Horseback riding in Ireland

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Equestrian tours in Ireland

Ireland Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide


As far as tourist appeal goes, the small island of Ireland punches far above its own weight. The country is so packed with delights that visitors are often reduced to describing its charms in hyperbolic clichés: it is the greenest country, full of the friendliest people, all of whom would be geniuses if they weren't distracted by the lure of the pub.

Ireland is indeed a green country - so much rainfall must have its benefits - and the people are justifiably renowned for their friendliness. As for the geniuses, well, the Irish will proudly point to their four Nobel Laureates for Literature and declare that the success rate is unmatched in any other country of its size, all the while ensuring that the sacred 'round' system (where everyone buys a drink for everyone else in turn) is strictly adhered to.

Yet Ireland's charms run far deeper than the legendary craic of the pub or the accomplishments of a bunch of (mostly) dead writers. It has a remarkable history that is woven into virtually everything, from the prehistoric stone monuments of the Boyne Valley to the monuments honouring its fallen patriots, men and women who dared challenge the imperious might of its longtime occupier and contemporary friend, Britain.

It has a vibrant and dynamic capital, Dublin, which has spearheaded a stunning period of economic growth that has seen the country transformed from rural backwater to the envy of Europe. As a result, the Irish have grown in worldliness that continues to propel them to greater heights of achievement. Even the thorniest issue of all - Northern Ireland - has seen a kind of resolution and Ireland looks to the future with untrammelled confidence.



Passport Required?









Other EU


Visa Required?









Other EU


Return Ticket Required?









Other EU




To enter Ireland, a passport valid for the duration of stay is required by the nationals referred to in the chart above, except:

1. UK nationals travelling direct from the UK.
2. EU nationals holding a valid national ID card. EU nationals are only required to produce evidence of their EU nationality and identity in order to be admitted to any EU member state. This evidence can take the form of a valid national passport or national identity card.

Ireland is classed as part of the Common Travel Area of the UK, which is why UK nationals don’t need to take a passport. It remains advisable to take one though, and airlines and ferry companies nearly always require some form of photographic ID. It’s a good idea to check with the individual company prior to a trip.


Not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above for the following durations:
(a) nationals of EU countries for an unlimited period (nationals of EU countries wishing to stay for longer than three months must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau).
(b) nationals of Australia, Canada and the USA for stays of up to 90 days.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements (see Contact Addresses).




Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency Exchange

Available in banks, airports and in bureaux de change.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

American Express, MasterCard and Visa are all widely accepted. ATMs are available everywhere, catering for Cirrus and Maestro symbols.

Traveller's Cheques

Accepted throughout Ireland. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Euros, Pounds Sterling or US Dollars.

Currency Restrictions

Restrictions apply.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0930-1630. In Dublin, banks stay open Thurs until 1700; there are also late opening nights in other parts of the country, but the day will vary.

Exchange Rate Indicators


June 1









Special Precautions



Hepatitis A










Yellow Fever


Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.


Health Care

Medical and dental facilities are of a high standard across the country. For minor illnesses and ailments, pharmacists are trained to offer advice and sell over-the-counter medication.

If suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident during a visit to Ireland, free or reduced-cost necessary treatment is available for European travellers - in most cases on production of a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals.

If you have a pre-existing illness, it’s sensible to carry a signed letter from your home doctor with details of your condition.

Other Risks

Ireland is not a risky destination in which to travel. A lack of temperature extremes means that sunstroke is rarely a problem, although you should be aware that summer temperatures can occasionally reach well over 25°C. In these cases, the usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. Be aware that a breezy day can sometimes mask high temperatures.

Hikers or cyclists travelling over long distances are perhaps the most at risk from the weather, good or bad. In warm weather it’s advisable to drink – and carry – plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing, including headwear. In bad weather, have waterproof clothing to hand and, if possible, inform others where you’re intending to travel.

Blisters can be another problem for hikers. These can often occur if new walking shoes are being worn across a long distance. Ideally footwear should be worn in before the trip.

Food and Drink

Levels of hygiene are of a high standard in Ireland, so travellers should only take precautions that they would do in any other developed country. There’s no more danger of being served contaminated or undercooked food in Ireland than anywhere else. A statutory, independent, science-based body, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, is tasked “to take all reasonable steps to ensure that food produced, distributed or marketed in the State meets the highest standards of food safety and hygiene reasonably available.” The only real problems posed by the local food and drink are mild stomach complaints resulting from overindulgence. As in any other country, junk food and fast food isn’t hard to come by. An over-reliance on fish and chips or the omnipresent “fry” (heaped breakfasts of bacon, fried eggs, black pudding, white pudding and so on) isn’t recommended.

Tap water is generally fine to drink, although stories in recent years have suggested that in some areas the levels of fluoride might be risky, particularly to bottle-fed babies. Bottled water is readily available. And while it might be novel to be sampling Guinness in its home country, being in Ireland by no means makes you immune from crippling hangovers and related after-effects.


Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Aer Lingus (EI) (website:

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Dublin is 1 hour 20 minutes, and from New York is 7 hours 30 minutes.

