Dublin: 1 °C Monday 26 February, 2024
drive on the left

8 essential hacks for tourists visiting Ireland

Did you know that “thankspenneys” isn’t a word?

Four seasons in one day

Dress for all weather. Seriously.

It can go from roasting to freezing, wet to dry, sunshine to hailstones in the blink of an eye.

Tramore Beach in Donegal, mid-July 2013 (via Pete McBride/Reddit Ireland)

A good raincoat is a must, although you will witness the startling Irish phenomenon of refusing to invest in a good raincoat and just getting soaked instead.

As for umbrellas,  don’t even bother.

This is inevitable.

Flickr/Creative Commons/jontintinjordan

On a clear or sunny day though, this island is magnificent.

Ring of Kerry. Lovely. (via

People at Salthill diving tower in Galway Bay (Pic: Boyd Challenger Photography)

Glen of Aherlow, Tipperary (Flickr/Creative Commons/Irish Fireside)

Southwall, Dublin (Pic: Stephen O’Connell)

Just the tip

Relish the chance to play loose and free with the concept of tipping in Ireland.

Hairdressers and waitstaff (but only for a big lunch or ‘the dinner’) are usually tipped, but everything else is up in the air.

Tipping a bar man is at your own discretion, and usually based on the size of the round or the service.

John Picken/Flickr/Creative Commons

Tipping floor staff in a bar is based on the size of your round/your level of soundness. It’s common practice to throw in a few euro.

Taxi drivers can be tipped based on the length of journey/amount of giving out ratio.

Translation: “This country has many problems. Let me give you my opinion on them…” (via

Thanks Penneys

This is not a generic way to say thank you in Ireland, nor is it all one word:


It is a commonly heard phrase when one Irish person (usually a woman) compliments another Irish person (also usually a woman) on what they’re wearing.

Typically at least one part of the outfit will have come from the clothing store Penneys, hence “Thanks, Penneys”.

Tip: “Only massive” is a good thing (Pic:


Bono is rarely in any of the places he’s rumoured to hang out.

He’s highly unlikely to be at Windmill Lane/The Clarence Hotel/outside his own house greeting tourists.

Other spots where you might find him though are:

Finnegan’s Pub, Dalkey, Dublin


Sure, he even brought the Obama ladies there.

Coppinger Row Restaurant, Dublin

That’s where he celebrated his birthday in May.

Grafton Street

You’ll probably catch him there on Christmas Eve, busking for charity.

To the left, to the left

In Ireland we drive on the left. Luckily there are at least 5 of these signs dotted around the country to remind you.

Pic: Wikimedia Commons


I’m Irish too

Describing yourself as “Irish” when you are in fact 1/16 “Irish” might not go down too well.

You’re only Irish if you can recall the exact wording of George Hamilton’s commentary of the last two penalties of the Italia 90 match between Ireland and Romania.


Attention American friends: in Ireland “fanny” means lady garden, just in case some teenagers snigger at you when you call attention to your ‘fanny pack’.

JoshuaHeller/Flickr/Creative Commons

Planes, trains and automobiles

Trains in Ireland can be quite the experience, depending on who your carriage mates are. Drinking on a train is something relished by the Irish… forewarned is forearmed.

Standard. (Pic: @Aoibhinn_ni_s)

The rail network completely avoids the northwest of the country, while Dublin’s light rail system, The Luas (also known as the Daniel Day), operates on a peculiarly linear system.


The no man’s land between the two is where you’ll find many of the city’s tourist attractions including, but not limited to, The Leprechaun Museum. Yes, that’s right, The Leprechaun Museum.

If you’re standing at a bus stop waiting for the next one and it just sails past, there are two possibilities:

1) The bus is full

2) The driver is in “a humour”.

Also, if you hear a ghostly voice from the depths of a bus, don’t fear. Just stand clear.

YouTube/Brendan Keegan

h/t to for this inspiring post

Hidden Ireland: The mystery of the 5,000-year-old tomb on top of a Wicklow mountain>

The rites of passage every Irish person must go through>

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