Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Ireland? Here you will find information on working in Ireland, entry visas, Ireland hostels, and much more.
Table of Contents
Facts About Ireland
Ireland is a popular tourist destination due to its relaxed culture, historic traditions, and of course, its love of Guinness. American travellers particularly fall in love with the people of Ireland and their charming and unique accent.
In light of the divergent modern histories of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, making generalisations about Irish culture is tricky. However, although there are still occasional outbreaks of violence in Northern Ireland most of these are between organised criminal groups and centred in very specific areas of Belfast. Indeed, visitors to Northern Ireland will be surprised at the reality of the country, with Belfast still a perfectly safe city for people to explore. Nevertheless, if you feel uncomfortable with it all, there are plenty of other things to see and do without even going to Northern Ireland.
- Currency: Euro
- Time Zone: GMT
- Language: English
- Telephone Services: Country code +353, International Access number 16
- Emergency Numbers: 112 for all services
The climate in Ireland is very similar to that of mainland Britain, you can expect a reasonable amount of rain all seasons round and none of the seasons are particularly extreme.
Things to see and do
Dublin is the capital city and thriving hub of the Republic of Ireland, famed for its welcoming nature and extremely popular with tourists historically. As well as the obligatory Guinness dispensing pubs filled with traditional live music, Dublin has a thoroughly refined cultural side, with attractions such as the Dublin Writers Museum, the James Joyce Museum and the Shaw Birthplace.
The Republic of Ireland is also packed with architectural wonders. Located just outside Dublin is Malahide Castle, a beautifully restored castle dating from 1185. With over 250 acres of adjoining park lands and the nearby Fry Model Railway, there is plenty to keep you occupied for a day.
Other highlights include a ferry hop over to the Aran Islands which gives you a taste of what Ireland must have been like before the general population migration to big cities. Finally, no trip could be complete without an expedition to Blarney Castle, home of the famous Blarney Stone which is said to give the ‘gift of the gab’ to all who kiss it. The Castle itself is a fabulous stop-off for those visitors taking in Cork or Killarney.
Rail services operate between Ireland’s major towns, with Dublin acting as a hub for most routes. A Britrail pass covers the UK as well so it is quite economical. However, if you want to get off the beaten track a little, buses cover a larger area and, although quite expensive, the standard of service is generally good.
By far the best way to travel, however, is by rented car. In order to do this, you will unsurprisingly need a British driving licence and a passport for hiring a car, which you can pick one up in all of Ireland’s major towns.
All types of accommodation are on offer, from youth hostels and B&B’s right up to high class hotels. The best value for money are the small family run B&B’s which offer much better standard of accommodation than youth hostels for a negligible extra charge. You will be able to find literally hundreds of B&B’s and hostels online which will accept reservations. For more information, check out the links provided below.
The health service in Ireland is very good, with modern equipment and highly skilled staff. Provided you have travel insurance, you will be sure to get a very high standard of care. All food and drinking water should be considered safe and there are no special health precautions that you should take beyond that which you take at home.
- Discover Ireland and Discover Northern Ireland – The two official websites for tourism in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively. A perfect starting points for visitors planning their trip.
- Dublin Hotels – The capital of the Republic of Ireland is the most common destination for tourists and you can get a sense of what to expect from hotels in the city from this website.
- Dublin Tourist Information – Once you’ve sorted out accommodation, plan your itinerary!
- Doolin B&B – Doolin Bed and Breakfast offers you luxury accommodation overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland.
- Rent-a-phone Ireland – Ireland cell phone rental. Ideal while on vacation in Ireland.
- Nulty’s Self Catering Holiday Cottages Nulty’s holiday cottages are located in Co. Kilkenny. They are set in 70 acres of grassland, allowing you to spend a relaxing weekend away, or even an action packed activity led adventure break.
- Dublin Airport Terminal 2 – A very comprehensive guide to Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, including live information on flight times, airline companies, airport amenities and transport.
Entry Visas for Ireland
EU nationals do not require a passport as long as they carry an ID card (a driver’s licence will suffice for Brits). EU nationals also do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days. Visas for longer stays are normally granted to EU or US citizens without too much bother; you can contact the Irish Embassy for details:
Embassy of the Republic of Ireland 17 Grosvenor Place London SW1X 7HR.
Passport & Visa Sections Montpelier House 106 Brompton Road London SW3. Tel: (020) 7 235 2171 Fax: (020) 7 245 6961 Passports – Tel: (020) 7 245 9033 Fax: (020) 7245 6910.
British representation is unlikely to be required in Ireland but, if you need it, you can find the Embassy at:
29 Merrion Road
Dublin 4 Tel: +  205 3822 / 3700 Fax: +  205 3890 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreigner Work Permits in Ireland
Working in Ireland during your gap year or time abroad has many advantages: cheap travel from the UK, familiarity with language, and no need for a work permit if you are an EU national. Since language should be no barrier for those from the UK, going from place to place enquiring about casual work, in bars, restaurants and the like, as well as consulting local job papers, notice boards, and writing to hotels and bars could land you some temporary employment.
Most au pairs in Ireland as well as the UK are Europeans who usually want to improve their English. Popular areas to find au pair work are in places such as Dublin and Cork. Au pairs receive around €50 (approx. €35) a week for working up to 35 hours. Inter-S jours is an au pair recruitment agency and places men and women in six to 18 month au pair positions.
Try Dublin, Cork, and Kerry as well as other large tourist-populated areas for work in pubs, bars, restaurants, and hotels. Some hotel jobs can pay up to €230 (approx. €160) per week and accommodation is sometimes provided. Jobs at activity centres are also worth investigating, for example, the Blessington Adventure Centre, which specialises in water sports activities, the Atlantic Adventure Centre in Lecanvey, and Neptune Adventure in Baltray, to name but a few. There is no guarantee of finding a job at any of these places but it is always worth contacting them to find out. See the Irish Tourist Board website for more details of tourist areas with possible job opportunities.
Dublin Internships is a company that organises ten to fifteen week internships for students. Internships give you a chance to experience a job that might set you up for a future career, and will always look good on a CV. Visit the Dublin Internships website (see below) to find out more information and to apply for an internship position. Applications should be made three months before you want to start an internship. 15-week programmes begin either at the beginning of the autumn or spring semester, and 10-week internships take place during the summer.
If you are intending to stay in Ireland for a whole year, want something to last for the entire duration, and earning money is not your first priority, there are many opportunities for volunteer programmes. Camphill Communities runs projects across the world in communities for adults with special needs. Work includes assisting a few residents on a day-to-day basis, and accommodation is provided for volunteers who are asked to work for at least one year.
Careforce also runs one year projects for volunteers who work as Christian volunteers, and again provide accommodation, food, and pocket money. If you are more interested in environmental projects, Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland (CVNI) require volunteers for at least six months at a time, to help with conservation work such as tree-planting, and general management of the environment. Accommodation is sometimes, but not always, provided by CVNI.
- Inter Sejours – A leading au pair agency.
- Hotel Jobs – Can be useful for finding jobs in the hotel industry in Ireland, full time or casual.
- Dublin Internships – A great way to have a working holiday.
- Callan Projects – Provides a database of links to various Camphill communities around the world.
- Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland – Eager to welcome and help volunteers in Ireland.
Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Ireland to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Ireland, you’ve come to the right place.
There you have it, the ultimate Ireland backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Ireland.