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The Trading Post

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Ballaghkeen, Wexford
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About Ireland

The Republic of Ireland (√Čire in Irish language) is a country in Europe. It shares the island of Ireland with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom.


Ireland is made up of four provinces, each containing several counties:

  • Leinster contains 12 counties in south-east Ireland.
  • Munster contains 6 counties in south-west Ireland.
  • Connacht contains 5 counties along Ireland's west coast.
  • Ulster contains 9 counties in the north of Ireland, including 6 in Northern Ireland.

However, travellers may be confused as the country is not marketed for tourism by these provincial names. Rather, tourists find themselves being welcomed to the "Sunny South East", "The West", "The North West", "The Shannon Region" and "The Midlands". It is better to plan travel by county names, cities, towns, etc., rather than worrying about which province one is going into.


  • Dublin / Baile Átha Cliath- the capital and largest city. With excellent pubs, fine architecture and good shopping, Dublin is a very popular tourist destination.
  • Cork / Corcaigh - second largest city in the Republic of Ireland - located on the banks of the River Lee.
  • Galway / Gaillimh - a city on the river Corrib on the west coast of Ireland.
  • Kilkenny / Cill Chainnigh - attractive medieval City, known as the Marble City - home to 'the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, held annually in early June.
  • Limerick / Luimneach - a city on the river Shannon in the south-west of the country.
  • Waterford / Port Láirge - city in the south-east and close to the ferryport at Rosslare.

Other attractive destinations

  • The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, both located in County Clare
  • The Ring of Kerry in County Kerry
  • Sligo / Sligeach (Town and County)- Home to W.B. Yeats, internationally renowned poet. Mountains and beaches, scenery in general are the best points of Sligo.
  • Carlow has rapidly become one of Ireland's fastest growing counties.
  • Letterkenny / Leitir Ceannain- Main town in County Donegal, designated gateway status and reputed to be the fastest growing town in Europe. Good base for travelling in Donegal.
  • Wexford / Loch Garman - Town and county in the "Sunny South-East".
  • The Aran Islands
  • Connemara, County Galway
  • Dromineer, County Leitrim

Get around by car

There are many car hire companies in Ireland and you can pick up in the cities or at the airports, though it may cost more to pick up at an airport. Note that Ireland is unique among European countries in that it will not accept third party collision damage insurance coverage when you rent a car. Many credit cards, for example, will pay the cost of the collision insurance (CDW) when you rent a car using that credit card. However, Irish car hire agencies will not accept this insurance. By Irish law, you must buy the CDW at the rental agency.

It is highly recommended that you call ahead to book a taxi. The hotel, hostel, or bed and breakfast you are staying in will usually call the cab company they work closely with for your convenience. Taxis should be reasonably easy to pick up on the streets in Dublin and Cork but may be harder to find crusing the streets in smaller cities and towns so it is often best to telephone for one. It is recommended to call the cab company in advance if possible and give them a time to be picked up, no matter if its 4 hours in advance or 30 minutes in advance. Work with the same cab company your hotel does and let them know your final destination if there is more than one stop. You will also need to give them a contact phone number over the phone, so if calling from a pay phone, be prepared for them to deny your claim for a taxi cab. The average waiting time may be anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on demand and time of day.

Driving and road rules are similar to the UK - e.g. drive on the left and yield to the right on roundabouts. The legal blood-alcohol limit is low so it may be best to abstain. Drivers often 'thank' each other by flashing their hazard lights or waving - this is purely a convention. Irish road signs are nominally bilingual, with place names displayed in Irish in italic font, with the corresponding English name in capitals immediately below. In the "Gaeltacht" areas in the far west, some road signs are written in Irish language only. There is four types of road classification:

  • N-Roads 1-50 (National Primary routes, main arterial routes indicated by white/yellow on green signs)
  • N-Roads 50+ (National Secondary routes - green signs)
  • R-roads (Regional roads, indicated by black on white signs)
  • L-roads (Local roads, white signs - rarely marked)
  • M-roads (Motorways)

Ireland has a small but steadily growing motorway network which centers around Dublin. The main motorways are:

  • M50 The ring road around Dublin
  • M1 From Dublin to Dundalk (part of the N1 cross border route to Belfast)
  • The M4 and M7 respectively form the Dublin ends of the N4 and N7 routes to Galway and Limerick

Note that unlike their UK counterparts, most Irish motorways have some tolled sections. Tolls are low by French or Italian standards, and vary from €1.70 upwards, depending on which motorway you are travelling on. Tariffs are displayed a few of kilometres from the plaza. For the visitor, it's important to note that the only tolled road that accepts credit cards is the M4 between Kilcock and Kinnegad. All others are Euro cash only, so take care if you're arriving from the North via the M1.

For 2007, the tolled sections and their charges (for private cars) are as follows:

  • M1, Drogheda bypass section, €1.70
  • M4, Kilcock to Kinnegad section, €2.60
  • M8, Fermoy bypass section, €1.70
  • M50, between exits 6 & 7, €1.90
  • M50, Dublin Port Tunnel, €3 to €12 (depending on time of day)

Until relatively recently, the road network in Ireland was very poorly maintained and road signage sparse. Things have changed markedly on the major arterial N-roads which have seen major renovation work with help from EU funding. The road surfaces can be very poor on the lesser used N- and R- numbered routes.


Food is expensive in Ireland, although quality has generally improved enormously in the last ten years. Most small towns will have a supermarket and many have a weekly farmers' market. The cheapest option for eating out is either fast food or pubs. Many pubs offer a carvery lunch consisting of roasted meat, vegetables and the ubiquitous potatoes, which is usually good value. Selection for vegetarians is limited outside the main cities. Modern Irish cuisine emphasises fresh local ingredients, simply prepared and presented (sometimes with some Mediterranean-style twists). Meat (especially lamb), seafood and dairy produce can be of a very high quality. Try some soda bread, made with buttermilk and leavened with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast. It is heavy, tasty and almost a meal in itself! In recent years many good quality, not too expensive restaurants have been set up.

The small town of Kinsale near Cork has become internationally famous for its many excellent restaurants, especially fish restaurants.


One of Ireland's most famous exports is stout, a dark, dry beer. The strong taste can be initially off-putting but perseverance is well-rewarded! The most famous variety is Guinness, brewed in Dublin and available throughout the country. Murphy's and Beamish's stout are brewed in Cork and available mainly in the south of the country. Murphy's is slightly sweeter and creamier-tasting than Guinness, while Beamish has a strong, almost burnt taste. Several micro-breweries are now producing their own interesting varieties of stout, including O'Hara's in Carlow, the Porter House in Dublin and the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork. Ales such as Smithwick's are also popular, particularly in rural areas. Bulmers Cider (Known as Magners in other countries) is also a popular and widely available Irish drink. It is brewed in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. The other competitor for national drink of Ireland is tea. The Irish drink more tea per capita than any other people in the world. Cork, Dublin and Galway abound with slick, stylish coffee bars, but if you visit any Irish home you will probably be offered a cup of tea (usually served with milk, unless you explicitly state otherwise!). Coffee is also widely drunk in Ireland. (If you don't drink tea, you drink coffee!)


Modified: 2007-04-12 14:54:41+02
Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Republic_of_Ireland


Image Gallery

Ireland, captured by a NASA satellite on 4 January 2003One of the stone age passage tombs at Carrowmore, County SligoCliffs of MoherBeautiful Irish Nature

Ireland, captured by a NASA satellite on 4 January 2003

Ireland, captured by a NASA satellite on 4 January 2003

Source: http://wikitravel.org/en/Republic_of_Ireland


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