Overall Ireland is a very accessible country to travel to and within it is also a very safe country. Obviously, you should use common sense during your stay in Ireland, but in general Irish society is based on the principal of equality and providing an open and friendly welcome to visitors.
We have detailed below travel advice specifically to partaking in an Irish Gap Year program and also some general, practical advice about visiting Ireland.
Irish Gap Year program and tour participants should have the following items organised in the weeks prior to your travels to Ireland. The pre-departure check-list documents are available for downloading on our website. We will require participants to have copies of the following documentation sent to our offices no later than three weeks prior to departure.
Irish Gap Year medical history forms (where applicable)
Emergency Contact information
Parental Consent Form (for under-18s)
Please e-mail or fax our offices a copy of your completed pre-departure check-list documents no later than three weeks prior to your departure.
Meet and Greet
Irish Gap Year students and participants, over the age of 18 will be met at Dublin airport by Irish Gap Year staff. We will arrange with you meeting points and times with students and participants in the weeks prior to departure.
Students aged under 18 (those on our Teen Adventure and Transition Adventure Programs) are encouraged to meet on the day of departure at designated airports in North-East of the USA.
In the months prior to departure we will organise travel logistics and inform parents of departure and flight details. Air travel is group-booked through Irish Gap Year (this is not included in the program prices as listed on our website).
Irish Gap Year program leaders will meet parents and teens at the airport and introduce each of the members of the group to each-other to help "break the ice". An Irish Gap Year leader will then accompany students on their travels to Ireland.
Irish Gap Year groups typically fly out of Philadelphia International Airport, JFK International Airport, Logan International Airport or Newark International Airport. However, the exact airport will be confirmed with each group prior to departure.
Should students under the age of 18 be unable to join our travel party, a legal guardian or third party is required to accompany them on their journey to Ireland. All students under the age of 18 who are traveling without their legal guardian must fill out a parental consent form.
Departure and Travel Policies
All Irish Gap Year participants must provide copies of travel insurance, medical history forms and parental consent forms (under 18s only) 3 weeks prior to departure.
A 90 day visa will be granted to holders of valid American and Canadian passports. No prior arrangement is needed with Irish Immigration. However, we would recommend checking visa requirements with The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland.
European Union citizens do not need a visa to enter Ireland. Students from other countries should enquire with Irish Gap Year regarding visa requirements or the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland.
Where necessary we require that all students leave Ireland within the period stipulated on their visa.
While traveling internationally, all Irish Gap Year policy rules and regulations apply.
Arriving in Ireland
Our goal is to make sure that your introduction to Ireland is safe, pleasant and stress free. Participants under the age of 18 will be accompanied by an Irish Gap Year program leader for the duration of their travels to and throughout Ireland.
Upon arrival in Dublin, Irish Gap Year staff will see that all students clear customs and immigration, help with luggage and currency conversion and are fed before we board our coaches.
All of our programs and tours include airport pick up and drop off to Dublin International Airport. This service is inclusive in our programs and tours unless otherwise stated.
- The currency in the Republic of Ireland is the Euro (€).
- The currency in Northern Ireland is Sterling Pound (Stg£) (this is a small area in the north of the island which is part of the United Kingdom).
- Cash can be withdrawn from ATM machines which are located in shops at banks and on the streets of most towns and villages.
- Most major credit cards are accepted in shops and banks along with many debit cards.
- Tipping is not required when paying for a service. Although many people will leave a discretionary tip for good service at a restaurant.
- Internet access is available in most locations either through a Wi-Fi hotspot or from using data on a cell phone network. Check with your cell phone network provider for any additional fees in using data downloads abroad.
- Internet and cell phone access may become limited in more remote parts of the country. Take this as a good opportunity to "switch off" and get back to nature.
- Ireland uses the metric system for weights, measures, speed limits and most signposting.
- Electrical appliances use a three flat-pin socket and a 220V/50Hz AC power supply.
- It is illegal to smoke in indoor public spaces or in a car.
- For the record: legal voting age is 18, legal drinking age is 18, legal smoking age is 18, legal driving age is 17.
- Crime levels are relatively low in Ireland and gun crime is very low. However, take sensible precautions in relation to pick-pockets and walking alone at night. Overall it is a safe place to travel and live. Northern Ireland is no exception to this and is safe and friendly to visitors.
- The emergency services can be called from anywhere in Ireland by dialling 999 or 112.
- The police service is known as An Garda Síochána although most people use the term "the Guards", which is a type of respectful slang of their official Gaelic title.
- Irish laws on homosexuality are among the most progressive in Europe. Gay and lesbian people enjoy the same rights as all citizens including the right to marry.
- The majority religion is Roman Catholic Christian, however, Ireland continues to become a more and more secular society. The practice of an individual's faith is not restricted. Although access to places of worship that are not Catholic or Church of Ireland is limited outside of urban centres.
- Get up to speed on what's going on in Ireland by checking out online news such as The Journal, RTE News and satirical news website Waterford Whispers.
There is nothing us Irish enjoy more than discussing the weather. If you are coming to visit prepare to talk about what the weather is like now, what it is forecast to be like tomorrow and what it was like yesterday. Talking about the weather is the universal ice-breaker for conversation in Ireland.
If you are ever stuck for words with an Irish person, never fear, just comment on the weather!
All joking aside Ireland has a reputation for getting a lot of rain. It's true we do get rain but we also get sunshine and dry days and gloriously warm days. The main influence on our weather is the Atlantic Ocean. We have a temperate climate with no extreme weather systems. In winter though the Atlantic can bring in storm fronts with high winds and rain.
Temperatures can range from just below freezing in winter time (inland) to 22 degrees Celsius in summer months. Rainfall averages from 150 days to 200 days of the year depending on your location on the island. However, that can just mean a very light shower or a deluge of rain.
In general, it is best to bring a good raincoat with you wherever you go along with a jumper and a pair of boots. In that way you will always be prepared and no small shower of rain will stop you enjoying the wonderful scenery the country has to offer.