We are told to go out and explore the world around us. When we finally build up enough courage and money, we are often star-struck on which part of the world to see. Some go to warmer places that have beaches and outdoor activities. Others like to go where the skiing and snowboarding are the most adventurous. Regardless of which category we fall in, we’re all looking for a location that will bring us new experiences. Somewhere that will shove us out of our comfort zones and teach us about ourselves. While many people can name ten countries they’d like to visit, Ireland should be a high candidate for anyone. After backpacking in Ireland myself, I appreciate the breathtaking scenery and moments of reflection I had while hiking. Ireland is beautiful, and there are some things we should know before diving into this country drenched in history. Below are seven things to know before traveling to Ireland.
Ask for Help
Back here in the United States, we are so reliant on technology. GPS, Google, and translation guides are our first go-to options when we’re abroad. When traveling within Ireland, put down the phone and ask a local. Don’t worry; they won’t answer aggressively or get offended. From my experience, locals love to share their knowledge. They know the best pubs, bars, shops, etc. They may even have a better alternative to turn your trip from structured to a free-flowing adventure.
Be Prepared for Different Customer Service
In the United States, we’ve become accustomed to a certain type of immediate service in shops and restaurants. This isn’t always the case in the parts of Ireland that aren’t Dublin. Many places in Ireland are much more relaxed with their service procedures. We often seat ourselves and pay individually at the register. It’s important not to get offended when they don’t immediately greet or seat us.
Check the Schedules
Like most European countries, shops in Ireland are not open nearly as long as they are back home. Almost all shops and restaurants close by 2 pm on Sundays. There are also not many places that are open 24/7. If there is something that is a must-see or visit, check when they are open. That’s the only way to avoid disappointment.
Rain, Rain will go Away
A lot of people tend to avoid Ireland because of the stigma that it always rains. The rate at which the weather changes is impressive. One minute it will be a downpour, five minutes later, it’s twenty degrees warmer and sunny. The weather of Ireland is part of the adventure and fun itself. Pack a raincoat and a few extra layers, and the day will go great.
No Need to Tip
In the U.S., we have come to terms with always tipping at restaurants. Most American waiters make minimum wage while also receiving tips. Irish employees make much more hourly.
Learn to Appreciate “Colorful” Language
In America, we often avoid foul language unless in a private place. In Ireland, however, this is the complete opposite. It’s not that the Irish are rude or abrasive, but they are amazing storytellers. They also tell the funniest jokes, which tend to be a little off-tilt. So take each joke with a grain of salt, and laugh along. You’ll want to laugh, trust me.
Tea is the New Coffee
As an avid drinker of tea, I was extremely surprised to see tea was more popular than coffee. While coffee is still available everywhere, more often the locals are drinking tea. If invited to someone’s house, they offer you tea, not coffee.