Thursday, June 30, 2016

Flashback Thursday: Planning a trip to Ireland

Last fall I visited Ireland for the fourth time. While that may not make me an expert, I have been to England over 20 times and the planning process is similar. 


When to go

This is the first time I have ever technically gone to Ireland in the summer. I have two January visits and a December visit. I am looking forward to seeing a few more flowers in bloom though I have to tell you there were primroses blooming in the garden of the McCauley Center in Dublin in January. The country really does look green all year, it isn't called the Emerald Isle for nothing.

Oscar Wilde in Dublin

Things you need to know 

In case you don't know, the island of Ireland has two countries. The Republic of Ireland uses the Euro. Northern Ireland , which is part of the United Kingdom, uses the pound sterling. If you are going from one to the other you need both currencies but your credit and debit cards should work fine. Just be sure to check before you leave about the transaction fees that your card holder charges. Some cards are very high and you may want to get a new card with no fees. 

Credit cards

Always ask for transactions to be in local currency when you use your creditcard. I know you are going to want to say, American dollars but don't. It will cost you more money if you let them do the conversion, trust your credit card to give you the best rate


Cell phones


For the most part, your U.S. cell phone doesn't automatically work in Ireland. Again check with your carried before you leave about what you need to do to be able to use your phone. Check the International rates as well, you may find that text are 50 cents each and call rates are $1 a minute. 

If you have a smart phone, consider downloading Skype and then when you are somewhere with Wi-Fi you can call for just pennies. Be sure to put some money into your Skype account. You want to use Wi-Fi instead of 3 or 4 G to avoid the data charge. You can turn International roaming for data off on your phone and you should do that to avoid high charges.

Electricity


You will need a currency converter for most electronic devices. Not your computer, it has the box in the cord that does that but you will need an adaptor plug so that you can plug into the wall. 

One of the joys of flying out of Dublin or Shannon is that you go through U.S. customs in Ireland which saves a load of time when you arrive back home. 

This is just some basic information that will help make your trip to Ireland a little easier. 

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