Irish Motorhome Tours Travel Tips – Visitors to Ireland
It is important to understand that there are 2 parts to the Island of Ireland
- Northern Ireland (Ulster) is part of the United Kingdom
- Southern Ireland (Republic of Ireland) is part of the Eurozone
You need a valid passport to enter Ireland North and South. While e-passports are commonly used now, they are not a necessity to enter Ireland.
UK citizens do not require a passport to enter Ireland, but carriers by air or sea require some form of identification with a photograph (usually either a passport or driving licence with photo).
EU citizens are required to have a passport or national identity card; while citizens of all other countries must have a valid passport. ALWAYS check what form of ID is required with your individual airline, ferry company or travel agent before travelling.
Embassies and Visa Contacts
Further information for the Republic, including a full list of Irish Embassies, is available from:The Department of Foreign Affairs Tel: +353 1 478 0822
Further information for Northern Ireland is available from your local British Embassy or Consulate, for details please contact:The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Tel: + 44 207 008 1500
Visitors to the island of Ireland from the United Kingdom and other EU countries are not required to make a declaration to customs at their place of entry. However, certain goods are prohibited or restricted to protect health and the environment. These include meat and poultry.
Customs operate green and red channels at most ports and airports. If you need to declare goods over the duty and tax-free allowances for non-EU visitors you must use the red channel. Pass through the green channel if you have nothing to declare.
Driving in Ireland
Before you hit the open road, here’s what you need to know.
Roads in the Republic of Ireland
Roads in Ireland are generally of a very high standard. Motorways are prefixed with an “M” (for example M50), while national roads are prefixed with an “N” (for example N18).
Roads in Northern Ireland
Roads in Northern Ireland are prefixed with an “M” for motorway; an “A” and a “B” for primary and non-primary roads.
Be mindful that signs in the Republic of Ireland show distances in kilometres, while in the North miles are used.More information can be found at the National Roads Authority (nra.ie).
There are a number of tolled roads in Ireland.
Republic of Ireland
West-Link (M50 Motorway, Dublin)M1 Motorway Boyne Bridge, DroghedaEast-Link (Dublin Port)M4 motorwayM8 motorwayDublin Port TunnelN25 Waterford City
There are no toll roads in Northern Ireland.
License and Insurance
Visitors wishing to drive in Ireland will require either a full valid national driving licence or an international driving permit issued abroad. Either of the above can be obtained from the country of origin.
Driving in Ireland is on the left hand side of the road and it is required that all passengers wear seat belts at all times in both the front and back of the vehicle. For those riding motorcycles, both motorcyclists and their passengers must wear helmets. Ireland’s laws on drink driving are very strict. Those drivers found to be contravening the laws will be heavily penalised.
Speed limits in the Republic of Ireland are:
50kph/30mph in built-up urban areas80kph/50mph on single non-national open roads100kph/60mph on national roads120kph on motorways
Northern Ireland, speed limits are:
30mph/50kph in built-up urban areas60mph/96kph on single carriageways70mph/112kph on dual carriageways and motorways
In the Republic of Ireland, signposts denoting speed limits are now in kilometres per hour. Also only in the Republic, signposts and place names are displayed in both Irish (Gaelic) and English. In Gaeltacht areas (an area where Irish is the primary language) only Irish is used. Signposts and speeds in Northern Ireland are in miles and miles per hour while all place names are displayed in English only.
The island of Ireland is well served by petrol stations. Prices will vary between the petrol stations. The Automobile Association website features information on pricing in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Ireland’s climate is influenced most by the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it doesn’t have the extreme temperatures that other countries at similar latitude would have. The average temperature is a mild 10°C.
A major warm ocean current called the North Atlantic Drift keeps sea temperatures mild too. Hills and mountains, mainly around the coast, shelter the rest of the island from strong winds coming off the ocean.
So while the weather can be changeable – it’s rarely extreme.
The seasons: Spring and Summer
In spring (February to April), the average highest temperatures range from 8 to 12°C, with April considered particularly pleasant. In summer (May to July), the averages for highest temperatures are between 18 and 20°C.
The warmest months, July and August, get about 18 hours of daylight and it gets dark only after 11pm. Hence the well-worn phrase in Ireland; “sure there’s a grand stretch in the evenings”.
The seasons: Autumn and Winter
In autumn, (August to October) highest temperatures hit between 8 and 14°C. September is considered a mild, temperate month.
Winter air temperatures inland normally reach 8°C, while the coldest months are January and February. The temperature drops below freezing intermittently, and apart from a few freak cold snaps, snow is scarce.
When to visit Ireland
There’s no such thing as a perfect time to visit Ireland. The summer months are considered high season for visitors. They come for the long sunny evenings, parks in full bloom and eating al fresco in cafés. And of course in summer, there are festivals around every corner.
Autumn and spring are mid-seasons for travellers. You’ll enjoy kicking bronze-burnished leaves about in autumn, while spring sees nature kick into gear and flowers blossom. As for winter, a walk through a national park on a clear, crisp winter’s day can mean seeing nature at its most impressive.
A Winter friendly wardrobe
Wondering what to bring? You’ll need to be adaptable. so go for layers that you can put on or take off as the temperature changes. Bring a sweater, even in summer; waterproofs to accompany all outdoor activities; sunglasses; comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella.
Don’t be fooled into thinking you won’t need sunscreen in the summer months – when the sun shines in Ireland it’s quite strong, so wear a high factor and bring a sunhat. Short-term forecasts are viewable at Met Éireann.
Okay, it does rain in Ireland, but long bouts of rain are pretty rare. So, you can either put on suitable clothes, or duck into a nice cosy pub to wait out the shower. You can imagine which one is our favourite strategy.