Ireland Travel Planning
General Travel Information
Ireland, also known as The Emerald Isle, is an island in north-western Europe famous for its hospitality. The island has been divided since 1920 with most of it being made up of the Republic of Ireland. The remainder is Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. The major cities in the Republic of Ireland are Dublin, Shannon, Cork & Galway. The major city in Northern Ireland is Belfast.
The island of Ireland historically consists of 32 counties, of which six, collectively known as Northern Ireland, have remained as part of the United Kingdom since the rest of Ireland gained self-government in 1922. The name "Ireland" applies to the island as a whole, but it is also the official name of the independent state (ie the 26 counties which are not part of the United Kingdom), since 1921.
Travel light, the less the better. We suggest enough clothes to make it halfway through your stay, and then have your laundry done. Most hotels offer laundry service; however, this service can be expensive.
Essentials: A rain suit; hat; two pairs of waterproof golf shoes; a few sweaters (two light & one heavy); one sports jacket; two dress shirts; and one tie (certain clubs require a tie be worn in the clubhouse). For ladies, we recommend casual evening wear. Don’t forget that wet weather is not uncommon, so bring your umbrella and rain gear.
We highly recommend traveling with a light carry golf bag in a canvas style carrying case. Large golf bags and hard carrying cases can cause problems when traveling since it takes up a lot of vehicle space.
Ireland, like the rest of the British Isles, is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In the spring, the clock is moved forward one hour for British Summer Time, and in the fall, it is moved back again to GMT. In June and early July, it can stay light until 10 pm and after, especially in the north of Ireland. Ireland is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time
Ireland is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.
When it is 12 noon in Ireland, it is:
- 7 am in New York, Montreal, Atlanta, and Miami
- 6 am in Chicago, Dallas, and Winnipeg
- 4 am in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Vancouver
To call home to the US direct, dial 001 followed by the area code and phone number. If you decide to call from your hotel room, always check the cost as an additional service charge is generally added by the hotel. These charges can be expensive! You can have your mobile phone activated by your service provider to use it either for text messages only or text and call.
Customs operates on the red & green channel system. For more detailed information, we suggest visiting www.customs.gov on the Internet.
The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union and uses the Euro currency, usually shown as €. The coins used are 1 Euro Cent, 2 Euro Cents, 5 Euro Cents, 10 Euro Cents, 20 Euro Cents, 50 Euro Cents and 1 or 2 Euro dollars. The notes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500.
In Northern Ireland, British Pounds Sterling currency is used (£), which is divided into 100 pence (p). Notes are issued to the value of £50, £20, £10, £5 and £1 pound in Northern Ireland. Coins are issued to the values of £1 pound, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p.
Irish banks are open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and on Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm.
Sales Tax Refunds
American visitors can reclaim the Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases over a minimum limit (check with the store for their limit). Ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the simple instructions. At the airport, you may be able claim your refund at the customs desk. If you have your purchases shipped home by the store, the tax will be deducted by the store on the spot.
Restaurant & Pub Hours
Most restaurants are open for lunch from 12:00–2:30 and then re-open for dinner from 6:00–midnight. However, it is important to check with each establishment as hours vary greatly.
Pubs, in general, are open in summertime from 10:30 am to 11:30 pm, Monday through Wednesday, closing a half hour earlier in winter. Thursday, Friday and Saturday bars are open from 10:30 am until 12:30 am. On Sundays, bars are open from 12:30 pm until 11:30 pm all year. Nightclubs often operate until 2 am.
Smoking: Ireland has introduced a blanket ban on smoking in all places of work to protect public health and reduce the incidences of smoking-related illness. Smoking is not allowed in public areas within the Republic of Ireland. This includes all bars, nightclubs, and restaurants.
In most hotels and restaurants a service charge of around 12–15% will be added to your bill, so tipping is not really necessary unless you have received particularly good service. Tip taxi drivers about 10–15% of the fare and hotel porters about €2 Euro. Tipping is not expected in pubs; however, if there is waiter service in a bar or hotel lounge, leave at least €2 Euro.
