So, you’ve planned your trip to Ireland and you’re getting excited about all the sites you want to see and things you want to do. However, you’re probably not thinking about public transportation or currency exchanges, and the last thing you want to do is figure out your phone plan. Planning the logistics of a trip typically isn’t the most fun aspect of going abroad. To help you to spend more time getting excited and less time stressed, here are 5 things you should know before your trip to Ireland to help ensure that your visit goes as smoothly as possible. These tips come from my own experience having visited Ireland on a number of occasions
1. Know the Irish Lingo
Even though a majority of Ireland predominantly speaks English, there are still some confusing Irish terms/phrases that would have a completely different meaning if used in another country. Here are a few popular Irish slang terms decoded so that you won’t get caught off guard when you hear them!
What You Hear: Grand – used in every sense from “thank you” to “okay”, but never for anything actually grand.
How It’s Used: “How was work today?” “Grand.”
What You Hear: Craic – a word for fun or gossip, pronounced “crack”.
How It’s Used: “What’s the craic?” or “She’s good craic!”
What You Hear: Your Man/ Your One – used to describe a stranger or someone that you don’t know.
How It’s Used: “Who left their jacket behind?” “Your man who was sitting there.”
What You Hear: Cheers – used to say “thanks”, not used when raising a glass of champagne in celebration.
How It’s Used: “Here’s that report you asked for.” “Cheers!”
What You Hear: Deadly – meaning awesome, great, or fantastic.
How It’s Used: “That event was deadly!”
What You Hear: Sound – meaning good, solid, or cool.
How It’s Used: “She’s so sound.”
What You Hear: Gaff – a word for house.
How It’s Used: “Want to go back to my gaff?”
What You Hear: Gas – used to describe a hilarious or funny situation.
How It’s Used: “Did you see the comedy show? It was gas!”
What You Hear: Jacks – a word for the toilet.
How It’s Used: “Where are the jacks?”
What You Hear: I will Yeah – meaning, I definitely won’t. The perfect Irish response to something that you don’t want to do.
How It’s Used: “If Ireland loses the match, will you give me €100?” “I will, yeah.”
2. How to Be Connected and Stay Connected
One of the greatest fears when traveling to a new place is reaching your destination and realising you don’t know where you’re staying or how to get there, and worst of all, that your phone doesn’t have service. Whether you want to post travel pics to Instagram or you need directions to the best Irish pub, you’re going to need data for your phone in order to stay connected during your visit.
It may seem as if the simplest option is to call up your phone provider and request an international plan during your travels. However, doing so will often result in you spending a lot more money than what is necessary, which you could be spending on more enjoyable things during your holiday instead. Often, you’ll be spending around $20 for just 1GB of data roaming, which you’ll easily go through during just the first day of your holiday.
If you’re visiting Ireland for a week, you may not think it’s worth it to get an Irish SIM during your visit. At Three Ireland, we’re here to welcome you to the country with a Prepay SIM plan that will help save you money and make your life easier during your visit. This plan gives you unlimited data, or as we like to call it, All You Can Eat data during a 28-day period for just €20. In addition to All You Can Eat Data, you’ll have 8GB of roaming data that you can use throughout the EU and unlimited texts messages. This means that if you’re planning to visit another country in Europe after your visit to Ireland, you can easily continue to use your Prepay SIM. This plan works as a pay-as-you-go type plan, where you top up once every 28 days to receive your benefits - Calls, Texts and Data. An added bonus to this is you get to keep the full €20 as credit. How great is that, €20 to activate the plan and your €20 remains on your phone? If you need to top up in between you can do so, but your plan will start afresh 28 days from the day that you top up €20.
You can purchase this SIM online here 👉 Prepay Welcome SIM or stop by any Three Store and ask about the Prepay Welcome SIM plan. Whether you’re visiting for 4 days or 4 months, a €20 top up on Three’s Prepay Welcome SIM plan will help you to stay connected during your whole visit.
3. Where the Locals go
It’s easy to check sites such as Trip Advisor to see where the top-rated places to go to are, but what these sites won’t necessarily tell you is where you can get the best pint of Guinness, where to go for traditional Irish stew, or where to hear great live music. Here’s a quick overview of a few places in Dublin that you can’t go wrong with.
For traditional Irish music, also referred to as “trad music”, Quay’s in the Temple Bar district always has a live mix of Irish and modern classics. Quay’s is just around the corner from Temple Bar, making it a great way to get all the excitement and atmosphere of Temple Bar without the large crowds or having to pay the expensive Temple Bar prices.
