Ireland is a highly developed democracy with a modern economy.
A passport is necessary, but a visa is not required for tourist or business stays of up to three months. For information concerning entry requirements for Ireland, travelers can contact the Embassy of Ireland at 2234 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 462-3939, fax 202-232-5993, or the nearest Irish Consulate in Boston, Chicago, New York, or San Francisco. The Internet e-mail address of the Irish Embassy is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A peace agreement for Northern Ireland was ratified by voters in Ireland and Northern Ireland in May 1998. Major paramilitary organizations continue to observe cease-fires. Violence by small splinter groups opposed to the peace agreement in Northern Ireland remains a possibility, with at least the potential for some spillover into Ireland.
Ireland has a low rate of violent crime. There is a high incidence of petty crime, mostly theft, burglary, and purse snatching, and tourists are particular targets. Rental cars are also targeted by thieves. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free trip. The pamphlet is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Good medical facilities are available. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ireland is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availablitiy of Roadside Assistance: Good
Driving is on the left side of the road in Ireland, and motorists without experience in left-drive countries should be particularly cautious. Tourists driving on the wrong side of the road are the cause of several serious accidents each year. Road conditions are generally very good, but once off main highways, country roads quickly become narrow and uneven. Roads are more dangerous during the summer and on holiday weekends due to an increase in traffic.
Taxis are widely available and reasonably priced. Urban bus service is generally adequate, though many buses are overcrowded and frequently late. Intercity bus and train services are reasonably good.
For specific information concerning Irish driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Irish National Tourist Organization (Bord Failte) website at http://www.ireland.travel.ie/home/.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are widely available, but some ATM's, particularly in rural areas, may not accept U.S. bank ATM cards. Most Irish banks do not accept $100 (U.S.) dollar bills.
Americans living in or visiting Ireland are encouraged to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in Ireland. The U.S. Embassy in Dublin is located at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, telephone (353)(1)668-7122; after hours telephone (353)(1)668-9612/9464; fax (353)(1) 668-9946. Travelers to Northern Ireland may consult the Consular Information Sheet for the United Kingdom. Further information and answers to many frequently asked questions are available on the U.S. Embassy's Internet homepage at http://www.usembassy.ie/.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ireland's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ireland's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's website at: http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.