Golf Club Information
Visitors are welcome in the clubhouses in Scotland but please note that certain private clubs have restrictions for non-members (which you will be advised of if necessary. After golf smart casual attire is suggested.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Many clubs throughout the Ireland & Northern Ireland will not allow golf shoes (spiked or spike less) in the clubhouse. We advise bringing a pair of street shoes with you to each golf course.
Caddies / Carts
Caddies are available at most golf clubs and can be requested in advance by The Golf Travel Group. When requested, we will book caddies in advance, however this does not guarantee availability (caddies are self-employed and supply can change on a daily basis). Caddies fees are paid direct on the day of play in local currency (caddy fees average €50 in Ireland and £45 in Northern Ireland plus tip per round). It is important to note that many golfers do opt for the use of pull-carts which can always be arranged on the day of play for a nominal fee. Riding carts (buggies) are available but only on a very limited basis (please contact us for details).
Please make sure that all members of your party carry a valid handicap card from their home club (we do collect in advance). Certain courses have restrictions and the club secretary may require that you show your card to verify your handicap. “Letters of introduction” are no longer acceptable as an alternative to handicap cards.
In Ireland, everyone talks about the weather. Whether it is discussing the direction of the rain or mussing that it is 75 degrees in March. Irish weather can be unpredictable, so they like to talk about it!
Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it does not have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitudes would have. The average temperature is a mild 50 degrees.
A major warm ocean current called the North Atlantic Drift keeps the sea temperatures mild. The hills and mountains, mainly around the coast, can help shelter the rest of the island from strong winds coming off the ocean. So, while the weather can certainly be changeable, it is rarely extreme...although you could experience all four seasons in one day!
During the spring months you can expect average maximum temperatures to range from approximately 7°C (45°F) to 14 °C (58°F) during the months of March, April and May.
The summer months of June, July and August are normally the warmest months in Ireland, with average maximum temperatures ranging from approximately 15°C (60°F) to 19°C (69 °F). Ireland’s high latitude means that they enjoy lovely long summer days and often an extended twilight.
In the Autumn (or Fall), Ireland is likely to experience temperatures ranging from around 8°C (46°F) to 14°C (58°F) from September to November.
December, January and February are generally the coldest months in Ireland, with the average maximum temperature usually around 6°C (44°F).
Other Items To Know
Dublin (east coast / Dublin Airport). Shannon (south west / Shannon Airport). Galway (west coast / Galway Airport). Cork (south / Cork Airport). Belfast (Northern Ireland / Belfast Airport).
70 mph/112 kph on a motorway or dual carriageway, 60 mph/96 kph on single carriageways, 30 mph/48 kph in built-up areas, or as otherwise directed by road signs.
IN IRELAND YOU DRIVE ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE OF THE ROAD!
Passport & Drivers’ License
A valid U.S., Canadian or other national passport is required. To drive a car, a valid driver’s license is sufficient.
Travelers checks are safer to carry than cash and can be used in most places. Be sure to check the exchange rates at both banks and Bureau de Change if you choose to carry US dollar travelers checks as rates can differ.
Credit Cards & ATMs
Most credit cards are widely accepted and are useful for buying gas, shopping, dining out, etc. The most widely used are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. ATMs are available all over the country, but check with your local bank for compatibility and charges before you travel. In addition, be sure to advise your credit card company that you are traveling and will be using your credit card for purchases overseas.
Golf Handicap Card
Please make sure that all members of your party carry a valid handicap card from their home club. Certain courses may require that you show your card to verify your handicap.
In Ireland and Northern Ireland, electricity is at 220 or 240 volts; therefore, an adaptor is necessary for most electrical appliances. Some of the better hotels have sockets for electric razors at 110 volts. The best place to purchase such an adaptor is before your flight at the international airport duty free shop, as they are not generally stocked in local stores.
Vacation Travel Insurance
There are varieties of travel insurance that cover everything from health and accident costs, to lost baggage and trip cancellation. They can be obtained with one blanket policy, or they may overlap with coverage you already have. It is best to consult your insurance agent to determine what coverage is best for you.