Ireland travel guide
Ireland is one of the globe’s most singular travel destinations, a feisty, twinkling country far more famous for the sum of its parts than for any specific sight or attraction. Its landscapes are raw, its cities are animated and its history holds endless tales of adversity. Tying all this together is the Irish character, a fabled combination of bright-eyed bonhomie and bar-room banter: there’s good reason why the planet’s full of Irish pubs.
Lovable Dublin falls naturally as the most popular option for first-time visitors, although for all the capital city’s stately architecture and riverside charm, it only partly hints at what the wider country has to offer. The real spirit of today’s nation might be up for debate – it’s as likely to be found in a Connemara village as a Cork street scene – but searching for it is hugely enjoyable.
It’s often said that there are two Irelands. Despite its economic woes, 21st-century Ireland is a modern destination, full of fresh creativity. At the same time, of course, it’s somewhere rooted in the strongest of traditions, a country marked by humour, hospitality and more than the occasional late night. The craic of legend isn’t generally hard to find.
With all this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that Ireland caters for such a broad range of interests. Those in search of windswept hikes, Celtic relics and fiddle-and-song pubs will be well sated, but so too will those looking for on-trend gastronomy, family-friendly attractions or slick hotels. The country may be small but its cultural impact worldwide continues to be enormous, and this is due to far more than just a romantic notion of how it used to be.
Various icons and images enjoy close associations with Ireland (see everything from craggy peninsulas to pints of Guinness) but the real beauty of the country is the fact that it transcends every cliché that people throw at it. Its potential for adventure – for real, blood-pumping adventure – is all too often overlooked, while for those who just want to take it easy, the options are copious.
70,182 sq km (27,097 sq miles).
4,713,993 (UN estimate 2016).
69.7 per sq km.
President Michael D Higgins since 2011.
(Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar since December 2022.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Ireland’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
Terrorist attacks in Ireland can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
If you’re living in or moving to Ireland, visit our Living in Ireland guide in addition to this travel advice.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Ireland on the TravelHealthPro website.
The Irish Government publishes information on cases at a national and local level on its COVID-19 Data Hub.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on COVID-19: general advice for travellers.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when travelling to Ireland.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Public spaces and services
For up-to-date guidance on which restrictions are in place in Ireland, and when changes will be made, please see the Irish government website.
Healthcare in Ireland
If you’re in Ireland and think you have coronavirus symptoms, see advice from Ireland’s Department of Health.
For contact details for local doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Ireland.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Most visitors to Ireland experience no difficulties during their stay. Take sensible precautions to protect yourself from bag snatching and pick pocketing. Try to avoid carrying valuables and large sums of money. Make sure your vehicle is properly secured, and where possible park in secure parking areas. Most incidents occur in the Dublin area. If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS) offers free support and practical help to victims of crime. This includes liaison with travel companies and financial institutions and, in emergency situations, arranging accommodation, meals and transport. ITAS recommends that you report any incident in person to the nearest Garda (Police) Station who will then contact the organisation.
In 2021 there were 137 road deaths in Ireland source: Department for Transport. This equates to 2.7 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2021.
Don’t drink and drive. You may be heavily penalised or even imprisoned if you are found driving over the limit. The drink drive limit in Ireland is 50 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (0.05%) for experienced drivers, and 20 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (0.02%) for professional, learner and novice drivers. The police conduct random breath-tests on drivers. Holding and using a mobile phone whilst driving is banned.
Citizens Information Ireland provides guidance on what to do if you are relocating to Ireland and want to import a vehicle.
See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in Ireland.
If you are planning to drive in Ireland, see information on Driving Abroad.
Driving a British car abroad
You do not need a UK sticker to drive a UK registered car in Ireland. Check the Government’s Driving in the EU website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Ireland, attacks can’t be ruled out.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even small quantities can lead to a long term of imprisonment. Don’t offer to carry any items for anyone else when entering or leaving Ireland.
Attitudes in Ireland towards LGBT+ people are liberal. Same-sex marriage is legal in Ireland and rights are protected by legislation tackling discrimination. See our information and advice page for the LGBT+ community before you travel.
This page has information on travelling to Ireland.
This page reflects the UK Government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Ireland set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Ireland’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.’
All COVID-19 travel restrictions for travellers to Ireland have been lifted. If you are travelling to Ireland, you do not need to show any proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, proof of negative test or Irish passenger locator form receipt.
There are no post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements for travel to Ireland.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
Ireland, along with the UK, is a member of the Common Travel Area. British nationals travelling from the UK don’t need a passport to visit Ireland. However, Irish immigration officers will check the ID of all passengers arriving by air from the UK and may ask for proof of nationality, particularly if you were born outside the UK. You are therefore advised to take your British passport with you.
For more information about the types of ID you might be asked to present, see the Ireland Citizens Information Board website.
Before travelling, check with your carrier about their ID requirements, as most airlines and other transport providers won’t carry passengers to and from Ireland unless they’ve seen satisfactory photographic ID, and some airlines (e.g. Ryanair) will insist that passengers travel with a valid passport on their services.
If you’re using a passport to enter Ireland, it should be valid and in date. You should also check your air or sea carrier’s terms and conditions of travel. For journeys on the island of Ireland, British and Irish citizens do not require any travel documents when crossing the land border.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry into, transit through, and exit from Ireland.
Travelling with pets
Read the Irish government’s entry requirements for your pet.
If you wish to travel with a pet to the EU, read our guidance.
If your pet passport was issued in an EU Member State it remains valid for travel to Ireland.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist are available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 999 or 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
If you are a British or Irish citizen, you have the right to access healthcare in either state. When visiting you also have the right to access needs-arising healthcare during your stay. Both Governments have committed to taking steps to ensure that this will continue. More information about healthcare for UK nationals living in and visiting Ireland is available on the NHS website.
It is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes cover for medical treatment and associated costs. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Ireland, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in the Living In Ireland guide.
The currency of Ireland is the Euro.
Check before you travel that your bank cash card can be used in ATM machines in Ireland.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.’