Photo: Ireland Facts

Ireland Facts

Find Out About Ireland

Want to find out what the weather holds or who to contact in case of an emergency? We have the facts every visitor needs to know.

Select an item from the following list:



Ireland has a mild, temperate climate:
Summer temperatures generally range from 60ºF/15ºC to 70ºF/20ºC.
Spring and autumn are generally 50ºF/10ºC.
Winter is between 40ºF/5ºC and 46ºF/8ºC. (Snow is rare, but showers can occur at any time of the year.)

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The island of Ireland widely recognizes concessions and is very student friendly with many attractions offering a reduced student rate/admission charge on the presentation of a valid student ID card.

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Republic of Ireland
The euro is the currency of the Republic of Ireland.
One euro consists of 100 cent.
Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
Coins are 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2.

Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, the currency is Great British Sterling.
One pound sterling consists of 100 pence.
Notes are £5, £10, £20, £50 and £100.
Coins are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

Credit Cards
Any credit cards that bear the Visa or MasterCard symbol will be widely accepted in Ireland. Visitors with other cards should ask in advance or check if that card is on display where they wish to use it.

Banking hours are generally 10.00am to 4.30pm Monday through Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday. ATM (cash) machines are located at most banks and accept most credit and debit cards.

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Vat and Tax Refunds

To be able to claim a tax refund you must be a non-EU visitor to Ireland. Look for the 'Tax-Free Shopping' sign in the windows of participating stores. You must complete a valid tax refund document obtained from the retailer and present the tax refund document and goods to Customs on departure from the EU. A customs officer will check the goods and validate the tax refund document. You can receive your refund on the spot at some airports, otherwise you should mail the validated tax refund document back to the store and a refund will be issued.

VAT is charged on almost everything, but remember that refunds only apply to goods being taken out of the country, not services. VAT and tax refunds are not available to EU visitors.

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The population of the island is currently 6.58 million, with over 4.72 million living in the Republic of Ireland and 1.86 million living in Northern Ireland.

The island of Ireland enjoys a rich diversity of ethnic groups and cultures and there is a dominance of young people - over half the population is under 40 years old.


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Emergency Numbers

William A. Stevenson, III
Director of International Programs :: Active Crisis Manager
Office: (479) 524 7119, Fax: (479) 524 7463, Home: (479) 524 7613

Steve Beers
Vice-President for Student Development
Office: (479) 524 7133, Fax: (479) 7221, Home: (479) 524 6157

Kim Hadley
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Office: (479) 524 7117, Fax: (479) 524 7278

Scott Wanzer
Director of Campus Safety
Office: (479) 524 7403, Fax: (479) 524 7278

Office of the President
Office: (479) 524 7116, Fax: (479) 524 7348, Home: (479) 524 7091

Republic of Ireland

Emergency Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Tel: 112 or 999
These numbers are free of charge but should only be used in cases of genuine emergency.
On answer, state which service you require, wait to be connected to that service, and then clearly state the location of where the assistance is required.

In the case of a vehicle breakdown contact:
Automobile Association (AA) (Tel: 1800 66 77 88)
RAC Motoring Service (Tel: 1800 535 005)

Northern Ireland

Emergency Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Tel: 999
This number is free of charge but should only be used in cases of genuine emergency. On answer, state which service you require, wait to be connected to that service, and then clearly state the location of where the assistance is required.

In the case of a vehicle breakdown contact:
Automobile Association (AA) (Tel: 0800 88 77 66)
RAC Motoring Service (Tel: 0800 828 282)

Tourist Victim Support Service (TVSS)

Though the general level of personal safety is high, should you be unfortunate enough to be the victim of crime while visiting Ireland, the Tourist Victim Support Service provides emotional and practical support with the aid of a team of trained volunteers with multi-lingual skills.

Republic of Ireland
Operating Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sundays and National Holidays from 12pm to 6pm, call 1 800 661 771, email or log onto

Northern Ireland
Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, contact ++ 44 28 90 328152. After 5pm, weekends or public holidays, contact the Victim Support line on 0 845 30 30 900; email or log onto Victim Support Northern Ireland

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The island of Ireland is 304 miles/486 km long and 172 miles/275 km wide and is divided into four historic provinces - Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught.
Within these four provinces are 32 counties. The Republic of Ireland consists of 26 counties and Northern Ireland consists of six counties.

