|Religion||Roman Catholic 88.4%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 1.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2%, none 3.5%|
|Government||parliamentary democracy; the chief of the state is the president, the head of the government is the prime minister (called Taoiseach in Ireland)|
|Head of Government||President: Mary McAleese, prime minister: Brian Cowen|
|Embassy||Embassy of the United States of America 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge Dublin 1580 47 8472|
|Visas||U.S. citizens: A passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay, a visa, and a return or onward ticket are required.|
|Clothing Suggestions||Ireland is green for a reason. The varying shades of green can be attributed to the high level of precipitation. With any visit of more than a few days, it can almost be said for certain that rain will be experienced. As the Irish say, "It never rains in the pub." The winter is wetter than the summer, and the western part of the island gets more rain than the eastern part. The southeast is the driest part of the country.
Summer temperatures average between 60F to 70F. Anything above that would be considered a hot day, and rarely does the temperature get as high as 85F. The winter is moderate even in January and February. The average temperature is between 43F and 45F degrees.
|Time Zone:||Same time zone as the United Kingdom following Greenwich Mean Time, but in the summer months, the time is put forward one hour for daylight savings. Ireland is one hour behind continental Europe.|
|Banking / Exchange||The Irish banking system is modern and there are branches of major banks in all but the smallest of places. Most bank branches have modern cash dispensers that enable visitors from other countries to withdraw cash from their bank and credit card accounts. This is convenient because travelers can withdraw only the amount of money they need immediately. Direct use of credit cards is becoming the most common means of payment.|
|Electric Current||Standard voltage is 240 Volts AC, 50Hz. Sometimes shaver outlets are convertible to 110-120 Volts. Any electrical appliance normally used for a different voltage must either have dual voltage compatibility, (most modern electric shavers and small personal travel appliances do) or be attached to a converter for small appliances.|
|Credit Cards / Traveler Checks||Credit cards are accepted by larger hotels, restaurants and shops—especially those that cater to tourists—but cash is still the preferred method of payment. Traveler’s checks provide security, but banks charge a hefty transaction fee for cashing them. Traveler's checks can be changed at most banks and are accepted as payment at many tourist shops, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to take your passport when exchanging money. Be sure to ask for plenty of coins in small denominations when changing money.|
|Shopping||Shopping hours vary by the season. In winter, stores are generally open 9 AM–6 PM. In summer, store hours are 9 AM–12:30 PM and 5 PM–8 PM Saturday through Thursday. Though most stores are closed on Sunday, some are also closed on Friday.|
|Weights & measures||The metric system is standard throughout the country.|
|How to shop Tax Fee||1. Shop in any of the stores that display a TAX-FREE FOR TOURISTS window sticker and ask for a Tax-Free Shopping Form. With this form you can later claim your VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund. The VAT is included in the selling price. Non-European Union residents may reclaim VAT.
2. When you leave Ireland, make sure your purchases and receipts are readily available for inspection. Allow plenty of time for this process when you arrive at the airport. A Customs official will stamp your form as long as the purchase was made within in the previous six months. Without this stamp, a form is not valid and VAT refund cannot be made.
3. A VAT refund will be mailed to you or placed in a credit card account.
|National Airport||Dublin (DUB), Shannon (SNN), Cork (ORK)|
|Major Tourist Attractions||Dublin, Shannon, Guinness Factory, Cork|
|Tipping Suggestion||Tipping is customary, but at a lower rate than in many other countries. Most high-end restaurants clearly include a service charge of between 10 to 15%, and in this case there is no need to tip. Otherwise tip up to 10% if the service is acceptable. Pay in Irish restaurants is relatively low based on the assumption that staff will earn tips. Taxi drivers are commonly tipped 10%. Hotel porters that assist guests with bags also expect to receive a gratuity of, at the most, 1 Euro per bag. It is customary to tip tour guides 5 to 7 EUR per person per day on multiday tours and drivers 3 to 5 EUR per person per day. The suggested tip for day tours is 10 to 15 EUR for the guide and 5 EUR for the driver.|