Tips for Your Ireland Honeymoon
Rolling green hillsides, grand castles, charming villages, and hundreds of years of history, Ireland is a magnet for adventure and relaxation honeymooners. Romantic possibilities overflow, from retreats at castle hotels to jaunting carriage rides and walks through well-manicured gardens. You've avoided Moher's stunning cliffs, Kerry's iconic ring, and kissing the Blarney Stone for too long. It's finally time to discover the Emerald Isle! I applaud that decision, but before you book that brewery tour or get too excited about visiting Dublin, here are a few tips to make your Ireland honeymoon more fun.
Consider Renting a Small Car
Yes, you can discover the best sites via public transportation or tour buses, but renting a car is not a bad idea if you want to get to obscure attractions. The vehicle you rent should be a small one, as rural roads are notoriously narrow and winding.
Drive on the Right Side (or Left in this Case)
The Irish pass on the right and drive on the left side of the road. So if you are uncomfortable with that, consider taking the train.
Trains are a tempting option for exploring Ireland – they're far more comfortable than the bus, and they offer free wifi and bathrooms. The downside is that trains in Ireland can be costly. Luckily, Irish Rail regularly provides significant booking discounts if you buy tickets in advance.
All those goodies you'll take home with you on Grafton Street are tax-free! That's right; anyone who lives outside the European Union can shop tax-free in Ireland. You will need to apply for a Fexco Horizon Card before your trip, so you swipe it in stores in the country and claim sales tax back on the purchases. They have also launched a tax-free shopping app, where you can order and register your card, locate affiliated outlets, and track purchases.
And while I'm talking about shopping, it's important to note that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland split into two different countries. If you are traveling across the border, note that Northern Ireland uses pound sterling, not the euro. International credit cards will work in ATMs and stores in both countries, so it's not a huge problem. But differing currencies are inconvenient if you shop with cash.
Irish weather is not severe, but it does get a lot of rain, particularly on its west coast. During winter, Irish days are short. Plan on watching the sunrise at about 8 am and watching it set at 4 pm. You will have to cram a lot into a few hours of daylight. But during summer, the sunsets as late as 10 pm. Be aware of seasonal changes so you can plan accordingly. Pack light layers of clothing, and rain boots or waterproof shoes, and you should be just fine.
Flag Down Buses
Dublin buses don't stop unless you flag them down, even if you are at a designated stop. Stick your arm out when you see the bus coming to let the driver know you want them to stop for you. Also, it's common to thank the bus driver when you depart.
Heritage Cards Are Helpful
If you plan to visit Ireland's many incredible cultural attractions, picking up a Heritage Card is an excellent idea. This card gives free admission to all heritage sites managed by the state for an entire year. These sites include castles and national parks.
Check Baggage Restrictions
Irish budget airline Ryanair is known for providing ridiculously low fares for flying within Europe. They are also known for heavy cabin baggage restrictions. You can bring on board only one carry-on plus one small bag, such as a handbag. The dimensions and weight allowances for checked bags are quite a bit less than you will get for international flights. You will be in for hefty fees if you exceed the size restrictions.
Understand Tipping Guidelines
Ireland doesn't have the same tipping culture that some countries do. It's customary to tip between 10-12% in restaurants with table service. Restaurants occasionally add a service charge to the bill, especially for large groups, so check your receipt. Taxi drivers and hairdressers or other personal service providers are usually tipped up to 10% if they have provided exemplary service, but it's up to you.
Sundays Are for Rest (Sometimes)
Although many establishments in the cities and towns are open on Sundays, many operate limited hours. Cafés and restaurants, shops, and a few attractions don't open until 2 pm on Sundays if they open at all. Make sure to check online before you go.
Comfortable to travel and always welcoming of visitors, Ireland is perfect for honeymooners who crave new adventures. Dublin's capital city has a bounty of attractions, many of which are within easy walking distance of one another. In the countryside, spend your days on romantic excursions and exploring scenic byways. As soon as you catch sight of rugged shores, surging mountains, and verdant valleys, the Emerald Isle will enchant you. So now that you have the tips for a successful Ireland honeymoon, be sure to check out my 8 Perfect & Romantic Nights in Ireland.