Ireland is a farming country known for its meat, bacon, poultry
and dairy produce. The surrounding sea, rivers and inland
lakes offer fresh fish including salmon, trout, lobster, Dublin
Bay prawns, oysters (served with wholemeal bread
and Guinness), mussels and periwinkles.
has a large selection of restaurants and eating places to
suit every pocket, as do the other major towns. Self-service
and table are both common. The most typical Irish dishes will
be found in a country restaurant, and include corned beef
and carrots, Irish stew and boiled bacon and cabbage.
Some other local delicacies are crubeens
(pigs' trotters), colcannon (a mixture of
potatoes and cabbage cooked together), soda bread
and a soufflé made with carrageen
(a seaweed variety). Tourists's should note that ‘tea’
is often a full meal with sandwiches and cakes.
Pubs, of which Ireland has many, are sometimes
called ‘lounges’ or ‘bars’
and there is often a worded sign rather than the
traditional painted boards found in Britain. Pubs and bars
have counter service. The measure used for spirits is larger
than that used in Britain, an Irish double is equal to a triple
in Britain. Irish coffee is popular drink
of strong black coffee, brown sugar and whiskey with cream.
The two most internationally distinctive products are whiskey
(spelt with an ‘e’) and stout.
Guinness, one of the most famous, popular
and distinctive beers in the world, is found everywhere and
Murphy’s is as widely available. One of the most popular
of lighter ales is Smithwick’s or Harp
Irish whiskey has
a unique characteristic flavour and is matured in a wooden
barrel for at least 7 years. The most popular brands are Jamesons
and John Powers Gold Label, but others include
Paddy, Tullamore Dew,
Old Bushmills, Midleton,
Reserve and Hewitts. As
popular as whiskey is stout which is bottled or served from
the tap. Liqueurs such as Irish Mist and
Bailey’s are both made from Irish whiskey.
Licensing hours: Monday to Wednesday
10:30-23:30 hours. Thursday to Saturday 10:30 to 00:30 hours
and Sunday 10:30 to 23:00 hours.
age: 18, although some bars will require that patrons
are over 21 and carry ID.
It is common to find pubs holding seisun,
playing traditional Irish music with traditional instruments.
The dance halls and discos of previous eras have been replaced
with clubs similar to those found in the UK and Western Europe.
Special events and themed nights take place at special attractions
such as the medieval banquet at Bunratty Castle. There is a good choice of theatres
Special buys include hand-woven tweed, hand-crocheted woolens
and cottons, linen, sheepskin goods, gold and silver jewellery,
Aran knitwear, pottery, Irish crystal and basketry.
Shopping hours: Monday to Saturday 09:00
to 17:30/18:00 hours. Many towns have late night opening
on Thursday or Friday until 20:00/21:00 hours. Smaller towns
have one early closing day a week.
It is possible to claim VAT back on goods bought in Ireland
on leaving the EU. For further information, contact the VAT
Administration Branch, Stamping Building, Dublin Castle,
Dublin 2 (telephone: (1) 865 5000; fax: (1) 874 6078; email:
The following are some of the many festivals and events held
in Ireland in 2007:
||Lord Mayor’s New
Year’s Day Parade, Dublin
||Six Nations Championships (rugby union),
||St Patrick’s Day, nationwide
||Samhlaiocht (Kerry Arts Festival),
||All Ireland Drama Festival, Athlone
Murphy’s International Mussel Fair, Bantry Bay
International Maytime Festival, Dundalk
Fleadh Nua, Ennis
Entennman’s Irish Guineas Weekend
||Sligo Arts Festival
Heineken Green Energy Festival, Cork
||Early Music Festival, Galway
||Dublin Women’s Mini Marathon
Music in Great Irish Homes Festival, nationwide
Bloomsday Festival (celebration of the Irish writer
James Joyce), Dublin
Dublin Writer’s Festival
||Diversions Temple Bar (summer festival
of contemporary arts), Dublin
||Dublin Pride (gay and lesbian festival)
||Budweiser Irish Derby, Newbridge
||Smurfit European Open (golf tournament),
Galway Arts Festival; Garland Sunday Climb, Croagh Patrick,
||James Joyce Summer School, Dublin
||Galway Film Fleadh
||Nissan Irish Open, Portmarnock
||Muff Festival; Puck Fair, Killorglin;
Fleadh Cheoil nah Eireann (traditional Irish music competition
and festival), Listowel
||Matchmaking Festival, Lisdoonvarna
||Waterford Spraoi Street Festival
||Kilkenny Arts Festival
||Rose of Tralee International Festival
||Galway International Oyster Festival
||Padre Pio Sunday, Knock
||Dublin Theatre Festival
||Wexford Opera Festival
||Guinness Cork Jazz Festival
||Winter Solstice at Bru na Boinne,
Irish are gregarious people, and craic can
be heard everywhere. Oscar Wilde claimed:
‘We are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.’
Close community contact
is a part of the Irish way of life and everywhere there is
an intimate small-town atmosphere. Pubs are often the heart
and soul of a community’s social life.
will find the people very friendly and welcoming. A meal in
an Irish home is normally a substantial affair and guests
will eat well.
is the main meal of the day and is eaten in the evening.
There is less
formal wear than in most European countries and casual
dress is widely acceptable as in keeping with a largely agricultural
community. Women often dress up for smart restaurants and
is normal practice, and modes of address will often be informal.
Smoking is acceptable
unless otherwise noted.
The customary tip in Ireland is 10 percent.
Most hotels and restaurants add this in the form of a service
charge indicated on the menu or bill.
It is not a custom to tip in bars unless you have table service
when a small tip is advised. Tipping porters, taxi drivers,
hairdressers is customary but not obligatory.