Main Airports

Dublin Airport (DUB) (website: is 10km (6 miles) north of the city (journey time - 40 minutes). To/from the airport: Taxis are available into the city centre. An aircoach service runs to and from the airport, 24 hours per day. Citylink runs a service from Galway to Dublin Airport (journey time - 3 hours). Dublin Bus offers many routes throughout Dublin to the airport, including an AirLink Express bus from Heuston and Connolly railway stations. Facilities: Duty-free shop, car hire, bank, bureau de change, bars, restaurants, tourist information centre and chemist.
Shannon Airport (SNN) (website: is 24km (15 miles) north of Limerick City (journey time – 25 minutes). To/from the airport: Bus services are available to and from both Limerick and Clare. A daily express coach travels between Limerick and Shannon, plus to Ennis bus station. Citylink operates a service from Galway to Shannon Airport (journey time - 1 hour 15 minutes). Taxi services are available, 24 hours, to Limerick City. Facilities: Outgoing duty-free shop, bank, bureau de change, bar, restaurant and tourist information centre.

Cork Airport (ORK) (website: is 8km (5 miles) southwest of the city. To/from the airport: Buses travel between the city centre and airport (journey time – 15 minutes). Facilities: Outgoing duty-free shop, car hire, bar and restaurant.

Knock International Airport (NOC) (website: is 11km (7 miles) north of Claremorris (County Mayo) and receives scheduled international flights from the UK only. At other times of the year, chartered flights operate between Knock and a number of European destinations, such as Salzburg, Majorca, Crete and Lisbon. To/from the airport: Taxi services are available to Claremorris, where onward rail and bus connections are available to the rest of the country. Facilities: Duty-free shop, bar, restaurant and car hire (pre-booking advised).

Departure Tax

€10 at Knock International Airport only, payable by everyone over 12 years.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Baltimore, Dublin (website:, Galway, Kinsale and Wexford.

In addition to conventional ferry crossings, many ferry companies now offer high-speed services as well as upgraded, state-of-the-art craft on many Irish sea routes. Fares will vary by season and promotional offers are available. Routes from Britain and France include:

From England:
Liverpool-Dublin (journey time - 8 hours); Fleetwood-Larne (Northern Ireland, journey time - 8 hours). From the Isle of Man: Douglas-Dublin (journey time - 2 hours 45 minutes, summer only, to 4 hours 45 minutes); Douglas-Belfast (Northern Ireland, journey time - 2 hours 45 minutes).

From Scotland:
Cairnryan-Larne (Northern Ireland, journey time - 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes); Stranraer-Belfast (journey time - 1 hour 45 minutes to 3 hours 15 minutes).

From Wales:
Holyhead (Isle of Anglesey)-Dublin (journey time - 2 hours to 3 hours 15 minutes); Holyhead (Isle of Anglesey)-Dun Laoghaire (journey time - 1 hour 40 minutes); Fishguard-Rosslare (journey time - 1 hour 40 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes); Swansea-Cork (seasonal, journey time - 10 hours); Pembroke-Rosslare (journey time - 3 hours 45 minutes).

From France:
Irish Ferries operate at least four direct ferry crossings a day between France and Ireland. The routes are Cherbourg-Rosslare (journey time - 19 hours); Roscoff-Rosslare (journey time - 18 hours); Roscoff-Cork (journey time - 13 hours 30 minutes).

For information on routes, fares and reservations, contact one of the following: Brittany Ferries (tel: 0870 907 6103, in the UK; website:; Irish Ferries (tel: 0870 517 1717, in the UK, or 0818 300 400, in Ireland; website:; Isle of Man Steam Packet (tel: 0871 222 1333; website:; P&O Irish Sea (tel: 0870 242 4777, in the UK; website:; Stena Line (tel: 0870 570 7070, in the UK; website:; and Swansea-Cork Ferries (tel: (01792) 456 116, in the UK).

Getting There by Rail

Rail links serve Ireland from all the above ferry ports, as well as from Northern Ireland.

Rail Passes

InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 30 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass allows travel for 22 days, one month, five days in 10 days or 10 days in 22 days across all countries. The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Travellers under 26 years receive a reduction. Children's tickets are reduced by about 50%. Supplements are required for some high-speed services, seat reservations and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from Rail Europe (website:

offers unlimited first-class train travel in 17 European countries. Saver tickets are valid for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months or three months. The Eurailpass Saver ticket offers discounts for two or more people travelling together. The Eurailpass Youth ticket is available to those aged under 26 and offers unlimited second-class train travel. The Eurailpass Flexi allows either 10 or 15 travel days within a two-month period.

The Eurail Selectpass is valid in three, four or five bordering countries and allows five, six, eight or 10 travel days (or 15 for five countries) in a two-month period. The Eurail Regional Pass allows four to 10 travel days in a two month period in one of nine regions (usually two or more countries). Children receive a 50% reduction. The passes cannot be sold to residents of Europe, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or the Russian Federation. Available from the Eurail Group (website:



The temperate climate is due to mild southwesterly winds and the Gulf Stream. Summers are warm, while temperatures during winter are much cooler. Spring and autumn are very mild. Rain falls all year.

Required Clothing

Lightweights during summer with warmer mediumweights for the winter. Rainwear is advisable throughout the year.



Embassy of the Republic of Ireland in the UK

17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HR, UK
Tel: (020) 7235 2171 embassy); (020) 7373 4339 (passport office)
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1300, 1415-1700 (Public counters for visa enquiries, by appointment only, are 0900-1230 and 1330-1530; passport office opening hours are Tues and Thurs 0900-1230 and 1400-1600).  

Tourism Ireland in the UK

Nations House, 103 Wigmore Street, London W1U 1QS, UK
Tel: (020) 7518 0800.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 0915-1715; Fri 0915-1700.

Embassy of Ireland in the USA

2234 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 462 3939.

Tourism Ireland in the USA

345 Park Avenue, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10154, USA
Tel: (212) 418 0800

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