Ireland Health Care and Vaccinations
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.
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.
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.