative is to scan a copy of your passport to your computer and email it to yourself. That way, no matter where you are in the world, all you need to access it is an internet café or a hotel computer.
Allowance & Gifts: You can mail gifts back home on a daily basis with a value of $50 or less, without paying duty. These should be marked as unsolicited gifts and must be sent to others, not addressed to your name. Stores will also mail gifts home. Often when they do this, they will deduct the Value Added Tax (VAT) and add postage, so you come out about even. You are also allowed to bring into the United States $800 worth of duty-free purchases per person. Books, CD’s and native art objects do not count against this total. Keep receipts on everything you buy. The price of most goods includes value-added tax, or VAT. As a visitor you can have this sales tax refunded at the end of your trip. Be sure to ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion.
Measurements :(Clothes/Shoes Sizes): Shoe sizes are usually given in American, British and Continental sizes – it won’t take you long to get the hang of it. Ladies dresses, shirts etc. are two sizes bigger, so an American size 8 would be and Irish 10, a 10 would be a 12 and so on.
What to Pack: This is a tough call, since taste and body temperatures differ. Temperatures will vary anywhere from 45 – 70 degrees (March to November 1st). Showers can occur at any time of the year but usually pass quickly. Comfortable shoes, slacks, jeans, sweaters, a raincoat, a cap, and an umbrella are suggested. Men may want a sports jacket, and women could take along a nice dress or skirt for any special outings. Remember that you may want to purchase some sweaters or other items of clothing en route. Above all, be comfortable.
Money: The Euro (€) is made up of 100 cents. Please check with your bank for rates of exchange. Euros can be purchased at foreign exchange departments at your local bank or at any bank in Ireland (including those located at airports which are open for all flight arrivals). ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) are located at most banks and most accept major credit cards, particularly Visa and MasterCard, as well as Plus and Cirrus debit cards. Leading credit cards are accepted just about everywhere in Ireland (not the Discover card though), however, you may have a problem using a card to purchase a pint in some small pubs. Your driver/guide will assist you in finding banks. Only cash part of your money each time, maybe $200 or so, every couple of days. That way you won’t end up with a bunch of euros' to change back to dollars on your way home. Remember, every time you exchange from one currency to another you lose a bit in the exchange. As for how much money to bring along, that will vary greatly, but here are some ideas. A pint in a pub will cost you around $7, a nice dinner in Dublin will be around $35 - $50 dollars (of course you could find something for a lot less). Your breakfast is very large, but we will stop along the way for those who would like a quick "pub” lunch, which would run anywhere from $10 - $20. If you choose to go to the Abbey Theatre, tickets will run around $30. In general, it would be a good idea to take along an extra $50 per day just to be on the safe side. There is a good chance you may not need that much but you can always bring the extra home. In addition, you will want to bring extra money for gifts and purchases. This amount depends totally on your spending habits.
What to Purchase: Ireland offers a wide range of goods which reflect the quality and craftsmanship of her traditional industries. The influence of Irish Celtic art can be seen in many goods such as lead crystal, china ware and jewellery. Traditional wool and linen skills can be seen in today's knitwear and haute couture.
Irish hand woven tweed, traditionally crafted, is acclaimed for its quality, individuality, versatility and colour blends. It is used in a wide range of clothing as well as soft furnishings. Linen weaving is one of Ireland's earliest crafts. As well as the more traditional bed linen and tableware, fashion clothing now makes up a large part of the linen range.
Knitwear has undergone a revolution in Ireland in recent years and has become a flagship small industry. The intricate stitch work of the traditional Aran sweater has been incorporated into a wide variety of stylish designs and patterns. The pattern of the original báinín sweater (so called because of the undyed wool from the Aran Islands which was used to knit them) was unwritten and handed down from family to family.
Crime: Ireland is remarkably free of violent crime, and most people feel free to go anywhere at any hour, except in Dublin. While Dublin doesn’t have the reputation of some other major cities, it is still a large city, so you should be prudent and keep your valuables close.
Power: Standard voltage in Ireland is 240 and the US uses 120. If you take appliances along you will need adapters and converters. This equipment can be peculiar and decide not to work on occasions so if you can manage, it would be good to do without. The hotels all have hair dryers, and if you need something ironed the hotel could provide that too.
Phones: It is very expensive to call direct from your hotel room in Ireland. Some places add a substantial surcharge. Using your telephone credit card is a good idea, as is calling collect. You can save 40-50% by calling collect. If placing a call with one of the following calling cards, dial the provided number to reach an operator.
|Phone numbers while in Ireland:|
DIALING IRISH NUMBERS FROM THE US: 011 -353- Then drop the 0 in front of the local area code.
Water: It’s pure and safe to drink
Time: Five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time
Misc: Face cloths are not the "norm” in Ireland. You may wish to place one or two in a bag to bring with you.
GRATUITIES: When dining in restaurants please check your bill to ensure there is no service charge. If no service charge is on the bill, a gratuity of 10 to 12.5% will be in order. Tipping in Pubs is not the norm unless you have been served to your table. If taking a cab a tip of 10% is adequate.
Cell Phones: If you wish to use your cell phone in Ireland you should check with your network provider to ensure they have an agreement for cover in Ireland. Alternatively there are two ways of acquiring a cell phone in Ireland.
1. You can rent a cell phone for the duration of your stay in Ireland from what we the Irish call Pay as you Go. The cost is about $9 per day plus a deposit and a postage and packing fee of $30-$40. Then you have the cost of your credit to use on this.
2. The second option is to buy a pay as you go phone. They can be purchased at any phone store the main example are 02 and Vodafone. They both sell a pay as you go phone for approximately €59 - €69 which will include free call credit of €20 immediately and then normally €10 per month once registered. In this way you will always have a phone that will operate in Ireland and can make calls out to the USA or received calls in from the USA. You can purchase these phones online and check the details of same on www.o2.ie or www.vodafone.ie
Our student group who traveled to Ireland last May is getting together soon (before the senior nursing students graduate May 16) to celebrate our friendship and share memories of our memorable trip. They have really bonded as a group! Thank-you for making it a superb experience!