When travelling to a new country we all face similar challenges; What are the Banks like? What is the currency? Do I need a Visa? Should I tip? What to do in an emergency? In the next few paragraphs we will give you enough detail to solve any of the obvious challenges you might face during your time in County Clare and the rest of Ireland.
As Clare is in the Republic of Ireland, the Euro is the currency in operation. It breaks down into 100 cents. Coins are available in 1's, 2's, 5's, 10's, 20's, 50's, in cents and 1's and 2's in Euros.
The main banks are open Mon - Fri from 10am - 4pm. There are ATM's in supermarkets and small shops as well as petrol/gas stations. It is possible to transfer and receive money from well known transfer companies such as Western Union. Also all major credit cards are acceptable almost everywhere you go and you can also use these to withdraw cash at the ATM machines.
In Ireland we drive on the left hand side. The road system has been modernised over the last 10 years and there is now a major road service to most parts of the country.
Driving in County Clare is very much about the scenic route, but these are well signposted and are well worth the extra hour you might spend travelling. Safety belts are a must for front and back seat passengers and stay off the telephone or you will find yourself being pulled over. For the more adventurous who are travelling by motor bike you must wear your helmet or face a fine. Road safety is a topical issue in Ireland because of a higher than European average of road deaths. You will find that most roads, especially motorways, are well policed. Speed vans are also stationed at various points so watch your speed!
Speed limits are as follows: Motorway 120kph; National Roads 100kph, Non-National Roads 80kph and small Urban Areas 50kph to 60kph.
AA roadwatch provide daily updates on traffic and driving conditions; www.aaroadwatch.ie
Depending on where you are travelling from you may require a Visa to enter Ireland. If travelling from the UK you only require photographic ID however it is advisable to bring your passport. When travelling from within the EU you do not require a Visa you will however need to bring your passport with you. For those of you that need further information on Visa and passport requirements the Department of Foreign Affairs can provide you with the latest information. Ireland has diplomatic relations with 107 countries and all details can be acquired at the Dept. of Foreign Affairs.
Similar to most countries, tipping is now customary in restaurants in Ireland. The expected rate is at least 10% but this will not be imposed and it is generally up to the customer how much they wish to leave. Tipping in bars is not customary however it still occurs and will help to grease the wheels of your next order. If a service charge is included in your bill you can at your own discretion decide to leave a smaller tip.
Shops now open 7 days a week between 9am and 6pm. The larger supermarkets such as Tesco and Dunnes stay open 'til 9pm and in some cases 24 hours,. The larger shopping centres and malls are open until late usually 9pm. The smaller rural towns may close early on a Sunday, if they open at all, or may close early one day during the week, often a half day Thursday.
To contact the Emergency Services dial 112 or 999 and state the service you require, Police, Ambulance or Fire Department. When contacting the Emergency Services you should be aware of your location and give it when asked. Most streets have a street name on the wall at the junction with other streets, so if there is no one nearby to ask please check for yourself.