Getting to Ireland

Flying or sailing, we have all the information you'll need on getting to the island of Ireland.


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Multiple operators offer international and regional flights from airports across the island of Ireland. US pre-clearance is available on flights leaving from Dublin and Shannon International airports.

Ask your travel advisor about the best options for your trip.

Best Time to Travel

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For more hours of sunshine and warmer days, travel in June, July or August where it only gets truly dark after 11:00 PM. The summer is also peak tourist season and most of the festivals occur during this time, attracting large crowds of visitors. Spring and autumn offer enjoyable times to visit. Snow is scarce in Ireland and the temperature rarely drops below freezing, however there is less sunlight during this time of the year. But grey winter days are a part of what it means to experience Ireland – and many areas of the country gleam a raw, natural beauty that can only be appreciated in the cold winter light.

No matter the weather, your trip to Ireland is sure to be full of surprises and unforgettable experiences. So go on, enjoy some moments of serendipity from twisting country roads to hidden pub snugs to new local friends and plenty of rainbows in between!


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Republic of Ireland
English and Irish (Gaelic) are the official languages of the Republic of Ireland and street and road signs are all bilingual. In Gaeltacht areas, Irish is spoken daily; however, everyone also speaks English.

Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, English is the official language. The Irish language, Gaelic, is also taught in many schools and summer schools. Ulster Scots (Ullans), spoken in Northern Ireland, is on the increase and is being taught to those who are keen to explore another facet of their national identity.


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If you are traveling to the island of Ireland from another Member State of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you must carry a European Health Insurance Card or a provisional replacement certificate.

Visitors traveling from outside the EU member states are advised to take out personal travel insurance.


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Car Rental
Most of the major car hire companies have desks at airports, ferry terminals and cities across Ireland. All intending drivers need to hold valid licenses. For terms and conditions, always check with the car hire company before you travel.

Car hire tends to be more financially favorable if you make your bookings prior to arriving in Ireland. Make sure to book in advance if you’re travelling during the high season. The majority of rental cars are standard shift, ie: not automatic. If ordered in time, automatic cars are available for an additional charge.

A child's seat should also be ordered in advance to ensure availability. Advise the car hire company if you’re planning to travel between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

License and Insurance
Visitors to Ireland should be in possession of either a full valid national driving license or an international driving permit issued abroad. These are readily available from motoring organizations in the country of origin.

Driving Laws Driving in Ireland is on the left and seat belts must be worn at all times in the front and the back of the vehicle; likewise, motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets.

There are very strict laws on drinking and driving and those found to be contravening these laws will be heavily penalized.

In the Republic of Ireland, speed limits are 50kph/30mph in built-up urban areas; 80kph/50mph on single non-national open roads; 100kph/60mph on national roads; and 120kph on the motorway. In Northern Ireland, speed limits are 30mph/50kph in built-up urban areas; 60mph/96kph on single carriageways; 70mph/112kph on dual carriageways and motorways.

Motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets.

There are metered taxis in Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick, but in other areas you’ll have to agree on the fare beforehand. In Belfast and Londonderry there are share-taxi services, which operate rather like a mini-bus. Taxis generally tend to wait at ranks in central locations; alternatively, you can call a taxi service to collect you from a private house or establishment.

By Bus & Train
Ireland has a good network of both bus and rail services. Bus Eireann and Irish Rail service the Republic, while Ulster Bus and Northern Ireland Railways service Northern Ireland. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) serves the Dublin area from Howth and Malahide in North County Dublin via Dun Laoghaire in South County Dublin to Greystones in County Wicklow. Dublin Bus also services the Republic's captial city. In Belfast, you'll find Belfast City Bus and Northern Ireland Railways ensure that you can make your way around the city with ease.

By Coach
Travelling by coach in Ireland is a great way to get around – it’s comfortable, efficient and reliable, and you can settle down and watch the scenic countryside fly by through the window. You’ll find a variety of operators servicing the island of Ireland, from the public coaches of Bus Eireann and Ulsterbus to private coach operators servicing all 32 counties, and all of the operators will get you where you want to go without a hitch. Both public and private buses and coaches offer day tours to some of the most amazing attractions around the island – particularly those off the beaten track, which you’d find hard to access except by road. And you’ll also be in the company of other enthusiastic sightseers, making your trip that bit more enjoyable.

When it comes to private coaches and buses, there’s a whole range of options at your fingertips from scheduled tours, airport transfers, city-to-city trips, extended tours, themed trips, corporate travel, social excursions, golf trips and private holidays where you can even hire your own coach for your group to see Ireland on your own schedule.

By Air
If you need to get around Ireland, there is a large selection of operators offering flights in Ireland from Irish international and regional airports, including Dublin, Shannon, and Northern Ireland.

By Bicycle
Public transport in Ireland is improving its capacity to carry bikes and lots of places to stay are upgrading facilities needed to keep bikes secure. Also, baggage transfer schemes are operated by some local companies. Ireland is well served by bus and rail transport, and boat connections to offshore islands. The regional tourism companies or the local tourist office (when you are in Ireland on holiday) can supply full details of their island transport services, which offer combined passenger/bicycle tickets at very reasonable rates.

Visa Info

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A valid U.S. passport is required to visit the island of Ireland. Visitors of all other nationalities should contact their local Irish Embassy/Consulate prior to traveling to the Republic of Ireland and visitors to Northern Ireland should contact their local British Embassy, high Commission or Consular Office.