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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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For visitors from the United States, private medical insurance is highly recommended. Please check with your carrier before departure regarding your coverage.

Republic of Ireland
Department of Health and Children (Tel. +353 1 635 4000)

Northern Ireland
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Tel. 44 28 9052 0500)

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Provinces & Counties


Counties in the province of Connaught: Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo.
The ancient province of Connaught on the west coast of Ireland contains a rich diversity of stunning landscapes and coastal views, including the spectacular spots of Connemara, Mayo and Sligo. The coastline consists of thousands of wildly shaped bays, inlets and islands that are ripe for discovery.
Galway City is the capital of the West, and has a laid-back boho feel with its easy mix of ultra-modern culture and proud Gaelic traditions. Other beautiful towns that will make an impression are Westport and Sligo.


Counties in the province of Leinster: Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow.
Leinster is the most fought-over and colonised part of Ireland and this is reflected in the region's historical heritage. A mixture of beautiful countryside and modern towns, well over half the population of the Republic now lives in Leinster.
Leinster includes Newgrange, Europe's greatest and most stunning Neolithic monument, the vibrant capital city of Dublin, the luxurious verdant countryside of Wicklow, and Kilkenny with its rich Norman architecture and lively atmosphere.


Counties in the province of Munster: Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford.
Munster is the most lush of the four provinces, and home to some of Ireland's most breathtaking scenery. Munster's winding roads snake intricately over mountain passes descending to magnificent sea inlets. The area is rich in archaeological remains, not least of which are the mysterious stone circles that dot the landscape.
Throughout the region are many traces of plantation towns as well as numerous coastal and harbour towns, such as Kinsale and Clonakilty. Munster is also home to Cork City, the second city of the Republic of Ireland, and Limerick City, which is a historical gem with its 13th-century castle fortress and old town.


Counties in the province of Ulster: Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, Monaghan, Tyrone.
The northern part of Ireland - the great and majestic Ulster - offers a different and quite unique experience. The interwoven influences of several different cultures - the Ulster Scots, the Gaelic, the Normans and the Anglo-Normans have sculpted and coloured the landscape in a particularly unique way.
The geographical location of Ulster, as the most northern part of Ireland surrounded by ocean on three sides, has formed a breathtakingly beautiful coast of dramatic cliffscapes, sweeping strands and tumbling mountain. The tranquil rural landscapes of Southern Ulster bounded by Lough Neagh in the east, Lough Erne in the west and the Lakelands of Fermanagh, Cavan and Monaghan in the south, offer a superb and almost continuous countryside.
What is undoubtedly the most impressive aspect of Ulster is its spectacular coastline, from the wild reaches of Donegal, along the northern shoreline from Londonderry to Bushmills, and down the Antrim coast to Larne, north of Belfast.

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Public Holidays

Republic of Ireland
January 1 and January 2 (New Year)
March 17 (St Patrick's Day)
Good Friday - bank holiday only
Easter Monday
May 1 (May Day)
June 5 (Spring Holiday)
August 7 (Summer Holiday)
October 30 (Hallowe'en)
December 25 (Christmas Day)
December 26 (St Stephen's Day)

Northern Ireland
January 1 and January 2 (New Year)
March 17 (St Patrick's Day)
Good Friday - bank holiday only
April 17 (Easter Monday)
May 1 (May Day)
Spring Holiday
July 12th
August 28th
December 25th (Christmas Day)
December 26th (Boxing Day)

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Regional Tourist Offices

Regional Tourism Organisations (Northern Ireland)

Armagh Tourist Information Centre
40 English Street, Armagh BT61 4BA
Tel: +44 28 3752 1800
Fax: +44 28 3752 8329

Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau
47 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 5AD
Tel: +44 28 9024 6609
Fax: +44 28 9031 2424

Causeway Coast & Glens
11 Lodge Road, Coleraine, County Londonderry, BT52 1LU
Tel: +44 28 7032 7720
Fax: +44 28 7032 7719

Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau
44 Foyle Street, Londonderry, BT48 6AT
Tel: +44 28 7126 7284
Fax: +44 28 7137 7992

Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism
Wellington Road, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh BT74 7EF
Tel: +44 28 6632 3110
Fax: +44 28 6632 5511

Kingdoms of Down
40 West Street, Newtownards, County Down, BT74 7EF
Tel: +44 28 9182 2881
Fax: +44 28 9182 2202

Regional Tourism Authorities (Republic of Ireland)

Cork Kerry Tourism
Áras Fáilte, Grand Parade, Cork
Tel: ++ 353 21 425 5100
Fax: ++ 353 21 425 5199

Dublin Tourism Centre
Suffolk Street, Dublin 2

East Coast & Midlands Tourism
Clonard House, Dublin Road, Mullingar, County Westmeath
Tel: ++ 353 44 48761 (Admin only)

Ireland West Tourism
Áras Fáilte, Forster Street, Galway
Tel: ++ 353 91 537 700
Fax: ++ 353 91 537 733

North West Tourism
Áras Redden, Temple Street, Sligo
Tel: ++ 353 51 875 823
Fax: ++ 353 51 877 388

Shannon Development
Shannon Town Centre, County Clare
Tel: ++ 353 61 361 555 (admin)
Fax: ++ 353 61 363 180

South East Tourism
41 The Quay, Waterford City,
Tel: ++ 353 51 875 823
Fax: ++ 353 51 876 720

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Cellular Phones
Only digital phones with GSM subscriptions and a roaming agreement will work on the island of Ireland. Visitors should consult with their supplier before departure.

Pay Phones
Pre-paid phone cards are widely available both in the Republic and Northern Ireland and both are convenient and effective to use.

Telephone Codes
If calling Northern Ireland from abroad, all telephone numbers must be prefixed with 011-44- (drop the first 0 of the local code).
If calling Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland, replace the prefix code 028 with the code 048.
If calling the Republic of Ireland from abroad all telephone numbers must be prefixed with 00 353 (drop the first 0 of the local code).

Telephone Enquiries

Northern Ireland
Directory Enquiries - Tel: 118 500
International Directory Enquiries - Tel: 118 505
Talking Pages - Tel: 0800 600 900 or visit

Republic of Ireland
While in the Republic of Ireland contact: Directory Enquiries - Tel: 11850
International Directory Enquiries - Tel: 114
Golden Pages Talking - Tel: + 353 1 618 8000 or visit

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Vaccines are neither compulsory nor necessary unless you are travelling from an infected country.

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Visa, Passport and Embassies

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.

Embassies & Visa Contacts

Further information for the Republic of Ireland, including a full list of Irish Embassies, is available from:

Embassy of Ireland, 2234 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008. Tel: (202) 462 3939.

British Embassy, 3100 Massachusetts Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20008. Tel: (202) 588 7800.

Consulate of Ireland, 345 Park Ave, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10154. Tel: (212) 319 2555.

Consulate of Britain, 845 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10022. Tel: (212) 745 0200.

The Embassy of the United States of America, Dublin
42 Elgin Road, Dublin 4. Tel: 353 1 668 7122

The U.S. Consulate General, 14 Queen Street
Belfast BT1 6EQ. Tel: 44 28 9032 8239

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Young people / Teenagers

Student ID cards
Some attractions and travel options offer a reduced student rate/admission charge on the presentation of a valid student ID card. Always state that you have a valid student ID when making bookings before you arrive.

Car rental age requirements and restrictions
Most of the major car rental companies have desks at airports, ferry terminals and cities across Ireland. Generally, these companies do not rent cars to drivers under 21. It is advisable to book in advance, especially if you are traveling during the high season, as it is generally cheaper.

For insurance reasons you should advise the car rental company if you intend traveling between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
For more information, check out or

Studying and working in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
USIT ( is the Irish student and youth travel service, with 22 travel offices located all over the island of Ireland. The Work in Ireland program is based in Dublin.

USIT co-sponsors the Work in Ireland Program and also organize various study programs, including the Irish Studies Summer School at Trinity College and the Ireland in Europe Summer School. USIT also runs budget accommodation centres in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

USIT specializes in educational and special interest travel, arranging and designing summer schools and study tours for universities and educational groups visiting Ireland. If you are interested in developing a program specific to your academic needs in Ireland, please email

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