If you want great atmosphere along with some live music, O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row is a great traditional Irish pub that nails both on the head. O’Donoghue’s has a great indoor area where musicians are known to play traditional Irish music throughout the night. There is also a nice outdoor area if you want to sit outside on a nice day.
When visiting Ireland, having a traditional Irish stew is a must. You can get an Irish stew from many places around the city, but the Hairy Lemon not only has a great traditional Irish stew, it also has the famous Dublin Coddle. If you’re not familiar with coddle, it’s essentially a stew but with a few extra ingredients tossed in. The Hairy Lemon is located near Stephen’s Green just off Grafton Street, and it will provide you with authentic Irish recipes, live music, and a great night out.
The best pint of Guinness can arguably be found at Kehoe’s Pub, right off Grafton Street. At Kehoe’s you’ll get an excellent pint with a great atmosphere that spills out into the streets.
For a full authentic Irish breakfast, go to Bewley’s right on Grafton Street. Bewley’s is also famous for its incredible tea and delicious pastries. Whether you’re starting off your day or you need a midday pick-me-up, Bewley’s will be the perfect stop for you.
Check out this fun video 👇
4. How to Get Around
One of the most difficult things about being in a new city is understanding how to get around. If you are unfamiliar with public transportation in any new city, you can end up spending more time and money than necessary trying to get around. Though it is very easy to get around Dublin by foot, you can plan your days much more efficiently if you take advantage of the different forms of public transport that Dublin has to offer.
The main forms of transport in Dublin are the Luas (the tram), the Dart (the train), and Dublin Bus. A Leap Card will allow you to travel on all three of these. If you are only in Dublin for a few days, you can purchase a Visitor Leap Card which will allow you unlimited travel on all three. If you are in Dublin for an extended period of time, it is well worth it to purchase your own Leap Card as you can travel on the Dart, Luas, and bus for cheaper rates.
In Ireland, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are not very common. If you need a ride, taxis are the most widely used service. While some taxis take card, most will only take cash. However, if you download the Free Now app, you can request your ride, set your drop off location, and pay automatically from your phone. With the app’s map, you can even see how far away your driver is. If you plan on visiting other countries after your visit to Ireland, the Free Now app is available in 100 different cities throughout Europe. If there are no taxis around you and you don’t have cash, the Free Now app will be a lifesaver.
Dublin is a very walkable city, with most things being no more than a 30-minute walk from each other. However, if you get tired or want to get places faster, you can rent a bike from one of the many dublinbikes stations distributed throughout the city. A 3-day ticket costs just €5 and there is a bike station in most key areas of the city, so one is never far away.
5.What to do About Money
The number one piece of advice people usually give when asked about travelling to a foreign country is to carry cash. Carrying cash is helpful, but in a modern and increasingly cashless world, where pickpockets will target travellers, you don’t want to be carrying too much cash with you. Here are a few benefits of using both cash and card.
Contactless forms of payment are very common in Ireland and throughout most of the major European cities. If your card is contactless, transactions are a lot quicker and you can spend less time in the queue and more time exploring the city. You can easily use your card from your home bank, just make sure to alert your bank beforehand about where you are travelling so they don’t flag your card for fraudulent activity. Apple Pay and Google Pay are also accepted at most stores and restaurants. Three offer a prepaid MasterCard called 3Money. You can top up at your convenience, use it online, in stores and at an ATM and it'll help you to stick to your budget on your trip. Check out how to sign up for a 3Money card Here
If you are careful with your cash, it can be good to carry with you in case you’re in a pinch. Ireland uses the Euro, as do most European countries, which makes carrying cash even easier because you don’t have to constantly exchange currencies when travelling. If you are exchanging your currency, avoid Currency Exchange Stores around the city as they often give you very bad exchange rates. Many people will arrive at Dublin Airport and do their currency exchange there, however you should be wary of exchanging your money at the airport as you will typically get the worst exchange rate. It is best to exchange your currency at an ATM or one of the local banks in the city. You can ask your own bank beforehand to see what they suggest and what fees may be associated with withdrawing from a foreign ATM.
With so much to see and do in Ireland, you don’t want to be spending time worrying about how to get around the city or stressing about not having mobile data. Whether you were wondering where to go to get the best Irish breakfast or how and where to get an Irish SIM card, we hope that these 5 tips have helped prepare you with all that you need to know for your trip so that you can spend your time taking in the beauty of Ireland and all that the country has to offer.
Check out these videos for ideas about places to visit when you arrive in Ireland
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat.
Translation: may the road rise to meet you or good luck on your journey
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