Kylemore Abbey Castle, Ireland
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Kylemore Abbey Castle, Ireland

© / Nico Smit

Ireland Travel Guide

Key Facts

70,182 sq km (27,097 sq miles).


4,713,993 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

69.7 per sq km.





Head of state

President Michael D Higgins since 2011.

Head of government

(Prime Minister) Simon Harris since April 2024.


230 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

Ireland is one of the globe’s most singular travel destinations, a feisty, twinkling country far more famous for the sum of its parts than for any specific sight or attraction. Its landscapes are raw, its cities are animated and its history holds endless tales of adversity. Tying all this together is the Irish character, a fabled combination of bright-eyed bonhomie and bar-room banter: there’s good reason why the planet’s full of Irish pubs.

Lovable Dublin falls naturally as the most popular option for first-time visitors, although for all the capital city’s stately architecture and riverside charm, it only partly hints at what the wider country has to offer. The real spirit of today’s nation might be up for debate – it’s as likely to be found in a Connemara village as a Cork street scene – but searching for it is hugely enjoyable.

It’s often said that there are two Irelands. Despite its economic woes, 21st-century Ireland is a modern destination, full of fresh creativity. At the same time, of course, it’s somewhere rooted in the strongest of traditions, a country marked by humour, hospitality and more than the occasional late night. The craic of legend isn’t generally hard to find.

With all this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that Ireland caters for such a broad range of interests. Those in search of windswept hikes, Celtic relics and fiddle-and-song pubs will be well sated, but so too will those looking for on-trend gastronomy, family-friendly attractions or slick hotels. The country may be small but its cultural impact worldwide continues to be enormous, and this is due to far more than just a romantic notion of how it used to be.

Various icons and images enjoy close associations with Ireland (see everything from craggy peninsulas to pints of Guinness) but the real beauty of the country is the fact that it transcends every cliché that people throw at it. Its potential for adventure – for real, blood-pumping adventure – is all too often overlooked, while for those who just want to take it easy, the options are copious.

Travel Advice

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

About FCDO travel advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Ireland set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the Irish Embassy in the UK.

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering Ireland.   

Passport and ID requirements

British nationals are not legally required to show a passport to enter Ireland, but it may be useful to carry in case you need to prove your identity.

Irish immigration officers are entitled to ask for proof of British nationality in the course of their work. Ferries and airlines may ask for ID. Check your carrier’s conditions of travel.

Check the Ireland Citizens Information Board for guidance on acceptable ID.

Visa requirements

You can visit and remain indefinitely in Ireland under the Common Travel Area rules. British nationals do not need a visa or residency permit to live, work or study in Ireland. 

Although Ireland is in the EU, it is not part of the Schengen area, and Schengen rules do not apply.  

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s Ireland guide.

Customs rules

There are strict rules about goods you can take into and out of Ireland. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Travelling with pets

Read about travelling to the EU with your pet and check the Irish entry requirements for pets.

Taking money into Ireland

Declare cash or travellers cheques if the value is 10,000 euros or more. You will get a certified declaration to show you brought it in with you. If you do not, your money could be seized when you leave.


There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.     

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Terrorism in Ireland

Terrorist attacks in Ireland cannot be ruled out.


Take precautions to reduce the risk of bag-snatching or pickpocketing. Avoid carrying valuables and large amounts of money. Lock your vehicle and park where possible in a secure car park. Most incidents occur in the larger cities.

Laws and cultural differences

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Possession of even small quantities of drugs can lead to criminal prosecution and the possibility of a custodial sentence. Do not offer to carry any items for anyone else when entering or leaving Ireland.

Transport risks

Road travel

If you are planning to drive in Ireland, see information on driving abroad and check the rules of the road in the RAC’s Ireland guide. The guide lists driving regulations and other legal requirements you need to be aware of. 

Before you travel check that:

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant.

Emergency medical number

Dial 112 or 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Contact your insurance or medical assistance company quickly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Vaccine recommendations and health risks

At least 8 weeks before your trip:

See what health risks you’ll face in Ireland.


You can use a UK prescription to get medicines, including special food required for medical reasons, from pharmacies in Ireland. You will have to pay in full for any prescription medicine.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you have questions, contact the Irish Embassy in the UK.

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro.

Healthcare in Ireland       

British people who live in the UK can access state healthcare when visiting Ireland. See guidance for visitors on healthcare in Ireland. FCDO has a list of medical providers in Ireland.

See guidance on healthcare if you’re living or studying in Ireland.

Travel and mental health

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel.

Emergency services in Ireland

Telephone: 112 or 999 (ambulance, fire, police)

Tourist SOS

You can get support from Tourist SOS if you are a victim of crime.

Telephone: +353 (0)1666 93 54

Contact your travel provider and insurer

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do.

Refunds and changes to travel

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first.

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including:

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim

Support from FCDO

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including:

Contacting FCDO

Follow and contact FCDO travel on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated.

You can also contact FCDO online.

Help abroad in an emergency

If you are in Ireland and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British Embassy in Dublin.

FCDO in London

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad.

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours)

Find out about call charges

Risk information for British companies

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating in Ireland on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.