The Real Irish Golf Guide to Ireland
We thought you might appreciate a few tips and tricks of how things might be a little different from things at home. We do our best to smooth things along for you but it’s better to know some basics…
- Weather – Well, a famous man once said that Ireland was never promoted because of the weather. Let us just say it’s unpredictable. Temperatures from May to September can range from 40 degrees at night to 75 during the day. Realistically it’s in the high 50’s and 60’s during the day but dress in layers and keep a jacket and sunscreen in your golf bag.
- Clothing –Most importantly, don’t over pack. Ireland is casual. Unless you are planning to go to a 5-star restaurant, you will not need a jacket or a tie. Golf attire is fine and most courses adhere to collared shirt and pants. Tailored shorts are acceptable but unlikely (see above). Throw them in if you like to wear them, you never know. You will need to pack your rain gear, a knit hat and water-proof golf shoes. Otherwise, pack (lightly) whatever you are comfortable wearing on your time off. Bring comfortable walking shoes or gym shoes for non-course times. A rain-resistant outer jacket and a fleece to go under is enough off the course.
- Electronics – You will need a plug convertor for your phone and other computing devices for Ireland and UK 3 prong sockets. We can’t advise on camera charging. Ireland’s electricity is 230 volts (compared to the US 110 volts) so do not bring other electronic devices to use here (hairdryers, straighteners etc.). They will fry, even with a transformer. Trust us.
- Cell Phone Use – You will have to check with your cell phone company regarding use in Ireland. Be careful, it can be VERY expensive. Free wifi is generally available so aps like WhatsAp, Facebook and Face Time are a great, free way to stay in touch. Have you and your family download one before you go. There is no cell phone use while driving.
- Driving – We drive on the left in Ireland. We have a lot of roundabouts. The local roads are narrow and winding but what we call Motorways new and nice. Don’t be afraid to drive slowly and if you feel you are holding up traffic on a small road, pull over when you can and let the cars pass. Irish people are used to driving behind tractors and tourists. Generally, Irish drivers are very polite and will even let you in or allow you to turn right across a road in front of them. They will flash their lights at you to let you know. Just double check it’s safe to go.
- Drinking and Driving – BIG NO NO here. The Gardai (police) can and do random breathalyzer tests here all the time. The tolerance is 0% (really). Don’t ruin your trip with a visit to the local Garda Station. They might not be so polite. Get a taxi.
- Currency – In Ireland we use the Euro. ATM’s are readily available but be sure you check with your US bank what they charge for taking out money over here. There is no fee here to use an ATM. Check, as well, for your credit card fees. Better to know before you go. Banks are open M-F from 10AM – 4PM and most will exchange money for you. Many Post Offices will too. If you are travelling to Northern Ireland, they use the Northern Ireland Pound or the British Pound (they are different). Some places will also take Euros but will give you change in NI Pounds.Credit Cards: VISA and MasterCard accepted pretty much everywhere but AMEX is not so popular and you may not be able to use as frequently.
- Tipping and Service – The good news is tipping is not a big thing here. In a restaurant 10 – 12% for good service is plenty. Check your bill as some restaurants add a service charge. Don’t be afraid to ask if it’s for the staff. Bar tenders and taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped. A euro or two to the porter who brings your bags up is fine. More maybe if they’re lugging a lot. Otherwise, it’s not really necessary to tip unless your feel they have gone above and beyond.
- Other Practicalities
- Water’s safe and delicious to drink
- Ireland is a very safe country but use common sense.
- Don’t leave luggage or valuables visible in your car.
- We encourage you to ask for directions and chat with locals at the pub, on the course or wherever. Irish people are very friendly and a great source of local knowledge, like where’s the best pint of Guinness around.
- We don’t have UBER. Taxis are generally available. Ask someone who and where to find them.
- No alcohol is sold before 10AM (12:30PM on Sunday) or after 10PM in stores. Pubs close at 11:30PM Mon-Thur, 12:30 Fri and Sat and 11PM Sunday. Hotel pubs have ‘residence’ hours which can be later.